Miscellaneous

Bundlr - District considers having students bring own tech devices - Daily Pilot

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 12:31
  • District considers having students bring own tech devices - Daily Pilot dailypilot.com · clipped by Doug Levin Clip (0) Like (0)

    The Newport-Mesa Unified School District wants to have more students bring in their own personal technology, such as iPads and Chromebooks, to enhance their classroom experience.

    The goal of Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is to have classrooms "keep up with the demands of the 21st century" and "replicate a tech-rich environment that's already in the world," the district's director of education technology, Jenith Mishne, told the school board at its meeting Tuesday.

    Trustees discussed the feasibility of expanding the pilot program, which had been tested in classrooms at Eastbluff, Lincoln and Wilson elementary schools.

    A report by Mishne and Asim Babovic, the district's administrative director of information technology, said one of the challenges that the district might encounter is not

    having a "parent-financed" device for each student in the classroom.

    Mishne said that during the pilot period, Eastbluff and Lincoln were able to achieve that goal but Wilson could not. Half of the participating Wilson students did not have their own devices and were forced to share. She said the teacher adapted by creating group projects.

    "We need to think about equity and ensuring that all children have to opportunity of using a device," board President Martha Fluor said. "This is a chance to truly engage kids in active learning."

    The report also noted the need for participating schools to have the proper wireless connection in the classrooms. Mishne and Bobavic are in the process of discussing wireless options with Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications.

    Moving forward, the educational technology department plans to assess which teachers are interested in participating in BYOD and survey parents to measure their interest as well.

    They said they will also develop rules for the appropriate use of the devices in schools and discuss this policy with the board.

    "It will be a slow-rolling process," Fluor said. "It is exciting for us to see this professional development being offered to our schools. The opportunities for students will be limitless."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Adjunct positions swell in U.S. higher ed job postings | Education Dive

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 12:30
Education Dive Adjunct positions swell in U.S. higher ed job postings By | May 27, 2015 Dive Brief:
  • The number of higher ed job postings for adjuncts ballooned 37% in the past year with full-time faculty positions growing barely 3%, according to a new report from HigherEdJobs.
  • The company, which hosts a career site for higher education job postings, also reported the number of actual jobs in higher education was down .5%, or 8,600 jobs.
  • More job postings but fewer jobs could mean an increase in employee turnover that colleges and universities aren’t able to fill quickly enough to keep the job count stable, according to HigherEdJobs.
Dive Insight:

Last year, HigherEdJobs posted more than 159,000 positions to its career website. Its jobs data is based on a group of 890 schools that have subscribed to the company’s unlimited posting service for at least four years. When it comes to the student population, the National Clearinghouse recently released new data showing the number of students at community colleges is down slightly, due in large part to the improving economy. According to HigherEdJobs, community colleges saw the greatest drop in faculty and staff positions, losing 3.8% of its workforce or 2,700 jobs. The population of both groups at four-year nonprofits remained relatively stable.

Recommended Reading

HigherEdJobs: Employment in higher education declines in Q1 2015; ads for part-time positions outpace full-time job postings

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Developer Claims Game Can Ease Test Axiety | Games and Learning

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 12:15
Games and Learning

Through coverage of the market, research and up-to-date analysis, Games and Learning reports on the opportunities and challenges facing those seeking to unlock the educational power of games. more »

Sections Update Developer Claims Game Can Ease Test Axiety Class Compete CEO claims math games gets nervous kids comfy with Common Core Game Development, Learning Research

Rahul Mahna stood peering up at the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro and thinking about sixth grade.

Class Compete Uses a math-fueled race game to help kids tackle both math skills and, its supporters hope, test anxiety.

He was afraid. So were several of his fellow climbers, many of them amateurs, who were trying to summon the will to finish the nearly 20,000-foot summit to the top of the highest mountain in Africa.

Some of them had already decided to stay behind at base camp. The altitude sickness, the oppressive cold — it was too much.

As Mahna grappled with his own anxiety about the climb, his mind suddenly snapped back to his childhood. He becomes acutely aware how anxiety has affected other parts of his life, too, particularly in school.

“During tests, my math teacher would say, ‘You’ve got to calm down.’ I felt like I never got the grades I deserved because I got so anxious. It’s something I’ve carried with me my entire career,” Mahna recalled.

Mahna made his way to the top of the mountain, and came down with an idea: an educational game that would help students deal with anxiety — specifically, test anxiety.

The research is complicated and varies depending on the educational environment, circumstance, and the child, but nearly 30 years of academic studies shows that a roughly a third of grade school students experience moderate to high levels of test anxiety. According to the American Test Anxieties Associates, students with test anxiety score 12 points — or half a letter grade — lower than classmates who report low levels of anxiety.

Students often say they experience growing feelings of dread in the 10 minutes or so leading up to the actual test, and overall feelings of powerlessness which can lead to a “why bother” attitude. They give up before they even put pencil to page.

Mahna, founder and CEO of Class Compete, decided to draw upon his love of old-school Atari games and develop a game that would give students a fun opportunity to work on time, pressure and anxiety management skills through a platform that would also spit out assessment tools aligned with Common Core standards for teachers.

The result of that angst, ambition and two years of design is Class Compete, a 3D gaming platform that Mahna says can significantly reduce test anxiety among K-12 students: a bold claim.

“Nobody else is doing this,” said Scott Garrigan, professor of Instructional Technology at Lehigh University’s College of Education. “There really is a demonstrable problem with test anxiety. Nobody seems to be addressing that.”

Garrigan has studied and written about the educational potential of games since the early 1980s. He also led the review team that analyzed the data from Mahna’s pilot program conducted in four different schools — three in New Jersey and one in India — throughout 2014.

“Nothing is proven” explained Garrigan, “but it’s a fascinating connection, and it’s a reasonable one conceptually. It’s clear [students] who went through the game know the math and the game better.”

