The Educator's Notebook

A weekly collection of education-related news from around the web.

Educator’s Notebook #324 (February 16, 2020)

    • Fordham Institute
    • 02/04/20

    “The analysis yielded six major findings. Among them: Students of all racial/ethnic groups learn more from teachers with high grading standards, and these standards tend to be higher in schools serving more advantaged students. Moreover, the impact of rigorous grading practices can improve student performance in subsequent math classes up to two years later.”

    • ASCD
    • 02/01/20

    “If we want people to perform well, concision is king: the fewer the criteria, the easier it is to reinforce, practice, monitor—and thus ensure—that those criteria are fully met. When organizations establish only a tiny set of crystal-clear criteria, both performance—and job satisfaction—skyrocket. The same goes for schools. There are both historic and contemporary precedents for minimalist literacy standards which would ensure that students read and write in larger—much larger—amounts.”




    • Aeon
    • 02/11/20
    • EdWeek
    • 02/04/20

    “Based on more than a decade of research on creativity and collaboration, Sawyer and his colleagues found schools that have been successful in nurturing creativity in their students use an approach he dubs guided improvisation, to borrow a jazz metaphor. Rather than entirely student-led instruction, teachers ground students' creativity within a domain such as history or science, using a few core concepts to anchor a student's exploration and teaching students to look for connections to other subjects. A series of studies found students taught this way remembered content-area knowledge equally as well as students whose classes focused on covering more total content, but they performed better at using their knowledge in creative ways and for unfamiliar problems.”






    • Hechinger Report
    • 02/03/20

    “Students didn’t always learn more from interacting with each other than working alone in the 71 underlying studies. The ones that produced the strongest learning gains for peer interaction were those where adults gave children clear instructions for what do during their conversations. Explicit instructions to “arrive at a consensus” or “make sure you understand your partner’s perspective” helped children learn more.”


    • KQED
    • 02/14/20
    • The Lily
    • 02/13/20

    “Let us collectively weep for the dying art of letter writing. Then, let’s dry our tears and bring it back to life. Below, you’ll find snippets from historical love letters — some of which are centuries old — pulled from “Love Letters” and “A Love No Less.” You’ll also see tips for crafting your own letters, derived from reading hundreds of romantic epistles.”

    • EdSurge
    • 02/12/20

    “After subscribing to a service called EssaySoft, you can tell its essay generator to write a paper on, say, “symbolism in the great Gatsby” (or whatever you need for class). Then you enter how many words you want the final paper to be, select other specs from drop-down menus (set research depth to “low” if you want the machine to return an answer as fast as possible), and click “Generate Essay.””

    • Spectator
    • 02/11/20








Every week I send out articles I encounter from around the web. Subject matter ranges from hard knowledge about teaching to research about creativity and cognitive science to stories from other industries that, by analogy, inform what we do as educators. This breadth helps us see our work in new ways.

Readers include teachers, school leaders, university overseers, conference organizers, think tank workers, startup founders, nonprofit leaders, and people who are simply interested in what’s happening in education. They say it helps them keep tabs on what matters most in the conversation surrounding schools, teaching, learning, and more.

Peter Nilsson


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