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Why Teach Academic Language?

Every day in American schools, teachers welcome more students whose first language is something other than English. According to the Pew Research Center, this demographic trend will only grow exponentially in coming years. In fact, Pew estimates up to 93% of our population will come from immigrant populations and their children by the year 2050. What do these numbers mean for schools? Here's the short answer: schools will need better ways to teach language generally, and academic language in particular. Why the importance? When students don't master academic language, they're at greater risk for falling behind or even dropping out of school. The Language of Textbooks Learning to speak, read, and write in English can be challenging enough. But without knowing academic language (e.g., general-instruction words like "summarize," math words like "times" as another way to say "multiplied by," or science words like "hypothesis"), English language learners can quickly fall behind in their progress.
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Imagine Learning Talks About the Common Core Standards

At Imagine Learning, we're quite familiar with the variety of opinions surrounding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Although our own programs are aligned with multiple state standards (and not just the CCSS), we know what most educators are thinking on the subject. Here, we share a few of our findings. What the Data Say In August of 2015 a nationwide PDK/Gallup poll revealed that a majority of respondents oppose the teaching of Common Core. Interestingly, black and Hispanic respondents showed a lower level of opposition, at just 35 and 50 percent respectively. In an earlier (2013) poll by PDK/Gallup, 72 percent of those polled indicated that they trust public school educators. But the same respondents also assume most educators oppose the CCSS, a view not aligned with the data. In reality, 75 percent of educators support CCSS standards.
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Reframing the Assessment Problem

A guest post by Trey Duke RTI and Instructional Technology Coordinator for Rutherford County Schools, Tennessee Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.   FreeImages.com/David Hartman In the world of education, there are often cries for more—more technology, more resources, more parental involvement. These cries for more are well-intentioned and usually justified. However, one thing you never hear a rallying cry for is more assessments. In fact, one could state that over the past few years, "assessment" has become a bad word among teachers and parents. Various community groups and educational agencies see assessments as a waste of class time, as well as a method of turning our students into lifeless spreadsheets of data. This cry reached a pinnacle last year when President Obama's administration called on Congress to look at over assessment of students while working on the new ESSA law.
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When I grow up

Christian is a student at Noralto elementary school in northern California. He dreams of becoming a scientist. He also has autism. And with that, he has to navigate through a few obstacles that can disrupt his learning technique. But with Imagine Learning, he's learning how to learn, and in the process—raising the bar and scoring better on tests. 
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Stress-busting strategies for test season

Sweaty palms? Check. Racing heart? Yep. A bad case of butterflies in the stomach? You bet. It must be test time. Many students struggle with exam anxiety, but those feelings of panic and dread can be even worse for struggling readers and English learners. Here are a few simple strategies you can use to help your students relax and get ready to ace those tests:
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