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AdLit gathers interesting news headlines about literacy, middle grade and YA books, best practices in instruction, and other key topics related to middle school and high school teaching and learning.

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The Big Problem(s) With Grades (opens in a new window)

Washington Post

September 07, 2023

In their new book, “Off the Mark: How Grades, Ratings, and Rankings Undermine Learning (but Don’t Have To)” Jack Schneider and Ethan L. Hutt write about the influences of grades, test scores, and transcripts on schools and students as they map out ways that assessment currently undermines student learning and offer ways out of the predicament.

High Schoolers Go All-In At Harvard’s Active Learning Labs (opens in a new window)

Harvard Gazette

August 25, 2023

With the goal of inspiring students who may not be aware of opportunities in science and engineering, the Active Learning Labs (ALL) at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences hosted two outreach programs for local and international teens in July.

Developed and directed by ALL’s Melissa Hancock, Avery Normandin, and Nicholas LoRusso, the programs were designed to be as accessible to students as possible.

3 Reasons We Use Graphic Novels to Teach Math and Physics (opens in a new window)

The Conversation

August 25, 2023

Graphic novels – offering visual information married with text – provide a means to engage students without losing all of the rigor of textbooks. As two educators in math and physics, we have found graphic novels to be effective at teaching students of all ability levels. We’ve used graphic novels in our own classes, and we’ve also inspired and encouraged other teachers to use them. And we’re not alone: Other teachers are rejuvenating this analog medium with a high level of success.

Setting Up PBL for National History Day (opens in a new window)


August 25, 2023

Middle and high school teachers can boost engagement in social studies with project-based learning units for National History Day (NHD). Despite the name, NHD is much more than a day. It involves an extended project that challenges students to be curious, think critically, and communicate effectively.

The Power of Storytelling for Youth (opens in a new window)


August 25, 2023

For decades, a nonprofit group called The Moth has produced workshops, events and a popular radio show where people tell transformative stories from their lives. And in 2012, the group started working with high schools, coaching students to turn their stories into polished orations.

This year the nonprofit has started sharing those student stories in a new spin-off podcast, called Grown(opens in a new window).

In Puerto Rico, Natural Disasters Take A Mental And Academic Toll On Children (opens in a new window)


August 25, 2023

Puerto Rico has seen a string of natural disasters in the past few years – hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and landslides. When COVID-19 hit in 2020, things got even worse.

These disasters have taken a heavy toll on student mental health. They’ve disrupted everyday life and seriously impacted schools and learning for kids and teens on the island. Listen in as NPR’s “Consider This” reports on Puerto Rico’s concerning educational landscape.

Teachers Can Help Unlock These 12 Middle School Superpowers (P.S. Parents Can Too)! (opens in a new window)

We Are Teachers

August 24, 2023

To most adults, middle school behavior is an enigma. We’re often left scratching our heads at why one sideways glance from a peer or 70% on a math test can derail a student’s whole day. Parents and teachers might be tempted to conclude they’re being overdramatic.

Fagell offers insight into why middle school students seem so quick to fall apart and how parents and educators can equip them with the skills to face their challenges. (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t involve telling them to “get over it.”) 

Do Smartphones Belong In Classrooms? Four Scholars Weigh In (opens in a new window)

The Conversation

August 11, 2023

A new report from UNESCO, the education arm of the United Nations, raises questions about the practice. Though smartphones can be used for educational purposes, the report says the devices also disrupt classroom learning, expose students to cyberbullying and can compromise students’ privacy. As school leaders in the U.S. wrestle with whether or not to ban smartphones, The Conversation has invited four scholars to weigh in on the issue.

Florida Says AP Psychology Doesn’t Violate The Law, After All (opens in a new window)

Washington Post

August 10, 2023

Florida Education Commissioner Manny Díaz Jr. said in a letter sent late Wednesday that high schools may teach Advanced Placement Psychology without running afoul of Florida law — including material on sexual orientation and gender identity. Amid confusion, many large districts had said they would stop offering the longtime course.

High Schoolers Account For Nearly 1 in 5 Community College Students (opens in a new window)


July 25, 2023

The number of high schoolers taking college classes has been surging for more than two decades. In what is called dual enrollment, students simultaneously earn high school and college credits from a single class. These advanced college-level courses are no longer just for gifted students who have exhausted the high school course catalog. Now they’re a tool to encourage more Americans to enroll in college by giving them an early taste of post-secondary education and a head start with a few credits.

Why Students Are Missing School, How to Fix It (opens in a new window)

Voice of America-Learning English

June 30, 2023

Education officials and activists are concerned about an increase in the number of American students who are absent for many days during the school year. Unless school leaders draw upon the knowledge of their students and families, they are unlikely to create effective solutions.