August 23, 2012
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Collaborating to advance literacy learning

NCLE Special Report:
Back to School 2012
Teachers, parents and students across the country are gearing up for the new school year -- shopping for school supplies, filling pencil boxes and backpacks, finding the perfect outfit for the first day. In this way, this year will be like years past. But this year also promises changes for students and staff.

In this NCLE SmartBrief Back-to-School Special Report, we feature an interview with Ernest Morrell, director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College Columbia University, who discusses the current state of literacy education and teaching during a period of "transition" in education. When teachers work together to support one another, the status and morale of the profession will be elevated, he says.

We also examine the importance of collaboration and connections made among teachers. Now more than ever, it is important to be a teacher leader, making a difference in your classroom, your school and the larger community.

This year brings the implementation of Common Core State Standards and the use of technology as never before in the classroom. The report looks at media literacy, which has a vast meaning beyond laptops and iPads. It's about blogging, mobile apps, flipped classrooms and so much more.

You also will find a list of more than a dozen handy resources in this NCLE SmartBrief Special Report.

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  Top Story 
  • Adapting is key to literacy education during transition
    Literacy education, like much in education these days, is in a state of transition, says Ernest Morrell, director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education. In this interview, Morrell says this transition means teachers must adapt to the times and technology that are part of more classrooms, work with fellow teachers to support one another, and improve the status and morale of the profession in the process. Students must be taught to use the Internet systematically and ethically as part of their scholastic work, he says. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (8/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 Fast help for struggling readers
In as little as 12 weeks Access Code™ can help you reach your striving readers whose fluency and comprehension is hurt because they can't break words up into syllables. Contact us at 888-701-3009 to learn more.

  Collaboration in the Classroom 
  • A new year brings a fresh start
    The wonderful thing about teaching is that every year you get to start over with a new group of children and a new chance to turn them into students, writes high-school teacher Glen Lineberry. Teachers can do that, he writes, by practicing the three R's for educators -- relationship, relevance and rigor. In this blog post, Lineberry provides six questions to help educators reflect on the kind of relationship they're forging with students this year. The Huffington Post/The Blog (7/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Collaboration is key to connected learning communities
    Learning communities that are truly "connected" require that school leaders model transparency and collaboration, according to Joe Mazza, an elementary school principal. In this blog post, Mazza encourages school leaders to let go of fears about social media, use technology tools to complement face-to-face interaction and to seek out "connected educator" mentors. "Kids win when educators around the world are collaborating on how to best meet their needs and the needs of their families," he writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (8/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Arizona teachers shift to collaborative model
    Teachers in Yuma, Ariz., are implementing new initiatives designed to provide every student with skills for college or career. The Ready Now Yuma initiatives include a more rigorous curriculum and increased professional development, but some say the most profound change involves a cultural shift from "my" students to "our" students, with an emphasis on collaboration and co-teaching. The Yuma Daily Sun (Ariz.) (7/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Classroom teachers discuss the importance of being leaders
    Seven classroom teachers reflect on the paths to becoming a teacher leader and share their own leadership experiences in this online round-table discussion. Boston teacher Lillie Marshall explains why teacher leaders also must lead in areas other than education, while Arkansas teacher Justin Minkel talks about collaboration and professional development. Several teachers mention the importance of advocating for their own profession. "If we don't make teaching public and speak out on our behalf, someone else will," writes first-grade teacher Jane Fung. Education Week Teacher/Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable (7/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
 Affordable help for struggling readers
For just a few dollars per student Access Code™ can help you reach your striving readers whose fluency and comprehension suffers because they can't distinguish between vowels. Contact us at 888-701-3009 to learn more.

  Literacy & Learning 
  • Common core requires cross-curricular literacy
    California students and teachers begin the new school year with a new set of academic standards. The Common Core State Standards are intended to better prepare students for college or careers by creating connections between grades and subject areas. The cross-curricular literacy and common vocabulary -- between English and social studies and math and science -- that common core requires are expected to help students learn to read and understand complex texts. San Gabriel Valley Tribune (San Gabriel, Calif.) (8/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. history lessons emphasize primary-source documents:   A program that relies on primary-source documents rather than textbooks is getting a new look as teachers prepare to implement Common Core State Standards. "Reading Like a Historian" is a set of 75 U.S. history lessons in which students use letters, articles, speeches and other documents to understand and interpret historical events. The free lessons require teachers to change the way they prepare for class and to find class time for deeper exploration of events and concepts, proponents say. According to a 2008 study, students using the program outperformed those in a control group in factual knowledge, reading comprehension and "historical thinking." Education Week (premium article access compliments of (7/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • A guide to teaching visual literacy
    Educator Mark Phillips describes a unit he taught on visual literacy and shares a step-by-step look at several of the unit's lessons. Students watch news reports, advertisements and political commercials to examine the facts, the images and music. "If kids are to make informed, free choices, we have to teach them to be critically conscious of all efforts to manipulate their thinking," Phillips writes. (8/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
 Innovative help for struggling readers
Access Code's™ unique approach can help you reach your striving readers who struggle with fluency and comprehension because they can't sound out words. Contact us at 888-701-3009 to learn more.

  Technology & Classroom Innovations 
  • The "unconference" way to learn about technology
    Colorado instructional-technology director Monique Flickinger shares in this blog post her experience at her first "unconference" and offers 10 ideas to help teachers learn about technology. Ideas include creating short podcasts showing teachers using tech tools with students, tweeting quick tips to teachers, teaching each grade level a different mobile application and having tech "smackdowns" by taking time to share information on apps and Web tools at the end of staff meetings. Flickinger's blog (7/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • New school technology requires parent partnerships
    As one-to-one school-technology initiatives become more commonplace, schools and parents must work together to provide students with the tools they need to be good -- and safe -- cybercitizens, writes Lynette Owens, an expert on online safety for youths. In this blog post, Owens writes about five things schools can do to promote parent collaboration. Her tips include being clear with parents about the rules for technology use and their consequences, helping parents use technology creatively with their children and recognizing positive technology use at school. The Washington Post/The Answer Sheet blog (7/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • The benefits of blogging in a third-grade classroom
    Third-grade teacher Linda Yollis started a classroom blog in 2008, and she said the site has been useful in communicating with parents and sharing students' work. In this blog post, Yollis writes about the advantages of blogging to help teach literacy skills to young students and give them experience in communicating online. Yollis also uses the class blog as part of lessons, including one in which students studied famous people and posted blog comments as the people they studied. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (8/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Flipped instruction is more than just using video
    Science teacher Brian E. Bennett in this blog post offers tips for successful flipped instruction and writes that educators should shift the conversation from the technology to the philosophy behind the decision to flip. "Flipping is so much more than using video to deliver content," he writes. "It is a mindset that requires you to totally rethink the way teachers and students interact on a day to day basis." SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (8/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  NCLE Resources 

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