Do math drills help children learn?

One of the most hotly contested teaching practices concerns a single minute of math class.
Should teachers pull out their stopwatches and administer one-page worksheets in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division? Speed drills are such a routine part of the weekly rhythms of many math classrooms that they’re often called Mad Minute Mondays. Critics say these timed drills aren’t useful and instead provoke math anxiety in many children. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics urges teachers to “avoid” timed tests. But advocates insist that these tests, which last one to five minutes, help children memorize math facts, freeing up their brains to tackle more challenging math problems.
This long-running debate captured my attention again because a group of more than a dozen education researchers, who founded an organization they call the “Science of Math,” declared that the stopwatch skeptics are wrong. The researchers built an entire webpage to set the record straight..

Chicago schools tapped hundreds of academic interventionists to catch students up after COVID. Is it working?

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In a classroom on Chicago’s West Side one morning last November, Teresa Przybyslawski sat side by side with a soft-spoken sixth grader. She read a script off her computer screen while he peered at his own tablet.
“On your screen, you will see some addition problems,” read Przybyslawski. “I want you to do as many of them as you can in one minute.”
She glanced at the sixth grader, John. His back was taut, his face tense.
Down the hall, the boy’s classmates at Brunson Math and Science Specialty School, a high-poverty elementary school, geared up to tackle dividing fractions. But here, alongside Przybyslawski, one of the district’s new interventionists tasked with helping students who fell behind during the pandemic, John was about to work on math normally taught in first grade.
“Are you ready? Three. Two. One.”
Numbers flashed on John’s screen: “2 + 7. 5 + 10. 10 + 4.”
At the sta..

What happens when one twin scorns social media and the other embraces it

Meet Xenia, a junior at Northwestern University, who leans into math and science, runs dutifully in her spare time and tends toward introversion. Now meet her fraternal twin, Madeleine, a double major in English and Philosophy at Johns Hopkins, who prefers reading and writing over sports and as a child was dubbed the school’s mayor by her father after he noticed her making the rounds in the cafeteria during a second-grade parent/child lunch. The girls get along, their personality differences allowing each to carve out an independent identity and buffering both from excessive rivalry.
Another way these twins differ? When they were in high school, Xenia spurned all social media, the only girl in her grade, she thought, without Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Houseparty and all other social media sites on her phone. “I was never interested in it,” she told me. Madeleine, on the other hand, while not a devotee, relied on Snapchat to keep in touch with distant friends and used Inst..

How a little more silence in children’s lives helps them grow

A group of small children sits cross-legged with their teacher, Steve Mejía-Menendez, on a round carpet. He’s a pre-K teacher at Lee Montessori Public Charter School’s campus in Southeast Washington, D.C., and although I’m here to meet him, I almost don’t spot him because he’s eye level with his students.
Mr. Steve, as he’s known here, is talking a few students through a geometry lesson when another student approaches to ask an unrelated question. This kind of distraction happens all the time in classrooms around the United States. Mr. Steve doesn’t lose focus. He uses American Sign Language to say “wait” — palms facing up, fingers wiggling — and the child waits quietly. When the lesson arrives at a natural stopping point, the student is invited to ask his question, and Mr. Steve silently responds by nodding his head along with his fist, which is sign language for “yes.”
Blink, and you could miss the whole interaction.
This isn’t a school for students with hearing disabilities, but ..

Does delaying kindergarten benefit children academically and socially?

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“Redshirting” or choosing to delay kindergarten for a year is a popular topic for parents of young children at this time of year. Increased awareness of redshirting may have roots in Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book Outliers, published in 2008. In the book, Gladwell points to data on the birthdays of Canadian Hockey League players to argue that being relatively older than peers provides an advantage, and he extends this argument to children’s success in school.
At the same time that ideas from Outliers have circulated, kindergarten has become increasingly academic and rigorous. For parents of children born near the kindergarten cutoff date, the pressure to redshirt feels intense. My oldest child has a late August birthday, which is right around the cutoff date for her school. However, it seemed like all of the children with summer birth..

