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December 6, 2012
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News about teaching and education excellence

  Top Story 
  • How teachers can use grades to motivate students
    Grading practices can be used to motivate students, writes eighth-grade language arts teacher Ryan Kinser. In this opinion article, Kinser offers several suggestions, including giving ungraded feedback, allowing students to fail and try again, giving some leeway on deadlines, and giving students credit for completed classwork but grading tests based on correct responses. He also suggests grading student participation and giving students some ungraded free-play time. Education Week Teacher (premium article access compliments of (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

When you walk into a successful math classroom, what should you see, hear, and feel? Math Sense helps teachers self-assess, distills the key components of a good lesson, and offers ideas for improving classroom spaces, discourse, and engagement. Preview the entire book!
  Focus on Practice 
  • "Lab lit" genre mixes English and science classes
    Lessons in English and science can go hand in hand through the genre of "lab lit," offer the writers of this blog post. In one suggested exercise, students would discuss recent science topics and determine how they might be used as the basis for a novel or movie. In another exercise, students examine the novel "Frankenstein," which is cited in an accompanying article as probably one of the earliest examples of "lab lit," and the authors also suggest studying scientists' blogs. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/The Learning Network blog (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Iowa teachers to add history of floods into classroom work
    Some teachers in Iowa are working with University of Iowa faculty to incorporate the devastating floods of 2008 and 2011 into social studies, science and language arts lessons, using students' personal experiences from the floods. "When you learn about your own environment, and your effect on that environment as well as your reaction to that environment it's empowering for students," said Trudy Kimble, a language arts teacher in Council Bluff. KWWL-TV (Waterloo, Iowa) (12/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Save 20% on four essential books from Responsive Classroom
We asked teachers, "What is one Responsive Classroom book every elementary teacher should own? Why?" From now through December 14, buy all four of the most frequently mentioned and get 20% off the regular price. Learn more about these four essential books.
  Schools Today 
  • What should teachers expect from the common core?
    Teachers should prepare for -- but not panic over -- a likely dip in students' test scores under the more rigorous Common Core State Standards, writes Rae Ann Knopf, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform. In this blog post, Knopf writes about what led to the adoption of the common core and details the purpose and potential challenges of the standards. The Huffington Post/The Blog (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Chicago school reports higher achievement under common core: At an elementary school in Chicago that enrolls primarily low-income students, achievement has improved 16 points on state exams since the school began piloting the Common Core State Standards three years ago. A small number of Chicago schools are using the common core this year, with district officials acknowledging that test scores are expected to drop sharply with the more rigorous standards. Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said lower scores could be a "death sentence" for teachers' careers and schools because evaluations depend on student test performance. The Huffington Post (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Implementing A District-Wide Science Success
Veteran education leader Mike Dillon has helped his school district continue on a steady path of success in science. The Smithsonian’s Science and Technology Concepts program and kits, available through Carolina Biological, have ensured that an entire district maintains a culture of high academic achievement. Read the case study.
  Education Cartoon 
  Developing Leaders 
  • Teacher retention rates soar at these schools
    This article profiles five schools with high teacher retention rates and interviews staff to explain the reasons why turnover is low, such as a healthy work environment and empowered teachers. The schools include a formerly struggling high school in Massachusetts that was able to turn around its students' achievement in part by having educators take the lead, and a middle school in Georgia that turned to teachers for ideas on how to better provide a 21st-century education for students. Scholastic Administrator magazine (Late Fall 2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Tech gap among teachers shows need for more training, report says
    Educators need more training -- through teacher-preparation programs and professional development -- about how best to use technology to teach in the classroom and to analyze student data, according to a report released Monday by the National Association of State Boards of Education. The report highlights the technology gap among teachers and other school officials, and offers several recommendations about how it should be narrowed. Education Week/Digital Education blog (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Policy News 
  • Learning plans aim to boost achievement in Tenn. district
    About 27,000 students in Tennessee's Metropolitan Nashville school district soon will receive individual learning plans after recent test scores showed just one-third of the students performing on grade level in math and fewer than half on grade level in reading. The district also will work to ensure educators and schools are using the best available teaching methods and practices to help students succeed after classroom observations showed that many teachers were not effectively engaging their classes. The Tennessean (Nashville) (tiered subscription model) (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

A must-have book for primary teachers just got better. In the revised edition of Reading with Meaning, Debbie Miller adds new planning and assessment tools, updated "go-to" children's book titles, and FAQs. Follow Debbie through an entire school year as she models the kind of decision-making increasingly demanded by new standards. Preview the entire book!

Guiding Readers uses a structured 18-minute small-group lesson format to support all of your students as they access more sophisticated texts, with tips for setting learning goals, practical lesson routines, and how to select appropriate texts for readers at each stage. Includes chapters on nonfiction & functional reading. Preview the entire book!

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  NBPTS Update 
  • Fellowship and recognition opportunities for NBCTs
    Check out the new Accomplished Teacher Job Board on the National Board website. Stay up to date with opportunities to get involved in your local area. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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--William James,
American psychologist and philosopher

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