Heading Back to School with Dungeons & Dragons in Classrooms, Afterschool Clubs

Renton, Wash. — As kids and teens return to the classroom, some for the first time since the pandemic hit in 2020, parents and educators are concerned about how the children will interact with each other and their teachers. A new initiative from Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS), hopes to provide a platform using the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons for social activities and educational learning. In celebration of the release of a new starter set, Wizards will provide Dungeons & Dragons-themed classroom materials for teachers across the country to add to their curriculum.

On top of that, schools, libraries, community centers and enrichment organizations can receive the D&D Afterschool Kit, which includes everything needed to start or enhance D&D clubs and meetups. Dungeons & Dragons has surged in popularity recently, and educators have taken note of its many benefits in a social learning environment.

“D&D saved my life, I’ve seen it save and change the lives of others, and I watch as it shapes the lives of the children who learn to play in my class,” said Kade Wells, Harrisburg North Middle School ELA Instructor in South Dakota and founder of Building Heroez. “Dungeons & Dragons is the best metacognitive tool for education that I’ve seen. The reading growth observed and measured in my class clearly indicates the great things D&D can do in schools. My students’ test score growth doubled each time they tested.”…Read More

Future Astronomers releases new phase of Astronomy education for youth

Brooklyn, New York (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Future Astronomers, creator of the Future Astronomers astronomy educational platform, announced today that they are launching the second phase of free programs for Autumn 2022. 

Future Astronomers is expanding its offering, and the details are as follows: 

  • Initiating Series Two of the popular Future Astronomers Zoom classes forming their Youtube series, which will cover further exploration of astrophysics fundamentals, and how they apply to galaxies and stars.
  • Launching of ‘Materials for Learning’ program, where kids will have access to telescopes to actively engage and investigate celestial skies above.  Fundraising initiatives will soon commence to support this endeavour.
  • Expanding ‘Sidewalk Astronomy’ initiative, a flexible program which encourages other astronomers to share their knowledge and capabilities with local youth, providing further outreach for astronomy education.

According to Lucas Zimmermann, “It is with great excitement that we announce the next phase of astronomy education programs.  We are covering interesting new celestial topics in the zoom classes, which I believe helps with setting a strong foundation for astronomy knowledge.  I’m also excited to launch ‘Materials for Learning’, which I believe will be useful in providing targeted material support in key communities. And lastly, expanding ‘Sidewalk Stars’ really helps to bring the wonders of the universe closer to neighbourhoods and empowers others to contribute to interested youth.”…Read More

Allentown-Area School Buses Modernized with Safety Technology to Protect Kids and Stop Dangerous Drivers

Allentown, PA (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Children returning to school on the yellow school bus can expect a safer, smarter commute this fall, thanks to the launch of a new safety initiative across Eastern Pennsylvania. Allentown, Bethlehem, Kutztown Area, and Northwestern Lehigh school districts have each partnered with local law enforcement and BusPatrol to tackle the illegal passing of stopped school buses.

More than 300 buses across Berks and Lehigh counties will be outfitted with automated enforcement technology to detect the license plates of vehicles that fail to stop for school buses, putting children at risk. The video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review before a citation is issued.

The programs will go live on Monday, August 29, to coincide with the start of the new school year. In addition to enforcement, the initiative includes an education and awareness campaign to remind motorists of school bus safety laws and teach students safety tips for getting on and off school buses.…Read More

Learning acceleration is best to move kids forward in math

As the nation works to collectively get students back on track after pandemic-era learning disruptions, new research provides promising evidence that learning acceleration can help all students catch up and move forward in math.

Powered by two years of pandemic-era math-learning data, researchers found when a student is consistently accelerated, they complete twice the amount of grade-level lessons and struggle less in their math learning.

“We decided to conduct this research as a way to deepen our support for teachers who are contending with more than two years of disruptions and are forced to make intervention decisions for each student, each time they struggle,” said Shalinee Sharma, Zearn’s CEO and co-founder. “This research gives us hope that with the right learning strategies students can catch-up and move forward with their math learning.”…Read More

Creating student engagement through the power of play

Recently, my colleagues and I attended a summer camp where we introduced students to some fantastic STEM activities. Kids learned how to create their own lava lamps out of everyday kitchen materials. They programed Sphero robots and used them to make cooperative artwork. We also taught them how to make circuits out of batteries and wire, as well as exploding paint bags. The events were endless, and the students had a great time, because more than anything science should be fun!

As I look back on the events of camp, I’m reminded of how important this type of play is for young minds. Play is an essential part of learning and growth. In nature, animal cubs play to sharpen their hunting skills or learn valuable foraging techniques. Among humans, play teaches valuable social skills like communication and cooperation. It also fosters a learning mindset, teaching students to absorb knowledge through exercise and practice.

While unstructured play has its place in education, most teachers need something with a little more organization if we’re to help our students grow. We can accomplish this by dividing play into two distinct categories: Playing Downhill and Playing Uphill.…Read More

3 strategies we use to turn struggling students into confident readers

The ability to read–and read well–sets kids on a path to success. That’s why at Cambridge School, we focus on helping students with learning differences learn how to read. Students attend Cambridge School because they have been diagnosed with a language-based learning difference, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, auditory processing disorder, or executive function difficulties, and have struggled in traditional academic settings. 

But if you walk into a Cambridge School classroom during one of our reading sessions, you will see engaged students reading both silently and aloud, using devices and books. You will see teachers working one-on-one with students checking their fluency progress and reviewing important comprehension skills and relevant vocabulary. You will see hard-working students becoming more motivated, confident readers. 

Each year our students make notable fluency gains, with many reading at or above grade level by the end of 8th grade or sooner. In the 2021-22 school year, all students in grades 2-8 made fluency gains from the fall to the spring, with a 52 percent average percent increase in words read correctly per minute. How do we accomplish this?…Read More

Gamification tools that increase student engagement

Who out there doesn’t enjoy some form of game? Whether it be watching or playing a sport, a card game, a board game, or video games, most people would say they at least enjoy one.

Games are part of many people’s lives–so why not use them to benefit students when teaching?

From a 5th grade teacher lens, it is evident that students are more likely to engage in an educational activity when it is “gamified,” and even more so when it is gamified with technology. …Read More

Is it time to double down on digital citizenship training?

About a week ago, my 5-year-old daughter asked me a question I was not quite prepared for. As we were walking back to our house from the neighborhood park, she asked, “Daddy, when am I going to get a cell phone?”

She went on to explain the specific ways in which a cell phone would benefit her life. She even assured me that she wasn’t too young for a cell phone. In fact, other kids her age already had one! Even though it was difficult saying no to her sweet little face, I explained that she would need to wait a few more years to take on this type of responsibility. But, why?

My daughter’s question really got me thinking. With so many young people having increasing access to technology, is it time for schools to take digital citizenship training more seriously? …Read More