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Articles: Teaching & Learning

Jessica Cuthbertson, a teacher leader in Aurora Public Schools, teaches middle school students. Cutherbertson considers herself a “teacherpreneur” and attends summer retreats via the Center for Teaching Quality.

Although teachers have long coached colleagues and developed curriculum informally and without compensation, teacher leadership programs aim to formalize the role by instituting rigorous selection processes, training and pay.

Twitter has become the new education conference—and it’s in session all day, every day of the year, some educators now say.

Principals, teachers, tech experts and other educators have created dozens of robust, professional learning networks—also called Twitter chats—to connect with each other and share solutions to common challenges.

Students in all grade levels have been using robotics in the classroom at Fayette County Schools in Kentucky.

Many districts are charging up their K12 STEM courses with the use of robotics. The clear benefits of robotics are increased student engagement and collaboration—but there’s more.

The athletic trainer at Kimball High School in Dallas, Texas, helps players on the field during the football team’s opening game. (Photo: Renee Fernandes/NATA)

A student athlete with a concussion doesn’t face challenges only in returning to play. Their injury also can hinder their performance in the classroom, and administrators must make sure students who need rest or have to work more slowly are able to keep up with schoolwork during recovery.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan addresses a group of educators at the Association of Career and Technical Education at the VISION 2013 conference in Las Vegas.

Career and technical education isn’t what it used to be. For example, sessions scheduled for the Association of Career and Technical Education’s annual conference in November cover training teachers to use smartphones to improve literacy and how students learn "higher-order thinking” through reading, writing and group learning.

A teacher candidate from the NEA’s San Francisco residency program leads a lesson.

Teacher preparation programs have been criticized for not providing educators with sufficient classroom skills, as noted in the National Council on Teacher Quality’s “Teacher Prep Review 2014.”

Lawrence Public Schools is the first district in Kansas to adopt federal sex education standards that go beyond what’s required by the state.

Kansas requires all schools to teach some form of human sexuality and HIV awareness, but doesn’t stipulate a curriculum. The Lawrence school board voted last year to adopt the national standards, which provide a more detailed framework for age-appropriate sex education in K12, says Vanessa Sanburn, vice president of the school board.

In her book "Building a Better Teacher," Elizabeth Green shows what happens in the classrooms of great teachers

Great teachers are those who have tapped into how we learn at a deeper level, and that, author Elizabeth Green says, is a skill that can be passed on. In her book Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works And How To Teach It To Everyone, Green shows what happens in the classrooms of great teachers and how that can be scaled to an entire school or district.

Only 69 percent of high school seniors who took the ACT in 2013 enrolled in a postsecondary institution that fall.

Record numbers of students are taking the ACT exam and expressing an interest in higher education—but scores on both the ACT and SAT are lagging, according to test administrators.

More than 1.84 million 2014 graduates—a record 57 percent of the national graduating class—took the ACT. This is a 3 percent increase from 2013, and an 18 percent increase compared to 2010, according to the ACT’s annual “Condition of College & Career Readiness” report, released in August.

Richard Elmore is the Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Educational Leadership at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

In an age of assessments, every school today knows how it is performing and understands the stakes of failing to meet expectations. Yet vast numbers of schools across the nation have been unable to improve, despite the threats of sanctions or outright closure.

Social studies teachers are using controversial news events to drive part of the curriculum in today’s classrooms. Above, an educator at last year’s annual conference discusses the importance of primary sources, such as artifacts, diaries and newspapers, to bring history alive in elementary schools.

Studying controversial events can show students how past events and current conflicts are connected. Examining these stories also can foster critical thinking skills and hone the ability to debate. But such discussions can be a minefield for educators trying to navigate touchy topics.

An image from  Rourke Educational Media's "Symbols of Freedom."
An image from  Discovery Education's Social Studies Techbook.
Hobsons' Naviance College and Career Readiness Curriculum
Knowledge Matters' Virtual Business—Management Online
Sony Virtuoso Digital  Language Lab Technology by SANS
Middlebury Interactive Language's Chinese Fluency I
¡Avancemos! by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Administrators striving to align instruction with the Common Core have an ever increasing range of curriculum programs from which to choose.

Several new social studies programs focus on keeping students abreast of current and archived news while other materials spotlight America’s history.

Students from District of Columbia Public Schools learn photography skills to draw attention to changes needed in their community.
Students take photos that are shared with the public through travelling exhibits in galleries, libraries and other public spaces.
“My name is Daniel. I am limited by only what I cannot imagine. I believe that social change and community organizing is important because this kind of change lifts up the voices of the suppressed and helps the powerless be heard. To lift the cover of discrimination, we can come one step closer to making our world a better place. I took photographs that show where and how I live.” —Daniel J., Critical Exposure Youth Internship
“The American flag symbolizes the rights we are granted as citizens and the freedom we have to manifest ideas and expand our knowledge. The bars represent restriction and confinment. Two conflicting ideas. We should not feel like our school system is detaining us and preventing us from flourishing.” —Anaïse, Banneker High School
“We have been talking about healthy foods that we like and foods that we don’t like. We want to talk to people and have meetings to change the lunch policy.”  —Brittanie, Ballou Senior High School

Critical Exposure is a nonprofit after-school program that trains District of Columbia Public Schools students to use photography and advocacy to make real changes in their schools and community.

High school students gain skills in documentary, photography, leadership and advocacy as they critically examine their schools and communities, and document issues that affect their lives. The photos are shared with the public through travelling exhibits in galleries and libraries. They are also shown to public officials as a means of advocating for policy changes in the community.

Foreign language teachers are cultivating global competence in today's classrooms. Above, educators interact at last year’s conference of the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Foreign language has become a necessity for “global competence”—the ability to use a language beyond the classroom, in the workforce and in social settings. The idea of global competence encompasses sensitivity, respect and understanding of other cultural perspectives.

Students following a project-based, inquiry curriculum aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) outperformed their peers who received traditional instruction, according to a National Science Foundation study released last spring.