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Critical thinking: how to help your students become better learners

The Guardian – Bradley Busch

“Encouraging students to build awareness, understanding and control of their thought processes – also known as metacognition – has been identified by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Toolkit as one of the most cost-effective ways to improve learning. It’s also thought to help boost performance in subjects such as maths, science and English. It’s all about about getting students to think critically about their own learning. As the EEF explains, learners can be given “specific strategies to set goals and monitor and evaluate their own academic development … the intention is often to give pupils a repertoire of strategies to choose from during learning activities”.”(more)

August Is Almost Upon Us, Which Means Back-To-School Shopping Is in Full Swing

Education World – Joel Stice

“The summer is slowly winding down and with that comes back-to-school shopping. The end of summer shopping season that has parents and educators stocking up on everything from small items like pencils to larger purchases like tablets and laptops, commands huge fiscal numbers. It’s estimated that some 29 million households will spend money on school supplies this year, spending upwards of $27 million. All of this spending has given the back-to-school shopping splurge the title of the second biggest shopping season after the December holidays.”(more)

Together, technology and teachers can revamp schools

The Economist – Staff Writer

“IN 1953 B.F. Skinner visited his daughter’s maths class. The Harvard psychologist found every pupil learning the same topic in the same way at the same speed. A few days later he built his first “teaching machine”, which let children tackle questions at their own pace. By the mid-1960s similar gizmos were being flogged by door-to-door salesmen. Within a few years, though, enthusiasm for them had fizzled out. Since then education technology (edtech) has repeated the cycle of hype and flop, even as computers have reshaped almost every other part of life. One reason is the conservatism of teachers and their unions. But another is that the brain-stretching potential of edtech has remained unproven.”(more)

How Summer Vacation Took Hold in the U.S.

Bloomberg – Stephanie Mihm

“Planning a trip to the beach, a lake, or some other spot in the great outdoors in the next month or so? Please take a few moments to thank a small but influential group of reformers, idealists, and busybodies who created an enduring American institution: the summer vacation. Prior to the late 19th century, few Americans took breaks from work. The ethic of hard work and deferred gratification popular among the Puritans — never mind the simple fact that few people could afford to get away from tending farms — limited leisure.”(more)

Why Education Savings Accounts Are the Path to Student Success

The Daily Signal – Collen Hroncich

“Education savings accounts are a new, groundbreaking effort to provide more educational opportunities to students throughout the country. These are private savings accounts that parents can control and use to pay for their children’s educational expenses. How it works: The state deposits a portion of the money it would have otherwise spent on the child’s education into the account, which parents can then use for tuition at any private school, for educational materials, tutoring, online classes, and more.”(more)

This simple change can help students become better thinkers

E-School News – Alan November

“The math lesson on variables began with a simple prompt. As Dan Rothstein, executive director of the Right Question Institute, tells the story: “The teacher presented the following equation: 24 = (smiley face) + (smiley face) + (smiley face).” Then, she asked her students to think of as many questions as they could about the equation. What did the students want to know about this expression? What were they curious about? The rules that she gave her students were simple, Rothstein says: (1) Ask as many questions as you can. (2) Do not stop to judge, discuss, or answer the questions. (3) Write down every question exactly as stated. (4) Change any statements into questions.”(more)

An Easy “Reader’s Menu” for Fighting the Summer Literacy Slide

Education World – Keith Lambert

“Hello, parents and guardians of a fantastic generation of students! The formal school year is over, and we are all off on our summer adventures! Thank you for all of the support you have given the teachers, administration, and support staff at your school this year. It does not go unnoticed, and it is incredibly appreciated! This resource is for you. You often hear about supporting students academically during the summer, but we know how difficult it can be! Today, we want to share with you a pretty easy and manageable way to support your student’s reading during the summer months. Particularly, we’re concerned about the ominous “summer slide”. Check out the details below on a simple way you can help us prevent this phenomenon.”(more)

Want a job when you graduate? Choose these majors

USA Today – Kellie Bancalari

“Until college graduation, students spend their whole lives preparing for one thing: a job. Fortunately, unemployment among college graduates has been on the decline in the last decade, but many graduates still struggle to find well-paying jobs to start their new lives in the workforce.”(more)

Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani: Why An ‘Hour of Code’ Isn’t Enough

Ed Surge – Mary Jo Madda

” It’s no shock to anyone—there is a gender disparity problem in the computer science world. The computing industry’s rate of job creation in the United States may be three times that of other industries, but the number of females attaining computer science degrees is falling, as U.S. News reports: “In 1984, 37 percent of computer science majors were women, but by 2014, that number had dropped to 18 percent.” However, Reshma Saujani doesn’t think the issues merely lie in offering girls more opportunities to learn. Rather, it’s a problem of culture and consistency. “A girl doing an ‘hour of code’ is not going to have an epiphany that is going to convert her,” she tells EdSurge.”(more)

State ESSA plans opportunity for K-12, higher ed to develop STEM career pipeline

Education Dive – Shalina Chatlani

“Former federal accountability measures under No Child Left Behind, as well as Common Core standards derived from them, primarily emphasized reading and math, which left many schools pushing science education to the background. However, this created serious gaps in learning for students and a general lack of interest in science education overall. A recent survey from Lockheed Martin examining students’ interest in STEM found that only 38% of educators believed a majority of students seemed “naturally interested” in STEM subjects, and another 25% of those surveyed said current school curriculum is not properly preparing students for a STEM career.”(more)