Saturday, December 31, 2016

Close friendships between children can influence responses to fear

Title: Close friendships between children can influence responses to fear

Source: University of East Anglia
Author: University of East Anglia
Date: December 24, 2016
URL Link:

Audience: Educators and Parents

Key Points: To reduce anxiety in children, the University of East Anglia claims that through peer intervention and instilling peer communication, a child can more easily and readily overcome fears and anxieties that could lead to a disorder in their adult years.

Relevance: I think it should be second nature to foster peer interaction in our students, so why not use that as a tool to help students with internal conflicts as well as external. Keeping in mind that though peer interaction could be the source of the anxiety, if cultivated correctly, a peer interaction can be healing and beneficial towards a students ability to learn.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Title: Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reduce Bullying
Source: Edutopia
Author: Lisa Currie
Date: August 10, 2015

Audience: Educators

Key Points: Teacher Responsibility. In addition to discussions and lessons on kindness, students best learn kindness by feeling it towards themselves; then they will be able o reproduce it. Students' participation in kindness/acts of kindness produces an inner sense of belonging, less stress, and happiness. Kindness had a physical affect on of the body producing more serotonin, oxytocin, etc. Kindness fosters good behavior which is the opposite of behavior that would cause bullying. 

Relevance: Kindness and compassion are important to me as an educator. I have received feedback from parents on this specific matter. They noticed a change in their child, and the mother credited to our kindness, compassion and care for her child. She saw a 180 with her child. That was the most important piece of news we got this year at November conferences. When students see and receive kindness they are able to give it back. They see its a natural aspect of their educators' lives, then they will know that it is capable in their lives. 
Title: Turning discipline issues into teachable moments for SEL 
Source: Education DIVE
Author: Tara Garcia Mathewson
Date: December 22,2016

Audience: Educators

Key Points: SEL (Social and Emotional Learning). Teachers should take advantage of classroom conflicts for SEL  instead of just addressing them with disciplinary actions. Teachers were concerned that it would take up too much academic time, be a waste of academic time. Once the practices were implemented, they found the opposite response; students had a great response.
Teachers are using "I need" and "I feel" statements/techniques with their students. "No Fault Zone(s)"- a term used for an area to take a break. 
Also links to other resources. 

Relevance: I saw this article as being a tool to encourage us, as educators of students with disabilities, to continue doing what we are doing. We've discussed the daily implementation of a more intense PBIS/SEL protocols. We spend a lot of academic time and resources helping our students be successful communicators of their emotions and concerns. We might see progress, therefore being able to just "refresh" on a day to day basis. We are sewing seeds of change and skills that will benefit them as they grow and live their adult lives. We might not reap the full benefits, but their middle school or high school teacher might see the skills they have developed. 
Title: Argentina's tough truths for improving schools
Source: BBC News 
Author: Sean Coughlan
Date: December 21, 2016

Audience: Educators, Parents, Administration

Key Points: Schools in Argentina are suffering due to poverty, wrong allocation of funds, and poor treatment of teachers. Argentina's education minister is wanting to reform the countries school, specifically the "public" schools. The minister is vying for better teachers, better pay and training for teachers, and longer school days. Currently students are only in school 4 hours a day, and most to not complete secondary education. The minister also game his private number to teachers so they could contact him with concerns and questions, and to their surprise, he returned their calls. 

Relevance: One of underlining issues is the concept of private and public schools. It is a notion that private schools have better teachers, better performance by students, and more money (as well as more). Argentina's education minister addresses that when he admits that the private schools of Argentina are more on par with better performing schools around the world. 
Also, it's stated that the teachers don't have time for preparations. 
What I also appreciated about this article was the depiction of the minister of education. He is truly being an advocate for change, and we all desire that from our administration and government. 
Title: 'Under the radar' young carers denied support, says study
Source: BBC News
Author: Judith Burns
Date: December 26, 2016

Audience: Educators and Parents

Key Points: The article pertains to the discrimination to the growing number of young "carers" in England. Secondary school aged children are stepping in to help care for their ailing parents, by either being the respite provider for their other ("healthy" parent) or for other siblings. These young carers are going under the radar; not recieving help. 28,00 out of the estimated 166,000 are getting local relief. 

