Most Clicked MiddleWeb SmartBrief Stories

1. 5 ways to make kids dread a teacher's classroom

MiddleWeb SmartBrief | Mar 26, 2015

Veteran educator Cheryl Mizerny is surrounded by caring and committed teachers, but she knows that even the most well-intentioned can fall into bad habits that may make some students dread coming to their classrooms. These teachers may over-control, ignore, blindside or even damage kids with poor teaching or unprofessional behavior. Mizerny lists some warning signs. Read more.

2. Educator: Why Common Core needs more teacher input

MiddleWeb SmartBrief | Mar 24, 2015

Policymakers need input from teachers on how to implement and improve the Common Core State Standards in language arts and their accountability measures, educator Ariel Sacks writes in this commentary. While praising the standards' emphasis on critical-thinking skills, Sacks also shares concerns about the developmental appropriateness of some standards and confusing language of some test questions. Education Week (tiered subscription model) (03/25)

3. Why do teachers stay?

MiddleWeb SmartBrief | Mar 24, 2015

Educators often face many challenges, such as long hours, low pay and high-stakes testing accountability, and yet, many teachers still choose to stay in the classroom. This article explores some of the reasons teachers stay, highlighting nine teacher responses to the question. National Public Radio (03/21)

4. 8th-grade class pilots new science standards in Calif.

MiddleWeb SmartBrief | Mar 27, 2015

An eighth-grade class in California is one of several piloting the Next Generation Science Standards in the state. Teacher Nichi Avina says the standards, which eventually will be rolled out to all California schools, encourage her students to think more deeply. "With this new way of teaching, it's almost like we're exploring together and I am just facilitating the process," she said. KPCC-FM (Los Angeles) (03/26)

5. Middle school to use scores for placement in reading, electives

MiddleWeb SmartBrief | Mar 24, 2015

An Illinois middle school will offer an extra elective to students whose test scores indicate they read at grade level; reading courses and one elective will be required for those who do not. Officials say the changes will allow teachers to focus more on strategies for struggling readers and allow other students to take courses ranging from computer technology to speech and debate. Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Ill.) (03/23)

6. How much is too much when assigning homework?

MiddleWeb SmartBrief | Mar 26, 2015

Assigning more than 90 minutes of homework could result in negative student performance, according to a recent study. Data show 60 minutes of homework may be ideal. Researchers say the findings reveal that the nature of the homework may be more important than the amount of time spent completing assignments. Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model), The (03/23)

7. D.C. schools are expanding opportunities in middle grades

MiddleWeb SmartBrief | Mar 26, 2015

Beginning next year, middle-school students in Washington, D.C., who are taking or have completed a foreign-language course will be eligible to take an international trip. The trip is part of a program intended to expand opportunities for students in the middle grades. Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The (03/24)

8. Teachers share how they use Google in classroom lessons

MiddleWeb SmartBrief | Mar 26, 2015

Google can be an invaluable classroom teaching tool, according to a group of Google Certified Teachers who presented recently at the Annual CUE 2015 conference. Among other things, teachers shared how they use Google Docs, Google Slides and Ngram Viewer, a graphing tool that "takes all the literature Google has chronicled and picks out the words [you search for] and gives you some trends about them." eSchool News (free registration) (03/24)

9. Should history instruction be teacher or student driven?

MiddleWeb SmartBrief | Mar 24, 2015

Should middle-grades history classrooms emphasize project learning or teacher lecture? Written or activity-based assessment? Student inquiry or teacher designed units? Teacher Jody Passanisi considers the pros and cons of each approach and wonders about achieving just the right blend. Read more.

10. How do snow days affect student achievement?

MiddleWeb SmartBrief | Mar 26, 2015

Reading and math scores may be more likely to drop during times when there are snowy conditions and schools do not close, than during times when schools close for inclement weather, according to a recent study. The study focused on students in Massachusetts. Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The (03/26)

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