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November 14, 2011
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News for the Education Profession

  Learning and Teaching 
  • New D.C. curriculum focuses on play to improve learning
    A pilot curriculum that uses intense and structured play to improve students' "executive function" is being used with preschool, pre-K and kindergarten students at 28 Washington, D.C., schools this year. The Tools of the Mind curriculum is based on the work of the late Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, who believed that play was essential to learning. Among other things, the new curriculum -- which targets disadvantaged students -- also is meant to improve students' classroom behavior, reduce gender stereotypes and raise academic achievement. The Washington Post (11/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why science, math teachers should collaborate on lessons
    Because "science is the application of math," one should not be taught without the other, suggests education consultant Ben Johnson. In this blog post, he asserts math lessons also will be more effective if students have a real-world application to tie them to, such as a science experiment. Johnson suggests science and math teachers collaborate to more effectively integrate the teaching of the two subjects. Johnson's blog (11/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Improved learning goals. Higher student achievement.
Goal specificity begins with making a distinction between your desired learning outcomes and the assignments and activities that best support them. Hear Dr. Robert J. Marzano walk you through the process in this complimentary webinar.
  School Leadership 
  • Report finds gap between minority students, teachers
    Just 17% of the country's teachers are minorities, compared with 40% of public-school students, according to a report by the Center for American Progress. "This is a problem for students, schools, and the public at large. Teachers of color serve as role models for students, giving them a clear and concrete sense of what diversity in education -- and in our society -- looks like," the report states. The report links the gap to low graduation rates among minority students and the increasingly high cost of obtaining a college education. The Huffington Post (11/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Hear Richard DuFour, Robert Eaker, and Rebecca DuFour as they address the most important aspects of school culture that must change as you create your PLC. Learn how to change assessment and grading practices, confront resisters to change, and more.
  Technology in the Classroom 
  • A day in the life of a flipped classroom
    In this article, teachers explain their process for using a "flipped" instructional model, where online media is used to access classroom lectures at home and hands-on learning and small-group work is the focus in the classroom. The model is becoming more common in schools, as educators create instructional videos and find ways to ensure that students who may not have access to the Internet at home have the time and access to complete the online assignments. Harvard Education Letter (November/December 2011) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Online game engages students in study of Latin
    Latin teacher Kevin Ballestrini uses an online virtual-reality game to teach the dead language to his students at Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut. Students play the role of Romans in ancient Pompeii or Rome and work in teams to direct their characters -- in Latin -- to solve mysteries that help them win the game. Students say they look forward to playing the game, which is now being used in 30 classrooms across the country. "I took Spanish for four years and I don't think I've learned as much as I have in that class ... in just two months," said student Caroline Scheck. blog (11/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Hot Topics 

Top five news stories selected by ASCD SmartBrief readers in the past week.

  • Results based on number of times each story was clicked by readers.
Provocative and bold, Tom Vander Ark looks at the innovation-driven world in Getting Smart and makes a case for blended learning to meet 21st Century goals. Read more, and save 25% with free shipping.
  Policy Watch 
  • Court supports schools' efforts to avoid conflict over national flags
    A U.S. district judge in San Francisco, sided with a school principal in a case over students' rights to wear to school on the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo shirts bearing the American flag. The judge agreed the principal could have "reasonably forecast that (the shirts) could cause a substantial disruption," and ruled that officials did not violate the students' rights to free speech by asking them to either turn the shirts inside out or return home for the day. San Francisco Chronicle (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • N.J. to introduce report cards for schools
    School officials in New Jersey this week are set to unveil new statewide school report cards as part of the state's bid for a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements. The proposed School Performance Reports will rate schools, both statewide and against their socio-economic peers, on such factors as overall achievement growth, disparities in achievement among groups and graduation rates. (New Jersey) (11/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Families struggle with students' homeless-shelter placements
    Students living in homeless shelters in New York City oftentimes are not placed in shelters near the schools where they are enrolled, leaving parents to choose between long commutes or having their children change schools during an already unstable time. Studies show moving students to closer schools may lead to higher rates of absenteeism, but the difficult commutes also can lead to increased tardies and absences that interfere with the students' education. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (11/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

"A must-have book for teachers who want to see more growth in their students' writing."Cris Tovani. A Closer Look offers quick, easy-to-use formative assessment strategies and tools to enrich your K-6 writing instruction. Includes online videos, teacher-to-teacher spotlights, and student work samples throughout. Preview the entire book!
  Faculty Lounge 
  • Poor diet in high school raises later risk of diabetes
    High school students who followed a Western-style diet high in desserts, processed meats and refined grains had a 29% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later years, partly due to weight gain, according to a study in Diabetes Care. Researchers said the findings underscore the importance of adopting healthy dietary habits in adolescence to prevent the onset of diabetes in adulthood. News (11/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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  ASCD News 
  • Don't miss tomorrow's common core webinar episode
    This Tuesday at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard time, our free common core webinar series returns with a special presentation by ASCD Public Policy Director David Griffith and ASCD Common Core State Standards lead strategist Efrain Mercado. Tune in for an in-depth exploration of how Common Core State Standards' adoption has affected education policy and find out how you can overcome common hurdles in the standards implementation process. Finally, don't forget to mark Tuesday, Nov. 22 on your calendar; Molly McCloskey, managing director of Whole Child Programs, will explain the connection between a whole child approach to education and common standards. Register today. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Data literacy: A road map for teacher learning
    Build the skills that will help you harness data use for instructional improvement this school year. ASCD presenter and teacher leader Jennifer Morrison will be leading a two-day professional development institute on data literacy on Jan. 26 and 27 in Charlotte, N.C. In this hands-on workshop, you'll learn about the connections between summative and formative assessment, find out how you can use standardized assessments formatively, practice classroom data analysis and more. Register.

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Imagination is more important than knowledge."
--Albert Einstein,
German-born physicist

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