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March 25, 2013
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Collaborating to advance literacy learning

  Transforming Literacy Learning 
 
  • Legos used as building blocks for reading, math in science lessons
    Third-grade students at a Tennessee school are using Legos as the basis for projects that integrate reading, math and vocabulary into science lessons. In one lesson, students used Lego Education sets and laptop computers to create spinning tops. "I created an article because there just isn't really an easy way to explain how a top actually spins, so it's a nonfiction text for them to read, and I added the vocabulary from science," teacher Heather Hayes said. Cleveland Daily Banner (Tenn.) (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How to help students understand complex works
    Students will be expected to read and analyze complex material -- besides nonverbal works -- under the Common Core State Standards, writes Todd Finley, an associate professor of English education. In this blog post, he offers suggestions and resources for helping students understand nonverbal works, including relationships among ideas or characters and style. Edutopia.org/Todd Finley's blog (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  Literacy Everywhere 
  • Demand grows among Calif. students for book clubs
    A growing number of students are participating in adult-style book clubs aimed at building enthusiasm for reading. The clubs are moderated by adults, who select the books and help students hone in on new words and their meanings and encourage a love of reading among students. "I look for books with a challenging vocabulary. I love getting into the etymology of the words. But it's really all about making them love books," said Nicholas Baker, who runs four book clubs for children in the San Francisco area and has waiting lists for more clubs. San Francisco Chronicle (free content) (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Can blogging help improve students' language skills?
    Students at Byker Primary School in Newcastle, England, are working to improve their English-language skills by maintaining a schoolwide blog. Writing for the blog has helped the students -- all of whom are learning English as a second language -- keep in touch with family and friends, but educators say the blog has been viewed worldwide, including by author Berlie Doherty, who read the students' reviews of her book. "The children get a real buzz from knowing their work is being seen around the world and they are always thrilled when they get a comment on their work," said deputy head teacher John Newton. The Chronicle (Newcastle, England) (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Education Policy 
  • Minn. students prepare for reading tests aligned with common core
    Students in Minnesota are gearing up for what educators say will be a more rigorous state reading tests under the Common Core State Standards. Seventh- and eighth-grade students participating in Holly Bowen-Bailey's reading intervention class recently worked on poetry before advancing to more rigorous material, including nonfiction, which is included on the revised Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment for reading. Duluth News Tribune (Minn.) (3/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Fla. teachers make mixed-grade classrooms work
    In Sarasota County, Fla., 22 elementary schools include mixed-grade classrooms this year -- up from 14 last year -- as a way to keep class sizes smaller. For teachers, teaching two grades at once can be a mixed bag, requiring two lesson plans, more work and additional pressure. However, there are bright spots, such as when older students work to help the younger ones. One teacher, who was skeptical going into the year, said she has enjoyed teaching first- and second-grade students. Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Fla.) (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership and Capacity Building 
  • How educators can get connected -- starting now
    The importance of becoming "connected educators" was highlighted at the recent ASCD annual conference in Chicago. Now, Elana Leoni, a social media marketing manager, offers educators this blog post of 10 tips for becoming connected educators. Among her suggestions are to embrace making mistakes, just get started and understand there is no right way to get connected. She also recommends following like-minded people, being open to learning and joining a virtual live event. Edutopia.org/Elana Leoni's blog/text and video (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 
  Professional Learning 
  • Teacher from France visits Va. classroom as part of partnership
    Nicolas Houpert's math students in France, and Heidi Trude's French classes at Skyline High School in Front Royal, Va., have had a partnership since last year when they began communicating via Skype. The partnership grew this year to include Facebook communication, letters and, finally, a weeklong visit from Houpert to the U.S., while Trude will visit France next year. Through the communication, students in France were able to develop their English skills -- a requirement for them -- and students in the U.S. worked on their French. Northern Virginia Daily (Strasburg, Va.) (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  NCLE Spotlight 
  • Tackling literacy together: Are we ready?
    Literacy is not just the English teacher's job anymore. In this post, Catherine Nelson writes, "NCLE's mission is to support schools in working together to meet rising literacy expectations." Last fall, NCLE completed a national survey representing educators, in part, to look at how various kinds of educators see their role in supporting literacy learning. The findings from this survey will be released on April 3. Stay tuned! LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Fisher and Frey on academic vocabulary
    In "Word Learning is a Journey," Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey recognize the powerful role that teachers have to play in helping students develop their knowledge of academic vocabulary. They offer specific recommendations for selecting words worthy of instruction, including considerations such as, "Will the word be used in writing tasks?" and "Will the word be used in other content or subject areas?" Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  SmartQuote 
A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it."
--Zora Neale Hurston,
American author


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