Friday Link Roundup

Free Spirit's Friday Link Roundup

This week, we continue to watch the world’s responses to the ongoing refugee crisis. PBS’s NewsHour has the story of a school in Texas where “Telling stories helps refugee children learn a new language.”

Engaging with the stories of people whose lives are critically different from our own is how “others” become more real to us and connected to us, writes Anna Czarnik-Neimeyer at Teaching Tolerance. She reflects here on her responsibilities as a white ally, particularly after white gunmen shot five Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis.

Here’s how some schools are helping students affected by trauma handle their anxieties and embrace learning.

A couple months ago, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced his retirement from his post. Here’s a pretty scathing review of his legacy: “The program that he claimed would transform American education has not raised test scores, but has demoralized educators and created teacher shortages.”

One casualty of the emphasis on testing and “rigorous instruction” has been free time and playtime—the unstructured time kids need to develop and grow. “Even though we know play is learning for young kids, we are seeing it shoved aside to make room for academic instruction and ‘rigor,’” says early childhood development expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige, author of Taking Back Childhood. Carlsson-Paige was awarded the Embracing the Legacy Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps and gave a stirring speech in defense of play. You can read it here.

Researchers recently found that “only a third of young people aged 12 to 15 knew which search results on Google were [advertisements], while this figure was even lower—less than one in five—for children aged 8 to 11.” Read more about the study here.

Here’s something cool in digital news: Sesame Street has partnered up with ed tech company Tiggly to develop an early literacy app. Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen is now available in the Apple App store for $2.99. Learn more about the app with this video.

When it comes to older kids—teens in particular—the digital medium of choice is often video blogs, or vlogs. According to Antero Garcia at School Library Journal, educators and librarians need to pay attention to this platform and understand what it means for literacy. If you need a jump start, here are 25 vlogs for teens (and teen librarians).

For transgender students, a simple trip to the bathroom can be a big problem. “I had no idea what to do,” said one student. “I tried to avoid using the bathroom as much as I could.” Read about the fight to change rigid bathroom gender policies.

Scholastic’s EduPulse blog provides five elements to successful programming for students with autism spectrum disorders culled from several experts.

At Scary Mommy, this mom writes about how autism changed her life for the better.

A new study shows that kids on ADHD medication are more likely to be bullied, especially if they’ve shared their meds.

For kids with ADHD or learning disabilities, here are 15 tips from experts on how to boost memory and improve academic performance. (ADHD or not, who couldn’t use a little help boosting memory?)

Teaching gifted kids? Here are five strategies for meeting their needs.

Teaching shy kids? (Almost certainly.) Here are five strategies for meeting their needs.

Holiday shopping season is here. If you have students on your list who are into science, technology, engineering, and math, here are some cool gift ideas for them. Even more fun, this list from Scientific American focuses on toy representation of women and girls in STEM. There are a lot of cool ideas here.

Check out this sweet story of brother and sister greyhound puppies who were lost in the scrublands of Spain. The sister is blind, but her brother protected her and led her until members of a women’s shelter found them. Click the link to see pictures.


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