Living history lessons that engage students in role playing have garnered negative headlines for being racially insensitive at times. Teachers need "a higher level of content and pedagogical knowledge" to teach these types of lessons, says LaGarrett King, an associate professor of social studies education at the University of Missouri.
Using student-driven ideas in lessons can help learners overcome distractions and stay on task, high-school teacher Dianne Pappafotopoulos writes. Pappafotopoulos shares how students' interest in the game Fortnite sparked an idea to use an "escape room" concept in her own lessons.
Annie Griffin, principal of Tongue River Elementary School in Ranchester, Wyo., founded Project GIFT to encourage young children in her community to read. The program seeks to inspire parents to read to children from birth to kindergarten and will provide children with free books in partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.
Teachers can help students build math and reading skills by pointing out similarities in vocabulary in both subjects and encouraging students to persevere when challenged by assignments, writes Texas educator Valentina Gonzalez. Students stronger in one area over the other also can learn to transfer those skills to improve their weaknesses, she writes.
Students at one North Dakota high school have been studying some of the lives lost during the Holocaust through films, biographies and online resources to develop presentations for a history fair as part of a class. Teacher Kari Hall, the state's first teacher to train at the Olga Lengyel Institute of Holocaust Studies and Human Rights in New York City, this year started the class called The Holocaust: History and Memory.
Video-mediated instruction can help balance video modeling and direct instruction techniques, write Kimberly Brdar and Lauren Ellison. VMI is particularly useful in teaching students with autism spectrum disorders, because it can give them an individualized learning experience without the sensory overload that comes with an event like a science fair, they write.
Teachers can use situated motivation theory to boost student engagement and motivation to learn, panelists said at the recent EduCon Conference in Philadelphia. The panelists shared four components of this theory, including choice, challenge, collaboration and control.
Implementing a one-to-one initiative will come with benefits and concerns, writes Marquitta Mitchell, a magnet programs specialist for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. Mitchell details how her district navigated this process, including how it prepared staff for the transition and addressed parents' concerns about the devices.
Some high-school students with disabilities in Gadsen, Ala., work and learn in the Beautiful Rainbow Cafe, a joint project of the school system and the local public library. Students learn skills including food preparation and interacting with customers, with 16 graduates find jobs in the past year.
The number of schools labeled as low-performing under the Every Student Succeeds Act varies by state, according to a report from the Center on Education Policy. The report's findings are not intended to help make state-to-state comparisons, officials say, because each state has adopted a different approach to implementing ESSA.
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