$5K for videos about eLearning

E2020 Inc. is challenging all middle and high schools that use e2020’s online curriculum to submit their best stories demonstrating how eLearning has improved academic outcomes for their students, teachers, schools, or districts.  Video entries will be evaluated by a jury panel and a $5,000 technology grant will be awarded to the school or district’s video entry deemed most compelling by the judges.  Two runners up will each receive five complimentary individual student licenses of e2020 software. Videos must be 1-3 minutes in length and must fit into one of the following three categories:
•    School or district-wide transformation
•    Specialized learning programs
•    Student achievement

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Prizes for intergenerational essays

Travel through time as you interview an older adult about their life experiences – you may be surprised by what you learn. Then, submit a 300-word story to send a message around the world and into the future. All winning essays become part of the Legacy Project’s online Legacy Library, recording life wisdom that can make the world and our future a little bit better.

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$15K and travel to NFL Draft

NFL Network is looking for life-changing PE teachers leading the fight against childhood obesity. As part of the Keep Gym in School mission, the NFL Network seeks to increase access to in-school physical activity and to teach skills needed to establish and sustain healthy lifestyles. The PE Teacher of the Year award recognizes the role of educators in achieving that mission.

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NBC Learn launches ‘Writers Speak to Kids’ video series

NBC Learn, the education arm of NBC News, has launched an original video series called “Writers Speak to Kids,” featuring interviews with popular and award-winning children’s book authors. Answering questions from NBC News correspondent Jenna Bush Hager, the authors share their writing process and experiences, helping students learn more about the craft and techniques of creative writing.

The 17-part video series kicked off in September with interviews of five authors: Peter Brown, Doreen Cronin, Jeff Kinney, Daniel Kirk, and Mo Willems. Featuring the writers of New York Times bestselling and Newbery Award-winning titles, the “Writers Speak to Kids,” series will feature a wide variety of additional authors throughout the fall, including Nick Bruel, Michael Buckley, Douglas Florian, Amy Ignatow, Gordon Korman, Ridley Pearson, Judy Schachner, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Philip C. Stead, Rebecca Stead, Clare Vanderpool, and Jacqueline Woodson.

“Writers Speak to Kids” is a free resource that can be found at www.nbclearn.com/writersspeak. NBC Learn also makes a much larger collection of “Writers Speak” interviews available to its subscribers at http://archives.nbclearn.com.

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The way teachers are getting school supplies may surprise you

Each year, American teachers pay $3 billion out of their own pockets on classroom supplies. Yes, $3 billion, reports Takepart.com. Teachers in many parts of the country barely make enough to pay bills, much less have extra money to funnel back into the classroom. But fortunately more people—and politicians—are waking up to this critical economic problem in the classroom. Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott outlined his new education plan last week ahead of the state’s January legislative session. He wants to give every teacher in Florida a debit card to assist in school supply costs that would be funded by private and public investment.

“Teachers are the lifeblood of our classrooms and they help students obtain the skills and talents they will need to get a job, build a family and live their version of the American dream,” Scott said last week in a speech about his plans for Florida’s education system…

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National student election picks Obama as next president

An online poll taken by millions of American students that has picked four presidential elections correctly says Barack Obama will defeat Mitt Romney on Election Day, the National Constitution Center reports. OneVote project is maintained by Channel One, the education media service, and its polls in 1992, 2000, 2004, and 2008 correctly picked each election’s winner. Channel One tells us that President Obama won the matchup with Romney by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin. In terms of electoral votes, Obama received an equivalent of 412 votes to 124 votes for Romney, with two votes in Maine tied. Romney only took Virginia among the nine swing states tracked by election watchers. Middle- and high-school students across the country filled out ballots last week, which were inspected in the classroom by their teachers. The final results are listed at onevote.channelone.com

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Time, not calories, may leave high school students feeling hungry

High school students are grumbling over their school lunches–and so are their stomachs, U.S. News reports. Their complaints aren’t about mystery meat or inedible entrees. Instead, students are staging brown-bag protests and filming YouTube videos to voice their frustrations over portion sizes. New federal guidelines cap school lunches at 750 to 850 calories for high school students, down from the previous 825-calorie minimum requirement, and double the amount of fruits and vegetables teens get when they go through the cafeteria line. Teachers and students say the guidelines, which rolled out nationwide this school year, don’t give students enough fuel to get through the school day, much less sports and after-school activities…

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LA loses $40M in federal funds over union resistance to evaluations

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has just lost out on $40 million of free federal money because the teachers union has declined to sign the district’s Race to the Top grant application, the Huffington Post reports. Given the dramatic budget cuts that they have suffered, LA’s K-12 schools could really use the millions in federal education dollars. Why then did the LA teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), pass up the money? Because it continues to object to student test scores or other measures of student growth as a “significant factor” in teacher evaluations, the Sacramento Bee reports. However, that’s not the reason that UTLA president, Warren Fletcher, gave for refusing to sign the application. “Race to the Top costs more than it brings in,” Fletcher told the Daily News. “You’re essentially setting up a system with a lot of bureaucracy, and those pieces have to stay in place after the grant period.”

“There were enough issues out there that were complex enough that we could not get to the point where we could get together with the district,” he continued…

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N.Y. teacher rallies against state tests, says math is too difficult

William Gotsch, a fourth-grade teacher at Madrid-Waddington Central School in Madrid, N.Y., is urging the state to revisit its new education standards, after determining that the common core sample math question on the Education Department’s website are too difficult for fourth graders, the Watertown Daily Times reports. New York is one of 46 states and the District of Columbia to adopt the Common Core State Standards, a set of national guidelines aimed at teaching a narrower spectrum of subjects but in greater depth. The standards also require teaching some concepts in earlier grades than they were previously taught — a stipulation that has proved challenging for teachers transitioning to the Common Core. According to Gotsch, fourth graders will be expected to form algebraic equations from multi-step problems and calculate geometric angles at a level “too high for fourth-graders to complete,” the Watertown Daily Times reports.

“I had an advanced eighth-grade student take the test. The student could not get through the first two questions,” Gotsch told the paper…

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