Scholastic & the Gates Foundation Release Largest-Ever Teacher Survey

The Scholastic Headquarters are humming this morning, as today marks the launch of Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on America’s Schools, a joint project of Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and what is believed to be the largest-ever survey of America’s public school teachers.

We asked 40,000 teachers for their thoughts on education reform, and they answered, revealing their powerful, nuanced views on the challenges facing our schools and key solutions to addressing those challenges, including:

* Establish Clear Standards, Common Across States
* Use Multiple Measures to Evaluate Student Performance
* Innovate to Reach Today’s Students
* Accurately Measure Teacher Performance and Provide Non-Monetary Rewards
* Bridge School & Home to Raise Student Achievement

The full report results will be released via live Webcast this morning at 10am EST/7am PT to register for the webcast, download the full report (after 11am)or comment on the study, please visit


Here, there, and everywhere: Read Across America

Today’s a cool day. Not only did we show off the supremely awesome cover artwork to the next installment of The 39 Clues, but it’s also March 2.

…which means it’s the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

…which means it’s the official celebration of Read Across America!

For 13 years now, the National Education Association (NEA) has been building a nation of readers with Read Across America, a year-round program that focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers are participating by bringing together kids, teens, and books. We’d love to hear how you, your schools, or your families are celebrating!

The NEA Read Across America web site is worth a stop, by the way, whether you’re involved in the program or not. For starters, they offer tons of ways to get involved, like on Facebook and Twitter (and, speaking of Twitter, I’ve been getting my fill of fun Dr. Seuss quotes all day!); they also share some exciting info about reading trends and resources. For example, they announced that Harry Potter is still America’s Favorite, noting “J.K. Rowling’s teen wizard continues to captivate America’s readers according to results from NEA’s Favorite Book series poll. The Harry Potter series outpaced its competitors, capturing one-third of the votes cast.”

Even the President and First Lady were in on today’s action, declaring today the official Read Across America Day and taking some time to read aloud to kids.

Have you been marking the day? Let us know how in the comments!

Previously On Our Minds:

* The 39 Clues Book 8: The Emperor’s Code revealed!
* 5 Questions with Teacher Advisors
* Future journalists as ‘critical thinkers and critical readers’

The 39 Clues Book 8: The Emperor’s Code revealed!

Teachers, librarians and parents – do not be alarmed if you see your kids and students acting strangely! Rumor has it, they’re reading more than usual (even kids who didn’t express much interest in books before.) If you suspect unusual behavior, quickly take this true or false test to see if your kids have – I’m nervous to say it – 39-Cluesitis:

True or False: Their knowledge of historical facts far surpasses that of any Harvard professor.
True or False: Their constantly engrossed in not only books, but online adventure games and clue cards.
True or False: At night, they mumble in their sleep, “Dan and Amy, run! Find the next clue! zzz”
True or False: They talk in great detail about cities and countries that even YOU haven’t visited.

If you answered “true” to at least half of the statements, then your kids have been diagnosed with 39-Cluesitis. But, there’s good news! 39-Cluesitis is a condition only the best readers can get. Not only is it highly contagious, it also means your kids are reading more, learning about historical places and figures, solving difficult mysteries and they’re loving it!

The prescription: There are only 34 days and 15 hours until book 8 in The 39 Clues series: The Emperor’s Code will finally be here on April 6. Until then, it’s best to give your 39-Cluesitis patient every kind of clue possible to further the hunt! First, have your kids watch this exclusive interview by news reporter William Michaels with Gordon Korman, author of The Emperor’s Code and book 2 The False Note:

[I hope there aren’t any Madrigals reading this ~ shudder] I can’t believe Gordon put his life on the line just to lead us to the next clue. It looks like the cover of The Emperor’s Code (pictured above) leads us to the next Clue location! Kids can go to to use the special magnifying glass and uncover the location of the next Clue.

GIVEAWAY: You can participate too! If you know where the location of the next Clue is, leave a link to the Wikipedia page for that location in the comments. We’ll randomly pick 3 winners with accurate answers to each win books 1 and 2 from the series: The Maze of Bones and The False Note. Don’t forget to leave your email address. Ends on Wednesday, March 3 at 6 p.m. ET.

(Must be 18 or over to enter. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. View official rules here.)

Previously On Our Minds:

* 39 Clues News: Book #7 and Much More!
* 5 Questions with Peter Lerangis: author of The 39 Clues The Viper’s Nest
* Even MORE 39 Clues Winners!

5 Questions with Teacher Advisors

If you’re a teacher, you may have heard about the Scholastic Teacher Advisors. Who are they and what do they do? Well, lucky for us, Teacher Advisors are Scholastic Book Clubs’ eyes and ears in the classroom. They come to Scholastic once a year to help everyone stay on the pulse of what’s happening in schools and help us make better decisions about what books to offer. They give us advice on everything from which kinds of resources teachers will find useful for their classrooms, to how we can better demonstrate to kids and parents that books should be an important and fun part of their lives.

This year’s 16 Scholastic Book Clubs Teacher Advisors were chosen from among hundreds of applicants. They represent schools of all shapes and sizes, and come from all across the country. With us in the video are two of this year’s stellar Teacher Advisors, Lisa Wommack from Panama City, Florida, and Kristin Dammacco, Bronx, New York.


Photo courtesy of LizMarie from Flickr (creative commons).

Previously On Our Minds:

* Video: Chris Dede and Michael Geisen on collaboration, inquiry, and more
* You’re Invited! Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Present the Largest-Ever Teacher Survey
* Back to School with 5 Questions: Learning to Read