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4 ways to keep your kid’s brains active during the summer

KSL.com – Staff Writer

“School is out for the summer. Kids have spent the last nine months cramming as much knowledge as they can into their developing brains. Yet they can lose a lot of those new skills during the lull of the summertime. “There are all sorts of studies that talk about kids losing skills over the summer if they don’t continue to practice what they learned from the previous year,” said Jody Triptow, education specialist at Primary Children’s Hospital. Reading fluency and comprehension and math literacy and skills are some areas that can weaken during this time. Here are four ways to keep your children intellectually active.”(more)

5 ways to gamify writing in the classroom

E-School News – Joan Selby

“Believe it or not, writing is a natural fit for gamification techniques. You’ve surely noticed how your class gets engaged as soon as you introduce a game into the teaching process. The students get competitive, but that’s a healthy competition you want to nurture. Have you ever thought about teaching writing through games? It’s a great strategy that helps students overcome the lack of motivation they have regarding writing assignments. Robert Monroe, a writer for EduGeeksClub and a father of a 10-year-old, explains how he made writing attractive for his son: ‘I realized he was bored whenever he had to write something for school. I know how fun writing can be, so I found a way to turn it into a game. I set up a private online diary and gave him brief prompts every day. He received points for each ‘level’ he passed and a prize for every big achievement. I noticed great improvements in his grammar and style in a really short period of time.'”(more)

How to Break into Smaller Groups in the Classroom to Focus on Writing

KQED News Mind/Shift – Staff Writer

“Teachers would love to give each student individual attention whenever they need it, but packed classrooms often make that a difficult task. As a result, it’s not uncommon for teachers to move on to new concepts even when some are still struggling to implement the skills that have already been covered. Educators are working to solve this problem in diverse ways, some moving to competency based learning systems that let kids move through curriculum at their own pace, and others doing the best to get students working independently part of the time while giving focused attention to others.”(more)

Common Core isn’t preparing students very well for college or career, new report says

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“A new report that surveys curriculum nationally and reaches thousands of K-12 and college instructors as well as workplace supervisors and employees has some bad news about the Common Core State Standards: Many people in education and the workplace don’t think some of the English Language Arts and math standards — which are being used in most states — are what students and workers need to be successful in college and career…The Common Core standards were designed to prepare students for successful career and college experiences, but the study shows that there are gaps between vision and reality…In March, more than 100 education researchers in California issued a brief saying that there is no “compelling” evidence that the Common Core State Standards will improve the quality of education for children or close the achievement gap, and that Common Core assessments lack “validity, reliability and fairness.”…Originally created and adopted by almost all states with bipartisan support, the Core has become increasingly controversial, with people at different ends of the political spectrum criticizing the initiative for different reasons.”(more)

Four-year-olds’ name-writing ability predicts their later achievement, research finds

TES – Kaye Wiggins

“Children who can write their name well when they start school perform better than other children at reading and maths later in life, research has found. The study, by Durham University and published today, shows name-writing ability is a “robust predictor” of later academic ability. It says that teachers should look at children’s name-writing skills as a way to identify underlying difficulties and offer extra support to those who are struggling. But it also finds that although there is a correlation, there is no evidence of a causal relationship between children’s ability to write their names and their later academic achievement…”(more)

Reluctant writers? 10 top tips to help primary pupils write poetry

The Guardian – Kate Williams

“Poetry is a mysterious concept to many children and when you ask students to pen a poem, less confident writers can freeze up. So start with a big dollop of reassurance. Tell them there’s no right or wrong in poetry, as long as it makes you go “Wow!” List all the fun things you can do with a poem – such as sing it, set it to a beat, put it in a picture, inside a card, round the walls in giant letters, on the stage in a performance – to sweep away the mystery. Inspire students by showing some crazy shape poems and suggesting they re-write theirs in shapes afterwards, or read a funny or spooky verse.”(more)