Archive for the ‘Classroom styles’ Category

Obama in Decatur on pre-k: ‘Give all of our kids that chance.’

Here is the text of the Obama speech. The President deviated now and then but this is essentially what he said today in Decatur:

Hello, everybody!  Well, it is great to be in Georgia!  Great to be in Decatur!

I can’t imagine a more romantic way to spend Valentine’s Day — (laughter) — than with all of you, with all the press here.  Actually, Michelle says hello.  She made me promise to get back in time for our date tonight.  r.)  That’s important.  That’s important.  I’ve already got a gift, got the flowers. I was telling folks the flowers are a little easier, though, because I’ve got this Rose Garden.   Lot of people keeping flowers around.

I want to acknowledge a few people who are here — first of all, Congressman Hank Johnson is here.  Where’s Hank?  Your Mayor, Jim Baskett, is here.   Another Mayor you may know — Kasim Reed snuck in here.  I want to acknowledge the Decatur School Board, who I had a chance to meet and has helped to do so …

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White House releases Obama early childhood proposal: Expand pre-k for low and moderate income families

The White House released an outline of the ambitious early childhood initiative that President Obama will announce today in Decatur after a visit to a pre-k there:

The President’s proposal will improve quality and expand access to preschool, through a cost sharing partnership with all 50 states, to extend federal funds to expand high-quality public preschool to reach all low- and moderate-income 4-year olds from families at or below 200 percent of poverty.

The U.S. Department of Education will allocate dollars to states based their share of 4-year olds from low- and moderate-income families and funds would be distributed to local school districts and other partner providers to implement the program. The proposal would include an incentive for states to broaden participation in their public preschool program for additional middle-class families, which states may choose to reach and serve in a variety of ways, such as a sliding-scale arrangement.

Funds will support states as …

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Obama visits Decatur pre-k today: A teacher suggests what else he should see

President Obama visits a Decatur pre-k today. (AJC photo)

President Obama visits a Decatur pre-k today. (AJC photo)

Here is a piece by Robyn Tedder, who taught kindergarten as a Teach For America corps member in Metro Atlanta. She now works on TFA staff to support pre-k and kindergarten and teachers throughout the region.

By Robyn Tedder

On Tuesday, President Obama called the nation’s attention to the need for high-quality early education – highlighting the gap between the long-term success we envision for our kids, and the foundations we lay in their young lives.

For those of us in the world of early education, these words felt like a breath of fresh air – validation of the deep urgency and almost overwhelming opportunity we see in classrooms day in and day out. And here in Georgia, they made us proud to be named an exemplar – one of just a few states to have prioritized our youngest learners.

Today, the President visits Decatur’s College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center to see our commitment to pre-K in action. …

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What college students want to tell their high school teachers: Be tougher on us. Force us to be responsible.

A reader says a good college provides more than a good education. It upgrades your life and your social circle. (Dean Rohrer art)This is one for the bulletin board in the teacher’s lounge — what college students want their high school teachers to know. I think folks may be surprised that the main suggestion is “hold us more responsible for our learning.”

Drew Appleby was the director of undergraduate Studies in the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Psychology Department. Now retired and living in Sandy Springs, he sent me this fascinating essay on what college students would like to tell their high school teachers.

By Drew Appleby

I read Epstein School head Stan Beiner’s guest column on what kids really need to know for college with great interest because one of the main goals of my 40-years as a college professor was to help my students make a successful transition from high school to college.

I taught thousands of freshmen in Introductory Psychology classes and Freshman Learning Communities, and I was constantly amazed by how many of them suffered from a severe case of “culture …

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The “Me” Curriculum at the DOE: Why we need to stop telling students “Narrative writing is all about me.”

Dr. Mark Bauerlein

Dr. Mark Bauerlein

Here is a terrific guest column written for the blog by Emory University’s Mark Bauerlein,  the author of  2008 book “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future.”

This is a good piece for teachers to discuss.

By Mark Bauerlein

You couldn’t get much farther from the life of a Georgia teenager than the world of Ernest Hemingway’s 1933 short story “A Clean, Well-lighted Place.” There, an old man in a café drinks late into the night while two waiters discuss him. The older waiter goes home with fatalistic thoughts, at one point slipping into the Lord’s Prayer but substituting nada for “Father”— an expression of his atheism whose terrible loneliness he keeps at bay with bright, familiar spaces at home and work.

