Hour of Code Org Developing New, Free CS Course Mar 19th

Hour of Code Org Developing New, Free CS Course

– thejournal.com

Code.org, the organization behind Hour to Code, will shortly pilot a new middle school/lower high school introductory computer science course that will be free when it’s released. For a short time it’s also taking applications for free professional development to help teachers prepare.

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Hour of Code Org Developing New, Free CS Coursethejournal.com


APNewsBreak: State drops planned A-F grades for schools Mar 13th

APNewsBreak: State drops planned A-F grades for schools

– edweek.org

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APNewsBreak: State drops planned A-F grades for schoolsedweek.org


For Young People, News Is Mobile, Social, and Hard to Trust, Studies Find Mar 12th

For Young People, News Is Mobile, Social, and Hard to Trust, Studies Find

– blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/

“Fake news” is one of many reasons why tweens, teens, and young adults mistrust news organizations, according to studies from Common Sense Media and Data & Society.

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For Young People, News Is Mobile, Social, and Hard to Trust, Studies Findblogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/


VAMboozled!: David Berliner on The Purported Failure of America’s Schools Mar 12th

VAMboozled!: David Berliner on The Purported Failure of America’s Schools

– nepc.colorado.edu/blog

VAMboozled!: David Berliner on The Purported Failure of America’s Schools

My primary mentor, David Berliner (Regents Professor at Arizona State University (ASU)) wrote, yesterday, a blog post for the Equity Alliance Blog (also at ASU) on “The Purported Failure of America’s Schools, and Ways to Make Them Better” (click here to access the original blog post). See other posts about David’s scholarship on this blog here, here, and here. See also one of our best blog posts that David also wrote here, about “Why Standardized Tests Should Not Be Used to Evaluate Teachers (and Teacher Education Programs).”
In sum, for many years David has been writing “about the lies told about the poor performance of our students and the failure of our schools and teachers.” For example, he wrote one of the education profession’s all time classics and best sellers: The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, And The Attack On America’s Public Schools (1995). If you have not read it, you should! All educators should read this book, on that note and in my opinion, but also in the opinion of many other iconic educational scholars throughout the U.S. (Paufler, Amrein-Beardsley, Hobson, under revision for publication).
While the title of this book accurately captures its contents, more specifically it “debunks the myths that test scores in America’s schools are falling, that illiteracy is rising, and that better funding has no benefit. It shares the good news about public education.” I’ve found the contents of this book to still be my best defense when others with whom I interact attack America’s public schools, as often misinformed and perpetuated by many American politicians and journalists.
In this blog post David, once again, debunks many of these myths surrounding America’s public schools using more up-to-date data from international tests, our country’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), state-level SAT and ACT scores, and the like. He reminds us of how student characteristics “strongly influence the [test] scores obtained by the students” at any school and, accordingly, “strongly influence” or bias these scores when used in any aggregate form (e.g., to hold teachers, schools, districts, and states accountable for their students’ performance).
He reminds us that “in the US, wealthy children attending public schools that serve the wealthy are competitive with any nation in the world…[but in]…schools in which low-income students do not achieve well, [that are not competitive with many nations in the world] we find the common correlates of poverty: low birth weight in the neighborhood, higher than average rates of teen and single parenthood, residential mobility, absenteeism, crime, and students in need of special education or English language instruction.” These societal factors explain poor performance much more (i.e., more variance explained) than any school-level, and as pertinent to this blog, teacher-level factor (e.g., teacher quality as measured by large-scale standardized test scores).
In this post David reminds us of much, much more, that we need to remember and also often recall in defense of our public schools and in support of our schools’ futures (e.g., research-based notes to help “fix” some of our public schools).
Again, please do visit the original blog post here to read more.

March 6, 2017


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VAMboozled!: David Berliner on The Purported Failure of America’s Schoolsnepc.colorado.edu/blog


Fixes: A School Where Raising the Bar Lifts Hope Mar 11th

Fixes: A School Where Raising the Bar Lifts Hope

– nytimes.com/

Fixes: A School Where Raising the Bar Lifts HopeInviting low-income high-schoolers into advanced-level courses can get them past fears that they’re not college material.

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Fixes: A School Where Raising the Bar Lifts Hopenytimes.com/


Reading: not doing it enough is killing us. Mar 11th

Reading: not doing it enough is killing us.

