Connecting the educational world to your classroom

Beyond The Whiteboard

  • Involvement in Extracurriculars Brings Benefits
    Extracurricular activities – clubs, sports and lessons found outside of the typical school day – provide great benefits to students of any age. Studies have shown that children who participate in at least one extracurricular activity generally have better school attendance and grade point average than their peers who do not participate in extracurricular activities....
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    Germs Join Students Back in School
    As teachers know, back to school time also often means back to sniffles, colds and shared germs. The beginning of the school year is a prime time for illnesses to spread. Children who have spent the summer outside in the fresh air are now contained in a small area where germs can easily be passed back and forth.
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    After Charlottesville Attack Schools Consider Name Changes
    The brutal, racially motivated attacks that occurred at a rally in Charlottesville, Va. last month have prompted school officials across the country to reconsider the names of their academic institutions. In 2015, nearly 200 American schools were named for Confederate leaders, including Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Schools in Dallas, San Diego, San Antonio, Jacksonville and Oklahoma City are among the areas where community members have petitioned for a change in school name.
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    Teacher Shortages Aren’t Going Away
    The new school year is in full swing, but many districts across the country are facing a teacher shortage crisis. Both rural and urban schools are struggling to fill open positions as existing teachers retire or change careers. And with fewer college students choosing education as their major, shortages are only expected to grow. By next year the nationwide teacher shortage could easily exceed 100,000 positions.
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    Care Package Ideas for College Students
    If you have been teaching several years, chances are, some of your favorite students are now in college. Why not surprise them with a care package? Here are some ideas that can help college students settle in and feel at home.
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    Easing Kindergarten Jitters
    The first day of kindergarten is a huge milestone in a child's life and often a pretty nerve-wracking one. Even the most confident kids may be a little hesitant to leave their parents' side and venture into such a big and new world. Here are some tips that can help make the transition a bit easier:
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    Back-to-School Spending Increasing
    Parents, open your wallets. Back-to-school costs are expected to ramp up this year. The National Retail Federation projects that back-to-college spending will hit a record $54.1 billion this year, due in part to increasing enrollment size and greater consumer confidence. The numbers are a 10 percent increase over last year's spending.
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    Quick Ship to the Rescue!
    The start of school is just days away – is your classroom ready? Fear not, our SCHOOLSin Quick Ship program is here to help! All of our Quick Ship products are guaranteed to ship out from the manufacturer in 48 hours or less.
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    Nature is Blooming in our Schools
    Education about the environment has taken a more hands-on approach in schools across the country. Even in the most urban areas, it is becoming more and more common to see student-maintained gardens, nature habitats and wildlife sanctuaries right on school grounds.
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    Take-Home Laptops Help Curve the Summer Slide
    Summer slide sounds like a fun hot-weather adventure, but it is a real learning condition that teachers know all too well. The Colorado Department of Education describes the summer slide as, "The tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year."
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    Food for Thought
    The food choices you make could help you earn a college scholarship, as reported in the U.S. News and World Report. Each year, the Vegetarian Resource Group offers one $10,000 and two $5,000 scholarships to graduating U.S. high school students who promote vegetarianism in their schools or communities. Interested students are required to submit an application and essay before February 20, 2018.
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    Carpet Squares Keep Kids Focused
    "Floor time" can be two of the most daunting words for teachers of young students. When kids leave their typical desks and tables, boundaries disappear and the fidgets often come out in full force. Carpet squares are a great way to define spaces while still allowing students to enjoy the freedom of sitting on the floor. In addition, carpet squares brighten the room and can even help absorb the sounds of a busy classroom.
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    Teens are Spending Their Summer Studying Rather Than Working
    Landing that first summer job was once considered a rite of passage for American teens. Now it appears this tradition may be fading. During the 1970s and 80s, nearly 70% of 16- to 19-year-olds held a summer job. Last year it was less than 40%. Instead of lifeguarding or babysitting, many high schoolers are now spending their summers in the classroom.
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    Cheating on the Rise
    As competition for college acceptance, top grades and academic pressure increases, so does the incidence of cheating. Struggling students are often the ones cheating, but they aren't alone. Studies have shown that high-achieving students cheat as much as their peers.
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    Higher Math in Lower Grades
    Pushing students to their full potential is important, but when it comes to math, is too much too early a bad thing? Forty years ago, algebra was a common freshman-level math course. Now, the course is offered – and sometimes even required -- in eighth grade, a push that allows students to take a tract of Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calc/Trigonometry and Calculus before graduating high school.
