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Deeper Learning Digest: So You Think Deeper Learning Needs More Celebrities?

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August 21, 2015 04:39 pm

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The ‘Deeper Learning Digest’ is a bi-weekly roundup of articles, blog posts, and other content around deeper learning. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed to stay up-to-date on all deeper learning news. If you can’t wait for your deeper learning fix, follow @deeperlearning on Twitter for more frequent updates.

Students need to be prepared for all of the challenges associated with a global economy, but many increasingly fall short.

A new Alliance report, using data from the Nation’s Report Card, notes that 60 percent of both fourth and eighth graders currently struggle with reading. “Without essential literacy skills to master academic course work,” the report notes, “students lose the motivation and confidence vital to maintaining their investment in learning. Furthermore, students who do not read well are more likely to be retained in school, drop out of high school, become teen parents, or enter the juvenile justice system.”

Part of the problem is that struggling readers experience educational “opportunity gaps,” meaning they have less access to effective teaching and rigorous course work and encounter lower expectations from adults. So what’s the answer? The report points to federal legislation that would encourage schools and educators to use research-based strategies to teach reading and writing within subject areas and across grade levels while supporting schools to provide high-quality classroom literacy instruction as well as a continuum of interventions and support for students with or at risk of reading failure. Read the press release on the report for more, including a link to the full report.

For more about reading and deeper learning (and running), check out the blog post by Alec Patton, a Humanities Teacher at High Tech High Chula Vista, who equates his difficulties with running to some high school students’ difficulties with reading.

But what does rigor look like? Writing for Ed Week’s “Learning Deeply” blog, John Bosselman, another Humanities teacher at High Tech High Chula Vista, considers several possible definitions for rigor, but also demonstrates what a rigorous deeper learning project looks like. Head over there to see how students tackled the problem of what animal species should be reintroduced in the London borough of Newham.

So you think deeper learning needs more celebrities? Enter John Legend, Grammy and Academy Award winning artist, who is working with the LRNG Innovation Challenge to provide grants to teachers who create time and space for deeper learning. “We’re trying to harness the teacher’s creativity, harness the student’s creativity, account for the fact that different students have different strengths— things that excite them, ways to see what excites those young people,” says Legend. He says the point is to “give teachers the opportunity to not just give them what’s on the curriculum but light a spark in the students and make them really love learning.” Learning Without Limits: John Legend’s Sound Investment

If you’re a policymaker who is looking to expand opportunities for deeper learning, a new report from The Education Policy Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is for you. The report highlights current state policy efforts in several states that build teacher capacity, support innovation and personalization, and expand flexibility. Deeper Learning: Improving Student Outcomes for College, Career, and Civic Life

If you’re a policymaker who is not looking to expand opportunities for deeper learning, consider a 2014 report from AIR finding that students in deeper learning networks had on-time high school graduation rates that were 9 percentage points higher than students from comparison schools.  Additionally, students in deeper learning network schools were more likely to enroll in four-year institutions (27 percent compared to 23 percent). Students Attending Deeper Learning Schools Have Better Educational Outcomes than Their Peers, AIR Report Finds

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