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December 6, 2012
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Collaborating to advance literacy learning

  Transforming Literacy Learning 
  • Latino heroes found lacking in children's books
    Little more than 3% of the children's books published in 2011 feature a Latino character or were written by a Hispanic author, according to the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While there is little data connecting cultural relevance to student achievement, advocates express concern about the lack of Latino protagonists in the books. "Kids do have a different kind of connection when they see a character that looks like them or they experience a plot or a theme that relates to something they've experienced in their lives," said Jane Fleming, an assistant professor at the Erikson Institute, a Chicago-based graduate school in early-childhood development. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 3 elements writing teachers need in their classrooms
    There are three concepts needed for an effective writing teacher: time, space and choice, asserts educator and author Barry Lane. In this blog post, Lane responds to a question about how to help students become better writers, suggesting that teachers should clear time in the day for students to write, create a physical space in the classroom for writing and give students the freedom to choose what they write about. "A writer who has space to express their own ideas and a teacher who listens is a big step along that path," Lane writes. Education Week Teacher/Classroom Q&A blog (12/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Has the Internet harmed students' research skills?
    The Internet provides students with access to a wide range of information, but a new survey of teachers finds that many educators believe such technology has shortened students' attention spans and weakened students' research skills. At issue, according to some teachers surveyed by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, is that students could have difficulty determining which sources found by a Google search are credible, or become overwhelmed or discouraged from seeking additional resources. EdTech magazine (12/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Literacy Everywhere 
  • Educator: Why computer literacy should begin in grade school
    Schools don't spend enough time teaching students the basic functions of a computer, such as file management, but expect students to complete assignments on a computer, educator Sheena Vaidyanathan writes in this blog post. Vaidyanathan argues that basic computer science lessons -- such as how to save a file so that it doesn't get lost on the computer -- should begin in grade school. "In today’s world, one may argue that this is more important than learning about rock formations," writes Vaidyanathan, who teaches 3D design and computer programming in California. blog (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Digital citizenship goes beyond technical knowledge
    The stereotype that the current generation is made up of digital natives is dangerous, writes technology teacher Mary Beth Hertz. Instead, she suggests referring to them as "digital citizens" because of the prevalence of digital technology in their lives. However, Hertz writes, just because students know how to use a tablet computer does not mean they understand aspects of that citizenship, such as intellectual property rights and digital etiquette. Beth Hertz's blog (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Education Policy 
  • Analysis: Not all districts would feel "fiscal cliff" the same
    The automatic spending cuts set to hit Jan. 2, unless a deficit-reduction deal is reached by federal lawmakers, will affect states and school districts differently, according to an analysis by the American Association of School Administrators. Federal funding accounts for anywhere between 10% to more than 15% of school budgets, depending on the state and district, according to the report, which uses data from the 2010-11 school year. Education Week/Politics K-12 blog (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership and Capacity Building 
  • Facilitation tools for teacher teams
    Transformational leadership coach Elena Aguilar offers three steps that she and coaches she works with use to facilitate and guide teams of teachers and administrators. For example, Aguilar writes, facilitators need to structure meetings to counter any power dynamics that would make someone less likely to participate. "We want to ensure that all voices will be heard and will have equal access to decision-making and input," Aguilar writes. Aguilar's blog (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Professional Learning 
  • Teachers need differentiation in professional development
    The one-size-fits-all model of professional development available to most teachers does not work, veteran teacher Katrina Stevens writes in this blog post. Stevens suggests a learning community model with daily, ongoing PD focused on student learning. "In order to successfully implement new practices and improve student learning, a learning community needs to 1) focus its efforts, 2) work collaboratively, 3) be willing to reflect and examine what's working and 4) be willing to make adjustments when they aren't seeing the desired outcomes for students," she writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  NCLE Spotlight 
  • Exposure to exemplary teaching
    In this post, Tom McCann writes, "[In a previous blog], I noted the importance of the partnership between universities' teacher preparation programs, and I emphasized the huge influence that mentor teachers (or 'cooperating teachers') can have on beginning teachers. The mentor teacher is certainly a facilitator and a coach. Under the best conditions, the mentor or cooperating teacher provides the classroom where the novice teacher can attempt to execute lessons crafted under the guidance of the mentor teacher." Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • What is meant by 21st century literacies?
    Watch a video clip used in NCTE's Pathways illustrating 21st Century learners and download the January 2010 issue of School Talk titled "21st Century Literacies: Young Children Reading and Writing in a Digital World." An issue focused on digital literacy in early childhood classrooms. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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To change one's life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions."
--William James,
American psychologist and philosopher

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