4 ways to bring creativity to math instruction

Here’s a question for you: “What do you think is the most unpopular subject in school?” If you thought the safe answer was math, then you’d be right. According to numerous surveys, mathematics is easily one of the most disliked subjects in school, regularly scoring in the bottom three. I can certainly understand the sentiment. As a student, I didn’t like math much either.

Now, as an educator, I can see the inherent difficulties to teaching math to K-12 students. Kids often feel that math is both pointless and boring. It usually doesn’t play a big role in their daily life and lacks the flare of other disciplines. This can dampen their engagement and cause them to miss crucial knowledge that will ultimately help them in their learning journey.

This begs the question: How do we as teachers infuse curiosity and creativity into our math lessons?    …Read More

Slooh Brings Space Exploration to Classrooms Worldwide with ‘The Online Telescope for Teachers’

Washington Depot, Connecticut, January 18, 2022 – Slooh, the only organization offering live online telescope feeds to students, is now offering an affordable way for teachers to bring the power of its network of online telescopes to all students with The Online Telescope for Teachers. This solution can change how teachers teach astronomy by providing opportunities for students to explore and analyze more than 1,000 real-world space objects and events. 

“Slooh’s innovation is that an unlimited number of teachers and students can share online telescopes in a manner that includes an exchange of ideas and opportunities to learn from each other,” said Michael Paolucci, founder of Slooh. “Just as kids learn to play video games by watching other people play, the sharing inherent in the platform enables students to learn from the amazing things other teachers and students do with our online telescopes.”

In addition to online telescope access, this new solution provides elementary through college-level teachers integrated curriculum-based lesson plans that can be used with students and ongoing professional development to help educators easily use the technology.…Read More

4 education predictions for 2022

As we enter the third year in which every aspect of American life has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe that educators, parents, and students have several reasons for real optimism.

Here are four ways I see education changing for the better in 2022 and beyond.

COVID won’t cause any more school closures. Looking forward to the new year, I’m foreseeing no more school closures due to COVID. That’s not really an educational prediction—it’s more about consistency, which kids really need to learn. …Read More

Could digital citizenship be the most important pandemic lesson?

When the pandemic prompted schools to quickly shift to distance learning last spring, educators became responsible for using online technologies to teach students. This was the first time that many educators had to grapple not only with virtual classroom management, but with helping their students learn the ins and outs of staying safe online. This included a crash course in learning and behaving online.

This set of “online manners” is referred to as digital citizenship, which is how we should behave when using digital tools, interacting with others online, and becoming better stewards of technology.

As a leader of a nonprofit where young kids connect and learn online, we prioritize teaching kids these important skills that will take them well into adulthood. …Read More

3 approaches to help students become responsible cyber citizens

Children are getting more screen time than ever—a side effect of the pandemic’s impact on our usual routines.

It’s not just the pandemic, however. Kids’ media preferences are changing as new apps and sleeker technology make it easier to stay connected (and be entertained) wherever they go. Just in the past four years, we’ve seen dramatic shifts in online video viewing, smartphone ownership, and more.

Technology and the internet are omnipresent—and today’s youth must be equipped with skills to safely consume, evaluate, and share information online—including how they interact with their peers.…Read More

Why unstructured free play is a key remedy to bullying

October was National Bullying Prevention Month, and in my decade of teaching in high-poverty public elementary schools, I’ve seen strategy after strategy and initiative after initiative implemented to decrease bullying.

While every case is unique, having a general understanding of why a student chooses to bully can be helpful.

Kids usually bully for one of the following reasons: they are frustrated with life’s circumstances and don’t have the emotional tools to cope, they don’t have many friends and are lonely, they have issues with emotional regulation, or they feel powerless to control their life for any number of reasons.…Read More

Using the rule of threes for a technology strategy

As the new school year starts amid fresh uncertainty, educators are grappling with how to navigate what I’ve come to call the “And Era.” The And Era is not about going only remote or returning to purely in-person experiences, but adopting the best of both. While many schools are bringing kids back into classrooms this year, the spread of the Delta variant and other factors out of their control mean they must again be prepared to support a mix of virtual and in-person learning.

That means focusing on what they can control–developing and deploying a strong technology strategy that will give them the agility to combine varying degrees of in-person and remote elements into a seamless learning experience. The heart of that strategy should center around three interdependent components: hardware, software, and the network.

While the stakes are enormous, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and its $130 billion in new K-12 funding offers great hope that schools will be able to secure the technology, expertise- and resources they need to build an educational infrastructure for the next generation. Given the possibility that many students will spend one-fourth of their learning journey under these trying circumstances, making best use of those funds to implement a thoughtful technology strategy is more important than ever.…Read More

How online SEL can support struggling students

We can’t watch the news these days without seeing a report detailing the adverse mental health of our nation’s young people. All data seems to point to a single finding: The pandemic will have long-lasting effects on student mental health.

Kids always amaze me with their resilience, and last year was no different. But whether last year was in person or remote, it was hard. As a school counselor, I see the effects of social isolation and learning loss walking through the school doors every morning. I hear it in the voices of kids and on phone calls with concerned parents. And I feel it through the stories, worries, and occasional tears that land in my office. When students are struggling with motivation, focus, mood, or feeling overwhelmed, learning takes a back seat. Given the last 18 months, I’d imagine every school is facing this reality right now.

Talk to anyone who works in a school, and you’ll hear that the challenge of supporting our struggling students has never been bigger, wider, or more important than it is right now. And thinking about all the students who need our help to re-engage and succeed is certainly overwhelming.…Read More

4 SEL success tips for elementary schools

Five years ago, we had about 900 students in our K-5 elementary school, with roughly 40 percent of them either eligible for free or reduced lunch. Being in a geographic area that’s challenged by generational poverty and other socioeconomic issues, we needed a way to overcome some fairly steep challenges on the SEL curriculum front.

Some students, for example, were struggling with managing their emotions and their bodies. Those are tough decisions for a seven or eight year old child to deal with. In most cases, sending kids to the principal’s office was the first line of defense in these challenging situations.

I’d used SEL tools at previous districts where I worked, but when a colleague introduced me to the 7 Mindsets curriculum—and told me that it was the best foundational program she’d ever seen, and exactly what children need to be successful in life—we decided to implement it in our cohort of vertically aligned schools.…Read More

APM Studios Inks Partnership With Listenwise To Bring Award-Winning Science Podcast Brains On! Into Classrooms

ST. PAUL, Minn., September 30, 2021APM Studios, the podcast production division of American Public Media (APM), today announced that it has partnered with listening comprehension platform Listenwise to bring Brains On!, APM Studios’ award-winning science podcast for kids, into classrooms nationwide as a learning resource for grades 2-5.

Since its launch in 2012, the mission of Brains On! has been to encourage kids’ natural curiosity using science and history, with host Molly Bloom and a rotation of young co-hosts asking and answering questions about the world that surrounds us. Through the partnership with Listenwise, educators are able to access Brains On! audio segments, accompanied by transcripts and other teaching resources.

“I couldn’t imagine a better home for Brains On! than a platform that advances equitable learning and teaches kids to be better listeners,” said Alex Schaffert, Chief Operating Officer of APM Studios. “Our organizations share the same educational mission. It was a natural fit to partner with Listenwise and bring our stories to life for teachers and students.”…Read More