Monday, November 18, 2013
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Using the Whole Brain
There are many ways to learn a language as there many types of understanding. You can understand something musically, visually or intellectually, as well as emotionally or even through smell.
This Mind Map reading comprehension lesson provides a number of exercise to help students use this visual technique for longer reads.Read more
|Describing a Scene|
The cowboy is riding into the sunset. He fought crime and caught bandits, as well as found love. He's going to become the sheriff in Dodge...
The description above takes the final scene of a movie as the point of departure to write a description using a wide variety of tenses. Use this final scene lesson plan to help students develop stories based on sketches they make of movies they love. Other options include creating soap operas in class, or writing and acting out a script from a favorite movie.Read more
|Three Uses of "What are you doing?"|
The present continuous tense - for example, I am writing a blog post. - is used in three situations. The first is to express what is happening at the moment of speaking:
The second to express what is happening around the time of speaking. In other words, the present continuous can express current projects.
Finally, the present continuous may also express a future scheduled event such as a meeting.
Learn more about tenses uses the visual guide to tenses.
|Check Your Writing Online|
Finally! After many, many years there's an online service which checks English writing especially designed for English learners. I don't know how many times I've received an email asking for a recommendation for proofreading software especially designed for learners. 1Checker provides this help. Here's a correction for the following conjugation error in a sentence:
... you intends to say
The subject and the verb have to agree in number and person. Singular nouns in the subject require the singular form of the verb (either in the first or the third person), whereas plural nouns require the plural form of the verb.
Wrong: He walk alone.
Right: He walks alone.
1Checker is free at the moment for the online version. I highly recommend you give it a try!
Posted by Room #18 at 11:40 AM
The Philadelphia Inquirer (11/5, Graham) reports that the Philadelphia school district is recalling some 80 counselors who were laid off during the district’s “brutal budget crunch,” noting that officials hailed this as “good news,” even though it was “not enough.” The piece notes that the hiring is being funded by “the $45 million Gov. Corbett released to the Philadelphia School District last month.” The piece notes that an indeterminate number of laid-off assistant principals, secretaries, teachers, and special education aides are also being recalled.
Posted by Room #18 at 11:37 AM
Southern California Public Radio (11/4) reports online that education officials in California are assessing districts’ readiness for “a new computerized field test” tied to the Common Core Standards scheduled for five months from now. However, “fewer than one in four have returned” a classroom technology survey.
The San Jose (CA) Mercury News (11/5) continues coverage of the impasse between ED and California over the state’s decision to drop its STAR assessment in favor of a trial run of Common Core-aligned assessments. The piece reports that the logjam threatens “millions of dollars in funding to Santa Cruz County school districts,” noting that “an official” from ED “suggested California could lose at least $3.5 billion in federal aid next year if the state didn’t comply with federal rules.”
The Southern California Public Radio (11/4) reports online that Assistant Secretary Deborah Delisle warned that the state is risking $3.5 billion with its “new law to test public school students in only one of two federally-mandated subjects.” The piece quotes her letter saying, “By failing to administer a reading/language arts and mathematics assessment to all students in the tested grades, California would be unable to provide this important information to students, principals, teachers, and parents. In addition, because its new policy violates federal law, California now risks significant enforcement action by the Department.”
The Albuquerque (NM) Journal (11/5) reports that Education Secretary Arne Duncan last week praised New York’s teacher evaluation program, “which bases only 20 percent of its evaluation on student achievement.” The piece notes that Duncan, who was asked specifically in an interview about it, “did not mention New Mexico’s controversial” system, which bases 50% of a teacher’s evaluation on student test scores. Duncan said in the interview, a video of which has been circulated in New Mexico, “Well, first to be clear, it was never a mandate from us, never has been, never will be. What we’ve always said is that we should be looking at multiple measures for whether it’s teacher evaluation or principal evaluation or looking at districts or schools or, ultimately, states. You have to look at multiple factors.”
KOB-TV broadcast a report on the controversy over Duncan’s comments, showing him giving the above quote.
Posted by Room #18 at 11:35 AM
The Earth Techling (11/5) reports that the school district in California’s San Joaquin Valley is putting “what’s being dubbed one of the first all-electric school buses” into service, noting that the SST-e “is a Type A school bus” similar to “a prototype model first developed as part of a partnership Trans Tech had with noted electric vehicle manufacturer Smith Electric Vehicles back in late 2011.”
Gizmag (11/5) also covers this story, noting that the fleet of buses will save the district 16 gallons of fuel per bus per day, or $11,000 in fuel savings per bus annually.
Posted by Room #18 at 11:34 AM
The Denver Post (11/5, Noon) reports that Colorado education officials have released the results of the first year of the state’s Colorado Reading Corps program, which 208 of 472 K-3 students with low reading skills were able to successfully complete. The article quotes Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia saying, “In its first year, it’s been clear, we got positive results.”