But claims that the game reduces anxiety? That claim, Garrigan admitted, “is a more conceptual one. This is an early and interesting attempt to bring some of the benefits and time constraints of gaming and address the issue of text anxiety.”

According to Garrigan, kids who connect the internal stress they experience while successfully solving math problems with a customizable, coin-collecting racing character might carry that confidence with them on test day.

Mahna acknowledged the ability to know whether that confidence is carrying into the test is difficult to quantify.

We can’t strap a kid to a device and measure their blood pressure. What we’re reviewing is the effort of time management. We developed some algorithms to measure not just percentage, but how they performed with time as well.
— Rahul Mahna, CEO, Class Compete

The platform boasts over 250 common-core-certified math challenges, with plans to expand to other subjects, like literacy.

Versions for teachers and parents allow them to track student performance and aligns with the Common Core.

Class Compete also includes three companion apps: one for students, teachers and parents. The student app provides access to the game, and both teacher and parent apps are meant to help guide and track a student’s progress within the game.

Mahna used a racing environment during his pilot-program phase. Students controlled their colorful avatar straight ahead through a concrete-paved urban corridor and over wooden obstacles while highrise-buildings blurred past in the periphery.

If a student selects the correct answer to a math problem, the avatar gets a sudden boost of speed, propelling them past their fellow competitors, which are either computer controlled or, Mahna hopes, other students from the same classroom.

Students can use coins unlocked during races to purchase a few in-game custom upgrades, like crazy hair colors, clothing or cool animations, like air guitar moves or the infamous “rock ‘n roll horns.”

“Our lead game designer wanted a really robust store. Kids wanted to make their avatars tougher, with scars and tattoos. Students love competition.”

Joan Sullivan has taught in New Jersey’s School of Saint Elizabeth for 11 years and facilitated Class Compete’s pilot program among her 4th-grade class.

I was nervous about [using Class Compete] in class, because once kids start playing a game they don’t want to stop. You don’t want them to go home and say to their parents, ‘We played video games all day.’ That could be a train-wreck.
— Joan Sullivan, teacher at School of Saint Elizabeth

But Sullivan was very much intrigued by Mahna’s pitch that his game could help student with math. She didn’t really have much in the way of digital tools in the classroom, and she liked the idea of her students being involved in Mahna’s “personal dream.”

Still, there were logistical challenges — finding enough iPads for all of her students as well as watching the clock to make sure none of them played too long — coupled with the fact none of Sullivan’s 15 students really struggled with test anxiety.

“It’s really unfortunate for children,” Sullivan said. “I’ve certainly heard horror stories where kids are balling their eyes out and losing it when they have to take a test. But I haven’t seen that in my class.”

But overall, Sullivan says it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience for her class. “I couldn’t have been more thrilled,” she said.

Sullivan said one of her students recently told her how she felt Class Complete improved her ability to understand math questions.

She has the ability to read a problem more accurately when she’s in a timed scenario. She became a better reader when she was forced to read quickly.

Of course, a teacher needs more than anecdotes.

For Sullivan, the ability to pull quantified information directly from the platform is a huge asset, both in convenience and tangible evidence of a student’s progress in a specific mathematical concept over time.

“As an educator, that’s what we really lack,” explains Sullivan. “You can’t put a number on everything that we do. You can’t always just say, ‘Jonny needs help reading. Look at these numbers.’ Once a year, during test time, is often the only time you get numbers.”

Even though she’s not necessarily a gamer, Sullivan’s enthusiasm for Mahna’s baby isn’t surprising. About 71 percent of teachers feel digital games are highly effective in helping their students learn math, according to a recent national survey by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

 

Mahna and his team developed the racing environment, and planned future expansions with the Unity engine. “Unity is an amazing platform. It gives us tremendous flexibility, and the ability to create captivating environments, and allows us to offer our product on multiple platforms,” Mahna said.

This means Class Compete is currently available on iOS (though not on phones), Android, Kindle Fire, and any computer browser, but not Google Chromebooks. Near the end of 2013, Unity dropped Chromebook support rather suddenly near the end of 2013, and it’s the lack of cross integration is issue Mahna and his crew are currently trying to solve.

As 2014 came to a close, Google Chromebooks made up nearly 40 percent of the K-12 device market, compared to 26 percent for iPads.

“I wanted to try and find a creative way to build Class Complete. I’m self-funded, and I haven’t taken any outside investment,” Mahna said, who estimates his personal investment in the gaming platform at “somewhere in the triple digits.”

During the development stage of Class Compete, Mahna said he spent a lot of time with kids, hoping to glean as much as possible from their direct feedback. He want through eight prototypes before settling on the current version. “I originally hired a lot of consultants, but the real experts are the kids,” Mahna said, who also employs a team of eight designers, marketers and web developers.

Looking to young students as models and inspiration for game design is a sentiment shared by others in the education games industry, too. During last month’s Games for Learning Summit at New York University, Ken Weber, executive director for Zynga.com — a non-profit social games organization with over 300 million monthly active suers — said that kids with experience using a gaming concept, like coding for example, give excellent feedback. The kids become the “makers.”

Even though there’s still a lot of work to be done in order to further connect the dots between gaming and test anxiety, Lehigh University’s Garrigan believe Mahna’s on the right track.

“We seem to be barreling down the path of high-stress testing environments. Too bad if you’re a kid.”

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Christopher B. Allen Christopher B. Allen is a contributing editor for gamesandlearning.org, as well as a radio producer and anchor for Montana Public Radio. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Montana, and won 1st place in the 2014 National Hearst Journalism Awards for radio broadcast. Chris is also an Air Force veteran.

