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Is A Solid Curriculum a Constraint on Teacher Creativity?

Education Next – Kathleen Porter-Magee

“In education we have been conditioned to believe that mandating curriculum is akin to micromanaging an artist. That’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous. And, as Robert Pondiscio has persuasively argued, it simply makes “an already hard job nearly impossible [for teachers] to do well.” Yet study after study has demonstrated that requiring teachers use a proven textbook or curriculum to guide their teaching is one of the surest ways to improve outcomes for students. In 2009, Cory Koedel and Morgan Polikoff published results from a study comparing the effects of mathematics textbook choices on student achievement in California. They found that “non-trivial gains in student achievement are attainable simply by choosing more effective curriculum materials.”(more)

What Teachers Must Consider When Moving to Flexible Seating

KQED news Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“Flexible seating in classrooms has become popular over the past few years as educators try to make school feel like a welcoming place with different kinds of spaces for different types of learning. Frustrated with static rows of clunky desks, some teachers have taken to rearranging their rooms, bringing in furniture from home, and generally trying to shake up the way classrooms feel by paying attention to lighting, color and clutter. Educators who have followed this path insist there are some serious considerations to keep in mind.”(more)

School redesigns accommodate today’s (and tomorrow’s) teachers and learners

Education Dive – Linda Jacobson

“Individual teacher desks have been replaced with a teacher collaboration space located within each “learning commons” and students are assigned to “huddle groups” that serve as a type of homeroom, giving parents a main point of contact even if instruction is provided by multiple teachers. In addition to large open rooms, meant to support group activities and project-based learning, there are also “cave-like” spaces for when students need to work alone, says Kiffany Lychock, BVSD’s director of educational innovations. “That’s the beauty of these buildings,” she says. “They’re flexible enough to change.” Such innovative layouts and uses of space in schools are being seen across the country as district leaders strive to find designs that support the way students learn today and are flexible enough to accommodate how educators may decide to use them in the future.”(more)

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

Chalk Beat – Candace Carrington

“This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience. We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.”(more)

Is classroom technology good for learning or wasting time?

The Dallas Morning News – Joan E. Hughes

“Can tablets teach children basic math and reading skills? As a professor who studies technology integration in K-12 schools, I can say the answer is yes, but there are some critical caveats. Computers running instructional software have been used to teach basic mathematics and reading since the 1960s. This software shows the student content on a certain topic. The student practices by answering one or more questions, and the computer evaluates the answer and provides feedback. Then the process is repeated with a new topic. Present-day instructional software uses more sophisticated data analytics and algorithms to adapt the instructional content to each student.”(more)

Do the Benefits of Smaller Class Sizes Always Equal the Hype?

Education World – Joel Stice

“Overcrowded classrooms are one of the biggest workplace headaches for teachers and many education experts argue for the benefits of smaller class sizes. Both the gains and drawbacks to smaller class sizes are touched upon in a 2017 study that looks at the push for smaller classes in New York City’s public schools.”(more)