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November 5, 2012
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Collaborating to advance literacy learning

  Transforming Literacy Learning 
  • Wis. high-schoolers take on national novel-writing challenge
    A group of students from Reedsburg Area High School in Reedsburg, Wis., are gathering for 90 minutes after each school day and on Sundays to work on novels for the National Novel Writing Month's challenge that started Thursday. English teacher, Tracy Chambas, an aspiring novelist working alongside the students, vows to continue beyond November if she and her students don't reach the event's 50,000-word goal by then. "It's a pretty courageous undertaking for these kids to write outside of school like this," Chambas said. Times-Press (11/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Laptop is an important learning tool for Neb. seniors
    Seniors, and soon juniors, at Banner County High School in Harrisburg, Neb., are being issued laptops they can take home to do class assignments and to advance their computer literacy. Students must pass a test demonstrating they can maintain and properly use the computer, which they get to keep upon graduation. Banner County Schools superintendent Lana Sides said the program prepares students for the future because most jobs require the ability to use technology. Star-Herald (Scottsbluff, Neb.) (11/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Unleash students’ creativity with coding & STEAM
We can't prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow, but we can ensure they are future-ready. In an increasingly automated world, learning code won't be enough — what students are able to DO with code will be what matters. Learn more on how to use STEAM & coding to turn students into creative problem-solvers.
  Literacy Everywhere 
  • Mass. elementary schools consider adding Spanish to kindergarten
    Next year's kindergarten students at schools in Sherborn and Dover, Mass., could be learning Spanish 20 minutes a day, four days a week, if school officials approve the plan set for debate in December. The language instruction will be added to each elementary grade, and students are expected to speak at an eighth-grade level by the time they enter middle school. Chickering Elementary School principal Theresa Nugent, chairwoman of the language committee, supports the move, saying research shows studying a second language helps young students' achievement in math and English-language arts. The Boston Globe(tiered subscription model) (11/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Education Policy 
  • English-language learners need multiple ways to learn
    English-language learners need lessons that allow them to understand the content of the curriculum and express their ideas, rather than focus on their acquisition of English, education reporter Lesli A. Maxwell writes in this blog post. She writes about a policy brief issued last week by the Alliance for Excellent Education that calls on states to rewrite their ELL standards to align their goals to Common Core State Standards. The policy brief also recommends states offer English learners multiple paths to language acquisition that allows them to be included in academic classes with their English-speaking peers. Education Week/Learning the Language blog (11/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Mass. elementary school's turnaround success draws praise, awe
    American Teachers Federation President Randi Weingarten was among officials who toured and praised the work of teachers and students of Murkland Elementary School in Lowell, Mass., for going from a Level 4 school requiring a school-improvement plan in 2010 to last year becoming a Level 1 school. When crafting their turnaround plan, teachers requested more collaboration time and chances to co-teach, plus the ability to allow students who are English-language learners and who receive special-education services to remain in general-education classrooms. Assistant principal Kevin Andriolo said the school staff use extensive data to assess the needs of each individual child, not just the classroom. The Sun (Lowell, Mass.) (11/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Ohio district becomes international model for innovation
    Educators worldwide are visiting a school district in Ohio to learn more about its innovative approach to personalized instruction, college- and career-readiness as well as science, technology, engineering and math education. Among other things, the district partners with outside organizations, includes technology in classroom lessons and helps prepare students for life after high school through career academies. The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (10/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership and Capacity Building 
  • Why teacher coaches must advocate for more time to coach
    If teacher coaches are not spending 90% of their time assisting colleagues with instruction, they might be less likely to be effective as coaches, transformational-leadership coach Elena Aguilar writes in this blog post. Aguilar advises teacher coaches to advocate for dedicated time to accomplish their coaching goals instead of spending extended time on side tasks. "There's far more evidence that you can positively impact student learning by working with teachers on their instructional practices than by putting up bulletin boards," Aguilar writes. Education Week Teacher/The Art of Coaching Teachers blog (11/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Professional Learning 
  • Understanding the appeal of the "unconference"
    The popularity of Edcamps, a type of professional development for educators, originated from social media connections, writes Tom Whitby, an adjunct professor of education at St. Joseph's College in New York. The Edcamps, he writes in this blog post, are described as "unconferences" and do not follow a set format or schedule. Participants also can move on to a different session if they are not benefiting from the one they are in. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (10/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  NCLE Spotlight 
  • Sharing studio space
    In this post, Anne DiPardo writes, "It's too bad that 'study' is often associated with dutiful plodding, as the word has such wonderful etymology. The Latin stadium, which also gave us 'studio,' suggests zestful pursuit and spirited application, that edge-of-one's seat, time-suspending sense that the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi termed flow ... Chances are you're here because you're seeking just this, bringing restless curiosity and an urgent desire to engage and support your students. Wouldn't it be nice if we could reclaim the notion of 'study' to encompass all that we'll accomplish together?" Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Long-term English learners writing their stories
    High-school teacher C. Lynn Jacobs noted that the long-term English-language learners in her class had improved in reading comprehension but still lacked writing skills. Inspired by a state humanities project, she worked with the students to publish a collection of stories and poems. Writing about their lives provided the motivation, and writing from models of published texts provided the necessary structure for students' success. She offers step-by-step suggestions for teachers interested in helping English-language learners "write better, with more confidence." Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible."
--George Orwell,
British novelist and journalist

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