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Gamesandlearning.org is a project of the Games and Learning Publishing Council and produced by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Categories: Miscellaneous

Ode to My Principal | Mrs. Megan Morgan

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 12:15
Mrs. Megan Morgan Leading by following Menu Widgets Search Search for: Recent Posts Recent Comments megan morgan on Day 23: Am I normal? Lisa on Day 23: Am I normal? Ode to My Principal… on Missteps and what do to n… Sue Dunlop on Day 30: #Aprilblogaday Re… megan morgan on Day 23: Am I normal? Archives Categories Meta Search for: Ode to My Principal

This year I was lucky enough to cut my teeth with the best principal I have ever worked with.  Unfortunately for me but luckily for my district, TJ will be the Director of Federal Programs in my district next school year.  As we were talking this year about my blog, he said his blog would the Bullet List.  In honor of my principal, TJ Schneckloth, I wrote what I consider the truisms he modeled for me this year.

Relationships are key.  

  • As I pulled into town, he sent me a text to see if I needed help the next day to empty the moving truck or if I needed to borrow his truck.
  • He sits at his table in the office so his back is at the door when he is having a meeting. It communicates that the person he is with is the most important person in the world.
  • He talks to everyone.  He gives everyone his full attention.
  • His favorite interview question is: What does the following quote mean to you and how does it relate to teaching? “When all else fails…the relationship prevails.”
  • He introduces himself to every new student and parent when they register and also to every new guest teacher.

When working with others, remember to have a heart of a coach.

  • As a first year SAM, I make mistakes.  He has always been respectful.  Read about one example here.
  • As a first year, he also used a gradual release model to help me become the SAM he needed me to be.  I am glad we went slow because now I am a confident that my decisions will reflect his vision for our school.
  • He also gives high quality feedback.  I love that when I receive feedback from him because I know my next steps.
  • This year we implement teacher leaders on my campus.  It went smoothly because he preached, modeled and taught about having a heart of a coach.
  • I watched as he had difficult talks with parents about the next steps for their student.  They respected his vision because the parents knew that TJ wanted what was best for their kids.

When in doubt read and surround yourself with books.

  • The first time we met in person, he handed me a book and told me to read it.  He explained that this is part of his philosophy for reading education.  This moment made the week of unpacking/moving worth it.
  • He always has a stack of books to the side of his desk.  Books fill his cabinets.  His current favorites are on his counter.
  • He creates book study groups for different groups and shares his reading with others.
  • He invites people to our school to share the love of books with the students.  He reads to our students and models good reading habits.

Words cannot do justice to role my principal has played in my professional growth.  I am profoundly impacted by this year.  As I look forward, I know that I will take these experiences with me and also the World’s best interview question.  So Thank You TJ!  I can’t wait to see the impact you will make next year.

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    Categories: Miscellaneous

    Education Week

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 12:15
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  • School Librarians Push for More 'Maker Spaces' Jacob Bell Tue May 12 17:33:17 CEST 2015 Share Sarah Cramer, a librarian in training, consults with Jay Wambere, a 5th grade student, about his LittleBits electronic music composition at Mitchell Elementary School in Ann Arbor, Mich. The schools i participating in the Michigan Makers program, a University of Michigan initiative that supports the use of maker spaces in schools.
    -Daryl Marshke/University of Michigan School of Information

    Angela Rosheim, a library media specialist, faced a problem: Her elementary school students were requesting materials during genius hour—a time in which teachers provide resources for students to study topics of personal interest—that the school didn't have.

    "They wanted to learn robotics, they wanted to learn to create apps," said Ms. Rosheim, who has worked at Lewis and Clark Elementary School in Liberty, Mo., for more than 20 years.

    In response to her students' needs, she applied for and received an $8,000 grant from the Liberty school district to create a "maker space" in the school's library. The grant, along with donations and her budget, allowed Ms. Rosheim to stock the space with craft supplies, sewing machines, snap circuits, Lego sets, and a 3-D printer.

    Ms. Rosheim's move in that direction over the past year and a half reflects an increasing push by school librarians to incorporate maker spaces in their libraries. It is part of a larger trend, called the "maker movement," which promotes education through tinkering and creating.

    "When I go to speak to a group of librarians at a conference, it's standing-room-only to talk about maker spaces," said Kristin Fontichiaro, a clinical assistant professor in the school of information at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a faculty coordinator for the Michigan Makers maker-space project, an after-school program that helps students develop technology skills by tinkering with and creating things. "There is a real hunger; there is a sense that there's something about this that's powerful for them."An Evolution

    The term "maker space," Ms. Fontichiaro said, has no single definition. The spaces can be high-tech, low-tech, part of the school curriculum, or part of an after-school program. Some aren't even called maker spaces. The only central theme is that of creation and innovation.

    Facilitating student creation has been a largely overlooked but increasingly important role for school librarians, according to Leslie Preddy, the president-elect of the Chicago-based American Association of School Librarians. Along with new STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics—and inquiry-based movements in education, this role has prompted more school librarians to push for maker spaces.

    While the number of makerspaces popping up in schools is difficult to estimate, a three-part study from the Maker Education Initiative, an Oakland, Calif.-based advocacy and research organization, has identified at least 50 maker spaces in the United States, with 20 of them located in schools. The organization also found one in South Korea. The maker spaces reported a combined 1.8 million participants in the past year.

    "It's the next evolutionary step in school libraries," said Ms. Preddy, who also serves as a library media specialist at Perry Meridian Middle School in Indianapolis. "We couldn't be the school library you grew up in and meet the needs of the kids today."Evaluating Impact

    Those modern needs revolve, at least partly, around newly adopted state tests and standards such as the Common Core State Standards or the Next Generation Science Standards.

    Some researchers are conducting large-scale studies that examine the academic benefits of maker spaces. Overall, however, the scientific community hasn't come to a consensus about how maker spaces serve as effective learning environments, according to Lee Martin, an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, whose research deals with how youths learn from making experiences.