Relevance: This article brought to mind many relating factors. Even though I do not work with secondary students, I believe that this article is important for both secondary and elementary educators. It is quite possible that we are teaching a student who might be going through a similar situation at home. It guides us back to the resounding factor of knowing our students. In the article, the son was getting some respite at the after school program, but he was not getting full license to "be a child." It is a support group that allows him to be with peers that understand him and relate to him. As an educator, we have access to resources/information to help families and students that need this assistance. 

I can't help but also think about students who babysit their siblings, or in some cases, parent their siblings because their isn't a responsible parent at home. Even though the article says that the son and father have a close bond, it's a lot of pressure to put on a young child/adult to care for an ailing parent. 

Even though the son was receiving respite at an after school program, it is quite possible that he feels school itself is respite. That's were educators come in-creating an environment where students feel safe, wanted, and cared for. A place and person with which to express their concerns and struggles. We can offer extensions and accommodations for students in these conditions. 

Rethinking Poverty and Casual Conversations

Title: Rethinking Poverty and Casual Conversations 

By: Ann Van Etten
December 21, 2016
Teaching Tolerance

Key Points:  Ann Van Etten is a middle school language arts teacher.  She presents a critical point about being aware and thoughtful of students’ realities.  These experiences and realities vary from student to student.  With this being said, it is important to create a classroom environment that is accepting of this.  For example, a teacher asking students about the gifts they received during the holidays can marginalize students living in poverty.  Points made by Paul C. Gorski are also included in this blog.  He prompts teachers to challenge their own thinking about families and students living in poverty.  The questioning and thinking extends into exploring ways that teachers and schools perpetuate classist assumptions. Included is a link to Gorski’s article, as well as a list of changes teachers can make with the goal being to create more equitable environments for students living in poverty.     

Audience:  Educators and parents

Relevance:  Even though educators may have the best intent, it is pertinent to examine our own biases and assumptions so we do not further perpetuate marginalization or isolate students.  Educators have great influence in their classrooms and working together for the school as a whole.  The first step is asking questions about one’s own thinking and actions.  This will require intentional effort.  Also, taking time to talk with each student with the hope to gain a better sense of their reality will be valuable.  By knowing more about our students, we can then build on their experiences, and support them in finding relevance to content and making connections. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

'Family matters, not Legos':

Heartwarming responses of underprivileged children when they are asked to choose between receiving gifts for themselves - or their families

Source: ; experiment conducted by UPtv 

Key Points: UPtv conducted an experiment with some students at an Atlanta Boys & Girls Club. They asked children what they would want to get for Christmas and what their family would want for Christmas. Many of them asked for popular toys and said their parents would like jewelry or help at home. Then they were tested by being presented with both gifts and only being able to select one. Watch the short video to find out results.

Relevance: So many of our students live in harsh circumstances, especially the students from Title I schools. This video reminds us that it does not matter what their situation at home may be like, but for the most part our student end up making tough decisions every day. 

Audience: Educators and families

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Charter School Students: Constant College Prep Pressure


Key Points: Juggling all the responsibilities of being a student can be difficult. This article takes a look at the struggle of being an involved student while trying to plan for higher education. It discusses the challenges of applying for school, maintaining a job, taking care or home work, and other obligations that most seniors in high school deal with every day. 

Audience: Educators and parents. 

Relevance: Remembering that students work their tails off is important. To be competitive in education, a student needs to be well rounded and apply themselves on different fronts, which can be very stressful. Much of the time, students who are focusing on all the requirements for graduation and continuing their education become overwhelmed. I know I was. Its important to focus on helping kids manage and not to help them graduate. If they can learn to manage themselves during one of the hardest parts of their educations, then they can handle most events that come their way. Its also important to realize that these students are kids trying their best to succeed, and that they need people there for support. We can bring that support to our students. 