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    Why Kids Need Physical Education
    When discussing the most important subjects in school, physical education probably does not make the list. But, research has shown that students who participate in physical education class in school are generally more successful than those who do not.
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    High School Graduation Gift-Giving 101
    Cap and gown season is in full swing! For those who have multiple graduates in their lives, this can be a busy and costly time of the year. We are offering a few etiquette guidelines and gift ideas to help you navigate the graduation season.
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    Improving the School Desk
    Back in December, SCHOOLSin was contacted by a high school engineering student who was interested in one of our combo desks for use in a final project for an Engineering Design and Development class. Daniel Pollard, a senior at Summit High School in Tennessee, and classmates Mason Hughes and Ryan Roberts were interested in designing a more comfortable school desk, one that especially met the needs of taller students.
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    OFM Office Selfie Contest
    Do you and your coworkers like to have a little fun? Check out this social media contest that can win you awesome new seating! Our friends at OFM are giving away three sets of stools to three winners in their OFM Office Selfie Contest. The contemporary soft seating stools make the perfect seating in any educational setting.
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    We've Been Slimed!
    It's sticky, gooey, a little bit messy and kids can't keep their hands off of it. Homemade slime has made its way into our homes, schools and most definitely our kids' hearts. Recipes for homemade slime – which is typically made from simple household ingredients like Elmer's glue, Borax, cornstarch and water – have been on the internet for years, but the craze really took off this school year.
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    Virtual Field Trips
    Field trip season is upon us! As the school year wraps up, millions of students will head out to zoos, museums and parks. But there’s another way for your students to experience new and exciting places – and they don’t even have to leave the classroom. Virtual reality field trips have become quite popular, and if you’re not already using VR in your classroom, your students are missing out on a great learning opportunity.
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    Ethos Chair is Key to 21st Century Learning
    Collaboration is the buzzword in today's classroom and for good reason. Through collaboration, students learn the benefits of working together towards a common goal, often leading to deeper understanding of the topic at hand. To be the most effective, a classroom should fit the collaborative model through furniture that supports group learning. The Ethos Chair from Haskell does just that.
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    Tiny Homes for Teachers
    A school district in Colorado is considering a unique incentive in recruiting new teachers – offering up tiny homes to its staff. The Eagle County School District, located near the upscale skiing community of Vail, is weighing the option of tiny homes after difficulties recruiting and retaining teachers because of the high cost of living in the area.
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    Teacher Pay Across the USA
    Today’s teachers face more stress and job demands than in years past. However, their paycheck isn’t reflecting the extra energy and effort. According to a study published by the Economic Policy Institute, average weekly teacher wages have decreased from $1,122 to $1,092 during the past 20 years (adjusted for inflation).
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    Youngest Qualifier for National Spelling Bee
    By age 5, the typical child is mastering the letters of the alphabet and learning to spell simple consonant-vowel-consonant words. Edith Fuller is not your typical 5-year-old. Fuller recently won the Green Country Regional Spelling Bee in Tulsa, Okla., earning a berth in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, to be held in Washington D.C. in May.
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    Crayola Crayons Brighten Classrooms Worldwide
    When it comes to crayons, the Crayola name immediately pops into the mind. School supply lists feature requests for generic folders, notebooks and glue. But when it comes to crayons, teachers know that Crayola is the way to go.
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    Van Halen Gives Back to Music Education
    Eddie Van Halen has been regarded as one of the greatest guitarists in the world, but did you know that the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer gives back to music education?
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    The Important Role of the Substitute Teacher
    Substitute teachers are a vital part of any school, expected to take charge of classrooms, seamlessly grasp lesson plans and to create as little of a distraction as possible while full-time teachers are out for professional development or sick days.
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    Magnet Schools – A Closer Look
    In the late 1960s, magnet schools emerged as a solution to the segregation that still existed in large urban school districts. These schools were intended to attract students from different school zones by offering an alternative educational environment.
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    Ball Chairs Keep Kids Focused
    More and more students are having a ball in class, all because of their seating. Ball chairs are becoming increasingly popular in today's classroom and studies have shown that they can have a positive effect on student performance.
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    Black History Month Activities
    February is Black History Month, a yearly celebration of the accomplishments and sacrifices of African Americans in our country. Get your students involved with hands-on activities that are fun and also teach important lessons.
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    Community College Advantage
    In today's society, a college degree definitely provides a leg up in the job market. Depending on the career field, a bachelor degree isn't always the only the avenue to explore.
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    Charter Schools – A Closer Look
    In recent months, there’s been a lot of talk in the media about charter schools. More common in urban areas, these public schools began popping up in the early 1990s. Due to their relative newness, many have questions about how these schools operate, what they offer and how they differ from traditional public schools.
