It was only two years ago that a tornado tore up parts of Merrill, Wis., so when the deadly tornado swept through Oklahoma recently, students in Merrill's Jefferson Elementary School wanted to show support for the children who experienced the storm. Fourth-grade students made cards and wrote letters of hope and support to their peers in Oklahoma.
High-school students were able to develop empathy for others during lessons about conflicts involving Northern Ireland and Great Britain, social-studies teacher James Cannon writes in this blog post. For the lesson, Cannon separated his students into four groups in the classroom, with students donning soccer bibs representing their religion. "Students were engaged, focused, and well in the mindset of their Irish counterparts. Learning was in the air," writes Cannon, a teacher in Worcestershire, England.
An animal shelter in Stockton, Calif., recently received $1,282, and the shelter's cats received a lot of attention, courtesy of students from Merryhill Elementary School. The students participated in a Giving Without Walls project that included a competition among classrooms to see who could collect the most pennies to be given to charity, with the top fundraisers getting a trip to visit the animals. "It teaches them to give back to the community and help those in need," said Sherry Baker, second-grade teacher.
Lawmakers in New Jersey are considering legislation that would make lessons on the proper use of social media mandatory for students in middle school. Under the legislation, passed by the General Assembly this week, students also would learn about cybersecurity and the prevention of cyberbullying.
At least 25 states are preparing to introduce a national exam for teachers that has been modeled after the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT). Supporters say PACT measures a candidate's strengths, weaknesses and classroom readiness while critics say there is no evidence of the effectiveness of such tests.