The Chicago Tribune (11/5, Delgado, Zumbach) reports that suburban districts in Illinois are “adjusting to their rising Latino enrollment with changes in curriculum and culture” as demographic shifts end the era of such districts being “overwhelmingly white.” The piece explains that the 2013 Illinois School Report Card shows that the state is on the cusp of having a majority of its students part of ethnic minorities.
The Charlotte (NC) Observer (11/4) reports that teachers and some parents in North Carolina staged “a statewide ‘walk-in’” on Monday, protesting “cuts in education funding and low teacher pay.” After calls on social media for a walkout, the North Carolina Association of Educators “rallied behind a ‘walk-in’ as an alternative.” Teachers engaged in such actions as refusing to communicate verbally during classes and displaying protest rhetoric.
The Raleigh (NC) News & Observer (11/4) reports that the state’s schools are “the latest battleground in the fight over public education,” noting that Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said Monday that “teachers have ‘legitimate gripes,’ but added that he didn’t know enough about the protest to say whether it was an appropriate tactic.”
Posted by Room #18 at 11:31 AM
Friday, June 7, 2013
Coalition Calls For Moratorium On Common Core Consequences.
Valerie Strauss writes at the Washington Post (6/7, Strauss) “Answer Sheet” blog that the Learning First Alliance, “A coalition of education organizations and unions that support the Common Core State Standards issued an open letter on Thursday backing a moratorium of at least one year” on consequences tied to Common Core-aligned assessments. Strauss notes that the coalition consists of “the American Association of School Administrators, the American School Counselor Association, the International Society for Technology in Education, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, the National School Boards Association and the National Parent Teacher Association.” She notes that American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten has recently said that “teachers have not had time to properly absorb and create curriculum around the standards,” making it “unfair for students to already be taking high-stakes tests aligned to those standards.”
Blogger Explores Role Of Civics Education In Common Core.
Justin Reich writes at the Education Week (6/7, Reich) “Ed Tech Researcher” blog in response to an email from Joaquin R. Tamayo Jr., the Assistant Director of the Education & Society Program at The Aspen Institute, about the “intersection between the Common Core and the democratic purposes of education.” Reich addresses the literature on civic education that exists, and concludes, “we cannot lose sight of the fact that great public schools have a responsibility to prepare young people for civic life. I do think that some of the best ideals of learning embodied in the Common Core can be put in service of that important mission.”
Posted by Room #18 at 11:29 AM
President Obama’s call, during a visit to a school in Mooresville, North Carolina, for the nation to equip all schools with broadband access within the next five years generated significant national media coverage today. In general, the media is reporting the story in a neutral and fact-based tone. The New York Times (6/6, Calmes, Wyatt, Subscription Publication) reports that at the “innovative middle school,” Obama touted“the Internet-based education programs that he is proposing to make available nationwide.” Obama “called on the Federal Communications Commission to expand an existing program to provide discounted high-speed Internet service to schools and libraries, even if it meant increasing the fees that for years had been added to consumers’ phone bills.” Obama said the plan “could lead to better technology at 99 percent of schools in five years.” The Times quotes Obama saying, “There’s no reason why we can’t replicate the success you’ve found here. And for those of you who follow politics in Washington, here’s the best news — none of this requires an act of Congress.” The piece notes that Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Obama at the school, and that under the plan ED “would work with the FCC to revamp the initiative, known as the Schools and Libraries program or E-rate, to provide local schools with Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.” The Times adds that Duncan “said that he had learned of the innovations in Mooresville...because the local school superintendent was a friend.”
The AP (6/7, Superville) reports that Obama “says a new initiative called ConnectED would mean faster Internet connections for 99 percent of students within five years.” The article quotes Obama saying in a statement, “We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology.” Noting that Administration officials said that the plan could be funded with “a new, temporary surcharge on phone bills,” the AP adds that officials “said faster, school-based Internet access can bring interactive, individualized learning to millions of students.” The AP quotes Duncan saying, “Some people ask if technology is going to replace teachers. That’s not ever going to happen. The answer is always great teachers.”
Bloomberg News (6/6, Lerer) reports that the appearance gave Obama “an opportunity...to make the case for his second-term economic agenda – – major pieces of which have faced stiff resistance from Congress – and offer less-sweeping proposals that don’t require congressional action.” Bloomberg characterizes the plan as a move to “modernize” the E-rate program, and notes that Mooresville Middle School, where Obama made the announcement, is “part of an education district known nationally for its digital-learning program. The school district hands a laptop to every child in grades four to 12, offers special teacher technology training, and uses a predominantly digital curriculum.”
The Los Angeles Times (6/6, Parsons) reports that in his comments, Obama “argued that such access would improve learning opportunities for students all over the country” and “noted that only about one-fifth of US students have high-speed Internet access in their classrooms, while every student in South Korea does.” The Times quotes Obama saying, “In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools, right?” Meanwhile, Duncan “grinned when he noted that the support of Congress was not needed, calling that ‘a fantastic part of this.’”
