Weekly Roundup for October 21, 2011

Jess Tonn>      Brains, brains and more brains. Researchers not only have discovered that teens’ IQs can change by up to 20 points, they have also identified potential treatments for math anxiety. And many teens (and Web Communications Managers!) will be happy to learn that Facebook users with more friends have larger brains.

>      Nicholas Kristof urges us to Occupy the Classroom in his New York Times column this week, arguing that “the single step that would do the most to reduce inequality has nothing to do with finance at all. It’s an expansion of early childhood education.”

>      Also from the Times, students weigh in on whether character should be taught. This article about social and emotional learning from GOOD makes a good case for why it should.

>      Give it up for New York State! Not only are we “a leading state for after-school” (with room to grow), we also have “the opportunity to lead the nation in transforming education for the digital age.” So, where do we start? How about with kindergarteners at the keyboard.

>      This article about bringing chess into schools reminded me that all of the chess players I know are men. My new goal: Teach my daughter to play chess. First step: Learn how to play chess myself.

>      In a recent Ed Week Commentary, Allan Collins and Roy Pea tackle a question that’s on our minds here at TASC: How do we measure the skills and knowledge kids’ develop outside the standard classroom environment?

>      With the presidential elections heating up, Richard Nemi explained what students do (and don’t) know about civics and government (PDF 222K) at the American Enterprise Institute this week.

Featured Friday Funding Opportunity:

Community Action Grants for Women and Girls
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) offers grants to individuals and community-based nonprofit organizations to support innovative programs or non-degree research projects that promote education and equity for women and girls. Special consideration is given to projects focused on K-12 and community college girls’ and women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering or math.

Deadline: January 15

And now for something completely different:

This week, my AmeriCorps alma mater, The New York Restoration Project, planted its 500,000 tree in New York City, marking the halfway point in its goal of planting 1 million trees in our fair city. Tomorrow, TASC’s AmeriCorps crew will be in Van Cortlandt Park, helping NYRP get a few thousand trees closer to that goal. From all of us who live, work and breathe in New York City, thanks a million.

TASC AmeriCorps members will be making a difference in the Bronx this weekend.