Active learning was the goal of Lisa Highfill when the fifth-grade teacher in California introduced flipped instruction to her classroom. Highfill, who recently was featured at a TEDx discussion, said she has flipped the traditional teaching model by assigning students videos to watch at home, rather than traditional homework. Highfill said she is working to launch flipped instruction professional development for teachers.
Texas officials say a new law will make high-school diplomas less general and, in the 2014-15 school year, will expand the courses that will count toward a diploma. The change will require students to select a diploma "endorsement" in science and technology, business and industry, public services, humanities or a multidisciplinary option -- in addition to required courses.
An Indiana school district has approved new standards-based report cards that will offer detailed information about students' progress in language arts, science, math and social studies. For example, in third grade, students will receive letter grades, as well as ratings of 1 to 4 depending on their mastery of certain skills, including "opinion writing," "informative writing," "narrative writing" and "language conventions."
A group of students in San Diego County have been meeting weekly since January with Project Youth Coordinator Vanessa Mateus to come up with events and forums to prevent students from using drugs and alcohol. With funding from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, the South Bay Community Change Project works with the Institute for Public Strategies to develop anti-substance-abuse messages targeting youth. "It's a more effective message coming from the youth, especially when these types of issues affect them so much," Mateus said.
A group of students in Harrison County, Texas, are learning community history through arts, crafts, games and walking tours of local landmarks including the courthouse and train depot. Students in kindergarten through fourth grade are eligible for the program, which officials hope to expand next year. "You really value where you come from if you know about it, and they really, really have learned a lot. They soak it up," said Allison Jimerson, education coordinator for the local historical museum.