Educators Look to Mobilize Against ‘Professor Watchlist’

Title: Educators Look to Mobilize Against ‘Professor Watchlist’
Source: neaToday
By: Mary Ellen Flannery
December 14, 2016

Image result for watchlist

Key Points: The main points of this article discuss a professor watch list which has been created by a right-wing political organization, Turning Point USA. This list was created for professors who are allegedly promoting radical agendas' in the lecture hall. Many of the professors see this as an attack on academic freedom. Creating lists of professors has them apprehensive to have students question their thinking or research new ideas. However, there are also many professors who are reporting themselves to the list as a sign of solidarity.

Intended Audience: Teachers and educators.

Relevance: Our nation is in a very tumultuous period. Historically, making lists of people has led to negative outcomes. Professors should be free to have students think critically on issues. However, students should also be free to disagree with professors on critical issues without fear of repercussions. Academic freedom should always go both ways.

Oregon ABLE Savings Plan

Oregon ABLE Savings Plan


Key Points: For many years it was nearly impossible for a person with disabilities to save money for their future without risking the loss of his/her social security or any type of financial support. Now with Oregon's Able Savings Plan it is a possibility. The Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience ( ABLE ) Act was passed by congress in December of 2014. With this act being put into place eligible people with disabilities are now able to save tax-free without fear of losing benefits.
The webpage goes over how it works, eligibility, benefits, qualified expenses, and also FAQs.

Audience: Anyone who has a disability, works with someone who has a disability, or is related to someone with a disability.

Relevance: It was covered in detail within our Transition course that people with disabilities and their families need to start planning for the future when it comes to financial needs. These financial needs impact all of the important aspects of a person's life who has a disability such as; health coverage and medications, services needed for independence, and even complete independence itself for those individuals. Knowing about this resource is vital to us as future special educators in order to provide information to our students and their families that could change their lives and future for the better!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

19 Tips on Supporting Positive Behavior & Social Skills

Source: The Inclusion Lab

19 Tips on Supporting Positive Behavior & Social Skills (+ CALENDAR GIVEAWAY!)

Key Points: This website and blog is a tremendous resource for special educators and general educators alike who are working towards inclusive classroom settings. The latest blog post give the reader 19 tips for positive behavior strategies including: Create a visual schedule, Establish routines within routines, Use the five-to-one ratio of positive attention, Give “pre-prompts.”, Review expectations in a positive way, Watch for patterns, Create a choice board, Decrease wait times, Make a waiting list, Use “I” messages, Experiment with seating, Encourage “social skill demonstrations.”...and many more.

Relevance:  Many of these tips we will have heard of or are currently using but I found it to be a helpful reminder of what we are trying to do with inclusion. the tips presented would be an excellent resource for general education teachers who are now being asked to take on the challenges of an inclusion classroom. As special education case managers, part of our job will be to provide resources to gen ed teachers who are working with our students. This could be one. 

Audience: Educators, administration

BONUS: Follow the below to download a free ebook from Brookes: Fair Is Not Always Equal… Now What?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Graduation Rates: Oregon Not as Bad

Could Oregon be better than No. 48 in high school graduation? 
by Betsy Hammond


Key Points: This article reminds us that reporting grades and academic information is really important. Also, that our national reportings are not as accurate as they should be and they mislead a lot of individuals that may refer to them. This information could be used to motivate Oregonian students to continue to grow academically and continue to increase our graduation rates.

Relevance: Considering our state's graduation rate is the third worst in the country we need to make sure as future educators we do our best to report accurate scores and information. This is even more important when it comes to students in special education because a big percentage of them do not tend to graduate with standard diplomas and we need accurate information for funding programs.

