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December 10, 2012
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Collaborating to advance literacy learning

  Transforming Literacy Learning 
  • Why are nearly half of N.J.'s fourth-grade boys failing reading tests?
    The gap between boys and girls in language arts scores on New Jersey state exams has widened in recent years, with nearly half of fourth-grade boys failing the reading section. Experts say reasons behind the gap probably require further analysis to pinpoint a cause. Michael Smith, a Temple University College of Education professor, attributes the differences in scores to the types of material boys tend to enjoy -- comic books, humorous novels and sports magazines, which don't prepare them for state exams. "Boys like to read texts that will have an immediate payoff in conversation with friends," Smith said. The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.) (12/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • "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
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.
  Literacy Everywhere 
  • 7th grade is seen as pivotal year for math students
    Students who struggle with math in seventh grade should be steered toward a comprehensive pre-algebra course in eighth grade before they try taking Algebra I in ninth grade, according to a recent report on math achievement in the schools by WestEd's Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. Seventh-grade math performance was noted as a strong predictor for future math success or struggle, and researchers found that sending students into Algebra I without a strong foundation can result in ongoing academic problems. EdSource (12/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Education Policy 
  • Okla. schools train teachers on literacy for common core
    Tulsa, Okla., area schools are preparing teachers to inject literacy into math, science and social studies as Common Core State Standards arrive in 2014. Owasso Public Schools hired Ken Stamatis, a literacy professor at Harding University in Arkansas, to provide a two-year literacy training program for its teachers by modeling classroom strategies via Skype and answering questions afterward. "We're really stepping out and trying to equip all our teachers with what they're going to need to address these objectives and help all our kids," said Angela Parks, elementary curriculum coordinator for the Owasso district. Tulsa World (Okla.) (12/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership and Capacity Building 
  • Duncan: Connected educators find success, challenges
    The connected educator movement may be relatively new, but it has great potential to guide the future of professional development for teachers, Education Secretary Arne Duncan writes in this blog post. He also writes about the challenges faced, including the need for online professional learning to count toward professional development and for there to be greater support for online social learning and problem solving among teachers. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (12/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why teacher collaboration is key to common core
    Teachers need more time to collaborate to implement Common Core State Standards in their classroom, Vicki Phillips of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Robert L. Hughes, president of New Visions for Public Schools, write in this commentary. They describe how two projects use educator teams to develop instructional materials. "Some say working with the collaboratives has been the best professional-development experience of their careers. Teachers tell us that they are covering fewer topics more deeply, and that their students gain a greater understanding of the content," they write. Education Week (premium article access compliments of (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Professional Learning 
  • Educators are recognized for classroom innovation
    Three schools in the U.S. were recognized for instructional innovation during the Global Forum Educator Awards. The honorees were among 21 international winners and included a middle-school teacher who had his students develop a television show to learn about Egypt, a pair of educators who invited students to teach members of the local business community about sustainability, and a school for students who are blind that uses videoconferencing technology to allow a remote math instructor to teach her students. T.H.E. Journal (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  NCLE Spotlight 
  • Unwilling to postpone
    In this post, Anne DiPardo writes, "The word 'research' tends to land with such an authoritative thud that whenever we encounter the phrase 'all the research shows ...' we immediately conjure its implicit corollary, '...and don't you even think about raising questions.' But committed teachers pursue doubts and curiosities all the time -- often big, challenging questions demanding multiple minds and means." Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Building insider knowledge: Teaching students to read, write and think within ELA and across the disciplines
    This resource describes how to support ELA and other subject-area teachers as they think about why disciplinary literacy teaching is important and how to enact it in robust ways. The authors argue that it is critical for the improvement of students' academic literacy development and overall learning that all teachers and literacy researchers attend to the teaching of disciplinary literacy in every subject area. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Alas for those that never sing, But die with all their music in them."
--Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.,
American physician, writer and poet

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