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Guide covers how to improve school culture

E-School News – Staff Writer

“Four schools share quick and easy practices to improve attendance, reduce discipline referrals and suspensions, and increase academic achievement. The research is clear: the culture of a school can have a direct impact on student learning and achievement. To help school and district leaders create a more positive culture and kickstart their journey toward improved school performance, Kickboard has published a new how-to guide titled, “Quick School Culture Tips for School & District Leaders.” In this free guide, four school leaders from districts around the country share eight simple strategies to increase attendance, reduce discipline referrals, reduce suspensions, and improve academic achievement. Even better, each of these practices takes 10 minutes or less.”(more)

Time management critical for success

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


“Learning to read, write, solve mathematics problems, apply scientific principles to real world situations, and speak a foreign language are not the only skills children need to acquire before they leave home.” ~Confucius

Many experts argue that time management abilities are equally important. Academically gifted people cannot survive in modern society if they are not able to deliver a high quality product, on time.

Most K-12 schools are struggling to teach time management skills, because parents are constantly pressuring them about grades. Many teachers are under so much pressure to issue high marks that they create extra opportunities for students to improve their final course grade.

Although “second chances” give the parents what they want, they have the unintended consequence of teaching kids that planning is irrelevant because there are always other opportunities to change the result.

When young people get to college and/or enter the workforce “second chances” are rare. Most college professors do not offer extra papers or problem sets at the end of the semester and employers take a dim view of late arrivals, shoddy work, and missed deadlines.

Since it has become impossible for most K-12 teachers to teach time management, parents must handle the task at home.

As a first step, kids need to learn how to plan ahead. There are many free computer-based scheduling applications that help in this area. Kids generally find it easy to enter homework day by day, but often need coaching on how to break future activities, like preparing for a test that is two weeks away, into daily tasks.

Then children need to learn how to make productive use of time. For example, it takes “forever” to finish math homework when kids chat online between problems. Learning to stay off social media during homework time can go a long way to improving efficiency.

Sleep is also important for time management. It takes less time to learn material and complete homework tasks when the brain is rested, so it is important to make sure your kids get enough sleep each night.

Multi-taking is not efficient. Teach your childred to finish one task before they begins another one.

Procrastination never pays. If something is due today, make sure it is finished. Otherwise, the next day will be overwhelming.

Prioritize homework first. This prevents late nights and productivity problems.

Learning to manage time is challenging. Start teaching your child early and reward progress often!


Cries about national teacher shortages might be overblown

The Hechinger Report – Jill Barshay

“Alarm bells are sounding about teacher shortages across the country. I’ve been reading a steady drumbeat of articles on the topic for at least a year. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, warned in the Huffington Post this month that teachers shortages could soon become a crisis. At least a dozen sessions at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association earlier this month addressed the topic. I attended two of them, but was left wondering exactly how dire things are. Fresh national data are hard to come by. After talking to scholars who study the teacher labor market, and reading several statewide studies published in the past year, I gather that teacher shortages do exist in some regional pockets and in some teaching specialties. But at the same time, surpluses exist, and will likely continue to exist, in many school districts.”(more)

5 Easy Ways to Get More Parents to Help in Your Classroom

Education World – Dr. Elena Krasnoperova

“It was hard enough to get parents to volunteer in your classroom at the beginning of the school year. Even then, the same small group of parents (usually, stay-at-home Moms) did all the heavy lifting at the school. Now it’s late Spring, and “volunteer fatigue” has fully set in. The heavy lifters have more than done their share of volunteering, and the curious onlookers are no longer so curious. You ask parents to lead a classroom activity or a holiday party, to chaperone a field trip, or to bring much-needed classroom supplies – and you hear… crickets. Nothing. Nada.”(more)

The Exhausting Life of a First-Year Science Teacher

The Atlantic – Jackie Mader

“By October of his first year teaching, the reality of Amit Reddy’s new job was clear: He would not be getting much sleep, and any he did get would be interrupted by bad dreams and anxiety about his classroom. “The whole night you’re thinking about the game,” Reddy said. “I’ve not had a good sleep since I started this job.” Reddy is an eighth-grade science teacher at Alice Deal Middle School, which serves more than 1,300 students in grades six through eight in a stately building in the northwestern D.C. neighborhood of Tenleytown. At 37, Reddy has an undergraduate degree in engineering and master’s degrees in literary nonfiction and public policy. He’s worked in advertising and studied in Australia and America. In 2014, he published a book about his 2006 journey around his home country of India on a motorcycle.”(more)

Why Teachers Need To Know The Wrong Answers

NPR – Anya Kamenetz

“Sadler says that cognitive science tells us that if you don’t understand the flaws in students’ reasoning, you’re not going to be able to dislodge their misconceptions and replace them with the correct concepts. “It’s very expensive in terms of mental effort to change the ideas that you come up with yourself,” Sadler says. “It’s a big investment to say, ‘I’m going to abandon this thing that I came up with that makes sense to me and believe what the book or the teacher says instead.’ ” In one study, which he recently wrote about in American Educator magazine, Sadler gave 20 multiple-choice science questions to a group of middle school students. For each test item, one of the “distractors” was a very common misconception. In fact, often the misconception was far more popular than the right answer.”(more)