Teachers discuss race, violence with students | MiddleWeb: Diverse books help kids discover social justice | WHO launches tobacco awareness toolkit for teens
June 2, 2020
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Teaching in the Middle
Do middle-schoolers benefit from more autonomy?
Middle-school teachers Demi Lager and Emily Culp share in this commentary how they transitioned their sixth-grade English and science classes this year to the Modern Classrooms model, which combines self-paced instruction, mastery-based grading and blended learning. What they found was that students thrived under the model and intrinsic peer pressure was a motivator, they write.
Full Story: EdSurge (6/1) 
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Teachers discuss race, violence with students
Two people observe the flowers, signs and balloons left near the spot where George Floyd died while in the custody of the Minneapolis police. (Kerem Yucel/Getty Images)
Educators across the US are integrating discussions about race, racism and violence into lessons as outrage and protests have followed the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died May 25 while the custody of Minneapolis police officers. A New York City school is planning a Day of Action via Zoom and will share activism projects, while Michael Bryant, a middle-school math and science teacher in Chicago, says he plans to engage students in discussions about the events using news articles.
Full Story: Chalkbeat (5/31) 
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Tweens & Young Teens
The World Health Organization has launched an awareness toolkit for school-aged teens to inform and safeguard them against exploitation from the tobacco industry. The WHO also has started the #TobaccoExposed challenge on TikTok and urged all sectors to help stop youth-targeted marketing tactics from the nicotine and tobacco industries.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/Infectious Diseases in Children (5/29) 
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Free professional learning resources
Continue your professional literacy learning this summer! Access Amplify's new Literacy Hub to find a wealth of valuable FREE resources. Access professional learning resources
Classroom Innovation
3 keys to reading comprehension
Reading comprehension is about more than just skill, asserts Douglas Fisher, professor of educational leadership at San Diego State University. In this blog post, he writes that students also must have the "will to read" and be inspired by what they are reading.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Education (6/2) 
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Growth-mindset program will be tested by teachers
Teachers in Texas are participating in a growth-mindset program at the University of Texas at Austin, a program expected to be tested in the fall among 1,000 teachers and 36,000 students, and eventually expand nationwide with free tools and professional-development resources. Teachers say that students who adopted a growth-mindset approach before the pandemic adapted more easily to remote learning.
Full Story: Education Week (tiered subscription model) (5/29) 
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Technology & Connected Learning
A South Carolina school district is using instructional coaching to help teachers during a period of remote instruction, writes Rachel Caulder, K-8 instructional coach. In this commentary, Caulder shares guidelines her district uses to inform online coaching, teaching and learning, including focusing on relationships and promoting self-reflection of practice.
Full Story: eSchool News (free registration) (6/1) 
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Middle Grades Leadership
Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis organized a food drive for families in areas affected by store damage and looting in the wake of the death last week of George Floyd while in police custody. Principal Amy Nelson said the amount collected spilled over from the parking lot into a neighboring park, and leftover food went to anyone in need as well as a local food bank.
Full Story: CNN (6/1) 
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MiddleWeb Recommends
Collaborative planning for the coming school year
Looking ahead to the new school year, it's critical that school leaders have comprehensive plans ready for implementation if more large-scale remote learning is required. Leadership experts Ron Williamson and Barbara Blackburn share four essential planning elements, underscoring the need to fully involve parents and teachers in the process. Read more.
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Speaking and listening skills have become a priority
The experience of students and teachers doing whole class and small group work online underscores the need to emphasize speaking and listening skills now and for the future, writes principal Matt Renwick. He shares his school's low-key, standards-friendly teaching ideas. Read on.
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Editor's Note
Call for Proposals: SmartBrief Education's 7th Annual STEM Pathways Summit
What effect will the coronavirus have on STEM and STEAM education? We want to explore this topic at STEM Pathways Summit 2020. We are seeking sessions from educators demonstrating ways to develop students' STEM and STEAM skills in this new reality. What are you doing to foster creativity, risk-taking, problem-solving, communication and collaboration among your learners? How are you teaching them to think differently about STEM and STEAM and how they can use these skills to contribute to the world? Tell us about your practices and programs that are redefining STEM and STEAM education in a COVID-19 world. Submit your proposal.
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The easier it is to do something, the harder it is to change the way you do it.
Steve Wozniak,
co-founder of Apple, electronics engineer, programmer, philanthropist, entrepreneur
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