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Secret Teacher: Fidget cubes need kicking out of class

The Guardian – Staff Writer

“I was relieved to find the bottle-flipping phenomenon had passed when I returned to school in January. Having already endured many teenage fads (I still find the “let’s try to stab in between our fingers with a compass” trend the most traumatising to reminisce about) we were beginning to hope that we could make it to the end of the academic year without another craze. Then came the fidget cube and its malignant spawn: the fidget spinner.”(more)

Borsuk: What does it really mean to ‘never, never give up on students?’

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“Two weeks ago in this column, I quoted Marc Tucker, who leads the National Center on Education and the Economy, a Washington-based nonprofit, saying that in a talk in Madison. On its face, it’s not controversial. Who’s in favor of giving up on kids? But what does it mean to give up or not give up? That’s a provocative matter, particularly in a city where the needle has moved so little in improving deeply distressing overall outcomes for students. (Let one fact represent the problem: Fewer than 20% of students in both Milwaukee Public Schools and the private school voucher program were rated as proficient or advanced in reading and math in tests given a year ago.) Some teachers took Tucker’s remarks as criticism of their own efforts.”(more)

Bystander Buy-In: A Transformative Bullying Intervention Strategy

Education World – Jim Paterson

“New approaches to bullying intervention often focus less frequently today on the two students directly involved in the behavior―the bully and victim―and increasingly on the new approaches for bystanders and their key role in preventing incidents and reporting them. Getting witnesses to help stop bullies may mean training them in less traditional ways, experts say, involving social and emotional learning and even use of new technology that can make it easier and safer for them to act.”(more)

How Schools Can Face The ‘Bad Habits’ That Inhibit Meaningful Changes

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“Making lasting change in schools is difficult not only because schools are communities made up of individuals with their own opinions about what’s best for kids, but also because, like most institutions, they are full of “bad habits” that can be tough to break. While habitual behavior can be good — like when it reinforces a positive culture or set of norms — it can also be a stubborn obstacle to enacting meaningful change. At the EduCon conference hosted by Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, a room full of educators easily listed common “bad habits” they’ve experienced in their work, such as siloed learning, homework just for the sake of it, spending time planning with no action, keeping the door closed and visitors out, poor communication between administrators and teachers, traditional professional development, fixing problems by mandate rather than by team problem solving and initiative overload.”(more)

Parent Alert! Your Child Just Skipped Class

NPR – Anya Kamenetz and Cory Turner

“My bank sends me a text alert when my account balance is low. My wireless company sends me a text alert when I’m about to use up my monthly data. Somebody — I guess the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration? —sends me a text alert when it’s going to rain a whole lot. A few clever researchers said: “Hey! What if we could send text alerts to parents when students miss class or don’t turn in their homework?” And what do you know, it worked.”(more)

Suspensions plummet in NYC school that incentivizes good behavior

Education Dive – Tara García Mathewson

“Robert Van Wyck Middle School in New York City has about 1,650 students, and four years ago it averaged about 150 suspensions per year. By the end of the first semester this year, there had only been a dozen. Longtime Principal Patrick Burns credits plummeting suspensions to a combination of factors and an ability to track progress. Importantly, the school culture has undergone a shift. Teachers and administrators have become more mindful of the social-emotional aspects of child development at the middle school level. They pored over research about preadolescent behavior and took a new approach with their responses. They also implemented restorative justice practices, asking students to reflect on their behaviors, take responsibility for them, and find opportunities for resolution.”(more)