Audience: Educators, administration, family members of students

Friday, December 9, 2016

Education Department Civil Rights Officials Urged to Work Through ‘Tough Times Ahead’

Title: Education Department Civil Rights Officials Urged to Work Through ‘Tough Times Ahead’

By: Emma Brown
December, 8, 2016
Washington Post-Ed

Key Points:  With Donald Trump as the president-elect, there is concern about there being “tough times ahead” for the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).  Trump could revise or reverse key guidance documents, and his administration could heavily influence the OCR’s budget, making it difficult for them to keep up with cases.  The Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said, “there are too many students of color who feel afraid in school.  We have an obligation, all of us, to redouble our efforts to intensify our work to ensure we protect the civil rights of all students.”  These efforts call for confronting these issues.  Complaints received by OCR have more than doubled from 2009 to this year, and staff complaints have fallen.  The work that OCR does is critical, and when the facts of troubling cases are revealed, there needs to be more action taken and support of OCR, so justice can be delivered. 

Audience:  educators, parents, administrators, district officials, community members

Relevance:  The article points out a few cases where students were not served.  This is just a glimpse into the many cases that have not been dealt with which is a huge issue.  It is important that OCR is supported, and those invested in the lives of students recognize the reality that could unfold with the Trump administration being in power.  The civil rights of all students must be protected.  Essentially, students need to be seen, heard, valued, respected, and treated with dignity.   

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Boys Who Sit Still Have a Harder Time Learning to Read

Title: Boys Who Sit Still Have a Harder Time Learning to Read

Image result for boys bored in class

Source: Time Magazine Online, Belinda Luscombe @luscombeland  Dec. 2, 2016


Key points:  Researchers have found that lower levels of physical activity, higher levels of sedentary time, and particularly their combination, were related to poorer reading skills in boys. This is of particular importance as cuts to school budgets and increased focus on reading and math often come at the expense of PE and team sports. The connection between physical activity and learning has long been known but the disconnect at the school level remains and in fact continues to grow wider.

Intended audience: Teacher and Parents

Relevance: Boys are often overlooked in education. Their behavior is misinterpreted as negative when in fact they really do have the "wiggles." As a coach and a special education teacher, I have seen first hand the benefits of physical activity for boys and young men. If schools continue to make cuts to PE and sports we need to find ways to incorporate movement into our classrooms and activities. 

The national teacher shortage is a myth. Here’s what’s really happening.

Title: The national teacher shortage is a myth. Here’s what’s really happening.

Source: Walsh, Kate. (2016). The National Teacher Shortage is a myth. Here's what's really happening. The Washington Post. 


Key points:  The writer for this article brings a different perspective to the existing teacher shortage.  They share that teacher programs graduate twice as many teachers than needed.  175-300k students graduate from teaching programs every year, but only 60-170k get hired and of that only 30% are new teachers with no experience.  The author makes the argument that teacher prep programs don't tell students about the areas of need for teachers.  There is a high amount of students who study to become elementary teachers, but the real need is in Sped, math and ELL.  Educating students on areas of need or imposing limits on the number specific teaching areas could help fix the program.  

Intended audience: Future teachers

Relevance: As future teachers, it is always good to get a variety of different view points to help guide us.  This article took a different spin on the teacher shortage.  I agree that it might be good to help guide future students into teaching programs of areas that are in need, That way teachers can be setup for success after they graduate.  We've been brought into this cohort by our district to become special education teachers, so there is obviously a need, but a need in more areas of education than others. That is why these cohorts that are connected to school districts are valuable, because they can guide students into areas of need and have a job ready for them.   

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

#NoDAPL: Teaching the Value of Protest

Title: #NoDAPL: Teaching the Value of Protest
Source: Teaching Tolerance: A Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center
By: Dr. Amanda Morris
December 5, 2016

Image result for #noDALP

Key Points: The article discussed the need to teach our students about standing up to government injustice and degradation of our environment. Morris brings up four lessons learned from the non-violent protest of Dakota Access Pipeline. The lessons are for students of all ages: persistence, presence, planning and provocation. Morris shows how teachers are in a position to educate students on how to stand up against issues they believe are wrong.