Noting that Obama’s legislative agenda has been “largely stymied by a bitterly divided Congress,” the Washington Post (6/6, Rucker) reports that the President is “taking what his aides are touting as a major executive action on Thursday to expand Internet connectivity in the nation’s schools.” The Post adds that “senior administration officials” say that Obama “believes improving connectivity could be transformative for schools, allowing teachers and students to use personalized software, up-to-date electronic texts and engage on Skype and other programs.”
Duncan Promotes ConnectED.Appearing on CNN Newsroom (6/6, 9:16 a.m. EDT), Education Secretary Arne Duncan discusses the need for students to have access to broadband, and expresses his excitement about the proposal. He notes however, “There’s some hard work ahead of us. We along with the FCC have to take a look at what we’re doing. But think of the opportunities for students and teachers if we can get this right over the next three, four, five years.” Duncan points out that schools can’t afford to upgrade their broadband, and explains how the E-rate program can be tweaked to improve and hasten its work. Duncan also stresses the need for US students to have the same advantages as do those in South Korea.
Duncan relates a similar message on MSNBC Now With Alex Wagner (6/6, 10:34 a.m. EDT), expressing enthusiasm about the ConnectED program. Asked about paying for the program, Duncan points out the potential benefits of updating E-rate, working on efficiencies within the program, and possibly implementing “a small increases in fees to fund this.” More of this segment can be seen here.
The Wall Street Journal (6/7, Porter, Subscription Publication), the Huffington Post (6/6, Resmovits), the Reuters (6/6, Holland), the Charlotte (NC) Observer (6/6), the Raleigh (NC) News & Observer (6/6, Dunn), CNN (6/6, Aigner-treworgy), the Christian Science Monitor (6/6, Khadaroo), the Hispanic Business (6/7), the Davidson (NC) News (6/6, Boraks), WRAL-TV Raleigh, NC (6/7, Weiss), WFMY-TV Greensboro, NC (6/7, Mickens), and Venture Beat (6/6, Farr) also cover this story.
Costs May Stymie Plan.Politico (6/7, Boliek) reports that “officials said ConnectED would require a one-time infusion of capital that would cost individual Americans little. Administration officials expect to pay for part of the program through savings rung out of the Universal Service Fund.” The piece notes however the FCC sources believe that this “isn’t going to be enough to increase capacity for all the schools and educational institutions that may want it,” in that “requests from schools already exceed the amount available from the $2.3 billion-dollar E-Rate fund.”
Posted by Room #18 at 11:27 AM
Huckabee Urges Oklahoma To Stick With Common Core.
The Washington Times (6/6, Wolfgang) reports that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, “a leading figure in the Republican Party...penned a letter Tuesday to lawmakers in Oklahoma, urging them to stick by” the Common Core Standards “even as Michigan, Indiana and other states have backed away from them.” The Times quotes his letter saying, “It’s disturbing to me there have been criticisms of these standards directed by other conservatives. I’ve heard the argument these standards ‘threaten local control’ of what’s being taught in Oklahoma classrooms. Speaking from one conservative to another, let me assure you this simply is not true … They’re not something to be afraid of; indeed they are something to embrace.” The Times notes that many conservatives see the Common Core as “a de facto federal takeover of education.”
Fordham Institute Defends Common Core.
In an op-ed in the Raleigh (NC) News & Observer (6/5, Finn, Petrilli), Chester E. Finn Jr. and Michael J. Petrelli, president and executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, write that “outside groups have been vigorously spreading misinformation about the Common Core State Standards,” but that “North Carolinians should understand that the Common Core arose as a state initiative and, with continued support, the standards will gain traction in schools and yield gains for students as well as for the state.” The writers continue to list “six strong, conservative arguments for supporting the Common Core,” including “fiscal responsibility,” “accountability,” “school choice,” and “competitiveness.”
New Hampshire Districts Facing Common Core Implementation Deadline.
In an online article headlined “Change To The Common Core Will Be ‘Messy,’” New Hampshire Public Radio (6/6, Evans-Brown) reports on the plans to transition to the Common Core Standards in New Hampshire over the next year, noting that “for some schools this will be a big change, but others are well on their way to adapting to the new academic standards.” Meanwhile, “companies are jostling to make money off of helping schools make that change.”
T.H.E. Journal (6/4, Nagel) reports that researchers say that despite widespread adoption of classroom technology, researchers say that “significant challenges are preventing widespread effective implementation.” The researchers say that while some challenges are systemic, “teachers and education leaders share in the blame as well.” The article cites a report that “identifies key emerging issues in education technology using primary and secondary research and input from an advisory board comprising ‘internationally recognized practitioners and experts’ in ed tech.”
KYW-TV Philadelphia (6/5) reports that a report “is shedding light on the state of lunchrooms inside Philadelphia’s public schools,” and “identifies solutions for improving kids’ days at schools. It’s based on a survey of 434 Philadelphia School District cafeteria workers and student safety staff conducted by the union that supports them.” The report indicates that there are safety issues regarding limited supervision to prevent violence in the lunch room, and 64% “of respondents said at least half the food served is being thrown away.”
Posted by Room #18 at 11:24 AM