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Articles: Teaching & Learning

Studies show kids learn better after they had exercise.

As study after study finds students who exercise regularly perform better in the classroom, school systems like Los Angeles USD are working to enhance elementary and middle school physical education programs.

LAUSD is funding a new program in which 17 physical education instructors are sent to five elementary schools to train classroom teachers to lead their students in an outdoor PE class, in addition to their regular classroom learning, says Chad Fenwick, the district’s K12 physical education advisor.

Chris Bierly is the co-author of a report on how schools can develop leaders internally.

Districts looking for transformational leaders to turn around schools may find more success by rigorously training their own teachers and assistant principals for leadership roles, according to a recent report.

Superintendent Art Fessler pursued creating the 21st Century Leadership Academy for his Illinois district administrators when he started working last summer. 

An instructor in a classroom addresses the students. “We’re going to discuss how to ask questions in a way that doesn’t sound threatening, but instead builds trust. Let’s look at some of the vocabulary we’re using now to interact with teachers and how, through word substitution, we can reshape those conversations to foster better outcomes.”

Professor Tim Shanahan, director of the University of Illinois’ Center for Literacy, is keynote speaker at the IRA conference in May.

Take it from one expert: Implementing Common Core literacy standards will be “hell” if district administrators can’t answer questions from educators, parents and policymakers about how the new standards will help students learn.

Online literacy programs are made more engaging by interactive activities and can personalize learning by tailoring reading assignments to students’ interests. Here are some programs to help struggling readers reach grade level:

In "Reading in the Wild," author and reading expert Donalyn Miller focuses on how to instill lifelong reading habits in students.

Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits

Jossey-Bass

In this follow-up to her best-selling book “The Book Whisperer,” author and reading expert Donalyn Miller focuses on how to instill lifelong reading habits in students. Based in part on survey responses from adult and student readers, this book offers strategies on how to develop and encourage the key habits that lead to a lifelong love of reading. Also included are lesson plans and recommended book lists for students.

Fifth-grader Cici Collins’ (second from the right) cancer survival story inspired a Common Core-aligned curriculum for her entire class last fall.

Upon entering middle school last fall, cancer survivor Cici Collins had no idea her story would inspire a new curriculum for her entire grade.

Matt Saferite, principal at Ramay Junior High School in the Fayetteville Public Schools, meets with ninth grade teacher Susan Whitley, using a new teacher evaluation system to start beneficial conversations with teachers.

As secondary school principals guide their schools and teachers through a myriad of changes, it’s becoming necessary for these leaders to reinvent themselves. No longer can principals succeed by operating only as a manager—the evolving school environment requires a more extensive approach.

The American public school system’s focus on struggling students leaves high-achievers without a challenging enough education—a detriment to the country in a time of concerns over international competitiveness, says a new guidebook.

To develop the skills necessary to be effective in the evolving environment of today’s schools, principals have several places to turn. Here are some ideas:

Lisa Todd is deputy superintendent of schools at Greenbrier Public Schools in Arkansas.

Greenbrier Public Schools in Arkansas has always had a strong focus on using classroom observation to encourage positive growth within our schools. When I joined Greenbrier Schools about 12 years ago as the deputy superintendent, I had spent almost 20 years as a classroom teacher and district administrator.

Students participating in the virtual field trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden watched horticulturalists demonstrate tree removal and the environmental impact of an invasive beetle.

Students from around the world have been traveling virtually to the White House, the Antarctic and the International Space Station thanks to a Google+ program that helps classrooms confined by budget cuts explore the world outside of school.

Lindsey Hill, a two-time teacher of the year honoree is the lead for reading engagement innovation at Evanced Games.

Do we know why third graders in America are not reading at grade level? More than 50 percent of children in affluent homes and 80 percent of children growing up in less affluent homes are not reading proficiently. Reading drops off significantly after age nine. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent focusing on the act of reading, but little progress is being made when it comes to identifying the root of the problem.

One in five students starts school before 7:30 a.m., and many get on the bus before the sun rises.

The national fight for later high school start times is gaining traction, as districts and activists join together to push for new policies that will allow students to get more rest.

The Kent School District in Washington has more diversity in its student body, greater achievement and better technology, in major part due to Superintendent Edward Lee Vargas.

Every day, students whose families speak among 138 different languages learn together in the classrooms at Kent School District in Washington. To address the linguistic and economic challenges for the 27,000 K12 students—the majority of whom receive free or reduced price lunch—administrators have worked hard to build innovative language and technology programs.

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