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Ten Big Ideas In Education

Our team at Scholastic developed a list of the top ten education trends over the past decode based on our experience with educators all over the county. We think that these ideas will continue to be influencer in the year’s ahead. Here’s the list:

Alternate Paths to Teaching—from Teach for America to Troops to Teachers to urban Teaching Fellows programs, schools of education are no longer the only place that teachers begin their careers.
Transformative Technology— From whiteboards to online education, 1-to-1 computing to eReaders, for the first time in the history of American education, classrooms are increasingly plugged in – and so are the students.
Accountability— No matter where you stood in the debate on No Child Left Behind, it’s impossible to deny that this decade marked a new era with a shift toward reporting the results for every child in every school.
Data-Driven Instruction—Once we have data on every student, it’s easier to reach them quickly and to teach them better. Data is the new currency of 21st Century schools.

Charter Schools—While the jury remains out on their effectiveness, there is no doubt that charter schools are incubators of innovation in education and harbingers of parent involvement in schools. 
The Rise of Digital Content—By 2020, 95% of all knowledge will be a search term away—marking a game-changing move from static pages to dynamic, digitized content.

A Focus on Adolescent Literacy— With 65% of American 8th Graders reading below grade level, teaching reading is no longer a job just for elementary school teachers.  Our middle and high schools are taking dramatic steps to tackle the job of teaching reading to older, struggling students—ensuring that every child learns to read in an era of global competitiveness.
Books Are the New Black — In the decade that gave us Harry Potter, Twilight and The DaVinci Code, the hottest accessory is definitely the book. And it’s impossible to deny the power that a single book can have on children’s feelings about reading. According to the 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report, 74% of kids ages 5-17 say, “Reading Harry Potter has made me interested in reading other books.”
It Takes A Village—More than ever, education is reaching beyond the walls of our schools to build strong communities that support learning both in and out-of-school. From the Universal Pre-K movement and burgeoning after-school programs, to summer reading initiatives and in-school community centers, we’re learning that it takes a combination of home, school and community to prepare kids for their futures.

The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA)—Although it is the hallmark of only the last year of the decade, with its more than $100 billion dollar investment in America’s schools, ARRA represents an historic moment in American Education. While we cannot predict its impact, we can say with certainty that ARRA will leave an indelible mark on this decade of ideas in education.

For more information, go to http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/node/279

Happy reading!

Holiday Reads

I’ve been on a blogging break, but not a reading break. While you are heading off for the holidays, I want to tell you about my two favorite books of the year for your consideration for “seasons readings”— Step Out on Nothing by Byron Pitts and Traits of Writing by Ruth Culham. 

Byron Pitts, a 60 Minutes correspondent, tells a moving story about how faith and family helped him overcome numerous obstacles, including illiteracy. He also talks about the “angels”— educators like you— who made such a difference in his life. 

Traits of writing

This is an updated book by my (and may be your) favorite writing guru, Ruth Culham. I believe that her books have made me a better writer and many teachers tell me she made them more effective teachers. This edition of the Traits of Writing series has new scoring guides and lessons all for middle school teachers. Look for her books at the grades you teach.

Happy reading.


Resources for Flu Season: Stay Smart! Scholastic’s School Continuation Plan

There’s a well-know adage, expect the best; plan for the worst. You can’t pick up a magazine or newspaper without reading predictions about this year’s flu season. I’ve always embraced bibliotherapy and the potential of reading to inform positive health habits.

As parents and teachers, we are in a position to prepare our kids for flu season without alarming them. When talking to kids, it is helpful to empower them with tools they can use to stay well. On this website you will find a chart that shows the new way to cover up when sneezing, reminds us all to wash our hands frequently (I still sing the ABC song while washing my hands), and encourages us all to stay home when we’re very sick.

How do you keep kids learning while they’re home sick? This website is your go to resource for helping kids keep up with school when they’re sick. Go to Stay Smart! Scholastic’s School Continuation Plan to find 20 days of school work, including special lessons for students in READ 180 and System 44. http://www.scholastic.com/staysmart. The focus is reading, writing and math for students in K-8. You will have free access for a book-a-week for children in K-3 from Scholastic’s award winning ebook program, Bookflix. Students in grades 4-12 will have free access for 30 days of Expert Space, a digital curriculum in science and social studies. All these great materials will keep kids learning and hopefully less miserable.

Take good care of yourself. And to keep up with flu season and children’s health issues, I recommend this special issue of Children’s Health Magazine.

Michelle-obama childrenshealth

Research Alert -- Newseum, Washington DC

The Carnegie Corporation released a comprehensive set of adolescent literacy reports that can be used to help all of us respond more effectively to the reading needs of our students in grades four through high school. I'm glad this report came out early in the school year while, borrowing from the report, there's still Time to Act. http://www.carnegie.org/literacy/tta/

Goodbye Summer, Hello School

Last week, I posted my last summer reading tip and now almost everybody’s back in school. This year about 60,000 kids participated in Scholastic’s Summer Reading Challenge.

Now, it’s time to meet the challenge of a new school year. I hope that www.Scholastic.com will be one of your go to resources and that you’ll also check-in on this blog when you visit the Web site. Look for Research Updates and Resources Recommendations for you and your students all with a literacy and book focus.

Happy School Year!

Summer Reading - Tip # 40 Free Choice Reading

Summer Reading 

Free Choice Reading

Even with assigned reading, homework and a slew of extra curricular activities, help kids find time at home and at school for self-selected reading. This helps to maximize engagement and develop the reading habit.

I hope you enjoy this summer reading tip!  The 2009 Summer Challenge has come to an end…but don’t forget to keep reading for fun during the school year!

Summer Reading - Tip # 39 Forward to School

Summer Reading 

Forward to School

Use books to ease the transition from Summer to Fall…from vacation to school. You will find back-to-school themed books for all ages and stages on www.scholastic.com 

I hope you enjoy this summer reading tip!  The 2009 Summer Challenge has come to an end…but don’t forget to keep reading for fun during the school year!

Summer Reading - Tip # 38 Play a Board Game

Summer Reading 

Play a Board Game

Get a new board game for the family and have your child read the directions and teach it to everyone also.

I hope you enjoy this summer reading tip!  The 2009 Summer Challenge has come to an end…but don’t forget to keep reading for fun during the school year!

Summer Reading - Tip # 37 Act Green

Summer Reading 

Act Green

Kids today have a real interest in conservation issues.  Encourage them to read up on them and then visit Act Green at www.scholastic.com/actgreen and to find out how to take action in an earth-friendly way.

I hope you enjoy this summer reading tip!  The Summer Challenge is in full swing, so encourage your child to participate and prevent the “summer slide.”

Summer Reading - Tip # 36 Trading Books

Summer Reading 

Trading Books

One way to stretch your book budget and get your hands on more books is to swap books with other families and friends.

I hope you enjoy this summer reading tip!  The Summer Challenge is in full swing, so encourage your child to participate and prevent the “summer slide.”

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Read Up! Books, Research & Literacy are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.