5 myths about large print books – busted!

Large print books have a legacy of supporting reading engagement and proficiency in older adults, leading to a narrow – and inaccurate – view of the format’s usefulness.

A 2019 report from the National Center for Education Statistics found that the average eighth-grade reading score has declined, indicating a dire need for new solutions to support student reading efforts – large print text is one easy-to-implement option.

As a former librarian, I’ve seen the positive difference that large print text can make for young readers – but don’t just take my word for it. A 2019 study conducted by Project Tomorrow and Thorndike Press examined the impact of large print text on student reading ability and confidence. The research shows that large print text can help increase reading ability in students while also changing their mindset and habits.…Read More

The whys and hows of SEL implementation

CASEL, The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, defines social and emotional learning (SEL) as the “process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.”

SEL implementation can be the underpinning of every action a principal or classroom teacher makes about their campus, classroom, or environment for students.

According to Jeff Goelitz, Director of Education at HeartMath Institute, during a recent edWebinar, SEL affects everything from systems and structure to climate, culture, and academics. “Everyone” is interested in SEL and buying into the theory and the models but the how can be a daunting challenge as school districts try to make it a priority. Rachelle H. Finck, Coordinator Social and Emotional Learning for Round Rock ISD, TX, remarks that when SEL programs are planned with intention, they become more of a philosophy than a black binder program.…Read More

5 things to avoid saying to students suffering from anxiety

[Editor’s note: Don’t miss our companion piece, “5 things to say to students suffering from anxiety.”]

Currently, schools are being inundated with cases of anxiety in young adults. Although the dramatic increase in attention being paid to the illness has been beneficial to those suffering, the difficulty lies in the fact that everyone thinks they understand anxiety and how to overcome it.

As a public high school administrator, I lead interventions for students in poor academic standing. Although many students have logistical circumstances keeping them from being successful—homelessness, employment, learning disabilities, etc.—many of them are school avoidant because of anxiety that is, quite frankly, debilitating.…Read More

Looking for a way to lower suspensions and reduce bullying?

Suspension has been a commonly used disciplinary method in schools for decades. Unfortunately, it also has no positive impact on students. What’s worse, these same children often develop a dislike for law enforcement that lasts into adulthood. This is a dangerous cycle that we have to stop to help students stay in school, develop positive relationships with adults in positions of authority, and achieve greater success. At my school, we found a solution. Read on and you will discover where the idea came from and how to replicate it in your school.

DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) programs involving law enforcement presence in schools were common two decades ago. At almost the same time these programs slowly faded out of schools, we encountered some of the most prevalent rise in violence in schools. Confronted with this reality, smaller communities and suburban schools took a page from the large, urban school playbook and began hiring school resource officers (SSOs). Their primary purpose is security, but they can do so much more.

Typically, SROs (we call them SSOs, for school security officers) are retired law enforcement. With 25 years of law-enforcement experience behind them, they bring a breadth of knowledge and skill not previously accessible to school communities. I decided to make the best of these resources and the results are impressive. Here is how we did this, in simple strategic steps that can be replicated anywhere SSOs are employed.…Read More

The 14 Most Innovative SEL Districts, Part 1

[Editor’s Note: This article was first published on the Move This World blog on November 1, 2018. Come back tomorrow for part 2.]

In this article, we will be highlighting districts that have shown tremendous commitment to the well being of their students and staff. These 14 districts are being recognized for their efforts in social emotional learning (SEL) and their dedication to creating safe learning environments where individuals feel empowered to express themselves, and where effective teaching and learning can occur.

What is SEL? As defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), social emotional learning is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.…Read More

Teachers: How to use your voice for a positive school culture

[Editor’s note: This post is the first in a new column for eSchool News. In her column on ‘Personal Development’, eSchool News Columnist Jennifer Abrams focuses on tangible takeaways, tools and teachings that all those working in schools can use to develop their leadership. Read more about the column and browse future content here.]

