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An annotated list of current events & issues related to the middle level
Be sure to check back each week for a new article of interest.
This week's featured article is:
Parents Get Crib Sheets For Talking With Kids About Drinking
Parents often dread talking to tweens and teens about alcohol. So the government is here to help. Really.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration launched a campaign today that aims to get parents talking with their children about alcohol as early as age 9.
Age 9? Eek!
Rifts Deepen Over Direction of Ed. Policy in U.S.
In statehouses and cities across the country, battles are raging over the direction of education policy—from the standards that will shape what students learn to how test results will be used to judge a teacher's performance.
Students and teachers, in passive resistance, are refusing to take and give standardized tests. Protesters have marched to the White House over what they see as the privatization of the nation's schools. Professional and citizen lobbyists are packing hearings in state capitols to argue that the federal government is trying to dictate curricula through the use of common standards.
Education Week 5/13
School Climate Matters
It really, really does.
That's the conclusion of a massive new review of research by experts at the National School Climate Center and Fordham University, both in New York City.
Distilling more than 200 studies and literature reviews, they concluded that "sustained positive school climate is associated with positive child and youth development, effective risk-prevention and health-promotion efforts, student learning and academic achievement, increased student graduation rates, and teacher retention."
Education Week 5/8/13
Education Schools Innovate to Supply STEM Teachers
Biologist Kaleigh LaRiche spent most of her first two years after college working in wildlife education at the Akron, Ohio, zoo. Today, she's a first-year science teacher in a Cleveland middle school.
LaRiche, who earns her master's in education from the University of Akron this spring, thanks the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship for her confidence in the classroom. The two-year master's program recruits accomplished science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) college graduates, as well as career changers like LaRiche, and puts them through their paces in preparation to work in high-need schools.
US News Education 4/8/13
More Than 50 Years Of Putting Kids' Creativity To The Test
Let's start with a question from a standardized test: "How would the world be different if we all had a third eye in the back of our heads?"
It's not a typical standardized question, but as part of the Next Generation Creativity Survey, it's used to help measure creativity a bit like an IQ test measures intelligence. And it's not the only creativity test out there.
So why bother measuring creativity? James Catterall, a psychologist and director of the Centers for Research on Creativity in Los Angeles, says the simple answer is that if society, business and education demands it, then we need to know when it's happening; otherwise, we're just guessing when it's there.
He says, "Measuring is an important aspect of knowing where our investments pay off."
How to talk to children about deadly Boston Marathon bombings
This is the third time in less than a year and a half that I am running this post. The first time was during the saturation media coverage of the Tucson shooting rampage that left six people dead, including a 9-year-old girl born on Sept. 11. The shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. in December, in which 20 young children and six teachers were killed, made it relevant again. And now, sadly, the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, in which several people were killed — including an 8-year-old boy in the crowd — and scores seriously wounded, including the boy’s mother and sister.
Washington Post 4/16/13
Recalled frozen food may have ended up in schools
Hundreds of thousands of pounds of frozen food recalled amid an E. coli scare may have been served in schools, according to the company that manufactured the items.
Buffalo, N.Y.-based Rich Products Corp. has over the past two weeks recalled 10 million pounds of frozen food items after 27 E. coli illnesses in 15 states were linked to their foods. Of that, the company estimates that about 3 million pounds may still be in the marketplace and approximately 300,000 pounds may have ended up in school lunchrooms, a company spokesman said.
Study: Middle School Algebra Push Yields Minimal Performance Gains
Many states are pushing students to take Algebra 1 in middle school to prepare them for advanced math in high school. A new analysis, however, suggests that increased enrollment hasn't led to higher math performance for states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Your Kids' Brains On Touch-Screens
Hanna Rosin of The Atlantic, a mother of three, wondered what all the easy access to smartphones and tablets was doing to her kids' brains. So she talked to developers of children's media and researchers to find out. Host Rachel Martin speaks with Rosin about her latest article, "The Touch-Screen Generation."
In Common Core, Teachers See Interdisciplinary Opportunities
Educators around the country are exploring innovative ways to teach the new common-core literacy standards, and some are calling attention to an approach they say is working well: interdisciplinary thematic units..
Education Week 3/13/13
Commission Calls for 'Radically Different' Tests
Emerging technology and research on learning have the potential to dramatically improve assessments, if educators and policymakers take a more balanced approach to using them.
That's the conclusion of two years of analysis by the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education, a panel of top education research and policy experts that was launched in 2011 with initial funding from the Educational Testing Service.
Education Week 3/11/13
Gym Class Isn’t Just Fun and Games Anymore
On a recent afternoon, the third graders in Sharon Patelsky’s class reviewed words like “acronym,” “clockwise” and “descending,” as well as math concepts like greater than, less than and place values.
During gym class..
How Parents Can Learn To Tame A Testy Teenager
If you're the parent of a teenager, this may sound familiar: "Leave me alone! Get out of my face!" Maybe you've had a door slammed on you. And maybe you feel like all of your interactions are arguments.
Kim Abraham, a therapist in private practice in Michigan, specializes in helping teens and parents cope with anger. She also contributes regularly to the online newsletter Empowering Parents. Abraham says, for starters, don't take it personally.
Boston Leader Connects Parents to Learning
Michele Brooks | Assistant Superintendent Office of Family and Student Engagement, Boston Public Schools The day Michele Brooks "lost it" as the frustrated mother of a Boston high school student became a moment that transformed her life forever. That was 20 years ago, and today Brooks works inside the Boston school system as the assistant superintendent in charge of the district's office of family and student engagement.
Theater Education Programs Are in Demand for Workforce Creativity
Imagine a group comprised of accountants, tech executives, actors, corporate CEOs, playwrights and theater directors engaged in an urgent conversation. These rather divergent personalities are all discussing the state of theater education in America and its impact on our country's economy, culture and future. They all agree that our nation's future workforce can't afford a curtain call on creativity.
Conn. group starts anti-violence effort
Parents of children slain in the Connecticut school massacre called for a national dialogue to help prevent similar tragedies as New York moved to become the first to state to pass stricter gun control laws and politicians worked to confront gun violence.
Members of the newly formed group Sandy Hook Promise spoke out Monday, saying they want to have open-minded discussions about a range of issues, including guns, mental health and safety in schools and other public places.
Ergonomic Seats? Most Pupils Squirm in a Classroom Classic
Education trends come and go: Mandatory pledges of allegiance, the new math, forcing left-handed children to write with the right hand.
And then there is the classroom chair. In New York City public schools, a top chair of choice since the mid-1990s has been the Model 114, also known as the “super stacker,” 15 pounds of steel, sawdust and resin that comes in 22 colors and has a basic, unyielding design little changed from its wooden forebears.’
NY Times 1/4
Sandy Hook students, teachers head back to school
Since escaping a gunman’s rampage at their elementary school, the 8-year-old Connors triplets have suffered nightmares, jumped at noises and clung to their parents a little more than usual.
Now parents like David Connors are bracing to send their children back to school, nearly three weeks after the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. It won’t be easy — for the parents or the children, who heard the gunshots that killed 20 of their classmates and six educators.
‘‘I'm nervous about it,’’ Connors said. ‘‘It’s unchartered waters for us. I know it’s going to be difficult.’’
U.S. Students Still Lag Globally in Math and Science, Tests Show
Fourth- and eighth-grade students in the United States continue to lag behind students in several East Asian countries and some European nations in math and science, although American fourth graders are closer to the top performers in reading, according to test results released on Tuesday.
The NY Time 12/11