– deangroom.wordpress.com/

During the primary years, schools have proven themselves adept at teaching children to read.  Great news for primary school teachers and children. Reading is the key skill humans use to access new information and in modern hyper-connected, Bluetooth, streaming social society (some call Junk Culture) we never stop reading messages and may even be amusing ourselves to death according to some such as Neil Postman. Whether we believe childhood is better for more things to read or worse, the BIG change for the current generation of parents is that the idea of ‘reading’ we remember at school is under siege from the digital revolution of the last decade.
Reading can change the world. Not Audi or Apple, not the Huffington Post or YouTube. This post is about resetting our thinking about ‘reading’ as an idea. If we don’t accept that ‘reading’ for children – daily – is as important as eating and exercising, then children are not just left to their devices – but being inducted into consumer culture that makes those devices so ‘life essential’ and more essential that a book. So here, I’m going to lay it out – walk past EB Games and into a Bookshop every time you go to the mega-loot-entertainment-hub near you. Grab a book, sit down with your kid and read for 10 mins. Then buy the book.
Why would you do this? Why would you care? Why give up the iPad and iPhone for old technology? – Because reading really is a life skill. According to UNESCO “If all students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty, which would be equivalent to a 12% cut in world poverty”. Boom! just by acquiring the skills we give children by year 3. Around the world, most children don’t learn to read at school. If all women completed primary education, there would be 66% fewer maternal deaths for example. So reading has a massive impact – it is literally a life or death skill.
The Modern English Alphabet spent hundreds of years evolving. In fact, the runic alphabet, which is the earliest form of written English has been in use since the 5th century. Many arguments, reforms, influences and changes later, and the written English language encountered by teenagers is a collection of ‘modern english‘ and digital allographs that have lots of meanings. Added to that, teens create and use glyphs and symbols to represent entire ideas and feelings (emoji). Recent US research found that MOST teenagers don’t Google. For the last ten years or so, teachers have been arguing about whether Google is: cheating, rubbish, useful, time-saver, time-waster and so on. The battle was over what digital technology would be allowed in the classroom, and whether or not ‘the book‘ was better. It was a silly debate, but teachers seemed to enjoy it in staff meetings for years. The reality is that reading is better for children than not reading. We can get into what kind of ‘reading’ material, print vs digital etc., but that missed the point. Reading in the sense of reading for understanding, which also promotes listening to understand, not just reply.
If you want to see the result of not focusing on this: consider what Trunk reads before he Tweets out some more bile and rubbish. Then ask youself, do you think his education minister Sweaty Davros think a ‘reading’ public is a good idea? No, killing reading also kills people.
The EdTech binary debate was was a silly debate in many ways, but teachers seemed to enjoy it in staff meetings for years. Sadly it still goes on in many staffrooms, so don’t wait for your school to solve or #stem (joke) the problem.
The simple, sugar-free and brand-free reality is that reading is better for children than not reading. Australian research shows children have less leisure time than a decade ago and more media choices – so reading for many has vanished as something to do with their leisure time. We can get into what kind of ‘reading’ material, print vs digital etc., but that misses the point. Reading in the sense of reading a great book written in ‘Modern English‘ has shown to improve the lives of children for their entire lives. We can’t say the same of the iPad or the Xbox yet.
If you have read down to here, give yourself a pat on the back!
Reading means reading more than a Tweet or a Facebook post. The media would like you not to do that, but read the headline, then another, then another and spend your whole day clicking. That is what the US research found. Almost all high school students get their news from social media links – other people share. They are not Googling, they just click on ‘stuff’ and the engines that drive the stuff are designed to agree that their world view and lifestyle belief is the best. This internet – is not the one you figured out in the 1990s, todays media bubble for teens has almost no useful comparisons to the days of Yahoo, MSN and beige computers in the family room.
Kids need to read to: interpret explicit information, retrieve direct information, and interpret information by inferring meaning. Reading at school has been eroded by governments for decades after year three. Yes they read text books, but how well they read them is really important. It’s the key driver of success into Senior school – being able to ‘read’ the question and then ‘read’ the text to answer is driven by skills learned a decade earlier. A student might be creative, insightful, hard working and so on, but unless they can ‘read’ well enough to decode the question, they are forced to guess or might take away the wrong meaning. It’s not like exam writers try NOT to do that, they do want to see who can deal with the difficult questions AND content.
Now I’m sure that all students read for 30 minutes a day, and that they know what books are appropriate for their reading level. They probably do this while they wait for their device’s battery to recharge. In case they don’t, then I suggest you find ways to encourage it at home, especially in teens. It might not be as well received as a new Xbox game, but that’s like saying we know children need a healthy diet to thrive and still feeding them sugary junk because they like it.
Schools do teach children to read. The media headlines might try and claim otherwise, but since the 5th century, Modern English based reading – in books, has taught every great inventor, scientist, artist etc., the key skills they need to be a success – and it still delivers results.

