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December 11, 2012
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News about teaching and education excellence

  Top Story 
  • Should the U.S. halt standardized tests for 3 years?
    The U.S. should enact a three-year moratorium on standardized tests, said Joshua Starr, superintendent of Montgomery County, Md., schools. Starr, speaking during a newspaper panel on Monday, also said the country is trying to implement too many education reforms at once, including the Common Core State Standards, Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind waivers, Valerie Strauss writes in this blog post. Starr also said that evaluating teachers based on student test scores should be stopped, calling the practice "bad science," she writes. The Washington Post/The Answer Sheet blog (12/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Math Tools in Action is an exciting new DVD series that shows teachers in grades 1-5 how to use anchor charts, journals, and manipulatives to deepen and improve math instruction. Each DVD chronicles a complete lesson in a real classroom, with expert commentary and teaching tips before and during the lesson. Click here to view clips and download the viewing guides!
  Focus on Practice 
  • 3 reasons graphing calculators are here to stay
    Graphing calculators remain prominent in math classrooms, writes Anuli Akanegbu. In this article, she offers three reasons why that is unlikely to change. Among them are that graphing calculators -- unlike mobile devices -- are required for some standardized tests and are less distracting. It also is easier for educators to teach when all students are using the same device, she writes. EdTech magazine (12/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why parents should view letter grades as classroom feedback
    What grades middle-schoolers earn on their report cards is less important than whether they have mastered key skills, concepts and work behaviors, sixth-grade teacher Bill Ferriter writes in this blog post. Ferriter suggests parents set an expectation that lower grades will mean their child will have extra, nongraded work to do at home to learn the material. "Instead of being angry about a score that doesn't meet your expectations, use that score as a starting point for conversations with your child," Ferriter writes. Teacher Leaders Network/Tempered Radical blog (12/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Closing Circles End the Day in a Positive Way
Gathering children before dismissal brings the day to a peaceful end and helps students and teachers leave school feeling encouraged and competent. Choose from fifty easy-to-do 5- to 10-minute activities; use them as written or make them your own by adapting them to your students' mood or developmental needs. K-6. View samples and order.
  Schools Today 
  • Deal drops value-added data from L.A. teachers' evaluations
    A tentative agreement between the Los Angeles Unified School District and its teachers' union bucks a national trend by not including value-added data in teachers' evaluations. Teacher evaluations in Florida, Illinois, New York, Texas, Washington, D.C., and other states are using the value-added model, known as Academic Growth Over Time. The proposal, which uses a combination of individual and school data to evaluate teachers, is scheduled for a vote by teachers in January. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (12/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why teachers need to listen to students
    Students should be taught to break away from the opinions of their teachers and parents, and develop their own thoughts, elementary-school principal Peter DeWitt writes in this blog post. He notes that students need to be heard, not just spoken to by teachers. "We need to encourage students to create their own opinions so they do not always feel as though they are on the outside looking in," he writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (12/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Hands-on science in a digital world
Science education is no longer confined to the pages of a textbook. Students are interacting with science concepts through physical objects and digital platforms, and using this knowledge to solve real-world issues. Get insights for making this work in your classroom in this SmartFocus on Hands-on Science.
  Developing Leaders 
  Policy News 
  • N.Y. behind in court-mandated payments to schools
    Low-income schools in New York continue to struggle six years after a court ruling that required the state to increase school funding. Today, the state is about $5 billion behind in education funding, and some poor schools say they are struggling to provide enough staff and support, according to a report by researchers affiliated with Teachers College at Columbia University. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (12/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Don't forget! Crystal Springs Books is offering FREE SHIPPING on orders of $35 or more - from now through December 31st, 2012. This is your opportunity to find the perfect gifts for the educators on your holiday shopping list. Use promotion code FREE1212 when placing your order. Questions? We're always glad to help. Call 1-800-321-0401.

Experience a primary classroom where literacy learning goes hand-in-hand with amazing thinking about social issues, inquiry, and working together toward common goals. Many Texts, Many Voices shows you how to incorporate multiliteracies—digital, visual, and critical—with sample lessons, text sets, rubrics, and more. Preview the entire book!

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  NBPTS Update 
  • Technology in the classroom
    National Board Certified Teacher Julie Garcia is transforming the classroom experience through technology and teaching students to become producers and creators of their own education. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Raising the bar in the teaching profession
    The National Board is to develop a set of standards for beginning teachers to be assessed in content knowledge, teaching skills and dispositions and aptitude for teaching, ensuring great teachers are entering the profession prepared for the classroom. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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--Baltasar Gracián,
Spanish writer

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