From the NY Times, a cool look at first day of school throughout the decades.
A great article from Longreads about writing from Mary Karr who has put forth two memoirs. Ms. Karr teaches her grad students using a technique that I tried years ago at Whittier Elementary with a class of 5th graders. You pretend you are going to talk about writing, have a co-conspirator burst in the room and argue with you and then... tell the kids to write exactly what they heard and saw. (I hit the button on a CD player and played the theme from "Mission Impossible" to set the mood after my compatriot left the room.) The kids thought it funny and it did get them thinking about writing and memory. From Ms Karr's piece:
So a single image can split open the hard seed of the past, and soon memory pours forth from every direction, sprouting its vines and flowers up around you till the old garden’s taken shape in all its fragrant gloryThe National Sleep Foundation is having a Bright Schools competition. Projects are due January, 29, 2016.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have joined together to inspire student achievement in science through the new Bright Schools Competition; a STEM competition targeted to students in grades 6-8. The competition is a new learning experience created to help students, parents and teachers explore the link between light and sleep and how it influences student health and performance.
In students teams of 2-4, along with a coach, participants are asked to explore the correlation between light and sleep using scientific inquiry or engineering design concepts. Students will measure the amount of light available in the classroom, compare and analyze light measurements, and create and submit an original project that demonstrates their understanding of the effects of light and sleep on student health and performance.
In more sobering news, a map showing how there are more students living in poverty than nearly a decade ago, from the Huffington Post.
In 2006, 31 percent of America’s students attended schools in “high-poverty” districts, meaning that 20 percent or more of the district's students lived below the federal poverty line. By 2013, however, this number jumped to over 49 percent, according to an analysis of U.S. Census estimates from the nonprofit EdBuild. This means that nearly half of the nation’s children between the ages of 5 and 17 attend schools in communities where a large chunk of families are struggling to get by.
A January analysis from the Southern Education Foundation showed that 51 percent of schoolchildren throughout the country now qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, a program provided to low-income families living up to 185 percent above the poverty line. By comparison, in 2000, 38 percent of schoolchildren qualified for the same program.
In following up on the teachers strike, Crosscut had an article on the inequities of teacher pay throughout the district (even on COLAs).
I hope each of you and your student(s) have a wonderful first day of school. (And kindergarten parents, it'll be okay.)