A teacher in Nanuet, N.Y., recently made headlines after she told her 2nd grade class that there is no Santa Claus.


Siobhan Curious posts an e-mail from a fellow English teacher who, try as she might, is having a difficult time stomaching all the poor usage and grammer on Facebook and other social-networking sites.


A new study reports that college students who chewed gum prior to taking a test exhibited improved memory function and performed better than their non-gum-chewing counterparts. The theory behind this, according to one of the study's authors, is that the chewing motion improves blood flow to the brain. Ready to break out the Bazooka in class? Well, there are—as usual—some caveats. Apparently, the cognitive-enhancing effects only last for 15-20 minutes after the gum is chewed. And prolonged chewing—for example, throughout the testing period—seems to negate the benefits as well (because, curiously, it requires extra brain...


Full-time public school teachers working in Title I schools can now apply for a $25,000 cash award sponsored by The New Teacher Project.


A National Education Association commission today issued a report today with specific recommendations for upping pre-service requirements, establishing career paths for teachers, and developing new evaluation systems.


Renee Moore, an award-winning educator in Mississippi, tells the story of a talented young African-American history teacher of her aquaintance who is being driven out of the profession because of his frustration with a state-appointed teaching consultant at his school.


In Indianapolis Public Schools, where the majority of teachers are white and the majority of students belong to ethnic and racial minority groups, teachers are being pushed to bridge cultural divides that may be present in their classrooms.


Former Teach for America corps member and recruiter Gary Rubenstein writes a damning critique of TFA on his blog, arguing that the organization has "lost its way" and is now contributing to the educational inequalities it seeks to eliminate. When he joined the organization 20 years ago, said Rubenstein, there was a major teacher shortage in high-need schools. He and the other new corps members went into classrooms knowing that they would not be great instructors, but that they were filling tough positions no one else wanted. In the blog post, entitled "Why I did TFA, and why you shouldn't," ...


Today, December 1, is World AIDS day. If you're looking for some last-minute ideas to help commemorate the day in the classroom, the aids.gov website offers fact sheets and posters for download and ideas for using social media to raise awareness. This morning, President Obama and several celebrities spoke at a World AIDS Day event held by ONE, the nonpartisan advocacy and campaigning organization co-founded by U2's Bono. Education International has a "One Hour on AIDS" lesson plan available on its website in 22 languages. Teachers might also be interested in this podcast on the Harvard Graduate School of ...


More than 650 principals in New York have signed a letter protesting the new teacher-evaluation system the state is implementing as part of its Race to the Top agenda, according to an article in the New York Times. Points of contention include the allegedly haphazard way the system was put together, inconsistent applicability across subjects and grades, and a heavy reliance on what the principals consider to be "unreliable" tests. The school leaders also appear to be less than thrilled about the training sessions they are required to take with state-paid consultants—"two days of total nonsense," in the words...


A new study, which looked at the effects of technology on youth and the impact on parents and teachers, found that one in five teachers has either experienced or known another teacher who has been subjected to cyberbaiting.


StoryCorps, a nonprofit oral history project, is asking people to give thanks to their favorite teacher on Nov. 25.


This will be my last writeup on NCTE. Overall, I have to say it was an impressive conference, especially content-wise (the logistics were a bit hectic for me, but perhaps that's to be expected with about 7,000 attendees and 50 concurrent sessions during each time slot). On Friday, three high school teachers from Gresham, Ore., presented on ways to use pop culture in addressing state literacy standards. In their session, "Can Lady Gaga and Hamlet Coexist?," the young teachers began from the premise that the answer to their title was yes. They devoted no time to debating the value ...


Apparently Bill Gates isn't the only personal computing pioneer to have expressed strong concerns about the ability of America's public schools to prepare students for the economic future—and to lay a good part of the blame on teachers' union regulations. Toward the end of his ">bestselling biography on the late Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson recounts a private meeting between Jobs and President Obama that took place in the fall of 2010. At one point, Jobs—never one to hold back his opinions—brought up the subject of education. Isaacson writes: Jobs also attacked America's education system, saying that ...


Take a look at Catherine Gewertz's blog post about the new National Center for Literacy Education, which NCTE announced the launch of at its conference. NCLE will offer free Web-based resources for teachers on the Literacy and Learning Exchange starting in 2012, as well as recognize and support schools and districts that implement "communities of practice"—much like PLCs—to conduct inquiries about student learning. It's still a bit hazy how the nearly two dozen partner organizations will all be involved. But Kent Williamson, executive director of NCTE, said the NCLE will be a "network of networks" and act as a...


The NCTE conference has ended. Now that I'm no longer chasing presenters between hotels or waiting in crowded lobbies for crawling elevators, I'll catch up on some blogging. At a session titled "Linking Assessment and Instruction," Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, both education professors at San Diego State University and teachers at Health Sciences High and Middle College, gave the best explanation I've heard of how to give and use feedback within the formative-assessment process. Teachers spend hours and hours grading student papers, said Fisher, only to hand all of those "rich data" back to students. "And what do students ...


Recent education reform initiatives have focused heavily on the alleged shortcomings of the teaching profession. But New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman points to new research suggesting that there's considerable room for improvement outside the classroom as well. He quotes from a multi-country study that looked at the relationship between parents' engagement in their children's learning and results on the much-discussed Program for International Student Assessment: Fifteen-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at ...


Live from NCTE in Chicago A few musings from the last two days. • One of my favorite things about being here is listening in on English teacher side chatter. Between sessions, on the shuttle, and at meals, there's talk of allusions, metaphors, and most of all books—from A Tale of Two Cities to Speak. These teachers live up to the fairy-tale image many of us still hold of them as passionate literature devotees. • Yesterday in a session on formative assessment (an excellent one, which I'll write about in a bit), the presenters showed a clip of a 10th grade...


Live from NCTE in Chicago In a session called "A Marriage of Math and Reading," two ELA teachers and their math-teacher husbands described the beginnings of a collaborative research study on the effects of incorporating writing into math class. (Despite the title, there wasn't much talk of reading at all.) The four teachers are working with Amy and John Lannin, a husband/wife team of professors at the University of Missouri, Columbia, to conduct their research. Over six weeks, the husbands assigned writing activities in their math classes, such as exit slips in which they asked students to write down ...


Just a quick heads up that I'll be doing some blogging from the National Council of Teachers of English's annual conference, which is being held over the next couple of days in Chicago. I just got out of the first keynote address by the ever-present Linda Darling-Hammond. In front of a packed ballroom, with teachers even lining the back wall, the Stanford professor spoke about heightened expectations for student learning, inequitable school funding, the perils of over-testing (due to "No Child Left Untested"), and, of course, what we can learn from Finland. She railed against alternative pathways that reduce teacher-preparation ...


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