Friday Link Roundup

Free Spirit's Friday Link RoundupThis week’s reading was dominated by the terrible story of a school resource officer who slammed a student to the ground at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina. The incident was caught on video, and the officer was fired. Reactions have been circulating the Internet for days, but this one from José Vilson is among the simplest and most useful: As adults, we can choose to lead with love.

On a more inspiring note, you may have heard that Sesame Street has introduced a new character with autism. But according to Jennie Baird, a writer for the New York Times’s Motherlode blog—and whose 14-year-old son is autistic—there already was one. This would explain a lot.

For students with learning disabilities, assistive technology (AT) can be a key tool in helping them learn. The Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities blog asks, “Has Your Child Had an AT Evaluation?” An AT evaluation can help grown-ups understand how a given student learns best. Check the link to learn more.

“Similar to the way in which cochlear implants can open up the world to those who can’t hear, technology can open up the world to those who have difficulties interacting within it.” That’s Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, senior librarian of teen services at Salt Lake County Library Services in Utah, on the School Library Journal blog talking about an iPad program she started for kids with LD.

But wait. Isn’t too much screen time and technology harmful for young people? Not according to Stephen Pham writing for Education Week: “Technology Isn’t Bad for Students. In Fact, It’s Character Building.”

This sketchnote is from last summer, but it’s been getting renewed attention lately and is worth another look: “15 Things Every Teacher Should Try This Year.” Some of the ideas are really fun (gamify your classroom)!

Teachers, when your well-planned lessons end early or—worse—flop, you need to have some reliable sponge activities on hand. Edutopia provides ten good ones here. (Click “download.”)

“Nice work!” and “Good job!” are nice-sounding words of praise, but they don’t tell a child anything specific about his or her work or motivate students intrinsically. From Starr Sackstein at the Education Week blog, here are “10 Tips for Offering Excellent Feedback.” (Registration required.) NAEYC also offers “10 Good Job Alternatives” for younger learners.

Via Upworthy, here are 15 parenting comics that will make you feel less alone in your pain/joy. Number 15 may ring especially true for some Free Spirit readers. (Some mildly foul [and fowl] language.)

Every day, these bus-riding students in Arlington, Washington, were warmly waved to by an elderly woman as they passed her home. They called her “the grandma in the window,” and when she wasn’t there one day, they worried. Check out what they did in this touching story from the Huffington Post: “Kids Return the Love to ‘Grandma in the Window’ Who Waves to Them Daily.”

And circling back to South Carolina, here’s a story of an adopted girl who celebrated her 8th Gotcha Day (anniversary of her adoption) by adopting a kitten from a rescue center for pets displaced by the recent severe flooding. Be sure to watch the news video for footage of the devastating flood, more info about the displaced pets, and, of course, a cute interview with the girl, Kayla Hodge.

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