Most Clicked ASCD SmartBrief Stories

1. Standardized testing is in the hot seat

ASCD SmartBrief | Jan 22, 2015

Standardized testing and the role it plays in schools is hotly debated by educators, politicians and parents, writer Anya Kamenetz says in this interview. Kamenetz shares what she's learned from talking with educators, the history of annual state tests, as well as an analysis of the current political climate. National Public Radio (01/22)

2. Common Core testing season reflects fragmented adoption

ASCD SmartBrief | Jan 26, 2015

Some states have abandoned the Common Core State Standards since initial adoption by 45 states and the District of Columbia in 2011. Even among those states implementing Common Core, a number have opted out of using new assessments designed by two national testing consortia. Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The (01/25)

3. Lessons learned from early adopters of digital textbooks

ASCD SmartBrief | Jan 28, 2015

Digital textbooks offer opportunities for schools to teach the most up-to-date content and give students access to quizzes, videos and comments within the text. Still, the digital transition can come with some challenges, say three early users who share their digital-textbook adoption stories. eSchool News (free registration) (01/28)

4. Research helps make the case for chess in schools

ASCD SmartBrief | Jan 23, 2015

Research has shown that chess can help students build cognitive, spatial-reasoning, problem-solving and math and reading skills. Some schools are working with nonprofits and other groups to help bring chess lessons to more students. Deseret News (Salt Lake City), The (01/22)

5. Tips to hire, retain top-notch teachers

ASCD SmartBrief | Jan 23, 2015

Educators and experts offer suggestions to help school districts recruit, support and grow a quality teaching staff. They offer a guide to hiring and say that once a team is in place, professional development and mentoring are essential to success. District Administration magazine online (01/23)

6. Students using mindfulness techniques perform better in math, study finds

ASCD SmartBrief | Jan 28, 2015

Students who learned mindfulness practices, such as meditation and gratitude, posted improved math scores compared with students who did not use the practices, according to a recent report. Students also outperformed their peers in other areas, such as cognitive control, emotional control, optimism and empathy. (01/26)

7. Eliminating text may help create effective presentations

ASCD SmartBrief | Jan 23, 2015

PowerPoint or slide presentations that rely too heavily on text can overwhelm students, former middle-school teacher Mary Jo Madda warns. Based on research by Richard Mayer, a brain scientist at the University of California Santa Barbara, educators should focus on images and limit themselves to one word per slide, Madda writes. EdSurge (01/19)

8. Pros, cons of touch in the classroom

ASCD SmartBrief | Jan 26, 2015

Touch always has been an important part of teaching practices of English teacher Jessica Lahey, whether conveying her support for students in a difficult time or offering a gentle reminder to focus on the work. In this commentary, she writes about the research and what some experts say regarding touch, learning and the potential of touch to help or harm students. Atlantic online, The (01/23)

9. Technology helps boost access to AP courses

ASCD SmartBrief | Jan 27, 2015

Online learning is helping rural schools in Iowa expand Advanced Placement course offerings and offer high-achieving students more academic challenges. The Iowa Online AP Academy provides access to 12 free AP courses to accredited schools in the state. National Journal (01/27)

10. High-school teacher's tech lesson, dance video goes viral

ASCD SmartBrief | Jan 28, 2015

Students at a project-based high school in Texas recently learned about practical applications of technology. The students created a dance video -- inspired by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres' dance montage during last year's Oscars -- to the song "Uptown Funk." Christian Science Monitor, The (01/27)

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