Intended Audience: Teachers and educators.

Relevance: Our nation is in a very divisive time. This can bring along radical idealizations and actions. As teachers, we should be showing our students the proper way to protest issues which they believe are unjust. This is through non-violent protest and education. We need to show our students how to access information and educate themselves on problems so they can see the totality of the circumstances. Once the student has all the information, then they can make a decision on how they feel and move forward with the lessons learned above to conduct non-violent protests to affect change.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Education Week: A Community Unites to Send Low-Income Kids to College

Education Week: A Community Unites to Send Low-Income Kids to College Full Article
                             Matthew Lynch | November 4, 2016

Key Issue:  In the heart of Portland's Rockwood neighborhood sits Alder Elementary, where approximately 20% of students are homeless, 100% of students are on free or reduced lunch, and more than 60% are English language learners. This school has consistently ranked in the bottom 15% in the state. Even in the face of such challenging poverty and language-related barriers, Alder students and staff continue to amaze our community and beat the odds by holding the title of fastest improving school in the Reynolds School District. 

Commentary: Oregon high schools have a well-to-do problem

Title:  Commentary: Oregon high school athletics has a well-to-do school problem

Source: Daschel, N. (2016, December 5).  Commentary: Oregon high school athletics has a well-to-do school problem.  The Oregonian/Oregon Live.  Retrieved:

Key Points:  Athletics continues to play a major role in education because it is important students become and remain involved in extracurricular activities.  While many believe in athletics that private schools have the advantage over public schools, Daschel argues that well-to-do schools are the ultimate issues.  He states, “The rich are winning almost everything.”  Daschel poses the question of whether OSAA can set up classifications for schools based on economics providing for a more even playing field in education and even opportunities for students and athletes across the board.

Intended Audience:  Educators, coaches, parents, individuals interested in athletics and education.

Relevance:  In my opinion and upbringing academics and extracurricular activities go hand in hand.  While this article focuses solely on the athletic side of schools I cannot help but think of the academic differences between well-to-do schools and schools with a majority of their students on free or reduced lunch.  In Salem-Keizer, it is obvious which schools have most students on free or reduced lunch as well as noticing which schools have a higher level of economic support.  It would be very interesting to see what schools would look like if all were receiving the same amount and had the same resources available to students for academic success.  

Odd Man Out - Lack of men in early education.

Title:  Odd Man Out

Source: Hill, D. (1996). Odd man out.  Teacher Magazine, 8(1), 33. 

Key Points: Hill mentions that a lack of male educators has not always been the case.  Prior to the Civil War, it was a regular occurrence seeing men teaching in the classrooms.  Hill examines the teaching experiences of a tenured male elementary school teacher.  Without parents knowing the male teacher Hill interviewed, this male teacher faced situations where parents wanted their child out of his classroom, assumed him gay, assumed him a pedophile, watched him with a close eye, and expected him to fail. 

Intended Audience:  Everyone.  People need to be aware of how judgements and preconceived notions are harmful to everyone.

Relevance:  Education needs to be a world for everyone regardless of gender.  It is important students understand teachers are there because they are qualified and desire to educate the youth of today.  Our communities must be open to any human that earns their right to be a teacher and see them for who they are and not who other portray them to be.  I hope that no women and men in our cohorts run into situations where their job and performance is judged purely based on their gender.  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Religion in the classroom as modeled by King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail": we don't have to believe it to get it.

Title:  Religion in the classroom as modeled by King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail": we don't have to believe it to get it.

Source:  Journal of African Children's and Youth Literature


Key Points:  Teaching the Bible is not only interesting, but a legitimate way to engage students by introducing them to the beliefs and stories of generations of people.  Religion may not belong in our classrooms, but the perspectives of presently one-third of the world's population and how over thousands of years they have turned to the Bible for instruction is something we should not deny our students.

