July 29, 2021
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Teaching & Learning
What a classroom setup says about math
(Pixabay)
Elementary-school classrooms usually are homages to reading, filled with books, nooks and quotes -- but a classroom that doesn't outwardly offer similar affection for math tells students the subject isn't important or is disliked, mathematics professor Carol Buckley writes in this commentary. Buckley suggests displaying math manipulatives, math centers and even a math museum so students and families experience similar enthusiasm for math.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Education (7/28) 
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Student: Tie STEM lessons to real life
(Pixabay)
STEM classes that focus on memorization of formulas without sharing why and how they're used in real life turn students off to the subjects, causing them to prefer any class less boring and confusing, writes Rhea Wanchoo, a high-school senior from Virginia. "[K]nowing why -- where your learning is going to take you -- is one powerful feeling," Wanchoo writes, offering examples of how teachers can instill this for STEM subject.
Full Story: Scientific American (tiered subscription model) (7/2021) 
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Improving Teacher Wellness and Self-Care
As teachers prepare to head back to the classroom, many are looking for ways to manage and protect their mental and emotional health, especially after what has been an incredibly taxing past year. Join SmartBrief on August 26th as mental health experts offer practical tips and ideas to help teachers and school leaders. Register Now
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Curriculum
Making math more accessible by removing the often-exclusive gifted track for students and other traditionally advanced programs would honor Algebra Project founder Bob Moses, who died this week, Courtland Milloy asserts in this commentary. The 40,000-plus students served by Moses' everyday algebra examples since 1982 have regularly scored better on math tests than their peers, showing how accessible math can be a "liberation tool for people trying to get out of poverty and the best hope for people trying not to get left behind," Moses told Malloy earlier this year.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (7/27) 
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Report: 3 keys to high-quality instructional materials
(Pixabay)
There are three main factors that make instructional materials high quality, according to a report from the Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia University that includes data from nine school districts and charter organizations. The factors include materials that are tech-enabled, culturally responsive and sustaining, and created to help families support student learning.
Full Story: T.H.E. Journal (7/27) 
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Policy & Legislation
CDC: Wear masks in schools
(Pixabay)
The CDC on Tuesday reversed its previous guidance on mask-wearing, because of the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, and is recommending wearing masks indoors in some cases, including in schools. The CDC now recommends everyone in K-12 schools "wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
Full Story: Chalkbeat (7/27),  U.S. News & World Report (7/27),  National Public Radio (7/27),  Education Week (7/27) 
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Studies offer insight into pandemic learning loss
(Christof Stache/Getty Images)
First- through sixth-grade students ended the previous school year on average five months behind in math and four months behind in reading, according to an analysis released Tuesday by McKinsey. A separate study released Wednesday by NWEA found students on average were 3 to 6 percentile points behind in reading and between 8 and 12 points behind in math -- with the steepest declines seen among younger students.
Full Story: Chalkbeat (7/28),  The New York Times (7/27) 
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If the ends don't justify the means, then what does?
Bob Moses,
civil rights activist, educator
1935-2021
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Math Education SmartBrief is an aggregation of published news and editorial content from diverse sources. The content of Math Education SmartBrief does not necessarily reflect the position or editorial viewpoint of any particular organization.
 
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