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Articles: Teaching & Learning

Actress Mayim Bialik and Steven C. Schlozman, Harvard Medical School professor and “zombie expert,” teach zombie-themed science concepts.

Zombies will be feeding the minds of STEM students using a new program created by Texas Instruments that blends science and math concepts with popular television shows and movies. The “STEM Behind Hollywood” program provides free teaching materials that also feature forensics, space, and superheroes.

West Virginia educators now have access to an updated oral health curriculum for students, as written by the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources and Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health this past summer.

Freshmen at Merrillville High School receive extra academic attention in the school’s Freshman Wing.

Today, the Merrillville Community Schools Corporation, located in a suburban town outside Gary, Ind., is an award-winning district, having achieved a 90 percent graduation rate in 2012 with 78 percent of its students demonstrating proficiency in English, math, and science.

Robert Halpern looks at how various institutions can make unique contributions to those crucial learning.

Youth, Education, and the Role of Society: Rethinking Learning in the High School Years

Harvard Education Press

This book’s author, Robert Halpern, argues that education leaders need to expand, enrich, and diversify the learning opportunities available to young people today. The initial chapters explore productive learning experiences for adolescents. The rest of the book looks at how various institutions—including schools, after-school progams, businesses, and nonprofit and civic organizations—can make unique contributions to those crucial learning experiences.

MIND Research Institute's curriculum of K5 math games, ST Math, is used in 30 states by about 21,000 teachers and 500,000 students.

A blue sky with a few clouds and a penguin named JiJi—along with balloons and the occasional flying saucer—are all the graphics MIND Research Institute needs for its curriculum of K5 math games, ST Math.

 Tom Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center at Teacher’s College at Columbia University, says students who take remedial courses are less likely to stay in college.

Nearly two-thirds of all community college students are referred to “developmental education,” typically in English or math, says Tom Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

But less than half of the students complete the remedial class, and that number drops sharply for students who are forced to take more than one. The completion rate for students taking three classes, for instance, is in the single digits, Bailey says.

Amplify's Lexica sends students into a virtual library that has a collection of classic literature.

The most cognitively challenging and intellectually stimulating video games are more immersive and can take several hours to play, says Justin Leites, vice president for games at Amplify. That’s why the company, which is developing 30 such educational video games for the 2014-2015 school year, wants to take advantage of students’ time outside the classroom, Leites says.

“There’s a huge amount of research, some recent, some going back decades, showing that what kids do outside the classroom is hugely important to their success,” he says.

After years of torment from bullies, 15-year-old Bart Palosz of Greenwich, Conn., took his own life on the first day of school in September. His death has led many to question the effectiveness of district bullying policies, and whether or not school leaders are responsible for identifying students who may harm themselves.

School lunches are at the front lines of the country’s childhood obesity and nutrition crisis. First Lady Michelle Obama, star chef Jamie Oliver and the “Renegade Lunch Lady” activist Ann Cooper have helped draw the public interest to the problems in school cafeterias.

Since 2009, I have worked with The Culinary Institute of America’s Menu for Healthy Kids initiative. We have provided school districts in New York’s Hudson Valley with tools to improve the food served to students.

Edgenuity's iPad software allows educators in Henry County Schools to create customizable math content.

A new flexbooks program will be implemented this fall in math classrooms across a suburban Atlanta school district to keep up with changing state requirements and reduce textbook costs.

Henry County Schools is using Edgenuity software on newly purchased iPads in its math classrooms, nicknaming the program “flexbooks” because teachers and administrators will have the flexibility to create customizable math content for each classroom and student, says Assistant Superintendent Aaryn Schmuhl. Parents will also have access to the content online so they can help students with homework.

A student teaches at a Saturday AspireIT program at Hodges University in Florida.

A new pilot program aims to address the lack of women in technology fields by starting early—giving more middle school students a deeper knowledge of computing.

The AspireIT program, from the nonprofit National Center for Women & Information Technology, pairs female high school and college students with K12 education organizations, such as ISTE and The College Board, to run computing outreach programs for middle school girls. The first program launched in June.

Students who are physically active during school get better grades, even as nearly half the nation’s administrators have cut time from PE classes and recess in the last decade to focus more on math and reading, a new report found.

Some 44 percent of administrators have made the cuts since the passage of NCLB in 2001, putting students further at risk for obesity, says “Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School,” a report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Superintendent Jim McIntyre interacts with Knox County elementary school students.

Knox County Schools is a flourishing district in Tennessee, with most of its 15 high schools having graduation rates above 90 percent. Within the last five years, the district has also has also seen modest gains in reading/language arts, math, science, and social studies as measured by the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests for grades 3 through 8.

ASCD, which held its annual conference in Chicago in March, promotes advocacy, in part through its Whole Child Initiative.

Professional associations have a reputation for being averse to both change and risk, but they have started to look ahead and almost start from scratch to attract more diverse members and retain the ones they have.

The superintendent of the K12 school district where I first taught held a drive each September to encourage teachers to join state and national education associations beyond our local union. We knew that participation, at least in the NEA—which functioned as a professional association in some states and a labor union in others—was not really optional, especially because our enrollment level at 100 percent was announced each year as a matter of pride.