A holiday teacher blogosphere roundup: Inspired by a session at a recent National Writing Project meeting, Bud the Teacher encourages educators to take 5 minutes to write about a teacher or mentor for whom they are thankful. Middle school teacher Bill Ferriter, as if on queue, expresses thanks for teacher-technologist David Jakes, whose thinking he says is helping him transition from being a "Yes, but" to a "What if?" type person. U.S. New and World Report's High School Notes blog, taking a slightly different approach, collects teachers' responses on what, in spite of everything, they are thankful for this ...


The Oregonian provides a glimpse into a school district that has instituted a late-start for students on Wednesday mornings so that teachers can get together for mandatory data-team meetings.


In a SmartBlog post, middle school teacher Mark Barnes argues that homework is at odds with the goals of effective instruction today: This practice of assigning homework, simply because it'[s] something that's always been done, is not only absurd and outdated, it is undermining effective 21st-century teaching and learning. Most teachers link homework to grades so the students who don't do homework don't learn the material—mainly because not enough teaching is being done in class—and many would-be learners grow to hate school because they wind up with poor grades and, ultimately, feel like failures. ... Meanwhile, educators...


At a locally organized TEDx conference in Costa Mesa, Calif., last month, former Los Angeles teacher Nigel Nisbet explained how he turned chocolate bars into geometry problems to get kids hooked on math.


From the Associated Press: "A teacher in the southern Idaho town of Declo is being criticized after she had her fourth-grade students use permanent markers to draw on the faces of children who failed to meet reading goals."


In response to a national report on teacher absences, columnist Dan Rodricks of The Baltimore Sun wrote that he was dismayed to learn that 35 percent of teachers in Maryland missed 10 or more days of school in the 2009-10 school year. "I'm a union man, but I'll tell you one thing: The men and women who fought for and won sick-day privileges for teachers did not think there would be this kind of abuse of the privilege," wrote Rodricks. However, he also acknowledged that teachers have "stressful jobs and that they work in an environment with lots of germs." ...


According to the Atlantic's Jordan Weissman, both AFT president Randi Weingarten and former New York City Schools Chancellor and current News Corp. education head Joel Klein—staunch adversaries in many other matters—have recently floated the idea of instituting a "bar exam" for aspiring teachers.


In the Huffington Post, Stephen Chiger argues that the Common Core State Standards, with their emphasis on higher-order thinking, present an opportunity to re-conceptualize teachers as intellectuals, as opposed to mere caretakers or instructors. He writes: Surely, a nation of teachers whose instruction satisfies the Common Core must also be one that immerses teachers in this same type of learning. A learning community that fails to nurture the intellects of those who serve as its pillars becomes stagnant and divorces teachers from the fundamental value of being lifelong students. Worse yet, it models an adult life jarringly out of concert ...


A new study published in the Elementary School Journal finds that the main reason new teachers leave the profession is not the insane workload or the lack of resources but, alas, their principals


Thirty-six percent of teachers nationwide missed more than 10 days of school during the 2009-10 year, according to an analysis of federal data by the Washington-based Center for American Progress.


In a post on Edutopia, New Jersey high school teachers Jonathan Olson and Sarah Gross review the success they've had in creating Twitter dialogues for students and teachers (and parents) throughout the presidential campaign


New York City middle school teacher and parent blogger Launa Schweizer reports on The New York Times blog, Motherlode, that her students were "emotionally all over the map" and unprepared for their usual classroom lessons upon their return to school after Hurricane Sandy had forced area schools to close for several days.


Heads up if you're in the storm-ravaged Northeast (or if you know a teacher who is): Donors Choose, the nonprofit that collects donations to support classroom projects, has a launched an effort to connect donors with teachers in schools that have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. Teachers can get more information here


Women speak up less than men do when they are outnumbered, according to The Deseret News, but when women do talk, they tend to change a group's outcomes.


Forbes' education blogger James Marshall Crotty argues that the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy presents an opportunity for educators to acquaint themselves with "challenge-based learning." The concept was apparently developed in 2008 by Apple Computer in collaboration with a group of educators as a way to give students more authentic and engaging learning experiences. Crotty explains: As outlined in an Apple white paper, Challenge-Based Learning encourages students and teachers to work together to define problems, propose solutions, and then execute those solutions. This allows students to physically do something, rather than simply learn about a subject. Students also have an ...


I finally had a chance to watch a documentary I've been meaning to get to for several months now called "Schools That Change Communities."


In a post on the Accomplished California Teachers' blog, English teacher David B. Cohen writes that the advice for schools that trickles down from the business world often seems to envision "a rigid hierarchical system built on simplistic notions of threat and reward." So he finds it ironic that, at least based on a recent perusal of The New York Times' Corner Office feature, this perspective tends to run counter to the priorities innovative CEOs embrace in running their own companies. He concludes: To the extent that individuals and organizations have some similar behaviors and dynamics, it's worth looking to ...


Schools are closed across the East Coast today as cities and towns recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, now considered one of the worst storms in U.S. history. For educators in other parts of the country looking to give students some perspective on the events of the past couple of days, The New York Times' Learning Network blog rounds up review questions on Hurricane Sandy's composition and impact. See also its updated page on Teaching and Learning About Hurricanes. In addition, Scholastic provides a teaching resource on hurricanes, and Discovery Education offers a lesson plan (grades 6 to ...


For several hours—while traveling on a bus through Florida—Weingarten participated in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) thread on the popular social news site. She answered questions on everything from Common Core (which she called "a big opportunity") to absent-teacher reserves ("I tried to close the Rubber Room several times") to her salary (around $360k, or 3.5 times what she could have made as a teacher in NYC). She also faced numerous accusations that she was dodging, cherry-picking, and "spouting talking points." One redditor chided her: "Don't shake the bee's nest if you're allergic."


At an education summit today, Florida Governor Rick Scott said he wants to give teachers debit cards so that they no longer have to pay for classroom supplies out-of-pocket. The proposal is part of the Republican governor's 2013 education agenda, which you can find here. The agenda itself does not offer specifics on the debit cards, but a press release explains that they would be "supported by state, district, and hopefully private sector funds." Many teachers around the country already receive as much as several hundred dollars in stipends for school supplies. However, as we recently reported, some districts have ...


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