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    Teacher Wishes for the New Year
    During this year’s 12 Days of School Furniture Facebook contest, we asked teachers to share their hopes and wishes for 2017. We heard from more than 400 teachers. The most popular response? For students to be “happy, healthy and safe.”
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    Education Secretary Recommends the End of Corporal Punishment
    One of the oldest forms of school discipline may finally be on its way out of the education scene. Corporal punishment, the paddling, spanking or hitting students for discipline reasons, is surprisingly still permitted in 22 states. Current Education Secretary John B. King Jr. is on a mission to permanently expel corporal punishment from schools.
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    Seating Assignments in the Classroom
    Where students sit in class can affect how they learn, studies say. Arranging students in the best configuration and with peers they work well with can take some time and trial and error. An arrangement that works well with one group of students can be a disaster with others.
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    Singapore Students Top the List
    When it comes to education, teenage students in Singapore continue to outperform their peers. According to a study released in December by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), students in Singapore are the world’s top performers in math, science and reading.
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    Surviving Winter Break Anticipation
    Most teachers can attest, the week leading up to winter break is not for the faint-hearted. We've compiled a few tips to help you survive teaching in December!
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    School Nurses on the Decline
    An old familiar and comforting face is missing from our schools. The use of a full-time nurse in schools is rapidly declining because of budget cuts nationwide.
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    For-Profit vs. Public Colleges: Which Leads to a Bigger Payday?
    For-profit schools have come under scrutiny in recent years for leaving students with sizable debts, poor graduation rates and less-than-favorable job prospects. Newer government regulations require for-profit career colleges to better prepare students for the workforce or risk losing access to federal student aid.
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    More Happy Customers
    SCHOOLSin recently wrapped up a partial renovation project involving several schools in the Forest Hills School District, located in Cincinnati, Ohio. We spoke with Cary Harrod, a fifth-grade language arts and social studies teacher, whose classroom saw numerous changes during the renovation.
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    The Children of Flint
    The Flint water crisis is well into its 18th month. Infrastructure improvements have been made, yet the community is still reeling. Water must still be filtered before it’s safe to drink. Residents continue to bathe in bottled water. Pets are dying from drinking contaminated water. But it’s the children of Flint that have suffered the most.
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    Pay for Preschool Teachers Remains Low
    Our kids are our most precious commodity so entrusting another adult to care for them and educate them during the formative preschool years is a major step. So why do we continue pay our preschool teachers so poorly?
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    Women in Computing Fields on the Decline?
    It's no secret that the computing workforce is dominated by men. In fact, just 24 percent of all computing related jobs are held by women, according to research by Accenture and the group Girls Who Code. If nothing is done to encourage more girls to enter the field by 2025, the number is predicted to drop to 22 percent.
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    Enter Our Annual Turkey Coloring Contest
    Thanksgiving is almost here, which also means the return of the SCHOOLSin Fifth Annual Turkey Coloring Contest! Through the generosity of our sponsors, we are giving away nearly $8,000 in prizes, including great stuff for your classroom, as well as gift cards to your favorite places to shop.
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    Visual Timers Ease Classroom Stress
    Any student might become stressed when hearing how much time is remaining when taking a test, but for those who do not have a good grasp on telling time, the simple announcement can be very upsetting. Visual timers are an effective way of communicating the concept of time without distractions and added anxiety.
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    How Pets Can Better Your Classroom
    Owning a pet has been proven to have health benefits by lowering blood pressure, lessening anxiety and boosting immunity. Because of time and financial restraints, not every family is capable of keeping a pet in their home. So why not invite animal friends into our classrooms?
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    Managing Food Allergies at School
    Up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including one in every 13 children. On average, that’s two children per classroom who suffer from food allergies, based on information from Food and Allergy Research Education (FARE).
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    A Case for Financial Education in our Schools
    The United States lags way behind other developed countries when it comes to financial education. In a 2014 Standard & Poor survey, the USA ranked 14th (behind Canada, Australia and much of Europe) in financial literacy. Why are we falling short? Simply put, most states don’t mandate financial courses.
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    Racial Disparities Still Prevalent in Schools
    Despite efforts to level the playing field for all students, racial disparities are still very much a part of some schools. According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Education in July, African-American and Latino students are behind in opportunities offered and more likely to be suspended from school.
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    Ready for Kindergarten?
    To send or not to send – it's a question that many parents of kindergarten-aged children face at the start of each school year. Some children appear born ready for school, eagerly awaiting their turn to board the big yellow bus and engage with peers away from the comforts of home. Other children may appear petrified at the idea of leaving their parents or struggle with sitting still for long periods of time.
