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July 12, 2010
Ask an Expert: A group of boys is teasing my sixth grade son.
The first thing to do is to be sure that your child is safe. If you haven’t spoken to your son’s teacher, do so immediately, and try to provide as many details as possible.
July 5, 2010
Web sites your kids use that you should know about
Check out concerns raised by one computer security firm about a host of websites routinely accessed by your sons and daughters.
February 24, 2009
A flower bed grows in Crown Heights, amid sea of concrete
I stumbled on this display this morning, while walking to a middle school in Crown Heights that seems to be…
December 1, 2008
Students travel the world through the Web, a lesson at every port
At Manhattan's PS 140, students in Tony Paulino’s middle school Spanish classes are exploring the geography, economics, and culture of South America, all without leaving their classroom. They're using the Internet to follow the One Road South team of adventurers on a 14-month bicycle trip around the continent. Through a program called Reach The World, kids at 60 of the city's elementary and middle schools are getting a taste of global citizenship by following the One Road South bikers, a family traveling in Europe, a bike trek in Africa, and a Harlem teacher working with scientists in Antarctica through online videos, journals, and field notes. Sometimes, students even get to meet the travelers they are following online. Three of the four One Road South bicyclists recently visited Paulino's classes to present a slide show about the places they plan to visit. The students jumped in with questions, asking if the travelers were afraid of wild animals, running out of food, or going for 14 months without having a girlfriend. But Reach the World isn't just for fun.
November 19, 2008
Brooklyn jail a repeated player in school capacity fight
Yesterday, Elizabeth posted a letter from Comptroller William Thompson urging city officials to use millions of dollars earmarked for reopening a Brooklyn jail…
October 20, 2008
Course credit requirements for middle schoolers?
Should middle school students have to earn credits in specific courses in order to graduate and enter high school? That’s what middle school teacher…
October 13, 2008
Kids will be kids? Or is this generation different?
What’s the trick to reaching middle school students? The Tempered Radical says it’s all about turning their weaknesses into strengths. Talkative? Build conversation…
September 10, 2008
The International Baccalaureate program for more city middle schools?
Houston may not be alone in seeing an increase in schools using International Baccalaureate programs. New York's Blueprint for Middle School Success, which identifies "key elements" of successful middle school programs, briefly mentions International Baccalaureate (IB), along with America's Choice and Project Grad, as "protocols, programs, and/or school reform models" that school leaders should consider when developing a college prep curriculum. According to the IB website, few city schools use IB at the moment — Mott Hall Bronx High School, Manhattan's Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change, Staten Island's Curtis High School, and Queens' Baccalaureate School for Global Education — and only Thurgood Marshall and the Baccalaureate School have the IB Middle Years Program. Central themes unite 8 subject areas in the Middle Years Program curriculum. What stands out about the Middle Years Program is not the range of subjects taught nor the five themes which unite the student's learning experience, as shown in the diagram above, but the personal project, an in-depth study undertaken by each child, and other innovative approaches to assessment. Teachers develop their own course assignments and assessments, ranging from projects to exams and including opportunities for self-assessment and peer-assessment. Final assessments are not standardized tests or even standardized projects. Rather, teachers administer appropriate sets of assessment tasks and rigorously apply the prescribed assessment criteria defined for each subject group. The type of assessment tools available to teachers include all forms of oral work, written work, and practical work. A school can request that the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) validate students' grades, a review process in which external moderators apply IB standards to samples of student work and compare their grades to the teachers' grades, which helps maintain standards from school to school.
June 25, 2008
Most innovative advertiser in the world: the DOE
It's been a big year for the DOE. In September, it won the Broad Prize, given each year to an urban school district that has improved its poor and minority students' test scores. This spring, students continued on their upward trajectory, at least according to the state math and reading scores that were released yesterday. But the biggest coup may have happened this past weekend, when the DOE, in partnership with the agency Droga5, snagged a prestigious international advertising award given each year to the “most innovative and ground-breaking idea” in advertising. The DOE took home the Cannes Lion Titanium Award for the "Million" Motivation Campaign, which aims to increase students’ engagement with school through the use of cell phones. Through a partnership with Verizon and Samsung, the DOE gave cell phones to 2,500 students in seven middle schools. The number of minutes available to each student depended on their performance in school; a child who successfully completed all of his work, therefore, would have more minutes to use than a lackluster student. When the program launched last fall, the DOE planned to use the phones to deliver motivational text and voice messages, sometimes from celebrities such as Jay-Z; it’s not clear whether that portion of the campaign has been rolled out yet.
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