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December 3, 2012
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Collaborating to advance literacy learning

  Transforming Literacy Learning 
  • How "whole novel" lessons help readers at all levels
    Having students read an entire novel on their own before discussing it in class helps readers of all levels grasp the material and be more prepared to talk about it, educator Ariel Sacks writes in this blog post. With input from her co-teachers Daniel Brink-Washington and Marcia Stiman-Lavian, Sacks writes that the "whole novel" approach helps students with disabilities and those who read below grade level to go at their own pace. More advanced students can reread for deeper understanding or read other books by the same author, Sacks writes. Teacher Leaders Network/On the Shoulders of Giants blog (11/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Mass. elementary students build literacy skills by reading to dog
    Classroom visits by Marco, a pit-bull-mix therapy dog, inspires reading among the students at E.S. Brown School in Swansea, Mass. Students select books and then practice reading at home before reading to Marco in class, which helps them build fluency and comprehension, says teacher Marina Jackson. "There isn't as much hesitation. I even like seeing them talk to him, 'Did you like that book[?]' It's not [judgmental]," Jackson said. (New Bedford, Mass.)(tiered subscription model) (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • What can writing letters to the president teach students?
    Having students write letters to President Barack Obama, expressing their hopes and concerns ahead of his second inauguration on Jan. 21, makes them part of a longstanding U.S. tradition, educator Suzie Boss writes in this blog post. Letters to the Next President, co-sponsored by the National Writing Project and Google, offers a starting point for a presidential-themed writing project, Boss writes. She also suggests students share their letters on a classroom blog or submit them to a local newspaper. Boss's blog (11/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Literacy Everywhere 
  • Educator offers ideas for using video games in STEM lessons
    Professionals who work in science, technology, engineering and math often work in programming, so educator Shawn Cornally writes in this blog post that he incorporates games in his classroom as a segue into programming. Cornally offers lesson suggestions for two popular games, Mindcraft and Portal 2, as well as ideas for teaching students to write their own computer code. For example, Cornally writes, he has his students figure out if the actions in Portal 2 violate the laws of physics. Cornally's blog (11/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Education Policy 
  • Study: States spend about $1.7B annually on testing
    States spend about $1.7 billion each year on standardized testing -- or an average of $65 per student -- according to a recent report that analyzes data from 44 states and the District of Columbia. That amounts to about a quarter of 1% of total spending on K-12 education, according to the Washington-based Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution. Data also show the District of Columbia spends the most on standardized testing per student, at $114, while New York spends the least, at $7. Education Week (premium article access compliments of (11/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Leadership and Capacity Building 
  • What makes a good teacher team?
    Strong teams can help educators feel connected to their colleagues and build emotional resilience in a job that is getting tougher to do, transformational leadership coach Elena Aguilar writes. In this blog post, Aguilar shares five ideas about what makes a good team, such as creating a safe space for professional learning. "There are many reasons for which those of us working in schools might gather in a team but I believe that all of those reasons should contain opportunities for learning with and from each other," she writes. Aguilar's blog (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Professional Learning 
  • NBPTS tapped to develop professional exam for teachers
    The American Federation of Teachers would like the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to develop a professional exam for teachers, expected to be proposed today. Supporters say a new "bar exam" for educators -- which could be ready within five years -- would help raise the standards of the teaching profession. "State standards are all across the map," said Ron Thorpe, president and CEO of NBPTS. "It really is a crazy quilt." The Washington Post (12/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • No more excuses: Why educators should use Twitter
    Educators should be using Twitter to collaborate with fellow educators and develop their professional learning networks, writes Tom Whitby, an adjunct professor of education at St. Joseph's College in New York. "It might be the quickest and best method to acquire and maintain the relevance necessary to be an effective educator," Whitby writes in this blog post. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  NCLE Spotlight 
  • NCLE's expanding network
    In this post, Kent Williamson writes, "It's difficult to say exactly why almost 150 new NCLE teams registered on the Literacy in Learning Exchange during the NCTE Convention in mid-November. It was partially influenced, I'm sure, by the more than 600 stimulating sessions. There was a time when the words collaboration or team within the descriptions of NCTE convention sessions would primarily indicate cooperative learning and student collaboration, but a similar search of the 2012 program resulted in nearly a hundred sessions focused on teacher collaboration for the purpose of professional learning and improved literacy teaching and learning." Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • The missing link in school reform
    This article provides a persuasive and research-based argument for focusing attention and resources on establishing collaborative networks among educators. The research points toward professional networks as being vital for strengthening the educational system, and potentially even more important than the traditional focus on the individual teacher.
    Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."
--Gladys Bronwyn Stern,
British writer

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