Tips for teaching when every minute counts | Legos used as building blocks for reading, math in science lessons | How teachers can integrate spring into classroom lessons
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March 26, 2013
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Tips for teaching when every minute counts
Teachers can fall into several time-wasting traps, including writing on the board for students to copy, passing out or collecting papers and ineffectively transitioning from one activity to another, writes Texas high-school principal and consultant Ben Johnson. In this blog post, Johnson offers ways that teachers can beat the clock, such as the "jigsaw method," in which the teacher has students collaborate to maximize their time, as well as using rubrics and previewing academic vocabulary and pre-assessing for students' understanding. Johnson's blog (3/25)
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Want more for your students than just academic achievement? Caring Hearts & Critical Minds takes you step-by-step through creating rigorous lessons about topics kids care about—from media and the environment to personal happiness and global poverty. Includes 5 complete classroom-tested units of study. Click here now to preview the entire book!
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Ability grouping is becoming more common in middle schools
A middle school in Maine has adopted "differentiated" or "ability grouping" -- an educational model that The Brookings Institution found could become a trend for middle schools nationwide. Typically, middle schools offer a "heterogeneous" approach, in which all students are taught at the same pace. The ability-grouping model allows students to be separated based on their skills and taught at a pace that meets their individual needs. SeacoastOnline (Portsmouth, N.H.) (tiered subscription model) (3/24)
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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)
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"A Great Way to Start Each Day." (Teacher, Dublin, VA)
The Morning Meeting Book has helped thousands of teachers launch school days in which children can do their best learning. You'll find clear explanations of each Morning Meeting component and its purpose and step-by-step guidelines for implementation, along with sample greetings, activities, and message charts. K-8. Read sample chapters and order.
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Governor announces takeover of struggling N.J. district
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Monday that the state would take over the city of Camden's school system, which is among the lowest-performing districts in New Jersey. The state, which also has taken over schools in Jersey City, Paterson and Newark, will closely monitor progress and offer guidance on finances. Among the reasons cited for the takeover were poor student performance, lack of a districtwide curriculum and lack of central leadership. CNN (3/25)
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Are your students bored? Beat Boredom gives you proven, out-of-the-box strategies and activities for engaging high school students in any class. You'll see how to generate active engagement and move way beyond traditional passive memorization of information. Informed by a survey of 800+ high school graduates. Preview the entire book!
Developing Leaders
Technology-training course aims to help Del. teachers
Teachers at St. Elizabeth High School in Wilmington, Del., recently took the place of students as they were taught how to use iPads in the classroom by Patrick Larkin, one of three recipients of the national 2012 Digital Principal Award. Larkin discussed applications and classroom uses for Twitter. "I know that obviously you're preparing your students well for what they want to face or are going to down the road," Larkin said. "But I think we need to ask ourselves, can we prepare them for everything if we don't start to do some of this?" The News Journal (Wilmington, Del.) (tiered subscription model) (3/23)
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Policy News
Seattle testing boycott brings some policy changes
Seattle officials have agreed to alter some requirements for standardized tests that teachers in the district have been boycotting. While a task force continues to study the issue, officials have agreed not to require ninth-grade students who pass the state reading exam to take the Measures of Academic Progress reading exam. It also is being recommended that high schools use the MAP algebra exam for students taking algebra, rather than the general math exam. The Seattle Times (3/22)
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The Buzz
Balanced Literacy Essentials shows you how to navigate your way through the language and literacy block with 10 essential practices. This comprehensive guide includes literacy workshops, shared reading, constructive talk, read-alouds, writing, storytelling, and more. Preview the entire book online!
Download a free collection of chapters on teaching poetry from 14 Stenhouse books spanning K-12—a 266-page PDF to celebrate National Poetry Month. Available through April. Click here to get your copy!
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It is often laziness and timidity that keep us within our duty while virtue gets all the credit."
-- François de la Rochefoucauld,
French writer
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