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December 10, 2012
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News about teaching and education excellence

  Top Story 
  • NBCTs offer advice to educators who teach writing
    Two National Board Certified Teachers are among teachers who offer advice in this blog post about how teachers can improve students' writing skills. In response to a question posted on Larry Ferlazzo's blog, NBCT Renee Moore advises teachers to focus more on context rather than particular strategies and methodologies. NBCT Ray Salazar urges teachers to stop teaching the five-paragraph essay, saying it is "rudimentary, unengaging, and useless." Education Week Teacher/Classroom Q&A blog (12/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Everything you need for a balanced literacy curriculum. Apprenticeship in Literacy provides a solid foundation for guided reading, writing, letters, sounds, word study, and moving to independence. The revised edition includes dozens of new classroom examples and language prompts. Click here now to preview the entire book!
  Focus on Practice 
  • Utah teachers fight back against plagiarism
    Students in Utah are being taught about plagiarism -- what it is, how to avoid it and the consequences of doing it -- as early as third grade. However, teachers say that does not stop plagiarism from appearing in students' work, especially given the increased ease of finding other people's work online. While teachers work to combat plagiarism, columnist Peg McEntee writes that the reasons for plagiarism may include laziness, procrastination and students' fear of looking stupid. The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) (12/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teacher in Maine finds benefits in using stability balls
    Data from a fifth-grade classroom in Maine where stability balls were used instead of traditional chairs will be analyzed to determine what effect they had on students. Teacher Robin Norsworthy said her students loved using the stability balls, which sport legs to prevent rolling and are intended to improve students' handwriting, posture and core strength, among other things. Depending on the data from the 13 test classrooms, officials said they could expand the use of stability balls to additional classes. Bangor Daily News (Maine) (free registration) (12/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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.
  Schools Today 
  • Is algebra appropriate to teach in eighth grade?
    It may take time for efforts to push algebra into lower grades to yield results, author Jay Mathews writes. Mathews notes that similar questions about acceleration and achievement expectations were asked in 1991 when Maryland's Prince George's County experimented with making Algebra I required in ninth grade. It has taken two decades, but the passing grades in algebra classes in the district have risen from 56% in 1991 to 74% in 1997, with 52% of students passing the state algebra test. The Washington Post (12/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Will online testing prompt schools to focus more on technology?
    Students who took national writing exams using computers reportedly fared better than those who wrote their answers by hand -- findings that some say could lead more schools to focus on digital literacy or implement one-to-one technology initiatives. Sue Gendron, of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, says schools should respond by adopting more classroom technology to ensure all students have equal access to its benefits, both on the testing side and later in the job market. Scholastic Administrator magazine (Late Fall 2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Developing Leaders 
  • N.J., foundation team up to attract math, science teachers
    The state of New Jersey will work with the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship Foundation to help address a shortage of math and science teachers in 12 communities, including Camden, Newark, Passaic and Orange. The plan calls for high-achieving math and science students in college to be recruited as teachers in these districts. In exchange for a $30,000 stipend, the teachers will have to commit to teaching there for at least three years. The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.) (12/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy News 
  • New social studies standards approved in Neb.
    The Nebraska Board of Education unanimously adopted new standards for social studies that include global warming as a theory and the uniqueness of the structure of the U.S. government, known as American exceptionalism. The state does not test students on social studies, and local school districts have a year to adopt and implement the new standards or develop more stringent ones. Lincoln Journal Star (Neb.) (tiered subscription model) (12/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

The language you use in the classroom can change students' lives. In Opening Minds Peter Johnston (author of the groundbreaking Choice Words) shows how words can shape students' learning, their sense of self, and their social, emotional, and moral development. Preview the entire book online!

Sharing personal stories, role playing, and reenactments are sure-fire ways to engage students. This Book Is Not About Drama shows you how to recharge literacy activities by giving students opportunities to interact with themes, characters, and events in texts. Preview the entire book online!

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  Most Read by Educators 

Top five news stories selected by Accomplished Teacher® by SmartBrief readers in the past week.

  • Results based on number of times each story was clicked by readers.
  NBPTS Update 
  • Live interview with National Board President and CEO Ron Thorpe on Education Talk Radio
    On Tuesday, Dec. 11, National Board President and CEO Ron Thorpe will discuss strengthening the teaching profession on Education Talk Radio with Larry Jacobs. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Fellowship and recognition opportunities for NBCTs
    Check out the new Accomplished Teacher Job Board on the National Board website. Stay up to date with opportunities to get involved in your local area. 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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