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ED Releases Secretary’s Proposed Priorities for Competitive Grant Programs

Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released the Secretary’s proposed priorities for ED’s competitive grant programs and launched the 30-day public comment period. Once we consider the comments received and issue the Secretary’s final priorities, the Secretary may choose to use one or more of them in competitions for new grant awards this year and in future years. These priorities align with the vision set forth by the Secretary in support of high-quality educational opportunities for students of all ages.

The proposed priorities are:

  1. Empowering Families to Choose a High-Quality Education that Meets Their Child’s Unique Needs.
  2. Promoting Innovation and Efficiency, Streamlining Education with an Increased Focus on Improving Student Outcomes, and Providing Increased Value to Students and Taxpayers.
  3. Fostering Flexible and Affordable Paths to Obtaining Knowledge and Skills.
  4. Fostering Knowledge and Promoting the Development of Skills that Prepare Students to be Informed, Thoughtful, and Productive Individuals and Citizens.
  5. Meeting the Unique Needs of Students And Children, including those with Disabilities and/or with Unique Gifts and Talents.
  6. Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education, With a Particular Focus on Computer Science.
  7. Promoting Literacy.
  8. Promoting Effective Instruction in Classrooms and Schools.
  9. Promoting Economic Opportunity.
  10. Encouraging Improved School Climate and Safer and More Respectful Interactions in a Positive and Safe Educational Environment.
  11. Ensuring that Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families Have Access to High-Quality Educational Choices.

For more information about these priorities and to submit comments, please follow this link to the Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/10/12/2017-22127/proposed-supplemental-priorities-and-definitions-for-discretionary-grant-programs',0);">https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/10/12/2017-22127/proposed-supplemental-priorities-and-definitions-for-discretionary-grant-programs.

Dig into Earth Science!!

This week is Earth Science Week! Ignite a love for science within your students using these relevant resources for all ages. Included below are collections created by TeachersFirst, as well as wacky weather explanations, to share and explore with your students.

 

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First Person: What 100 ninth graders told me about why they don’t read

As an English teacher, I believe there is tremendous power in having students reflect on their own reading habits. So after our 20 minutes of independent reading, I asked my ninth graders a few questions.

How often do you read? Do you enjoy reading more now than you did in the past? What challenges do you face as a reader? What can Mr. Amato do to help you succeed?

Here are the top seven challenges students face as readers, according to a survey of approximately 100 ninth-graders at Maplewood High School, a high-poverty school in Nashville, Tenn.

1. Cell phone addiction.

This should come as no surprise. One student told me, “I stay on my phone 24/7.” Another added, “Whenever I see a message on my phone, I have to answer it.”

If students keep their phones in sight while reading, it’s virtually impossible for them to finish a page without feeling the urge to check for a text message, Instagram like, or Snapchat.

2. A short attention span.

Several students reported that they have trouble staying focused for a long period of time. For example, one student said, “I get off task easily and get into something else,” while another said simply, “My attention span is kind of low.”

There is no question that cell phone addiction contributes to their lack of focus, and my students certainly aren’t alone. A recent report said the average attention span of a human is down to just eight seconds — one second less than that of a goldfish. (That number may not be fully accurate, but it certainly feels like it is.)

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National Hispanic Heritage Month: 5 Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Culture

Image result for national hispanic heritage month

From September 15 to October 15 we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. This occasion provides an opportunity to celebrate culture and history while enriching your children’s understanding of the Hispanic community. Use the resources available from the Library of CongressNational Archives, and Smithsonian Institution to help your kids build a connection with diversity and other ethnicities.

History and Social Studies

  1. Find out about Hispanic historical and cultural legacies: The U.S. government started National Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988 to honor Hispanic Americans and their history. Focusing on Hispanic heritage is a way to enrich your kids’ understanding of diversity in the United States and the value of other cultures.

  1. Discover Hispanic leaders and landmarks: Ask your kids if they can think of any Hispanic historical figuresleaders like Miguel Antonio Otero, or landmarks. National Hispanic Heritage Month provides an opportunity to learn more about Hispanic members of the U.S. Congress and national landmarks. Ask your kids what inspires them from learning about these figures or historical landmarks.

Reading

  1. Read up on Hispanic culture: Take your kids on an adventure to your local library and read books on Hispanic culture. Ask them what parts of Hispanic culture they like the most to enhance an appreciation for the fun history of Hispanic traditions. Older kids might enjoy the Hispanic Reading Room of the Library of Congress, where they will find webcasts that can help build a connection with the Hispanic community.

  2. Make a family storybook: National Hispanic Heritage Month also can be an occasion to celebrate your own family’s history. Using some paper and coloring supplies, help your kids make a family storybook showing the history of their relatives. A family storybook provides a chance to remember and retell our own family stories, building a personal connection to history and heritage.

Get Moving

  1. Dance to Hispanic music: Spark interest in Latin music by getting active and dancing to some Hispanic tunes. Expose your kids to everything from Latin jazz to salsa, and use this opportunity to get moving. Take time to listen to some songs, have your kids pick out any favorites, and explore why they liked those best.

These are just a few suggestions to promote your kids’ interest in our nation’s cultural diversity.

This feature is based on a blog post that originally appeared on free.ed.gov, a site that is now retired. Please visit ed.gov/FREE for more information.

How one teacher combats bullying by “Standing up for Pink”

bullying empathy

An elementary teacher shares her method for preventing bullying through understanding, self-reflection, and communication.

Bullying has, unfortunately, become a common term in today’s education world. All students get into the occasional squabble or call another student a name—but bullying is different.

Bullying is defined by negative actions, which are intentional, repeated, negative, and show an imbalance of power between the students. We’ve come a long way in the past few decades in acknowledging bullying and confronting it as a real problem in our schools. At some point, we decided this wasn’t just a normal part of school; it was something that was deeply hurting the development of our students, and we didn’t have to accept it.

As a teacher, it is my responsibility to teach my students compassion, empathy, and respect at a young age. These things become fundamental values to them as adults.

Standing Up for Pink

This is my fourth year teaching, and I have yet to have a serious issue with bullying in any of my classrooms, but that doesn’t mean I am not on the lookout for any behavior that could develop into bullying later. For example, one time there were a couple of boys in my kindergarten class who repeatedly made fun of any student for liking the color pink.

I took this very seriously, since if this behavior continued, it could turn into gender-based bullying in adolescence, which can be a huge problem. I created a PowerPoint called Stand Up for Pink. In it, I defined bullying and included images of cool-looking men (dads, football players, musicians, etc.) wearing pink. After I presented the PowerPoint, I handed out a pledge that everyone signed to agree to end making fun of the color pink.

Many of the students were happy I addressed this. During our class discussion, I had a kindergarten boy share that he loved pink and it was his favorite color. Many of the girls shared that when the boys made fun of pink because it was a “girl” color, they were in turn making fun of girls.

After this day, I never heard another student make fun of pink for the rest of the year. I even noted that some of the boys who initially made fun of the color were using it in their drawings.

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