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Podcast Series: Innovations in Education
Explore the full series of eSchool News podcasts hosted by Kevin Hogan—created to keep you on the cutting edge of innovations in education.
How media literacy is critical to saving our democracy
[Editor’s note: This post by Alan November, written exclusively for eSchool Media, is part of a series of upcoming articles by this notable education thought leader. Check back on Monday, January 23rd for the next must-read post!]
“At present, we worry that democracy is threatened by the ease at which disinformation about civic issues is allowed to spread and flourish. … If the children are the future, the future might be very ill-informed.” —Stanford History Education Group, 2016.
The fact that 80 percent of middle school students in a recent study could not distinguish between fake news and authentic news on the web shows that we, as educators, have to do a better job of teaching media literacy in the digital age. That means paying just as much attention to teaching students how to be smart consumers of information as we pay to what we filter in our schools.…Read More
14 classroom management strategies to increase student learning
When the right classroom management tools are in place, students are able to learn more as their engagement increases.
Focusing on physical classroom management, behavioral management, resources for effective instruction, attendance and gradebook tools, and tools for a school-home connection can help students master classroom lessons.
During an edWeb webinar, Eileen Lennon, a technology teacher at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Queens, New York led an exploration of tools to help teachers establish an engaging and productive classroom environment.…Read More
App of the Week: The total package for middle school ELA
iTooch 6th Grade Language Arts
What’s It Like? iTooch 6th Grade Language Arts is a resource for middle school language arts classrooms. Its five sections offer lessons, practice questions, and quizzes on a wide range of topics, including reading comprehension, grammar, composition skills, vocabulary, and communication. The quiz questions are notable for their depth: There are tough questions about tone and thoughtful questions about writing mechanics and grammar. Passages include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and offer a range of topics, from a speech to children about staying in school from President George H.W. Bush to a speech about American values from President Barack Obama.
Rating: 4/5…Read More
Common Core is changing how schools teach ELA and math
New report finds Common Core is affecting reading and math — but not test scores
States considered strong adopters of Common Core are more likely to see a de-emphasis of fiction and a decline in advanced math enrollment among middle school students, according to a new report that also found a trivial difference in test scores between states that have and have not adopted the standards.
The report, from the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, pulls data from surveys conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to see how far Common Core recommendations have seeped into states’ instruction, comparing data from 2011 to 2015. The question of whether students should focus on analyzing fiction, which has been traditionally favored by schools, or nonfiction, which is favored by the CCSS, was considered a major implementation hurdle just a few years ago.
On that point, it appears Common Core’s suggestions are winning out over entrenched practice. In 2011, according to the data, 63 percent of students had teachers who said they emphasized fiction, compared with 38 percent of students with teachers who said they were emphasizing nonfiction — a 25 percent gap. By 2015, however, that gap had shrunk to just eight percent, with 45 percent of students who have teachers emphasizing nonfiction. The gap shrunk for eighth grade students from 34 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2015.…Read More
Vernier opens 2016 engineering contest
Three STEM teachers will each win $5,500 in prizes for creatively using Vernier sensors to introduce students to engineering concepts and practices
Vernier Software & Technology is now accepting applications for its 2016 Engineering Contest that recognizes engineering, science, and STEM teachers for their creative use of Vernier sensors to teach students engineering concepts and practices.
Three winning teachers — one middle school teacher, one high school teacher, and one college instructor — will each receive prizes valued at $5,500.
Applications for the contest are due by January 15, 2016, and winners will be announced on March 5, 2016 on the Vernier website and Facebook page.…Read More
Teach students to learn by doing with Google school coding clubs
Google’s CS First clubs open up new worlds for novice coders
A few months ago, I was searching for resources to support computer science education for middle school students—girls in particular—when I came across Google CS First. Not really knowing what it was, I went ahead and registered my school, and then myself—as a teacher host, advocate, volunteer, and guru all at the same time. I might not have known what I was getting into, but I knew that I would do anything to inspire my students to grow and learn in all areas of STEM, but in particular, computer science.
Today my school is a Google CS First site, meaning we host CS First clubs that take place before or after school as an enrichment experience for students in grades 4-8, where they learn about computer science and coding in a hands-on way—learning by doing. As part of the process, I made my classroom available for local volunteers, or “gurus,” to come in to help and connect with students, opening up my school to the community. Our gurus receive detailed information about where to go, when to show up, and even how to locate my classroom. Most importantly, a background in computer science is not a requirement.
The support from Google CS First is tremendous. Upon request, they sent a loaner set of 30 headphones and peripheral materials for the students that included passports, sticker-badges for each day’s modules, detailed scripts, certificates of completion, and directions for exercises. All materials are also available for free download from the club site, with coding done in Scratch, a programming language that uses building blocks to form commands. All of these supporting materials make it seamless for anyone, be it a volunteer guru, teacher, or parent to come in and help out. A suggested script, as well as breakdown of time for each activity, is also included.…Read More
30,000 Chromebooks reach middle schoolers in N.C. district
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Does middle school need an image makeover?
Middle school has a terrible reputation, The Atlantic reports. The titles of James Patterson’s middle-school series say it all: From the number-one New York Times bestseller Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, which launched the series in 2011, to last summer’s Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill, to this spring’s Middle School: Ultimate Showdown!, the titles reflect a dystopian vision of life in middle school. And he’s far from alone in this. When it comes to young adolescents in schools, Americans seem determined to perpetuate a narrative of hormones and horror……Read More