The path to success is paved with durable skills

Workforce needs are ever-changing, and in order to keep pace, today’s students should develop–as early as possible–the durable skills necessary for technological and interpersonal success.

Durable skills include skills like critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, along with leadership, mindfulness, the ability to fail, and a growth mindset. And it doesn’t matter which career path a student takes–durable skills will be necessary for success on that path.

In a report, America Succeeds partnered with Lightcast to look at 82 million job postings from 2019 and 2020 and identify how large the demand is for job applicants with these skills.…Read More

Learn to use books to foster critical thinking

While I’m a far cry from a Newbery, once a year, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing a picture book for my nephew Knox. My goal is to keep the eight-year-old excited about reading, because what little boy doesn’t want to read a book about himself?

For the purposes of this article about using picture books in instruction, I invite you to listen as I read aloud to you The Great PunkaKnox.

When I was in school, my teacher would have read the book out loud and asked us questions to test our comprehension, such as:…Read More

Using VR to radically improve learning outcomes

“When will I ever use this?”

Math students have been asking educators this very question for decades. And yet, it has long been reported by Brookings (Loveless, 2008) and others like the Algebra Project (Moses, 2001) that Algebra I is the gatekeeper to higher level math classes, higher education success, and careers in the technical fields. It is a commonly-held belief that algebraic concepts are directly related to critical thinking skills. So, what is the disconnect?

We have hovered our proverbial mouse over the 21st century now for two decades. Yet, our education system and structure had shown little to no trace of modernization. Bells rang, people moved. An agrarian calendar is used to let our students “off” for the summer to help with…wait, for what? …Read More

4 ideas to infuse critical thinking in ELA and social studies

Every teacher knows the importance of critical thinking in education. Strong critical thinkers make better decisions, are more informed, have more career opportunities, and are generally better equipped to navigate the challenges of everyday life.

In the classroom, critical thinking is essential to the growth and betterment of our students. It’s not enough for them to simply memorize that 6 times 6 equals 36; they also need to know the underlying principle behind the equation. And, when put into practice, it can unleash student potential in ways we’ve never dreamed.

Just consider Ann Makosinski (16), a student who created a flashlight that is powered by her own thermal energy. Kelvin Doe (13), of Sierra Leone, built a radio transmitter and generator for his village out of spare parts. Another student, Gitanjali Rao (12), was inspired by the crisis in Flint, Michigan, to build a way to send water-quality information via Bluetooth. …Read More

5 easy tools that support project-based learning

Educators know project-based learning (PBL) isn’t simply another teaching strategy. Project-based learning gives students deeper learning experiences, and as they apply their knowledge, they develop soft skills such as critical thinking and team work–skills they’ll carry through to college and the workforce.

But it’s often a great undertaking to locate and vet resources and tools for project-based learning, and educators don’t have an abundance of time.

Below, we’ve gathered a handful of “add-on” tools for project-based learning. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we hope these resources help as you search for PBL examples and strategies.…Read More

Are your students ready for their next step?

After more than a year of virtual learning, many educators and parents are investigating approaches to accelerate learning to ensure students are ready for their next step.  Learning does not just mean facts and content but includes a broad range of skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and effective written communication, as well as social and emotional well-being.  

While content knowledge is a requisite part of a student’s education, on its own it is insufficient if a student is to thrive academically and professionally. Students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and written communication skills are essential for success in college and career. These are the skills in high demand by employers and higher education institutions.

Prior to the pandemic, CAE’s data show that 60 percent of students entering college are not proficient in these essential skills. Furthermore, 44 percent are still not proficient when they graduate. These are the students most at risk–and proficiency is likely even lower now, given the impact of the pandemic. CAE’s data also shows that students who are more proficient with these essential skills are more likely to have positive college and career outcomes.…Read More

Students will crush goals with the multi-grade level student planner, The Navigator!

School Mate® is proud to introduce our new, multi-level student planner—the Navigator. It’s the ultimate combination of functionality and value that will optimize students’ success. The Navigator is a full-color planner packed with STEAM powered resource pages to propel critical thinking of 5th – 12th grade students.

  • Four preprinted core subjects and four blank subjects within the weekly grid provides abundant space to list daily tasks, assignments, and projects.
  • Bonus features include sections for weekly goals, notes, hall passes, and reading logs as well as motivational quotes and study tips.
  • The notebook-sized student planner also includes month at-a-glance calendars to help students stay on track throughout the school year.

Take the Navigator to the next level by customizing the front and back covers, handbook pages, and teacher editions. If you will be holding summer school in 2021, be sure to include year-round supplements bound in the front of your planner.

The Navigator is a powerhouse guide for students to crush goals, stay organized, and to manage productivity. Planners provide accessibility of schedules and accountability of goals and commitments without the distractions that come with digital devices. Studies show writing things down engages cognitive processing which develops greater comprehension and retention to help students stay on task. Order 2021/22 student planners today at schoolmate.com. With 88 years in the industry, School Mate provides quality educational products that equip students with the tools they need to succeed and at prices that meet every school budget. Learn more about our exceptional school products by visiting schoolmate.com or contact us at 800-516-8339.…Read More

6 ways to embrace the messiness of math education

Math is not easy to teach or learn. So, teachers use a variety of strategies to boost their students’ numeracy skills as they progress through math education.

But some of those approaches could be unproductive, contended Dr. Juli Dixon, Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Central Florida, in a recent edWebinar sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Mathematics. She described standard practices that can derail rather than support mathematical reasoning, and offered alternative methods that would benefit students far more.

Embracing the messiness of math education…Read More

MiEN Company Releases White Paper on How Flexible Furniture Creates Active Learning Environments

Districts and schools are increasingly adopting active learning practices in order to address businesses’ demand for employees capable of creative and collaborative work. But one commonly overlooked factor in this transition is classroom design. However, research shows that the physical space that supports active learning is quite different from one designed for lecture-focused teaching. To help educators, Dr. Christina Counts, the vice president of education at MiEN Company, and Dr. Kristen Brittingham, the chief learning officer for Modern Teacher, have co-authored a white paper titled “Active Learning Environments Support Student Engagement, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking.”

Active learning not only promotes student engagement and the development of critical thinking and collaboration but also creativity and communication all of which are skills that employers are seeking. The paper focuses on research regarding the role of active learning environments in the development of these critical skills.

“Classrooms need to become active learning environments supported by technology integration,” said Brittingham. “So, the physical makeup of the classroom needs to change in order to support active learning environments. Unfortunately, most classrooms look the same as they did 20-30 years ago. We need changes in classroom design that mirror the new emphasis on collaboration in education and in today’s workplace.”…Read More