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Sastoque: Why you should learn a new language

The Daily Northwestern – Laurisa Sastoque

“For starters, learning a new language can help you understand your own language better. In any language, there are certain conventions of sound, syntax and meaning that are inherent to their respective communication. In English there are about 44 unique sounds or phonemes, and most native speakers of its mainstream varieties know how and when to make these sounds, naturally. ” (more)

The Power of Prior Knowledge

Language Magazine – Gene Kerns

“According to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP,, approximately a third of students across grade levels demonstrated reading proficiency. The precise figures were 35% in fourth grade, 34% in eighth grade, and 37% in twelfth grade, reflecting a decrease in the fourth and eighth grades since 2017, following decades of flatlining. These figures make it tempting to slide into doom and gloom about literacy and education in America.” (more)

Using Universal Design to Create Better Assessments

Edutopia – Karen Lea and Barbara Dame

“Teachers should always strive for clarity in formulating assessments. One way to achieve that is through the use of elements of Universal Design for Learning. By ensuring that assessment items are clear and concise, educators will be able to accurately measure intended objectives and performance while lessening cognitive load for students. By following the elements of universal design listed here, teachers can create more reliable, valid, and fair assessments.” (more)

Schools should encourage but not require students to wear face covering, draft guidance says

Ed Source – Louis Freedberg

“Students should be encouraged but not required to use face coverings when California schools reopen for classroom instruction, according to a draft of “interim guidance” from the state obtained by EdSource. However, all staff should use face coverings, according to the document, which sources familiar with it say was drawn up by the California Dept. of Public Health in collaboration with the governor’s office.” (more)

Home schooling boosts parents’ interest in teaching as a career

The Guardian – Richard Adams

“School closures have turned the UK into a nation of temporary teachers since the coronavirus lockdown – and that may have inspired some people to seek new careers in the classroom, according to a new survey. Now Teach, the charity co-founded by the former journalist Lucy Kellaway, encourages older workers to change careers, and has found that the lockdown has increased the status of school teachers among the population at large, as parents have come to appreciate the joys of designing scientific experiments that impart knowledge rather than just make a mess in the kitchen.” (more)

WURRLYedu Envisions Brighter Future For Online Music Education

Forbes – Andrea Zarczynski

“Music education has grown virtually to support students learning at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Top artists are even teaching lessons online in order to support students and generate income while live shows and events are on hold. The new normal for many students is connecting with musicians on platforms like Santa Monica, California-based WURRLYedu Music Education, which recently launched a free web-based version of its online music education program featuring real-time cloud-based recording to assist students learning remotely.” (more)

A philosopher explains why dance can help pandemic-proof your kids

The Conversation – Aili Bresnahan

““Ring around the Rosie, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down!” I grew up singing that refrain in the 1970s in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood, holding hands with other children while skipping around in a circle before we’d all wind up laughing and cross-legged on the ground. I didn’t know then, and was not to learn for many years, that the Mother Goose rhyme and its accompanying dance, sprang from London’s Great Plague of 1665. The tragic origin of that joyful childhood routine suggests that dancing in the face of tragedy can signify the affirmation of life and resilience in the face of struggle, death and despair.” (more)

Connecting Lessons to the Pandemic

Edutopia – Benjamin Barbour

“Educators frequently hear from their students, “How am I going to use this stuff in the real world?” Now is the perfect time to answer that question. The coronavirus pandemic presents a unique opportunity for educators looking to underscore the relevancy of their subject matter.” (more)

Teaching Young Students How to Use Multiple Sources

Edutopia – Laura Lee

“For young students who haven’t conducted research before, deciphering and synthesizing multiple sources—and making connections between them—can be tricky, write literacy experts Martha Polley and Sunday Cummins, who share an approach for boosting these skills in the classroom in “Students Making Sense of Multiple Sources” for MiddleWeb.” (more)

Analysis: What Is the Value of a Bachelor’s Degree? The Answer Depends on Where You Live and What You Do

The 74 Million – Jeff Strohl

“The idea that all postsecondary education on average is good is misleading. The truth is, there’s significant variation in which academic degrees bring workers the most value, and why they do. Research from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce has long supported the idea that more education tends to be a good investment. But what you study and what job you take are of considerable importance in determining how well, financially, you will be once you settle into a career.” (more)