A Georgia school district’s book bans may have caused a hostile environment, feds say

The Department of Education has found that a Georgia school district may have created a hostile environment for students by banning certain books from its libraries, the agency’s Office of Civil Rights said.
In late 2021, several parents complained at school board meetings that Forsyth County Schools were carrying books with LGBTQ+ and sexually explicit content. Opponents of the bans said the district’s book screening process deliberately left out non-white and LGBTQ+ authors, the Department of Education said in its memo released late last week.
The agency concluded the district limited its screening process to sexually explicit books and did not violate two laws governing institutions receiving federal aid: Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, and Title VI, which bars discrimination based on race, color or national origin.
But the Department of Education also said that if a sexually or racially hostile environment was created for students as a result of the proces..

Understanding and supporting girls with ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has long been associated with young boys, but research over the past four decades has revealed a hidden world of girls affected by the disorder. Almost 13% of men and boys have ADHD compared to 5.6% of women and girls. Girls are often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed in part because parents and teachers are less likely to refer girls for treatment or diagnosis. “It’s taken a long time for the medical field to catch up,” said Stephen Hinshaw, a clinical psychologist and researcher at University of California, Berkeley.
Hinshaw’s work highlights the importance of early identification and intervention for girls with ADHD. “There may be a hidden pattern marked by coping and compensation that over the years can become quite serious,” he said. Girls who go undiagnosed are more likely to “suffer in silence,” which may include a higher risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation, according to Hinshaw. Once diagnosed, medication management, parenting s..

Teens say social media is stressing them out. Here’s how to help them

“What advice would you give to young people who are new to social media?”
“Have you ever felt like you need to change your social media use…?”
Teens and young adults from across the country answered these questions in a text survey in 2020. Their answers are eye-opening.
“I would tell young people … the internet is far off from reality and the more time you spend on it, the more you forget what real life is actually like…,” one person wrote.
“Don’t let social media control your life or your self-esteem,” another texted.
The study, published in September, reveals a striking awareness about the potential harms social media can have on teenagers’ mental health, but also their persistent attempts to counter these harms.
Some respondents explicitly said social media made them feel depressed. Many asked their parents to help them stop using it. Nearly two-thirds of respondents gave some version of this advice to future teens: Don’t use social media. It’s OK to abstain. Or delete your ..

A high school senior’s science project could use AI to prevent suicides

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 9-8-8, or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Text messages, Instagram posts and TikTok profiles. Parents often caution their kids against sharing too much information online, weary about how all that data gets used. But one Texas high schooler wants to use that digital footprint to save lives.
Siddhu Pachipala is a senior at The Woodlands College Park High School, in a suburb outside Houston. He’s been thinking about psychology since seventh grade, when he read Thinking, Fast and Slow by psychologist Daniel Kahneman.
Concerned about teen suicide, Pachipala saw a role for artificial intelligence in detecting risk before it’s too late. In his view, it takes too long to get kids help when they’re suffering.
Early warning signs of suicide, like persistent feelings of hopelessness, changes in mood and sleep patterns, are often missed by loved ones. “So it’s..

An economist spent decades saying money wouldn’t help schools. Now his research suggests otherwise.

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at This story was co-published with Vox.
Eric Hanushek, a leading education researcher, has spent his career arguing that spending more money on schools probably won’t make them better.
His latest research, though, suggests the opposite.
The paper, set to be published later this year, is a new review of dozens of studies. It finds that when schools get more money, students tend to score better on tests and stay in school longer, at least according to the majority of rigorous studies on the topic.
“They found pretty consistent positive effects of school funding,” said Adam Tyner, national research director at the Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank. “The fact that Hanushek has found so many positive effects is especially significant because he’s associated with the idea that money doesn’t matter all that much to school performance.”
The findings seem like a remark..