    "In terms of outcomes, I haven't seen a study that's really looking at those kinds of specific, quantitative, measurable outcomes … that you really generalize and say, 'Look, making is effective for x, y, and z,' " Mr. Martin said.

    The lack of data around maker spaces can present problems for administrators and librarians when justifying the need for the spaces in their schools or when determining the scope of their maker-space projects.

    "Formal schools—public schools specifically—have a little bit less flexibility, because they still need to make sure students are prepared to take standardized tests and meet the goals and the standards related to a specific subject area," said Stephanie Chang, the director of programs at the Maker Education Initiative.

    More commonly, researchers are gathering data on individual or anecdotal levels. At those levels, researchers, librarians, and other maker-space coordinators have found students developing the skills that newly adopted standards require, such as problem-solving and critical thinking.

    In the Maker Education Initiative survey, for example, about half the surveyed representatives of maker spaces reported alignment with Next Generation Science Standards, and about 40 percent reported alignment with the common standards. What's more, about 50 percent reported fostering skills such as problem identification, effective communication of ideas, and evaluation and refinement of creative ideas.

    "For a lot of them to report back that they felt they were developing these sorts of skills in kids, despite their specific equipment or the specific activities that they do, was really, really nice to see," said Ms. Chang, who also worked on the survey.

    In addition to concerns about alignment to state standards and tests, Ms. Chang and others have said that the perception that maker spaces must be expensive is another obstacle facing their implementation in schools.

    "People think, 'Oh, I need a 3-D printer that's $2,300. I can't afford that,' " said Ms. Fontichiaro of the University of Michigan. "You can afford a junk box. You can afford a ream of paper. You can afford a white board that you can make out of [materials] from the home-improvement store."For Ms. Rosheim, the bulk of her $8,000 grant was spent on storage needs, high-tech materials ranging from $50 to $400, and organization of those materials. The space's most expensive item—the 3-D printer—came as a donation from the school's PTA.

    Rather than money, time limits are the biggest challenge affecting Ms. Rosheim's maker space, she said, as students have just one or two times a week to work on projects that can take more than four weeks to complete.Student-Centered Shift

    The changes Ms. Rosheim made to her curriculum and school, while a part of the Maker Movement, are also part of another trend: a nearly 30-year shift from libraries being more facility- and collection-centered to being primarily student-centered.

    That shift, according to Deb Levitov, the managing editor of School Libraries Monthly, culminated in 2009 with the release of guidelines from the AASL stating that being a teacher is the primary role of a school librarian.

    The focus, then, of school librarians is to meet the instructional, emotional, and cultural needs of faculty and students, according to Ms. Preddy.

    "The maker space is important in a sense that it helps kids try things out, try things on … maybe not even for a career, but just for a personal interest or a hobby or a talent or a strength they had that, without the tools and resources in the maker space, they would have never been able to sample," Ms. Preddy said.

    Coverage of "deeper learning" that will prepare students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world is ported in part by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, at www.hewlett.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.

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    Categories: Miscellaneous

    With Common Core tests, a lot at stake for first-year principal

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 11:00

    This story is the third in a yearlong series following Krystal Hardy, a first-year principal trying to bring order and improve test scores at a struggling New Orleans charter school. The project is a partnership between The Christian Science Monitor and The Hechinger Report. NEW ORLEANS — A week before their final round of Common […]

    The post With Common Core tests, a lot at stake for first-year principal appeared first on The Hechinger Report.

    Categories: Miscellaneous

    Hitting a little too close to home

    Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 11:00


    Toby Morris, The Wireless, May 28, 2015

    This is why education alone does not repair social and economic inequality. The comments below the cartoon are also worth reading. See also this item, from Buzzfeed. And this.

    [Link] [Comment]
    Categories: Miscellaneous

    The OU is closing doors

    Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 11:00


    Unattributed, Times Higher Education, May 28, 2015

    According to this letter in the Times Higher Education supplement, the Open University is closing regional offices in places like Leeds, Gateshead, Manchester, Oxford, Bristol, Birmingham and Nottingham. The author writes, "It seems to be odd timing when the political direction is to devolve power to English cities, with the university in an enviable position to take advantage of the possibilities that such devolution could bring." But the model of one central office with a bunch of branch offices isn't the same as decentralized. So what would a proper model look like? Each city and town with its own office, locally managed, with access provided to a variety of institutions, including OU, but also any other institution. Back in the 90s I called this 'the Triad Model' (I did not coin the term, but it fits perfectly).

    [Link] [Comment]
    Categories: Miscellaneous

    Why most first-generation college students will attend ‘second-tier’ schools

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 10:00

    I arrived on the campus of a small New England College at the start of orientation in August 2006 to serve as its eighth president. More than 60 percent of the students at our non-elite institution were the first in their families to attend a four-year college; approximately 40 percent were eligible for Pell grants. […]

    The post Why most first-generation college students will attend ‘second-tier’ schools appeared first on The Hechinger Report.

    Categories: Miscellaneous

    Why are so many states replacing Common Core with carbon copies?

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 10:00

    Getting a fresh set of standards should be easy in a state where Common Core is opposed 39 percent to 51 percent, right? Louisiana is poised to join the roster of states putting the Common Core standards under review. But in states that have scuttled the standards, namely South Carolina and Indiana, the replacement standards […]

    The post Why are so many states replacing Common Core with carbon copies? appeared first on The Hechinger Report.