Moving from the classroom into the role of a teacher leader and a coach was a transition, to say the least. I recognized I was credentialed in teaching students English language arts, but didn’t have a credential in communicating effectively with adults. I took workshops and courses on facilitation and coaching, but the idea of being a professional in a learning community who was an effective group member as well as a leader continues to be something I am growing into everyday.

The Use of Voice…Read More

Pearson unveils Beta-4

Pearson has unveiled the Beta-4, the latest revision of a nonverbal measure of cognitive abilities in adults, originally developed by the U.S. Army during World War I. With today’s Beta-4, clinical psychologists can obtain a quick assessment of adults’ nonverbal intellectual abilities.

Beta-4 is easy to administer and score and is useful for reliably screening large numbers of people for whom administering comprehensive test batteries would be time-consuming and costly. The test has a variety of occupational and educational applications and is great for use with diverse adult populations within a wide range of language skills and levels of cognitive ability. Appropriate uses include prison systems assessing the intellectual ability of inmates, companies evaluating the employment readiness of potential new hires, and vocational schools determining placement of students. Available in both English and Spanish, Beta-4 is also appropriate for use with English as a Second Language individuals, as no reading or verbal response is required.

Updates in Beta-4 include new norms and test items; updated, contemporary artwork; extended age range; low floors for individuals with average and lower cognitive abilities; high ceiling with more challenging items; and simplified and streamlined instructions to make it easier for individualized administration or proctoring in group settings. Supported by research with clinical group studies, the Beta-4 includes five subtests: coding, picture completion, clerical checking, picture absurdities and matrix reasoning.…Read More

The link between arts-based learning and STEM

The Art of Science Learning (AoSL), a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded initiative, spearheaded by its Principal Investigator, Harvey Seifter, has released its newest report, titled The Impact of Arts-Based Innovation Training on the Creative Thinking Skills, Collaborative Behaviors and Innovation Outcomes of Adolescents and Adults.

The report was written by Audience Viewpoints Consulting, the independent research firm AoSL retained to conduct the study. The effort compared the impacts and outcomes of arts-based innovation training with more traditional innovation training that does not incorporate the arts.

“With this research, we now have clear evidence that arts-based learning sparks creativity, collaboration, emotionally intelligent behavior and innovation in both adolescents and adults,” Seifter said. “The implications for 21st Century learning and workforce development are profound.”…Read More

Yes, teens are addicted to mobile devices — but so are adults

Infographic shares realities behind today’s mobile device addiction

As kids get older, cries for strict limits on their screen time tend to taper off. By the time students hit high school, many are accustomed to texting in the hallways or even sneaking a peek at Facebook during dinner. But is the laissez-faire approach to device use actually enabling addictive behavior? Parents think so—and so do many of their kids, according to a recent Common Sense Media poll of 1,200 parents and teens centered around technology use and addiction.

Multitasking, toggling between multiple screens or between screens and people, which is common for kids doing homework or socializing, can impair their ability to lay down memories, to learn, and to work effectively, according to the report.

See also: Report: Teens feel ‘addicted’ to mobile devices…Read More

Impero Software’s keyword library addresses online safety concerns

New terms will help schools flag potential instances of bullying, abuse, self-harm or radicalization

It makes the headlines often: A young man or woman in the U.S. ends his or her own life due to bullying or becomes radicalized and attempts to join ISIS or other hate groups. In both instances, adults in these youth’s lives are often left wondering what they could have done to intervene.

In an effort to protect students in this always-on and connected world, Impero Software, a remote monitoring and management software provider, has updated its keyword libraries to include a more comprehensive list of U.S. specific terms related to bullying, self-harm, radicalization and more, in order to alert educators so they can help students before a tragedy occurs. Impero will showcase the updated library in their booth #708 during the 2016 ISTE conference June 26-29, 2016 in Denver.

The updated library, combined with Impero Education Pro software, gives educators an edge on internet safety by helping them monitor and analyze student activity on school devices. The software alerts educators when a student uses words or phrases that match a term in the keyword library.…Read More