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    Why Good Attendance Matters
    Chronic absence has a dramatic negative effect on students and their academic performance. An estimated 5 million to 7.5 million U.S. students miss nearly a month of school each year, according to Attendance Works, a national and state initiative that promotes better policy and practice around school attendance.
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    New SAT Format Brings Score Changes
    The SAT for college-bound students saw major revisions in the spring of 2016. Early results show that along with the changes, the tests include a degree of score inflation.
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    Buckle Up on Buses
    Did you know that school buses are the largest form of transit in the United States? Each day, an estimated 480,000 school buses carry 25 million children to and from school, according to the American School Bus Council. Because of their sheer weight, size and design, school buses are also one of the safest ways to travel. On average, only six passengers die each year in school bus crashes compared to the approximately 2,000 children killed in motor vehicle crashes, says the National Conference of State Legislators. Still, given the precious cargo, even more safety improvements are constantly being considered, including the use of seat belts.
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    Transgender Bathroom Controversy Reaches Schools
    The debate over transgender bathrooms has reached the public school sector. In May, the Obama administration issued a letter to public school districts regarding civil rights protection for transgender students. The joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice states that, "A school may provide separate facilities on the basis of sex, but must allow transgender students access to such facilities consistent with their gender identity."
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    School Sports Cover Costs with Pay-to-Play Fees
    High school athletes dream of getting paid to play the sports they love. But what happens when they are required to fork over money to help fund the sports? Many schools have opted for pay-to-play systems that charge student athletes a fee for each extracurricular they participate in.
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    School Funding Slow Compared to Prison Funding Growth
    Over a 33-year span, state and local governments have increased spending on prisons and jails at three times the rate they have increased spending on preschool through 12th grade education, according to data released this month by the U.S. Department of Education.
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    Decoding Computer Science
    Computer science is a foreign language to most people. Code.org is trying to change that by making the subject more accessible and understandable.
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    Teachers at Risk for Vocal Damage
    One of the main tools for classroom instruction may be harmful for teachers. A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that teachers have more than twice the voice problems as people in other professions.
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    School's (Not) Out for Summer
    For most students, summer means several months of vacation. But for the 5 million kids in the United States who attend year-round schools, summer is just a continuation of classes.
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    Drama is More Than an Extracurricular
    As schools focus on core subjects and STEM programs, theater frequently ends up on the losing end of the funding battle. Yet, drama education boasts countless benefits for students' physical, emotional, social and cognitive development.
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    States Drop the Ball on Physical Education
    Students benefit greatly from physical education, but states are not doing enough to ensure that children are active and fit. Only 19 states set a minimum amount of time for elementary students to participate in physical education, according to 2016 Shape of the Nation data recently released by the Society of Health and Physical Educators and Voices for Healthy Kids (SHAPE).
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    Invention Could Help Students with Dyslexia
    An estimated 20 percent of the population – about one in every five people – suffers with some form of reading disability. While words and sounds flow together easily for some, others see jumbled letters and disconnected ideas.
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    Homeschool Numbers on the Rise
    For more and more children, the commute to school is a short walk to the kitchen table. The number of American children who are homeschooled is increasing at a dramatic rate. According to USA Today, in 1999, an estimated 850,000 students nationwide were being home-schooled. By 2011-12, that number had more than doubled to 1.77 million. About four percent of all school-age students are homeschooled.
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    Getting Enough to Eat in Summer
    For some children, the best meal – and, sadly, sometimes only meal – they receive each day is school lunch. So what happens to these kids when school lets out for summer? Many school districts across the nation offer free lunches during the summer to ensure that all children are being met with their nutritional needs.
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    Financial Aid Made Easier
    College-bound students hoping to receive financial aid must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which becomes available online each year on January 1st. The form requires information from a federal income tax return from the previous calendar year. Since most parents do not receive W-2 forms until late January,
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    Bilingual Preschoolers
    Experts believe that there are benefits to teaching children a second language at a very young age. Dense gray matter in the brain allows little ones – especially in their first three or four years of life – to learn quickly and confidently.
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    Increased Screen Time Linked to More Cases of Early Nearsightedness
    Have you noticed more and more of your students wearing glasses? The cause is likely, in part, caused by the technology they love.
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    New Act Returns Power to the States
    This past December, President Obama signed The Every Student Succeeds Act which gives states more control over curriculum, testing and standards. The new act has been well received by educators who feel that its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act, allowed too much federal control and micromanagement of our schools since its inception in 2002.
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