    Categories: Miscellaneous

    FableVision Creative Educator Spotlight - Suzy Brooks — FableVision Learning

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 08:15
    Menu FableVision Creative Educator Spotlight - Suzy Brooks May 26, 2015

    For this week's teacher spotlight, we salute Suzy Brooks who has twelve years of experience teaching 4th grade at Muleen-Hall School in Falmouth, MA.  She is a big supporter of FableVision Learning and uses three of our learning tools in her classroom: Stationery Studio, Big Screen Books, and Mapping the World by Heart.  When asked how these tools impact her classroom, Suzy replied:

    "I use Stationery Studio every day as a tool for me as well as a tool for students. I share it with teachers in all of my professional development presentations, and I even have teachers ask about it when we are at the copy machine. The themes match what we are teaching in the classroom and breathe life into our finished products. The students love the artwork and have learned how to enhance their letters and reports through the use of student-created art and borders. I also love sharing the products we create as images on our classroom blog. 

    Each year my students love making their mark on Dot Day. We use Big Screen Books to share The Dot as a class and talk about how we can each make a difference in the world. Students create their own dots to hang in the classroom for the whole year as a reminder of their power to help others."

    Thanks Suzy for your creativity, hard work and determination!

    ***If you'd like to nominate someone for the FableVision Creative Educator Spotlight, click here and complete your submission electronically.

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    Education Week

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 08:00
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  • Researchers: Measures of Traits Like 'Grit' Should Not Be Used for Accountability Evie Blad Tue May 12 17:38:50 CEST 2015 Share

    The debate over how to refer to so-called "noncognitive" student traits like self-control, grit, and gratitude is crowding out a more important conversation about how those traits should be measured and how to responsibly use the resulting data, two pioneering researchers in the field say.

    Angela Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania professor known for her research on grit, and David Yeager, a University of Texas researcher who has done extensive work in the field of growth mindsets, detailed their concerns in an essay in published today in Educational Researcher.


    Because there are potential flaws in every existing measurement tool used to track the effectiveness of a growing number of efforts to build non-cognitive traits—known by names like social-emotional learning, character development, and 21st-century skills—such evaluations should not be used for accountability measures like school-to-school comparisons or teacher evaluations, the essay says.

    "We share this more expansive view of student competence and well-being, but we also believe that enthusiasm for these factors should be tempered with appreciation for the many limitations of currently available measures," it says.

    When tracking interventions designed to boost desirable nonacademic traits and skills in students, "perfectly unbiased, unfakeable, and error-free measures are an ideal, not a reality," the essay concludes. "Instead, researchers and practitioners have at their disposal an array of measures that have distinct advantages and limitations."

    There's considerable debate over what to call these traits, qualities, and skills. In their essay, Duckworth and Yeager use the term "personal qualities" as shorthand for the rather wordy "positive personal qualities other than cognitive ability that lead to student success."

    As a growing body of research demonstrates how such qualities can relate to student success both inside and outside the classroom, educators and policymakers are increasingly emphasizing them in schools. Varying approaches emphasize different combinations of a menu of personal and interpersonal traits like persistence, self-control, self-awareness, resilience, empathy, gratitide, and curiosity.

    But with the drive to change educational practices comes a desire to measure the effects of that change and the almost inevitable drive for accountability, and that's where things get problematic, Duckworth and Yeager say.

    Methods of Measurement

    The essay uses the example of measuring self-control to explore the advantages and weaknesses of three possible forms of measurement—self-report questionnaires, teacher-report questionnaires, and performance tasks.

    Questionnaires of both teachers and students are perhaps the most popular existing method for measuring growth of these personal qualities in students. In recent years, districts around the country have begun tracking student responses to questions about school climate, peer behavior, and personal attitudes, often cross-referencing the results with achievement data to look for trends.

    Such questionnaires have advantages: They are inexpensive and relatively easy to develop and administer.

    But they also have limitations that aren't always acknowledged, Duckworth and Yeager write. The researchers say common problems like the following may lead to inaccurate results:
    • Survey participants may interpret questions differently than researchers intended.
    • Students or teachers may be limited in their ability to answer questions about growth in internal traits, such as motivation.
    • Surveys may fail to detect smaller incremental changes.
    • Reference bias—the comparative examples respondents use to gauge personal growth or success in some areas—may lead to different results from similar respondents.
    • "Social desirability bias" may lead students to give answers they think teachers want to see to certain questions rather than answering honestly.
    • Teachers may make assumptions about students when evaluating their behavior. For example, if they've determined that Sally is a "good kid," then they might also determine that she has high levels of self-control, even if she hasn't demonstrated it.


    Performance tasks, another way of measuring personal traits, answer some of those concerns by using consistent, carefully crafted experiments to measure students' responses and changes in those responses over time. In the case of self-control, a common performance task would be infamous "marshmallow test," in which students are allowed to choose between eating a small pile of marshmallows now or an even bigger pile of marshmallows if they wait for a period fo time. The theory is that the students who delay gratification have more self-control.

    But while the tasks themselves may seem like objective measures, the conclusions researchers draw from those tasks are often subjective, Duckworth and Yeager write. For example: "Is a child who refrains from playing with toys when instructed to do so exerting autonomous self-control, or does such behavior represent compliance with adult authority?"

    Some other limitations the authors found with performance tasks include the following:
    • Created tasks may not reflect everyday life. In the case of the marshmallow test, a student seeking to resist temptation at home may cover up a bag of marshmallows with a cloth or walk away for a while to avoid eating them, which are reasonable self-control strategies, the essay says.
    • Other competencies, like hand-eye coordination, may affect a student's performance on an unrelated task.
    • The results of certain tasks may be a less accurate over time as students grow accustomed to them, making it difficult to measure and track growth of certain traits.
    • Students may make random errors, like circling incorrect answers, when completing tasks.


    So What?

    Duckworth and Yeager aren't suggesting that researchers and educators abandon efforts to measure students' social, emotional, and character-based traits. Rather, they should exercise caution should be used in selecting a form of measurement and recognizing its limitations, the researchers write.