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Reading: not doing it enough is killing us.deangroom.wordpress.com/


How to Have an Attitude to Try New Things #MondayMotivation Mar 10th

How to Have an Attitude to Try New Things #MondayMotivation

– coolcatteacher.com

How to Have an Attitude to Try New Things #MondayMotivation10MT | Episode 26 Josh Harris gets us motivated to try new things From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter
Today Josh Harris @edtechspec an elementary edtech director from California, talks about an attitude of innovation. We can empower ourselves with an attitude of fearlessness and trying new things.
Listen Now


Listen on iTunes
Stream by clicking here.
Download this episode to listen offline by right-clicking here and choosing “Save As.”

This week, I’m giving away five copies of The Little Things book by Andy Andrews.  Andy Andrews also has a free downloadable companion curriculum based on many of his best selling books here. He’s not paying me anything, I just like this book and would like to share it. History buffs will love his stories.
In today’s show, we’ll discuss:

How to adopt an attitude of trying new things
Confronting the fear of “breaking something”
Learning technology doesn’t have to be hard
Mistakes many of us make when learning about new technology
A lovely story of a teacher who decided to change

I hope you enjoy this episode with Josh!
Selected Links from this Episode

Twitter handle: @edtechspec
Blog: http://edtechspec.blogspot.com/
Josh’s Ignite Speech about Technology

Full Bio

Josh Harris
In his 18th year in public education, Josh Harris find himself in the position of Educational Technology Director for an elementary school district on California’s central coast. He has a passion for edtech, especially in communities of color, which manifests itself in presenting at edtech conferences and summits as often as he can. you can find his session materials at http://bit.ly/edtechspec
Today’s Contest

Book GIVE AWAY: This week, this show is giving away The Little Things book by Andy Andrews.  He also has free downloadable companion curriculum based on many of his best selling books here. He’s not paying me anything, I just like this book and would like to share it.
Manner of Selection of Winners: All participants with a valid Twitter or Instagram handle who leave a review on iTunes for the 10-Minute Teacher between Monday, March 6, 2017, and midnight on Sunday, March 12, 2017, will have their handles put into a random drawing to determine the winner.  We will give away 5 copies of this book
Geographic Area and Eligibility: This is being shipped by the author and the location that is being shipped to should be commensurate with the shipping cost to North America. If it is not, an alternate winner may be awarded.
Dates: Monday, March 6, 2017, – Sunday, March 12, 2017 at midnight EST.
How Prizes Will be Awarded: All names of people who leave reviews on iTunes during this review period will be put into a random drawing by the prize administrator.
Determination of date of winner: Wednesday, March 14, 2017, the name will be drawn and the winner will be notified. No purchase necessary.
Alternate method of free participation. You may also enter with a social media posting on Instagram or Twitter linking to the show using the hashtag #10MT. Winner’s name will be posted on this blog before March 31, 2017. Void where prohibited.
The post How to Have an Attitude to Try New Things #MondayMotivation appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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How to Have an Attitude to Try New Things #MondayMotivationcoolcatteacher.com


Senate unveils K-12 budget, raising questions on new formula Mar 9th

Senate unveils K-12 budget, raising questions on new formula

– edweek.org

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Senate unveils K-12 budget, raising questions on new formulaedweek.org