Intended Audience: politicians, administrators, teachers, parents, students.

Relevance: This is relevant since many believe excluding religion must also mean banning the Bible from our classrooms.  They are not necessarily one in the same.

Trump Choice for Education Secretary

Trump Choice for Education Secretary

Key Points: Choice for Department of Education Secretary is Betsy DeVos. Controversial person from Michigan, who is pro-school choice. However, it has not been received well in Michigan. And it does not show a lot of success in terms of student performance. Michigan ranks well below other states. And of the schools in Michigan that are charter schools, some run by DeVos and her husband, are in the bottom 20% of schools achievement. So as much as there is support for school choice, both Democrats and Republicans agree that it isn't working. And many have become for-profit schools. Which is also controversial. So what will happen to the Department of Education and public schools if she becomes the secretary?

Audience: Everyone interested in students' education.

Relevance: Concerns of future in education and public schools.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

6 Potential Brain Benefits Of Bilingual Education

Title: 6 Potential Brain Benefits Of Bilingual Education
Author: Anya Kamenetz
Publication: nprED
Date: 11/29/2016

Key Points: This article present research done by a Harvard professor, Gig Luk, on the brain benefits of bilingualism in children and education. She states that , "bilingualism is an experience that shapes our brain for a lifetime.”

Oregon School's Santa Stance Causes Controversy

Title:Oregon School's Santa Stance Causes Controversy
Author: KGW-TV, Portland, Ore (Unknown)
Date: 12/1/2016

Key Point: This local story in Hillsboro, OR school district's made national news was picked up by USA Today after it went viral. The “controversy” started when district administrator and educators were call to back off on the use of Santa in holiday decorating in their school in a memo.

Filmed Nov 2015

Key Points: Kandice Sumner addresses the disparity between public schools from personal experience, both current and as a child. As a child, she was bussed into a white neighborhood and had access to resources and instruction that her local friends did not have. As her awareness  of the inequality grew, she experienced a form of “ survivor guilt” as she considered how her advantages  were offering a future that was simply not available to her friends. In her words, “See, as I got older, I started to have this unlawful feeling in my belly, like I was doing something that I wasn't supposed to be doing; taking something that wasn't mine; receiving a gift, but with someone else's name on it. All these amazing things that I was being exposed to and experiencing, I felt I wasn't really supposed to have.

Does Your State Provide Good Data On Your Schools? Probably Not

Title: Does Your State Provide Good Data On Your Schools? Probably Not
Publication: NPR
Date: 12/3/2016
Author: Elissa Nadworny

Key Points: The article present a report from the Data Quality Campaign, which they spent 100 hours last summer looking at report cards and data of all 50 states, and found complicated tables and spreadsheets, broken links, missing data, out-of-date, and a lot of numbers and figures without

A Quiet Education Revolution Worldwide is Giving Kids the Skills To Be 21st-Century Citizens

Title: A Quiet Education Revolution Worldwide is Giving Kids the Skills To Be 21st-Century Citizens
Publication: QUARTZ
Author: Jenny Anderson
Date: 12/3/2016

Key Points: This article talk about how there are small pockets forming around the globe, with educators looking beyond rigid systems and high-stakes standardized tests. They are trying to use education to allow students to “become architects of their own lives,” especially the poor. There has been a growing consensus

College Is the Goal. Will These Three Teenagers Get There?

By: Anemona Hartocollis, 10/26/2016

Key Points: In New York Times is following three teenagers in Topeka, Kansas, as they decide where to apply to college and even whether college is the right choice for them. ​The Time’s conducted interviews with students, principals and experts the transition to college. This fascinating article/s is ongoing following these students journey. The following is some the subtopics they have reported on so far:

Relevance: This article address questions and concerns that students and they parents are asking themselves across the country. Do the pros of high education  outweigh the cons. There are is a push in our school district to get our students college ready. However, many of our students have no desire to go to college and as teacher are we neglecting them is getting them work ready.