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Memorial Day Lesson Ideas and Resources

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, a day to honor American Civil War dead. Following World War I, Memorial Day became a day to honor soldiers killed in all wars. Honor the nation’s fallen military men and women with the following lessons and activities compiled by NEA.

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Teachers Make Addressing Student Poverty a Priority

Connecticut's 2015 Teacher of the Year and East Hartford educator Cara Quinn told CEA RA delegates

Connecticut’s 2015 Teacher of the Year and East Hartford educator Cara Quinn told CEA RA delegates, “Unless we address the root causes of poverty, the most well-intentioned reform efforts will fall short.”

Family stress and poverty rank highest as barriers to students’ academic success according to a new survey of the 2015 State Teachers of the Year — and Connecticut educators agree. After listening to Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year Cara Quinn give a compelling speech about poverty’s effect on her East Hartford students, CEA member delegates to the Representative Assembly last weekend unanimously passed a New Business item to investigate the impact poverty has on student learning.

The New Business item states: Read more

New CEA TV Commercial On the Air

A new CEA TV commercial featuring Connecticut students, teachers, and parents is now on the air urging lawmakers to pass legislation ensuring less testing and more learning in our public schools. The commercial asks members of the public to call their legislators and ask them to amend Senate Bill 1095.

Watch the commercial below and then call your legislators and share how SBAC testing is affecting your students.

Parents’ Take on Technology in Schools

Children are spending more and more time on various digital devices to complete their schoolwork. What are parents’ reactions to this trend? A new study shows that, for the most part, parents see students’ use of technology for schoolwork as a good thing.

The Marketplace survey of parents with children in grades 3-12 found that more than 71 percent of parents say technology has improved the “overall quality of education.”

Despite being mostly positive about students’ use of technology, parents do have some worries. Seventy-nine percent of parents say they are somewhat to extremely concerned about the security and privacy of their child’s data.

In addition to parental attitudes, the study also explored students’ access to technology. Parents reported that 98 percent of children use technology, including smartphones, for their schoolwork, with 13 percent reporting that children exclusively use a school-owned rather than family-owned device.

Read the complete study here. Read more from Marketplace.

West Hartford Teacher Explains Why Smarter Balanced Tests Fail Students

Liz NataleWest Hartford teacher Liz Natale became famous among educators across the country last year with her Hartford Courant op-ed, “Why I Want To Give Up Teaching.” Today the Hartford Courant has up another opinion piece by Natale, “Why Smarter Balanced Tests Fail Students.”

Natale writes,

We teachers and school administrators are frequently instructed to ask ourselves, “Is what I’m doing good for kids?” I believe teaching in a school community that values all aspects of a child — social, emotional, academic, athletic, creative — and works to give every student a chance to succeed is good for kids. Can the people with the power to put the Smarter Balanced test to rest honestly say the same?

Read her entire article here, and then join Natale in speaking out. Contact your legislators and let them know how excessive standardized testing is affecting you and your students.

New Food Allergies Tool Kit for Schools

Approximately six million children in the U.S. have one or more food allergies which can become an issue at any point during the school day – on the bus, at recess, or in the cafeteria or classroom. Helping all school staff be prepared to help prevent and manage a child’s severe allergic reaction is vital. The new toolkit from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a great resource that will help prepare all staff.

Download the new toolkit here.

Rally Tomorrow to Put the Test to Rest

rally at the capitolIt’s almost here: your chance to show your support for less testing and more learning in our Connecticut schools. Join your colleagues from across the state on the North Lawn of the State Capitol Building at 5 p.m. tomorrow and let legislators know that teachers want to eliminate the burdensome SBAC test.

Joining together, teachers will tell lawmakers that Senate Bill 1095 must be amended to ensure less testing and more learning for students. Educators know high-stakes testing does not measure communication skills, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, or the pursuit of discovery — essential life and learning skills.

Lawmakers need to hear from teachers. Come to the State Capitol and make sure your voice is heard. Click here to register.

Teaching Resources for Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Below are links to activities, lesson plans, and resources you can use in your classroom from NEA.

Educator Certification Shortage Areas for 2015-16

Cara QuinnIf you’re working under an endorsement that is considered a shortage area you may be eligible for benefits such as loan forgiveness and mortgage assistance. Every fall the Connecticut State Department of Education surveys public school districts to determine teacher shortage areas.

The State Department of Education yesterday released the Certification Shortage Areas for 2015-16, which are as follows:

  • bilingual education, PK-12;
  • comprehensive special education, K-12;
  • intermediate administrator;
  • mathematics, 7-12;
  • school library and media specialist;
  • science, 7-12;
  • speech and language pathologist;
  • technology education, PK-12;
  • TESOL, PK-12;
  • world languages, 7-12.

Read the complete data bulletin on teacher shortage areas from the State Department of Education.

May Deals and Discounts from NEA Member Benefits

The discounts and special offers from NEA Member Benefits save teachers a considerable amount. Remember to check www.neamb.com for the latest savings.

Below are the special NEA Member Benefits offers for May.

NEA Click & Save “Buy-lights” for May 2015

Mother’s Day, graduations, and weddings—oh my! NEA Click & Save, the online discount buying service for NEA members, highlights select retailers and merchants each month. Check out these featured Buy-lights for May. Read more

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