    Mostly importantly, because of those limitations, special caution should be exercised in determining how the resulting data is used, the essay says. The problems posed by reference bias in questionnaires, for example, mean that their results should not be used to compare schools or classrooms for accountability purposes, the authors write.

    "Current data and theory suggest schools that promote personal qualities most ably—and raise the standards by which students and teachers at that school make comparative judgments—may show the lowest scores and be punished, whereas schools that are least effective may receive the highest scores and be rewarded for ineffectiveness," the essay says.


    In other words, students in schools that do a good job emphasizing these skills may hold themselves to a higher standard, giving themselves lower scores on self-questionnaires.

    Also problematic is the practice of using measurements of noncognitive traits to diagnose or assess the needs of individual students, it says. That's because existing measures aren't nuanced enough to measure progress on an individual level.

    "Without highly reliable, multimethod, multiinformant measurement batteries whose validity has been demonstrated for diagnosis, it will be difficult for a practitioner to justify the individual diagnosis of children's personal qualities, such as self-control, grit, or growth mind-set," the essay says.

    The authors also urge refinement of measurement methods so that educators can gather and track more reliable data on programs designed to build these traits, regardless of what schools choose to call them.

    "Given the advantages, limitations, and medium-term potential of such measures, our hope is that the broader educational community proceeds forward with both alacrity and caution, and with equal parts optimism and humility," Duckworth and Yeager wrote.

    Related:

    New Character Report Cards Rate Students on 'Grit'
    California's CORE Districts Have Committed to Including Social-Emotional Factors in Accountability System

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    Download the New Twitter-Tastic Teacher's Guide!

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:46
    Select Page Download the New Twitter-Tastic Teacher’s Guide! Introducing a special new FREE guide from the Global Digital Citizen Foundation—our amazing Twitter-Tastic Teacher’s Guide!

    Ever since 2006 when everyone’s favourite little blue bird said hello to the social media world, Twitter has proven itself to be a tried-and-true digital teaching and learning platform. It’s a versatile and engaging tool for teachers and students all across the world.

    And now you can bring the power of Twitter into your classroom, with the help of the amazing Twitter-Tastic Teacher’s Guide, a new fun FREE guide from your friends at the Global Digital Citizen Foundation!

    What’s Inside the Guide?

    In this guide, you’ll discover 30 Twitterrific classroom activities to explore with your students. The activities include things like:

    • Following news feeds and blogs for class projects
    • Role-playing and quizzing as characters from fiction and history
    • Building a brand with Twitter and using it as a mini-portfolio tool
    • Scavenger hunts, art galleries, and meme-tracking
    • Class management tips and strategies, and more!

    Each page is packed with suggestions, tips, and screenshots for you to visualize how best to use Twitter in your own classroom.

    What About Teachers? Don’t We Get to Play, Too?

    You bet you do! Besides all the fun you’ll have doing the cool classroom activities with your students, we’ve included tips and resources for expanding your PLN and connecting with other dedicated professional like yourselves, in your own fields of interest. There’s also a list of some of the best education hashtags in use today for you to follow, explore, and connect with!

    Download the Twitter-Tastic Teacher’s Guide Today!

    We designed this guide for you, because we believe learning is meant to be a fun-filled journey. And Twitter makes learning just like that. Social media tools like Twitter really do have a place in the modern classroom, and this fun new guide gives you everything you need to get rolling.

    So enjoy the many different faces of Twitter in your classroom—download your free copy of the Twitter-Tastic Teacher’s Guide today! You can grab it from our Resources page, or at the link below. Happy Tweeting!






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    Categories: Miscellaneous

    No More Word Lists: Teaching Vocabulary in Context Registration

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:15

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    No More Word Lists: Teaching Vocabulary in Context This event takes place on Thursday, June 4, 3 to 4 p.m. ET.

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    Rather than introducing vocabulary through word lists and sentence writing, some literacy experts are now saying the best way to teach new words is by teaching students about the world. By embedding vocabulary instruction in social studies and science units, and by having students read multiple texts about a single topic (for instance, coral reefs or the Great Depression), students may ultimately acquire more academic words.

    In this webinar, literacy researchers Gina Cervetti and Tanya Wright will discuss their findings on vocabulary acquisition in the content areas, and special education teacher Jodie Westmont will explain how she uses “text sets” developed around a single topic to teach her students new words.

    Guests:

    Gina Cervetti, assistant professor of literacy, language, and culture, University of Michigan's school of education

    Tanya Wright, assistant professor of language and literacy, Michigan State University's college of education

    Jodie Westmont, special education teacher, Washoe County school district, Reno, Nev.

    Moderator:

    Liana Heitin, assistant editor, Education Week Underwriting for the content of this webinar has been provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. • Education Week maintains sole editorial control over the selection of the guests and content for this virtual event. • References to products or services in the course of this webinar do not constitute endorsements by Education Week or Editorial Projects in Education. • Closed-captioning is available for this event. On the date of the event, you can log in as early as 15 minutes before the start of the webinar. Open the “Closed-Captioning” link from the “handouts folder” (located at the bottom of the console) to access Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART). A transcript will also be available for download from the handouts folder within three business days after the event. Registration is FREE but is also required to attend this event. Take a moment to register now. If you have already registered for this event, click here to go to the login page. First Name Last Name How are you connected to education? (select) District Superintendent, Deputy/Asst. Superintendent District Leadership - Technology District Leadership - Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, PD District Leadership - Business, Communications, HR District Personnel - Other (Admin., Specialist, etc.) School-based Leadership (Principal, Asst. Principal) Teacher - Early Childhood/Elementary Teacher - Middle School Teacher - High School School-based Technology Coordinator School-based Personnel - Other (Admin., Specialist, etc.) Library Personnel/Media Specialist University or College Faculty/Administration Federal Government Personnel State Government Personnel Education Product/Service Provider (including Consultants) Investment Community Association/Advocacy Organization Philanthropy Education Research/Analysis Media Education Services Agency School Board Member Student Parent/Community Member Position/Title Organization/Company Email Street address line 1 Street address line 2 City State/Province (select) Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming ------------- Alberta British Columbia Manitoba New Brunswick Newfoundland Northwest Territories Nunavut Nova Scotia Ontario Prince Edward Island Quebec Saskatchewan Yukon ------------- Other ZIP Code Phone Submit a Question Your e-mail address may be used to communicate with you about your registration, related products and services, and offers sent to you directly from sponsors. Use of your personal information is otherwise protected according to our privacy policy.