A Common Core Curriculum Quandary – by Michael J. Petrilli Mar 8th

A Common Core Curriculum Quandary – by Michael J. Petrilli

– http://educationnext.org/

A Common Core Curriculum Quandary – by Michael J. PetrilliEureka Math Director Jill Diniz teaches a demonstration lesson on exponential decay to grade 9 students from Lafayette Parish School System.
One of the most ambitious educational improvement projects in recent years was the adoption of new, more rigorous college- and career-ready academic standards by more than 40 U.S. states. Though the Common Core label has suffered greatly from a populist backlash (see “Common Core Brand Taints Opinion on Standards,” features, Winter 2017), the reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. The standards themselves remain largely intact, even in states that have renamed and tweaked them. The aligned PARCC and Smarter Balanced tests are also still in place in more than half of the states that adopted them. Despite the controversy, most U.S. states have raised the bar for what it means for students to be on track for success (see “After Common Core, States Set Rigorous Standards,” features, Summer 2016).
That’s all well and good, but what really matters is whether higher standards and tougher tests lead to positive changes in the classroom. And this is where there is still a ton of important, if unsexy, work to be done. As late as October 2016—more than six years after the first wave of states adopted the standards—fewer than one in five teachers said their instructional materials were well aligned to the Common Core, according to a national Education Week survey.
That’s a problem. A growing body of evidence indicates that the choice of a strong, aligned curriculum can have outsized impacts on student learning. In a 2012 review, Matthew Chingos and Grover Whitehurst found “strong evidence that the choice of instructional materials has large effects on student learning—effects that rival in size those that are associated with differences in teacher effectiveness.” A recent study by Cory Koedel and Morgan Polikoff of California math textbooks found similar effects.
The fast-moving adoption of Common Core was an unprecedented disruption to a curriculum and textbook market that’s long been dominated by a few major publishers. This is an area where reformers and foundations could make a big difference, by helping put new, high-quality instructional materials into teachers’ hands. This won’t require passing any new laws or enacting additional regulations. But it will take leadership and the willingness to support entrepreneurs working to develop resources that can address teachers’ needs. The story of Eureka Math offers hope, and something of a roadmap.
Eureka Math—and Great Minds, the nonprofit organization that created it—is the David to Pearson’s Goliath. Great Minds didn’t even exist 10 years ago, and only went into the curriculum-development business when it won a contract from New York State to build a set of free, online math lessons as part of the state’s Race to the Top (RTT) grant. The resulting curriculum, originally known as “EngageNY,” spread rapidly nationwide, and a 2015 RAND survey found that an astonishing 44 percent of elementary school teachers in Common Core states reported using EngageNY at least once a week, more than any other math program, and 13 percent said they used Eureka Math.
The Teach Eureka Video Series offers on-demand professional development videos to accompany the curriculum.
Great Minds’ pitch is that teachers and scholars specifically designed Eureka Math in response to the new standards, and the nonprofit curriculum reviewer EdReports.org has found it is well aligned. Unlike some other popular programs, Eureka Math doesn’t overlook the need to develop students’ fluency with mathematical procedures, especially in the early years. Elementary students are expected to know their addition and multiplication facts, for example, and practice them frequently. Another RAND analysis found that Eureka Math is particularly popular in Louisiana—where state officials strongly recommend its use—and speculated that it might help to explain the state’s impressive achievement gains of late.
On the surface, the lesson seems simple: if you build a great curriculum and make it available for free on the Internet, teachers will flock to it. That’s certainly what I heard from the organization’s president, Lynne Munson. “What we create are knowledge-rich instructional materials that are worthy of study,” she said. “Not scripts, but lessons that will reward teachers’ close reading and collaboration.”
To be sure, Great Minds holds high expectations for what teachers are capable of, and teachers have rewarded it with their enthusiasm for its curriculum. But crucially, its materials are of high quality, in part because its start-up budget was considerable: $14 million in federal RTT funds. Quality is easier to achieve with that kind of backing.
But why is Eureka Math so popular when other resources go begging for users? Eureka Math is hardly the first or only open educational resources (OER) available on the web. Nor is it the case that nobody has ever built a solid math program before. And its competition includes huge textbook companies with well-established distribution channels, including hundreds of former school superintendents buying steak dinners for their pals and getting them to purchase the latest series. What explains the program’s meteoric rise and continental reach?
Ironically, its success may be due in part to the fact that it isn’t entirely free. One source I spoke to said that part of Eureka’s genius was that it “filled the beast’s need to procure.”
While anyone can download the math modules from EngageNY, the OER version is available only via clumsy PDFs. To get an easier-to-use online interface, plus a rich library of training videos, schools need to purchase a subscription from Great Minds. And even then, most want print materials, plus professional development, which the organization also offers—for a fee.
And guess what? Schools are willing to pay. District administrators and procurement officers have budgets for materials and feel strange about not using them. The OER version gave them a low-risk way to try out the curriculum; the paid version gave them something to buy. This revenue stream has also allowed Great Minds to build out a network of regional sales representatives, though Munson says her people are busy simply responding to inquiries from educators: “we don’t cold call anyone, ever.” She said that interest
in the program has grown organically, from word of mouth, from the “free advertising” provided by EngageNY, and from the positive reviews by EdReports.org and others.
The Great Minds story should serve as an example of what comes next. Anyone interested in helping teachers and students innovate and meet new standards should support this type of marriage of top-down funding and bottom-up design. Those of us in education reform have a bad habit of not finishing what we started, of chasing a new shiny idea every few years. Doubling down on curriculum reform is one important way to get the Common Core job done. Who’s in?
Michael J. Petrilli is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and executive editor at Education Next.

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A Common Core Curriculum Quandary – by Michael J. Petrillihttp://educationnext.org/


The Unmet Need for Interdisciplinary Education Mar 7th

The Unmet Need for Interdisciplinary Education

– edweek.org

Educators must build bridges between subjects rather than jealously guard their area of expertise, writes educator Alden S. Blodget.

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The Unmet Need for Interdisciplinary Educationedweek.org