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October 25, 2012
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News for the Education Profession

ASCD Special Report:
Students who challenge us (Part II)
ASCD SmartBrief continues its look at students who challenge us in Part II of this two-part, in-depth special report. In today's segment, we focus on teaching strategies to help teachers reach students who are struggling with far more than learning the three R's. We also look at technology and teaching tools that can help teachers reach students who are wired differently.

In case you missed it, Part I of this report, which was published Tuesday, examined the difficulties faced by students who have learning and behavior challenges. We looked at the reasons behind disruptive student behaviors along with considering ways to engage students who may have neurological differences. Teachers are encouraged to focus on the positives of even the most challenging students. The report also offered ideas for addressing student needs in the classroom, along with a list of ASCD resources.

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  Teaching strategies  
  • How to use "full-contact teaching" to reach students' minds
    Education consultant Ben Johnson compares teaching to football, writing in this blog post that "we have to make contact" with students' minds. To do this, Johnson cites examples of full-contact teaching in observations of an energetic history teacher who showed students the significance of past events and a physics teacher who took an active lesson on time and motion into the hallway. "Full-contact teaching also involves targeting individual students that need help, finding out what their challenges are, getting to know them, and offering invitations and opportunities to succeed," Johnson writes. Johnson's blog (10/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Co-teaching helps educators meet students' needs
    Co-teaching works when teachers share classroom responsibilities, have a similar work ethic and complementary skill sets, experts say. Susan Fitzell, a former special-education teacher who began co-teaching in 1993 at Londonderry Senior High School in New Hampshire and is now an education consultant, says co-teaching allows educators to work in small groups and meet the needs of students, including children with disabilities. U.S. News & World Report/High School Notes blog (9/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Finding the intrinsic motivation of students
    Reaching students who seem unreachable boils down to intrinsic motivation, writes veteran educator Larry Ferlazzo. The motivation of students can differ from that of teachers, so it is the teacher's challenge, he writes, to discover the interests and goals of students and to develop trusting relationships. He offers tips, broken into three parts: what skilled teachers think, what they say, and what they do. Educational Leadership (10/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Program focuses on preparing teachers of military students
    First lady Michelle Obama and the vice president's wife, Jill Biden, introduced an initiative this month to help teachers better address the needs of students from military families. The initiative, "Operation: Educate the Educator," will seek to help teachers address the emotional, social and learning challenges that military children face. Already, 100 colleges that offer teaching degrees have signed on to the program. The Huffington Post/The Associated Press (10/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Assistance from technology 
  • Student engagement gets physical, goes high-tech
    A middle school in Pennsylvania is among six schools nationwide pioneering an instructional method known as "embodied learning," which seeks to engage students by blending their body movements with technology. The Situated Multimedia Arts Learning Lab -- which focuses on instruction in core subjects -- includes motion-capture cameras that record students' body movements. While some say the instructional method has promise, questions remain over whether the benefits outweigh the cost. Education Week (premium article access compliments of (10/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Students excel in blended-learning environment
    Students attending Carpe Diem Collegiate High School and Middle School in Yuma, Ariz., attend class in a blended-learning environment in which they spend half of their time sitting in office-like cubicles, receiving instruction online in their core subject areas. The rest of the time, they are working in small groups in workshops led by subject-specific teachers. Students, who attend school four days a week, have performed better on the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards exam since 2005, when the school switched to a blended model. The Hechinger Report (9/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Devices may help better diagnose, understand autism
    Two tools in development at Georgia Tech's Center for Behavior Imaging are aimed at helping people better diagnose and understand autism. One tool includes glasses and facial-analysis software that help track eye contact, something children with the disorder often avoid. The other device -- developed in collaboration with researchers in Atlanta and the U.K. -- uses accelerometers to determine whether certain movements are aggressive or disruptive. Education Week/On Special Education blog (9/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  Making connections with students 
  • Connecting with students requires "100 repetitions"
    Working with challenging students -- from drug-addicted students to traumatized children in elementary school -- has shown a need for patience, writes educational consultant and coach Jeffrey Benson. "Our role as educators is to align with the healthy potential in each student and hang in while they gradually find shelter in our expectations and caring, in our structures and hopes. It's not a straight line. It may take 100 repetitions," he writes. Educational Leadership (10/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Getting to know students through questions
    Teachers -- and parents -- can use surveys to get to know their students better at the beginning of the school year, leadership coach Elena Aguilar writes in this blog post. Aguilar recalls how a recent questionnaire her son brought home from his third-grade teacher became more meaningful as she learned more about her son while completing the survey. She writes that some of the questions she posed to her students as a middle-school teacher included asking them about their past teachers and classes. Aguilar's blog (9/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why teachers should understand how they learn
    Teachers can improve their own instruction by taking time to consider their own learning preferences, educator Rhonda Bondie writes in this blog post. She notes that she includes four actions in her weekly lesson plans that work toward that goal, including understanding one's own learning styles and recognizing perceptions of students. "Taking time to value and notice our own learning creates an empathetic relationship with students and deepens our understanding of the complexity of teaching," she writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (10/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  ASCD Resources 

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