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    Hillary Clinton Found at the Rotten Center of the Common Core National Standards - Eagle Forum

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:15
    Menu ↓ Eagle Forum leading the pro-family movement since 1972 Home Menu ↓ Skip to primary content Skip to secondary content Loading Follow: Hillary Clinton Found at the Rotten Center of the Common Core National Standards

    Back to May 2015 Ed Reporter

    Hillary Clinton Found at the Rotten Center
    of the Common Core National Standards

    Originally published by the Education Action Group Foundation news site, EAGNews.org, on April 8, 2015. Reprinted with permission. The Education Action Group Foundation believes the one-size-fits-all, assembly line government school system requires serious reform.

    by Bob Kellogg

    A veteran educator says parents can thank Hillary Clinton for the Common Core national standards that have been thrust upon schools across the country.

    Even though most people probably believe that Common Core was developed during President Barack Obama’s term in office, the foundation of the initiative goes all the way back to the 1980s, reports veteran educator and now-commentator Donna Garner.

    Garner tells EAGnews that back then Hillary Clinton worked with other left-leaning education reformers such as Marc Tucker of the National Committee on Education and the Economy (NCEE), Ira Magaziner, and then-Gov. Mario Cuomo, known for his fiery, liberal speeches.

    The ‘What Is Common Core’ website reports that Tucker “has … openly worked for decades to strengthen the role of the state education agencies in education governance at the expense of local control” and claims that “the United States will have to largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control.”

    In 1992, Tucker wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton outlining his vision of a building a pipeline from education to the workforce. (It is known as the “Dear Hillary letter.”)

    Magaziner has a long association with the Clintons. In addition to working with Hillary on radical education reform, he worked with her on the failed Task Force to Reform Health Care during the Clinton Administration, served as senior policy advisor for President Clinton and, as of today, serves in a leadership capacity for two of the Bill, Hillary, & Chelsea Clinton Foundation’s international development initiatives.

    In the 1980s, Hillary (et al.) laid the groundwork for a School-to-Work plan, better known by the term “cradle-to-grave,” according to Garner. The idea was to create a three-legged stool of education, labor, and healthcare whereby the government would direct people’s lives from birth until they die.

    Garner, who began teaching in the early ’60s in Texas, says all were to be joined together under one banner with government healthcare, school healthcare clinics providing abortions and contraceptives, classrooms emphasizing workforce development skills instead of academic knowledge, and the Department of Labor directing students into a career pathway at a very early age.

    Garner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan and re-appointed by President George H. W. Bush to serve on the National Commission on Migrant Education, says the idea was “that students and everybody else would be tracked into the vocation that the government at the time thought was important. And it didn’t have anything to do with students’ natural desires or what their parents wanted them to do or what the students’ talents were. It all had to do with providing ‘worker bees’ for the government.”

    And as insidious as the plan sounds, it has come to be reality under the Common Core national standards initiative, she says.

    She further states the goal was to have about 10% of the population be well educated and then the other 90% would be trained to function within factories and companies.

    Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project tells EAGnews:

    When it was called School-to-Work 20 years ago, it was a fad for awhile and then it fell apart. And now it’s a fad again. But this time they are really focusing on cementing this through Common Core, using federal money because the people who are influential in the progressive ed world are people … like Marc Tucker … who has been an advocate of all of this forever. He thinks the schools should just be part of one, vast human development resource system and he’s been arguing that for decades.

    Now known as Student Learning Plans (SLPs), sixth graders in a growing number of states, along with their parents and a school counselor, develop career paths for the coming six years until the students are graduated. Robbins says this is all connected to the Common Core national standards initiative, which has never been an education model but is instead a workforce development model. It’s not meant to produce many educated citizens.

    Prior to “cradle-to-grave,” schools focused on academic-based content called Type #1. That involved memorization and drills comprised of basic education fundamentals.

    Garner says once that was accomplished, students were enabled to do higher level reasoning. A 1991 report, The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, SCANS, however, helped to change the direction of the nation’s schools from knowledge-based academic content (Type #1) into an education philosophy where the emphasis is on emotions, opinions, and beliefs with an emphasis on workplace competencies (Type #2).

    According to Garner, the standards movement popped up all over the country. States appointed writing teams to rewrite all K-12 courses, and the new standards required students “to be able to know and be able to do.”

    She says, “We are living the plan that Hillary and her folks, her team, instigated back in the early ’80s.”

    The plan was delayed when George W. Bush was elected to office. But with Obama, another zealous Type #2 advocate, Garner says it’s the perfect storm “that leads into relativism, into political correctness, multiculturalism, environmental extremism, and then into the social justice agenda under Obama, which glorifies the LGBT community.”

    Garner believes we have Hillary Clinton (et al.) to thank for the mess our country’s schools are in today. It is because of her Type #2 philosophy of education as birthed by the NCEE that we now have the Common Core Standards Initiative pouring into our nation’s schools, capturing the College Board and its products (AP, SAT, PSAT), and making billions of dollars in profits for Bill Gates, Pearson, Jeb Bush, and others. Even the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is being rewritten to align with Common Core, she reports.

