NBCT: Tapping the resources of students and their families | Help gauge students' understanding with online quizzes | Minn. school may group students by ability, not grade
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March 25, 2013
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NBCT: Tapping the resources of students and their families
Teachers should tap into the "Funds of Knowledge," in which "students' and families' rich resources can be realized and tapped into to enhance learning, self-efficacy and self-identity within the school and home." In adapting a similar program for her kindergarten students and their families, National Board Certified Teacher Kathleen Bramzel writes that she asked students to share their personal interests and then engaged their families in sharing as well -- opening up her classroom to diverse backgrounds and experiences and engaging students in lessons. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (3/21)
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Poetry Mentor Texts shows you how to leverage students' natural love of poetry to strengthen reading as well as writing. Each chapter features 5 mentor poems that focus on student-friendly forms such as the list poem, acrostic poem, and poem for two voices. Student samples and mini-lessons help translate the ideas into your classroom. Click here now to preview the entire book!
 
Focus on Practice
Fla. teachers make mixed-grade classrooms work
In Sarasota County, Fla., 22 elementary schools include mixed-grade classrooms this year -- up from 14 last year -- as a way to keep class sizes smaller. For teachers, teaching two grades at once can be a mixed bag, requiring two lesson plans, more work and additional pressure. However, there are bright spots, such as when older students work to help the younger ones. One teacher, who was skeptical going into the year, said she has enjoyed teaching first- and second-grade students. Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Fla.) (3/20)
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Help gauge students' understanding with online quizzes
Online quizzes are effective ways to assess students' understanding while not overwhelming them, Michael Adams writes in this blog post. Adams, who works for the website quizpoo.com, suggests quizzing students on what happened during certain time periods, well-known quotes and town history, as well as helping students remember plot, characters and other details from literature lessons. Edudemic (3/23)
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Other News
Schools Today
L.A. teachers to cast ballots about district leadership
Ballots have been distributed to the 40,000 members of the United Teachers Los Angeles, asking whether teachers support the district's leadership and its plans for the future. Results will be revealed April 11 and could help determine whether the district's teachers double down on their opposition of district-led reforms, as well as efforts on higher pay and smaller class sizes. San Jose Mercury News (Calif.) (free registration) (3/23)
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Developing Leaders
Can self-defense training for teachers improve safety?
The heightened focus on school security following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut has led some teachers and administrators to enroll in self-defense training. In Washington state, such courses have drawn between 10 and 15 participants seeking to learn tae kwon do techniques. Krav Maga techniques are being taught to educators in Decatur, Ala., and officials in Springfield, Mass., have decided to make self-defense training mandatory -- taught by the police department -- for administrators and optional for teachers and other staff. USA Today (3/24)
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The Buzz
What are 8 keys to schoolwide math success? Small Steps, Big Changes helps you and your staff set goals, create a culture of mathematical thinking, and translate high-level standards such as Common Core into effective classroom practice. Includes examples from diverse schools across the country. Click here now for details!
 
Policy News
Fla. could give students 3 diploma options
High-school students in Florida would be able to choose from three diploma options under legislation being considered by state lawmakers. Under similar proposals being considered in the state House and Senate, students could select diplomas that would help them go directly into the workforce, go to college or prepare for postgraduate studies. Supporters, including some superintendents, say the move will better engage students in education, while critics say the plan would weaken the state's graduation requirements. The Miami Herald (free registration) (3/23)
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SmartQuote
A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it."
-- Zora Neale Hurston,
American author
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