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Volume 29, Number 1
January/February 2013

Top 10 Stories of 2012


The U.S. government went over the cliff and climbed back up, but readers of the Harvard Education Letter remain well-grounded and well-rounded, judging by the list of our most viewed stories published last year.

From algebra, text complexity, and the Common Core to moral development, racial literacy, and the hottest classroom apps, readers gravitated to articles on a wide range of topics.

Here, in order of popularity, are the top ten most viewed articles for 2012:

1. Nine Ways the Common Core Will Change Classroom Practice. Author Bob Rothman, who documented the development of the Common Core State Standards in a 2011 book, provides a handy primer on the key instructional changes that will be needed to deliver on the promises of the new standards.

2. From Math Helper to Community Organizer. Journalist and author Laura Pappano looks at intriguing research suggesting that leadership traits emerge early and may be cultivated.

3. The Algebra Problem. What is it about algebra? Pappano goes to elementary school to find out why some researchers believe students should start thinking algebraically long before eighth grade.

4. Star Apps Lift Learners Through the Clouds. Tech Talk columnist Dave Saltman susses out the apps teachers are using in the classroom, including TwHistory, SplashMath, VoiceThread, and more.

5. The Complex Matter of Text Complexity. The Common Core calls on K–12 educators to keep students on track to read complex texts required in college. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. Bob Rothman explains why.

6. Be a Behavior Detective. Authors Jessica Minahan and Nancy Rappaport explain how tracking behavior patterns can help teachers get their most disruptive students back on track in this essay based on their new guide.

7. Tired of PD? Try an Edcamp. Educators Justin Reich and Dan Callahan introduce a new kind of professional development designed for, with, and by teachers and coming to a locality near you.

8. Bully, the Documentary. Even the most complacent adult will feel the terror school bullies can inspire in other children, writes journalist Colleen Gillard after viewing this documentary.

9. Five Things High School Students Should Know About Race. Understanding the history and social reality of race can help students become more comfortable and constructive members of our multi¬racial democracy, according to Lawrence Blum, who created a high school course on race and wrote about the experience in his latest book.

10. Promoting Moral Development in Schools. Most parents want schools to teach right from wrong and other values, but getting students to adopt them is the bigger challenge, writes Richard Weissbourd, director of the Human Development and Psychology Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Nancy Walser is the editor of the
Harvard Education Letter.