New York officials are preparing for the expected decline in test scores as it becomes one of the few states to align this year's tests with the Common Core State Standards. Officials in Florida, Georgia and Kentucky have reported lower scores since the implementation of the common core. The New York State United Teachers questions the decision to test students on the new standards so soon after their introduction in classrooms.
More than 240 students in Maryland took an active role in state government recently during the Lobbying Day, held by the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils. Students visited Annapolis, where they lobbied lawmakers, participated in a mock election and expressed concerns about issues including graduation requirements and social media. "We understand principals might want access to social media accounts in certain situations, but there needs to be a level of privacy," said eighth-grade student Carolyn Williams.
Third-grade students at an Indiana elementary school took on the persona of American icons of their choosing, culminating a six-week project in which students studied and prepared presentations about their chosen icons' lives. Students also used costumes to portray their icons, creating a type of "wax museum" in the school cafeteria. "Our standards that we teach with nowadays are a lot more rigorous and big projects such as these are a good way for me to kind of incorporate a variety of standards in one event," said third-grade teacher Lori Farmer.
Three Washington state high-school students used a government assignment to write a piece of legislation to help their friend continue to play school sports. Their friend, Ike Ditzenberger, who has special needs, has been a student at Snohomish High School for more than four years -- making him ineligible to play school sports after this year. The students wrote the "Ike Act," which was greeted favorably by state lawmakers and prompted the school-sports governing board to re-evaluate its rules.
The writer of this New York Times blog post suggests that teachers address Women's History Month with a brief lesson that should take only one class period. The idea involves studying a week's worth of newspapers to find articles, photos and other material that focus on "women's lives and roles in the world." Then, ask students to identify patterns, study women's roles in our culture and make connections to their own lives.