    Parents need to lay the blame for Common Core right at Hillary’s feet, she says. The seeds for Common Core began to sprout under Bill Clinton’s administration thanks to Hillary and her associates. Under Obama, these Common Core seedlings have grown into a complete takeover of our nation’s school system by the federal government.

    According to Garner, “We have Hillary to blame for a nation of adult non-readers who get most of their news from their social media gadgets; and it is for that reason that I have used my institutional memory to try to educate those people who have no knowledge of Hillary Clinton. If she is to be a serious candidate for the Presidency, we must warn the public.”

    Bob Kellogg is a freelance journalist whose work regularly appears at OneNewsNow.com.

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    Decolonizing Critical Participation and Writing: A Year of Open Access Publishing on the Margins

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00

    We have an immense amount of power, if we reach out and harness it. This is not just some new age abstraction. To be specific: anyone can create a website,...

    The post Decolonizing Critical Participation and Writing: A Year of Open Access Publishing on the Margins appeared first on Hybrid Pedagogy.

    Categories: Miscellaneous

    Peer to Peer Learning: Benefits, Best Practices and Tools [3038] | BAM! Radio Network

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 04:15

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    Peer to Peer Learning: Benefits, Best Practices and Tools

    Rae Pica with Suzie Boss, Shelly Sanchez Terrell, David Truss

    As collaboration becomes more important in the real world, peer to peer learning is gaining momentum.  In this segment we look at the benefits, the tools and best practices for peer to pear learning.

    Follow:  @suzieboss  @ShellTerrell  @datruss @bodymindchild @bamradionetwork 

    #edchat #teaching #edreform #AskingWhatIf Play Episode Subscribe on iTunes Takeaways Category Sponsors Follow Us 22052 Followers Subscribe RSS Feeds 2945 Likes 1,000,000+ Downloads My BAM Radio Play List To add your favorite episodes to your personal playlist, LOG IN then click the "SAVE" button on each episode. + Add New List: ________ My Play List _______

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    Categories: Miscellaneous

    STEAM

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 04:15
    Let's Connect!     STEAM / STEM for Struggling Students It isn’t that they cannot see the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem. - GK Chesterton

    IF YOU ENJOYED THESE FINDS, YOU MAY WANT TO GET YOUR COPY OF THE 30 GOALS FOR TEACHERS OR LEARNING TO GO, WHICH HAS DIGITAL AND MOBILE ACTIVITIES AND HANDOUTS.

    Find the slides, tips and resources for my presentation, STEAM It Up for Students! Tips Bookmarks STEAM STEM, by shellyterrell Let's Connect! Proudly powered by Weebly
    Categories: Miscellaneous

    Peer to Peer Learning: Benefits, Best Practices and Tools [3038] | BAM! Radio Network

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    Peer to Peer Learning: Benefits, Best Practices and Tools

    Rae Pica with Suzie Boss, Shelly Sanchez Terrell, David Truss

    As collaboration becomes more important in the real world, peer to peer learning is gaining momentum.  In this segment we look at the benefits, the tools and best practices for peer to pear learning.

    Follow:  @suzieboss  @ShellTerrell  @datruss @bodymindchild @bamradionetwork 

    #edchat #teaching #edreform #AskingWhatIf Play Episode Subscribe on iTunes Takeaways Category Sponsors Follow Us 22052 Followers Subscribe RSS Feeds 2945 Likes 1,000,000+ Downloads My BAM Radio Play List To add your favorite episodes to your personal playlist, LOG IN then click the "SAVE" button on each episode. + Add New List: ________ My Play List _______

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    Follow us on Twitter The BAM100 2014

    Influential voices from the BAM100 who are reforming education from the bottom up. Eric Sheninger
    Tom Whitby
    Patrick Larkin
    Steven Anderson
    Angela Maiers
    Will Richardson
    Nick Provenzano
    Erin Klein
    Lisa Nielsen
    Vicki Davis
    George Couros
    Jason Flom
    Mary Beth Hertz
    Rich Kiker
    Jessica Johnson
    Deven Black
    Shelly Sanchez 
    Lisa Dabbs
    Joyce Valenza
    Chris Lehmann

    Joe Mazza
    Kyle Pace
    Joan Young
    Patrick Riccards
    Sam Chaltain
    Shannon Miller
    David Truss
    Brian Nichols
    Peter DeWitt
    Michael Smith
    Nancy Blair
    Alec Couros
    Kevin Jarrett
    Josh Stumpenhorst
    Jerry Blumengarten
    John Spencer
    Lee Kolbert
    Sheryl Nussbaum Beach
    Adam Bellow
    Steve Dembo
    Lyn Hilt

    Now you can hear them on BAM Radio and follow them on Twitter! Studentcentricity RSS Feed

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    About BRN!

    BAM Radio Hits 2,100 Episodes!

    BAM! Radio Network is now the largest all-education radio network in the world offering programming from the nation's top education organizations and thought leaders and reaching a wide audience of people passionately committed to quality education.

    Connect With Us

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    info@bamradionetwork.com

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    Categories: Miscellaneous

    Little Story Creator – A Free App for Creating Multimedia Stories | iPad Apps for School

    Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 04:15
    iPad Apps for School The Best iOS Apps for Students and Teachers Elementary School, Middle School Little Story Creator – A Free App for Creating Multimedia Stories

    Little Story Creator (not to be confused with the similar sounding Little Story Maker) is a free iPad app that students can use to create multimedia stories on their iPads. The app was designed with students in mind and is therefore rather easy to use. On the app students can create multiple page stories. On each page of their stories students can add images and videos, type text, draw, and apply digital stickers. Students can also record audio on each page to narrate their stories.

    The stories that students create on Little Story Creator are automatically saved on their iPads. Students do not have to register on the app in order to use it or save their work. To share work students must have a parent or teacher log-in and share the story.

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