November 2013 issue of Educational Leadership shows how to creatively make this stretch and how to help students think of nonfiction as challenging and fun.
In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer believes it starts with finding texts that present engaging style and content, rather than texts that hide "the good stuff." Kids need to be exposed to the best nonfiction and given the skills to delve deeply into it.
Dogs are amazing creatures! They provide unconditional love, do not discriminate, judge, laugh, or criticize, and they are excellent and attentive listeners. They encourage relaxation, lower blood pressure, and brighten affect. These characteristics help to make pet-assisted therapy a natural fit for children and adolescents, and students in North Carolina's Orange County Schools will happily agree!
One of the first pet-assisted therapy programs in schools, R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) focuses on reading and was introduced several years ago in the west by Intermountain Therapy Animals. The concept spread throughout the country and there are now a variety of programs and models that work with children at school and in libraries (See Spot Read, Tail-Wagging Tutors, etc.). Pets are now being used in many ways in education settings and even help to relax students studying for exams at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
We have come to a pivotal point in education. The effects of early learning have consistently shown that children who do not have a strong start will continue to lag behind and encounter major barriers in the latter grades. Data from early grades have been powerful predictors of achievement and outcomes. Therefore, strong foundational skills in reading, math, and writing are fundamental for successes in high school, college, and in the workplace.
I was honored to host the most recent Whole Child Podcast where we talked about ways we reflect, recharge, and refresh as educators. One theme present in the podcast discussion and one we hear about over and over again is reading. While we encourage students (of all ages) to read often, as adults we find it difficult to find the time to read between full-time jobs, raising our children, and, heaven forbid, our own hobbies.
Summer seems to be a time where things slow down a bit. But I find that even as I write that sentence, I'm glancing at my calendar for the next meeting, what camp my kids are in this week, and what time I need to get them so they can go to the next activity. So maybe summer is a time where things don't necessarily slow down, but the schedule changes.
Join Terry Roberts, director of whole child partner National Paideia Center, in a free webinar on how the Paideia Seminar can provide educators with a consistent and powerful way to teach speaking and listening standards. In this presentation, Roberts offers educators an opportunity to zero in on these College and Career Readiness anchor standards for the benefit of all learners.
Summer Learning Day, June 21, is just around the corner. It is a grassroots movement to spread awareness among parents, the public, and policymakers about the issue of summer learning loss for children. Hundreds of events will take place across the country, celebrating local programs and providing a platform for policy advocacy.
The summer learning movement is part of a whole child approach to education. Children live their lives 12 months a year, not just when school is in session. They learn less or even lose what they've previously learned if they don't have stimulating experiences during the summer. Many need, but don't get, federally-subsidized meals for nutrition and structured opportunities for healthy exercise 12 months a year.
Although there are no current Common Core State Standards that are specifically written for science content, science teachers will be using the fundamental skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking within their science content to help students become ready for college and career .
One of the focuses of Common Core for English/Language Arts (ELA) is informational text. Interesting enough, as students transition from elementary to middle to high school, they encounter more informational text because of the core courses they are taking. The majority of the literary texts are only taught in the English and language arts classes. Therefore, students are required to read more informational text within their specific content areas. Further, students who are struggling readers are placed in reading classes in middle school and even in high school. Is it only the job of the English and language arts teachers or the reading teachers to teach the students how to read informational texts?
Moses was my student in Brooklyn, N.Y. He came from Guyana, was 10 years old, and deaf. His mother, who spoke no English and knew no one in New York, had made the treacherous journey to the United States to give him the opportunity to go to school. He was the skinniest boy I had ever seen, with longer-than-long legs that he sometimes tripped over when he ran. Moses was not getting enough to eat at home, so I started bringing him food. Some days, he did not eat from the time he left me until the next morning at school.
Moses and his mother lived in one tiny room where the heat sometimes did not work. His mother worked two jobs and was rarely home for more than an hour when Moses returned from school. Yet here he was, at long last, in a school for the deaf where he could finally thrive and learn.
The landscape of American education has changed. Since 2011, more minority children than white, non-Hispanic children are being born in U.S. households. As a result of this growing trend, we must look at the disparities within the education system that have implications for schools across the country. Once thriving communities are seeing population shifts, with students coming from inner-city, urban areas as well as students from impoverished backgrounds.
Across the United States, teachers can quickly tell you who is the most at-risk student sitting in their classrooms. The answer is the same, whether it's from a teacher in Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, Detroit, Newark, or Birmingham. It's the student who struggled in 3rd grade. It's the student behind his peers in 8th grade reading levels. It's the student who spends the majority of his time in detention or in-school suspension. It's the student who has problems focusing in class, thus becoming disruptive. It's the student who stays on his teacher's mind each and every day of the school year. He is the one a teacher never forgets years later—always wondering where he is now, how he is doing, is he still alive. Who is this student? He's the African American male.