The irrelevance of that scene to Georgia teens, however, doesn’t prevent the Georgia Department of Education from recommending that 11th Grade teachers issue this writing …

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Good advice from educator: Let your kids choose own path, in college and life

downeyart (Medium)Here is a thoughtful guest column by Stan Beiner, head of the Epstein School:

By Stan Beiner

At The Epstein School, a private K-8 program, we prepare students to excel in high school and beyond.  If we do not maintain standards of academic excellence, we would not have the opportunity to fulfill our other mission which is creating well-balanced individuals who will continue in the traditions of our people.

With a deep sigh, we turn our innocent, middle school graduates over to high schools who will prepare them for colleges that don’t exist.  You can translate that as heavy homework loads, AP courses, honors classes, multiple extra-curricular activities, and the stretch for the highest GPA possible.

I have listened to countless teens talk about holding down jobs, staying up endless hours, falling asleep at their desks, padding their resumes, and trying to figure out HOW to get into their preferred STATE school.

Flash forward to the “perils” of university …

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Great Teachers: Effingham County’s Mark Weese teaches the wonders of science

Mark Weese

Mark Weese of Effingham County Schools

I received this note from Peter Smagorinsky, Distinguished Research Professor of English Education in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia: “After the post about how awful the teaching force is (based on a report by an outfit dedicated to making schools look bad), I hope there’s room for this more positive view of the profession.”

Smagorinsky has been writing a great teacher series for the Get Schooled blog. (You can find other great teacher profiles in the archives under Teachers.)

Here is his latest entry about science teacher Mark Weese of Effingham County. I have no doubts after reading this piece why Weese is a student favorite in Rincon, Ga.

By Peter Smagorinsky

When I was a kid, I had all the makings of being a good science student. My father was a pioneering meteorologist, and my mother was the first woman statistician ever hired by the Weather Bureau (now NOAA). Even though we lived …

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Less concern about how much time students spend in their seats and more concern about how much they learn

In an ideal world, students would advance or tarry based on their fluency with the material. Kids who mastered the material quickly would leap ahead. Struggling peers would stay a bit longer.

But such individualized attention is not easy in education systems wedded to 180-day school years, 8-to-3 daily schedules and once-a-year administration of proficiency exams.

States are experimenting with highly personalized high school learning programs and schedules that increase engagement and lead to improved graduation rates.

Look at what Michigan and Ohio are doing.

I am sharing a statement from the Alliance for Excellent Education on New Hampshire’s competency-based learning approach, which is getting a lot of attention:  The alliance is holding a webinar today at 2 p.m. on New Hampshire’s program. Click here for info on it.)

For a century, most students have advanced from grade to grade based on the number of days they spend in class, but in New Hampshire, schools have moved …

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Pre-k paying off for Georgia according to study

Pre-k pays off, according to the early results of a new study. (AJC photo)

Pre-k pays off, according to the early results of a new study. (AJC photo)

There is near universal agreement in the research community that early childhood education benefits disadvantaged children despite the contention of skeptics that Georgia pre-k is just free daycare.

To address that skepticism, Georgia commissioned a study to look at the impact of its pre-k program.

According to the AJC:

A first-of-its kind study of Georgia pre-kindergarten program is nearly complete, and early reports indicate it shows largely good news about the program that has enrolled about 1.2 million youngsters in 20 years.

The study, which cost $1.5 million in lottery dollars, not tax dollars, was launched at the request of lawmakers two years ago amid dire predictions about the long-term viability of the lottery-funded pre-k and HOPE scholarship programs, arguably the state’s two most popular initiatives.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina’s Frank Porter Graham Child …

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Does the school building itself play a role in student achievement?

Does a student's physical environment impact achievement? A British study suggests it does, making me wonder about the impact of attending school in trailers, as many metro Atlanta students do. (AJC Photo.)

Does a student's physical environment impact achievement? A British study suggests it does, making me wonder about the impact of attending school in trailers, as many metro Atlanta students do. (AJC Photo.)

The current debate in American education is how much a teacher influences a child’s success in school. We are about to see whether that impact can be quantified in a grand national experiment with value-added measures.

But yet to be understood or even much considered is the role, if any, that the school building itself plays in student success. A new study out of Britain suggests that the classroom environment — defined as classroom orientation, natural light and noise, temperature and air quality,  color usage, organization flexibility of space and storage facilities  — can affect a child’s academic growth by as much as 25 percent in a year.

Schools in fast-growing metro Atlanta have spent a lot of time reassuring parents that their children don’t suffer from …

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