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Articles: Teaching & Learning

American Indian students consistently trail all other minority groups on standardized tests. But this population had the largest reported graduation rate gain of any demographic between 2010-11 and 2012-13, rising from 65 percent to nearly 70 percent in two years.

The jump is perhaps due in part to greater numbers of native teachers and administrators returning to reservation districts, some experts say.

First and second graders from Roosevelt Elementary School examine where the mouth of the Elwha River empties into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which connects to the Pacific Ocean.
National Parks Service Ranger Dean Butterworth, also outreach and education specialist, on right in green, teaches Roosevelt Elementary School students how to properly collect soil samples.
To meet state and next-generation science standards on river geology, eighth graders from Stevens Middle School collect and measure sediment samples at the river.

Students in Port Angeles School District in Washington get a taste of the real world of science from their local river. For the past 10 years, they have been working like true scientists collecting and analyzing data gathered from the Elwha River in nearby Olympic National Park near the Pacific coast.

Laura Dinehart is an associate professor of early childhood education at Florida International University.

Relegating handwriting to the back burner of early childhood education ignores the close relationship between fine motor skill development and early success in math and reading.

Technology isn’t the enemy, but jumping to keyboards and calculators before mastering pencil and paper may not be developmentally appropriate for young learners.

Teachers from Perry Township Schools in Indiana use their school library’s makerspace to create T-shirts for Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day.
Perry Township students use a 3D printer in the library’s makerspace.

Transforming school libraries into communal learning “playgrounds” offers students technology support, remote access to research resources and expanded opportunities for creative exploration. One of the biggest trends is “makerspaces” where students use their imaginations to create crafts, electronics, videos and other projects.

i-Ready Reading, by Curriculum Associates
Tales2Go, by Tales2Go Inc.
Book Creator, by Red Jumper Limited
HMH Close Reads App, by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Flocabulary, by Flocabulary
RESEARCH LABS, by American Reading Company
Books that Grow, by Books that Grow
myON Reader, by Capstone Digital
Literary Companion, by AcademicMerit

From videos to games, tools to help students learn to read are all about fun.

Programs that are compatible with mobile devices allow students to improve reading and literacy skills in and outside the classroom. On the educator side, many new products track students’ progress and offer assessment tools.

A curriculum framework initially developed for special education students is gaining traction in general ed classrooms nationwide during Common Core implementation.

Tom Wohlleber, assistant superintendent for business services for Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, leads a safety session with administrators and teachers.

A “culture of safety”—at all levels of a district—is the first and most critical step in dealing with occupational injury. It also guides the prevention of, response to and mitigation of hazards in the workplace, including staff behavior.

46 states provide additional funding dedicated to ELL education, says a March report from the Education Commission of the States. (Click to enlarge)

English language learners (ELLs) perform better academically and achieve greater language proficiency when they have high-quality English language instruction, according to a 2014 study in the American Educational Research Journal.

These extra programs require additional funding above the average per-student amount.

New PD apps can save districts money on travel costs by connecting them virtually with education consultants.

A new wave of apps connects teachers with mobile access to professional development and expands opportunities for collaboration with mentors and peers.

“When apps first started, they were basically for entertainment or information,” says Robbie Melton, associate vice chancellor of mobilization emerging technology at the Tennessee Board of Regents. “As mobile devices evolved, we now have a wealth of information and apps for education and workforce development.”

Principals shifting their roles from building manager to instructional leader need more extensive PD to ensure top performance from teachers and students, according to a new policy brief from ASCD.

A fourth grade teacher at Cornelius Elementary School in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is evaluated by video.

As states try to bring new rigor and accountability to their teacher evaluation systems, digital video is emerging as one tool for standardizing and enhancing the sometimes perfunctory ritual of classroom observation.

A middle school student from Springfield Township district takes a STEM and a tech course to learn about robotics, programming and animation.
A student from St. Vrain Valley School District works on a project, as the district builds a computer science framework.
High school students from The School District of Springfield Township in Pennsylvania must take Introduction to Computer Science as a half credit to graduate. Students learn parts of a computer and its functions, networking basics and computational thinking.

We interact with computing devices every day—so should we have a better understanding of the science behind them? An increasing number of districts are saying yes—this year, 25 states require computer science courses for high school graduation, compared to only 11 states in 2013.

In the middle school STEM lab at New Canaan Public Schools in Connecticut, students frequently choose to learn with flight simulators rather than 3D printers, video games and other technological options.

“It’s definitely our most popular tool,” says Vivian Birdsall, New Canaan’s middle school STEM teacher. “Not only do the flight simulations expose our students to aviation, they’re so exciting and fun that our students often don’t realize how much they’re learning from them.”

This required curriculum for kindergarten through grade 10 at Chicago Public Schools celebrates the growing diversity in the district.

Responding to the growing diversity of its students, Chicago Public Schools has launched a new curriculum focused on the cultures of Central and South America and the Caribbean.

At Metro Nashville Public Schools, students learn about criminal justice, science, media and music. Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School students perform all roles of a live broadcast on TV, from cameraman to reporter.
A Stratford STEM Magnet High School senior processes a mock crime scene with skills obtained through his criminal justice class in the Academy of National Safety and Security Technologies in Nashville schools.
A Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School student prepares for a live broadcast from the school’s radio station.
A Stratford STEM Magnet High School Stratford student examines various chemicals used in her classes in the Academy of Science and Engineering.

Magnet schools have made a big comeback in America’s education system, offering curricula that span the spectrum—from medicine to the arts to language immersion. The revitalized programs provide plenty of hands-on experience, while the academic themes are infused into traditional classes such as math and English.