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November 19, 2012
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News for the Education Profession

  Learning and Teaching 
  • Can homework help students on standardized tests?
    There is little connection between the amount of time students spend on homework and their grades, according to a recent study of 10th-grade students. However, the study by a faculty member of the Indiana University School of Education did find that completing homework could improve students' standardized test scores. "[I]f students are spending more time on homework, they're getting exposed to the types of questions and the procedures for answering questions that are not so different from standardized tests," assistant professor Adam Maltese said. The Huffington Post (11/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How to help students learn to write through practice
    Students must practice writing in short, daily exercises to develop the fluency needed to become better at writing formal, graded papers, says high-school English teacher Mary Tedrow, one of three educators who contributed to this blog post. One writing exercise Tedrow suggests is to lecture for five to nine minutes, have students write notes for that lecture and then have students read it to a class partner. Tedrow also says students will be less reluctant to write when the subjects are familiar. Education Week Teacher/Classroom Q&A blog (11/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
What Does it Mean to Comprehend What One Reads?
When students understand what they read, they are applying a constellation of skills and strategies to interpret the text based on both the features of the text and their own knowledge. In this paper we discuss the building blocks of teaching reading comprehension. Download the Free Whitepaper
  School Leadership 
  • Duncan says to expect more of the same in second term
    U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan indicated in a speech Friday that he would stay on for President Barack Obama's second term and said that educators should expect the administration's education agenda to remain largely the same. "Our basic theory of action is not going to change," Duncan said, according to written statements. "Our job, in a second term, is to support the bold and transformational reforms at the state and local level that so many of you have pursued during the last four years." The Huffington Post (11/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Calif. teachers get training in energy, the environment
    A recent professional development workshop attended by about 20 teachers in Ventura County, Calif., included lessons on energy and the environment. Educators say the workshop offered tips for engaging students in classroom lessons on topics, such as solar energy. "This would be fun to do in the classroom with what little light you would have first, and then go outside and do it again and show the difference with the amount of solar energy," said middle-school teacher Linda Thayer-Gaboury of an experiment in which sunlight was turned into electricity. Ventura County Star (Calif.) (free registration) (11/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
STAR Assessments Linked to State Tests.
STAR Enterpriseā„¢ assessments are linked to state tests and aligned to the Common Core State Standards, so educators can compare class performance. Also, educators can predict outcomes on high-stakes tests and determine where to add teaching emphasis. See STAR reports for your state.
  Technology in the Classroom 
  • Why Wikipedia could have a place in the classroom
    While some educators have rejected the use of Wikipedia in an academic setting, there are occasions when it makes sense to use the user-generated content on the site, writes Rhett Allain, an associate professor of physics at Southeastern Louisiana University. He writes in this blog post that the content on the website has become much more reliable over the years, and if the goal is for students "to process and synthesize information" it makes sense for Wikipedia to be used. Science blog (11/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Hot Topics 

Top five news stories selected by ASCD SmartBrief readers in the past week.

  • Results based on number of times each story was clicked by readers.
  Policy Watch 
  • Uncertainty surrounds new teacher evaluations in La.
    Louisiana is preparing to implement a new teacher-evaluation system this year for all teachers, in which their effectiveness will be measured in large part on students' test scores. However, even as the system moves forward, questions remain over specifics of the plan and its implications for teachers, principals and classroom creativity. Steve Monaghan of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers says the group is working on efforts to get it repealed. The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) (11/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Faculty Lounge 
  • A new frontier in school integration
    As more white students move into urban -- traditionally non-white -- neighborhoods and attend nearby public schools, the longtime goal of successful school integration looms as a possibility, according to Jennifer Burns Stillman, an author and research analyst at the Office of Innovation in the New York City Department of Education. However, she writes, the challenge is to effectively manage the different needs of families from different backgrounds and weave together "extremely different groups of people." Education Next (Winter 2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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  ASCD News 
  • Whole Child Podcast episode on fair and effective teacher evaluation
    A recent Whole Child Blog post poses the following question: "If the ultimate goal of teacher evaluation is to improve student performance, what should evaluators be looking for?" Answers are in the latest episode of the Whole Child Podcast, centered on the topic of fair and effective teacher evaluation. Download the podcast to hear from National Association for Music Education's Mike Blakeslee, McREL's Bryan Goodwin, and Superintendent and Educational Leadership contributor Cindy Weber. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • "We meet in very unique spaces that don't have traditional walls"
    In a short video clip on the ASCD website (7th from the left), educator and 2013 Annual Conference presenter Tiffany Della Vedova discusses her experience creating a blended learning environment and teaching and leading online. Find out how she engages students located more than 1,000 miles away using Google Chat, Skype, Facebook and Pinterest, and how else she makes the blended experience work.
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--William Cornelius Van Horne,
Canadian railway executive

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