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Elementary students report higher engagement, more pride in schoolwork than older peers

Education Dive – Linda Jacobson

“Most students report feeling engaged in school and taking pride in their work — but engagement drops as students get older, and less than half of middle and high school students feel like what they are learning in school is relevant to their lives outside of school, according to YouthTruth Student Survey results released Thursday.”(more)

The Great Gingerbread House Project

Edutopia – Jeannie Curtis

“The weeks leading up to winter break can be a challenging time to keep kids motivated at school. It can feel like you lose precious teaching time because they’re distracted and anxious for the holidays to begin. A weeklong hands-on, cumulative math project may be just what you need to keep them engaged and thinking right up to the break. One project I love to do with fourth graders is the Great Gingerbread House Project, a mix of review and new content. It keeps kids’ minds active until the last day of the school term. The balance of old and new math works because the project is so hands on that students can see connections between previous understanding and new challenges.”(more)

More Talking in Math Class, Please

Edutopia – Jeannie Curtis

“Walk into a classroom in the middle of a math talk and you’ll see the students gathered in a circle, taking turns showing each other math strategies and questioning each other about the accuracy and efficiency of their solutions. The students are sharing thoughts about a single high-quality math problem they worked on solving earlier in the period without teacher guidance. They are processing the math in a different way than when they worked with paper and pencils, manipulatives, and drawings.”(more)

Easing the Shift From Elementary to Middle School

Edutopia – Heather Wolpert-Gawron

“The biggest shift in K–12 education is the transition from elementary school to middle school. So much is different: campus size, the numbers of students in each class, the accessibility of teachers, how lessons are implemented, student expectations, and the interaction with families. As a teacher, you want parents invested, but some families need guidance in stepping back a bit. Nevertheless, you know that some students falter or fail when the scaffold of parent or elementary teacher falls away.”(more)

The Math Problem: Back to basics

The Hamilton Spectator – Joanna Frketich

“There are no signs of stopping the decade of decline in elementary school math scores. Despite years of alarm, the number of Ontario students in Grades 3 and 6 meeting the provincial standard continues to tumble — 10 percentage points and counting in the last four years alone at Hamilton public schools. “There are many reasons,” said Mary Reid, assistant professor specializing in math at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. “We can’t pinpoint one area.” Most agree the problem isn’t the kids.”(more)

Reading with children starting in infancy gives lasting literacy boost

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“New research at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting shows that reading books with a child beginning in early infancy can boost vocabulary and reading skills four years later, before the start of elementary school. The abstract, “Early Reading Matters: Long-term Impacts of Shared Bookreading with Infants and Toddlers on Language and Literacy Outcomes,” will be presented on Monday, May 8, at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco.”(more)