August 16, 2012
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  • Special Report:
    Back to School 2012

    It's that time! The excitement. The butterflies. The anticipation of a new school year. Summer winds down and we return to our classrooms and the familiar faces and new faces, too.

    Students across the country are returning to changed schools this year. In this Special Report from Accomplished Teacher by SmartBrief, we present an interview with Andrea Hajek, a director of educator engagement for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She explains why educators should teach like Olympians.

    We also aim to help you get ready to return to school by looking at how the Common Core State Standards are changing the classroom and the challenges and opportunities the changes present.

    We also consider the budget constraints of our economy and examine ways to make better use of our resources. One way we want to use our budgets is to improve technology in schools. After all, there are few technology items more popular these days than iPads and eReaders.

    We also offer some valuable resources from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

    If you don't receive Accomplished Teacher by SmartBrief daily, we urge you to sign up for our timely e-newsletter. Accomplished Teacher by SmartBrief delivers the stories making news in your profession directly to your inbox -- for free.
  Top Story 
  • NBCT: A lesson in teaching from the Olympic Games
    Andrea Hajek, a director of educator engagement for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, suggests in this interview that educators should teach like Olympians. That includes being purposeful, knowledgeable and persistent, Hajek says. She also points out the benefits of teachers and principals being National Board Certified, saying that "every child deserves a highly accomplished teacher," and teachers deserve to have highly accomplished school leaders. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (8/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Best Ever Literacy Survival Tips: 72 Lessons You Can’t Teach Without, by Lori D. Oczkus, provides 72 achievement-boosting lessons and practical advice on today’s hottest literacy topics. Every chapter of this must-have guide includes expert advice and quick tips from veteran teachers and literacy leaders. Preview Chapter!
  Common Core State Standards 
  • How will the common core change teaching, learning?
    Robert Rothman, a senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education, lists nine ways in which the Common Core State Standards will change instruction in math and English. Among the changes, Rothman writes, are a greater focus on fewer topics, greater coherence among grades, a focus on developing mathematical skills and applying them with fluency and the inclusion of more nonfiction texts in English. Harvard Education Letter (July/August 2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Common core requires students to back up their answers
    Students will be asked to explain why their answers are correct under the Common Core State Standards. The standards, which will alter instruction in English/language arts and math, go into effect this year for students in kindergarten and first and second grades. "Instead of just answering 'Yes' or 'No,' it's 'Why?' " said Katie Manifold, a fifth-grade teacher in Florida. "Find it, justify it. I told my students last year: 'I'm not doubting the answer, but prove it. Be able to back it up with the resources.' " Florida Today (Melbourne) (tiered subscription model) (8/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teachers spend summer preparing for the common core: Many teachers worked over the summer to prepare their classrooms for the Common Core State Standards, which will be implemented this year. Teachers attended training sessions over the summer, and some in Tennessee say the greatest change will be teaching students to explain their answers. "It's going to be a challenge to get the students to explain how they reached their answers," said fifth-grade teacher Kim Wehner. "But we'll learn it together. We'll make a game." The Jackson Sun (Tenn.) (8/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Duncan speaks on how schools are changing this year
    As teachers and students prepare for the start of another school year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan discusses what changes they can expect and reviews reforms that have taken place over the past three years. Early grades last year began implementing the Common Core State Standards, which establish uniform benchmarks for math and reading, and the standards will spread this year. Duncan also provides an update on changes taking place under waivers from No Child Left Behind, and he discusses the expansion of charter schools and the need for greater parental involvement in schools. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (8/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Guided Comprehension for English Learners by Maureen McLaughlin focuses on numerous new ideas for teaching English learners using the Guided Comprehension Model. There are 12 new theme-based lessons, think-alouds, planning forms and reproducibles, connections to the Common Core State Standards, and much more! Preview Chapter!
  Managing Budgets & Policy 
  • How should school districts deal with a budget deficit?
    A report released this month by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found that nearly 70% of more than 1,000 people surveyed prefer to save money during a budget deficit by cutting the number of district administrators. Of the respondents, 74% said they would rather cut teachers' pay than cut teachers' jobs, and an equal number said teacher effectiveness is more important than years of service when deciding which teachers to lay off. In general, respondents appeared to favor budget decisions that would have the least visible effect on the classroom. Education Week/State EdWatch blog (8/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Making the most of shared technology resources
    More and more schools are investing in one-to-one technology solutions, writes K-6 computer teacher Mary Beth Hertz, but not all schools can afford them. If you're a teacher trying to integrate technology while sharing a single school-computer lab or laptop cart, Hertz in this blog post offers six ideas for making the most of your time and resources. Beth Hertz's blog (8/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Cost of classroom supplies is going up
    The cost of back-to-school supplies is expected to increase this year -- for teachers as well as parents. Families nationwide are expected to spend about $30.3 billion on K-12 back-to-school supplies -- an average of $688 per family, up from $603 the year before. Teachers also say that funds for their own supplies have been diminished, and they are having to rely more on parents or use their own money for classroom supplies. The Times (Shreveport, La.) (8/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
I Can Write Like That! A Guide to Mentor Texts and Craft Studies for Writers' Workshop, K—6 will help you match books to writers' workshop minilessons. Susan Ehmann and Kellyann Gayer bring you a resource built out of their love of great children's books, their vast experience in the classroom, and their passion for teaching young writers. Preview chapter!
  Technology Trends & Research 
  • Virtual club could have magic touch to get students reading
    J.K. Rowling announced the launch of an online book club for young fans of the "Harry Potter" book series. The site, Harry Potter Reading Club, also is intended as a tool to help teachers and parents encourage children to read. "The Harry Potter Reading Club is a direct response to that feedback and provides an entry point through which the thrill of these books can be shared with new generations of Harry Potter fans both within and beyond the classroom," said Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic Trade. The Christian Science Monitor/Chapter & Verse blog (8/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • ITunes U allows teachers to upload content
    Apple updated its iTunes U application, which will allow K-12 teachers to create private courses for their students. The program allows teachers to create 12 courses -- bypassing the previous verification process required by iTunes U. The program is intended to be used by educators who use the iPad in the classroom such as iBooks and textbooks. All Things D (7/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Frequent reading is the path to good writing
    Students who spend a lot of time texting demonstrate poor grammar, not because texting carries over into other forms of writing, but because the more time they spend texting, the less time they spend reading, writes former high school English teacher Walt Gardner. Reading -- constantly absorbing, over time, the rhythm of words and the progression of ideas -- is the best way to learn to write well, he notes. Education Week/Walt Gardner's Reality Check blog (8/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  NBPTS Resources 

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