April 23, 2021
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Teaching in the Middle
W.Va. students to gain tech skills in STEAM labs
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Three STEAM labs at Blennerhasset Middle School in West Virginia will help students learn skills that they will need in high school and beyond, says principal Melanie Arthur. Students make and sell school merchandise in the Entrepreneurship Lab, learn about tech-related subjects, such as robotics, engineering and programming in the STEAM Lab, and study video production and live broadcasting skills in the Broadcast Lab.
Full Story: The Parkersburg News and Sentinel (W.Va.) (4/23) 
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Analysis pokes holes in learning loss theory
Students have made academic progress during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis by assessment provider Renaissance. Katie McClarty, vice president of research and design, said the narrative about learning loss is a "misnomer," but data shows students' gains were not as high as the company would have estimated in a nonpandemic year.
Full Story: Education Week Teacher (tiered subscription model) (4/22) 
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Why Are Reading/Writing Workshops So Powerful?
The Middle School Units of Study equip students with a repertoire of skills and strategies and create rich, supportive learning communities. When students receive this kind of explicit, responsive instruction in reading and writing, the results are dramatic. Download Sample Sessions
Tweens & Young Teens
A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association documented over 88,000 new pediatric COVID-19 cases for the week ending April 15, representing 20.6% of all new cases for the week in the US and surpassing the previous high of 19.1% recorded three weeks ago. There have been over 3.6 million pediatric cases of COVID-19 in 49 states excluding New York, as well as Washington, D.C., New York City, Puerto Rico and Guam since the start of the pandemic, accounting for 13.6% of all reported COVID-19 cases in those areas.
Full Story: Medscape (free registration) (4/21) 
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Recovering from COVID-19 Learning Loss
Learning loss in math and reading related to the COVID-19 pandemic is widespread and affects every school district, teacher and student. Join SmartBrief Education and Istation for an hour long webinar to hear more about the importance of progress monitoring, intervention options to help students catch up, and more. Register Now
Classroom Innovation
How to get a classroom drone program off the ground
A classroom drone program can engage students and increase understanding of STEAM skills, education technology consultant La'Quata Sumter writes in this commentary. Sumter outlines issues to consider, from licensing to safety to support staff.
Full Story: eSchool News (4/20) 
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Technology & Connected Learning
Lack of awareness and eligibility for a temporary, free internet service for students in Washington, D.C., are among the reasons only 36% of students have signed up seven months after the program debuted, according to D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto. Today's students must be internet-savvy, and long-term solutions are needed -- especially as many teachers hope to continue using some key internet tools after in-person schooling resumes.
Full Story: The 74 (4/22) 
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Middle Grades Leadership
The US Department of Education is seeking information about how schools and colleges have successfully reopened to in-person learning. The information will help to inform the Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse website, which is forthcoming.
Full Story: T.H.E. Journal (4/21) 
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MiddleWeb Recommends
Review: Use active literacy strategies to boost learning schoolwide
In the second edition of "Active Literacy Across the Curriculum: Strategies for Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening," Heidi Hayes Jacobs focuses on the crucial function of literacy in all learning -- regardless of age, grade level or content area. Seventh-grade teacher Theresa Wood says Jacobs knows what works and shows educators how to move forward without losing what they value. Read more.
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How to scaffold skill-building for student discussions
Meaningful academic conversation makes for sticky learning, but most students don't bring a high proficiency in the needed skills to the classroom. Student questioning and dialogue expert Jackie Walsh describes a step-by-step process that can help teachers cultivate deep student discussions. Read more.
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