How peer feedback can improve student writing skills

The art of writing, invented roughly 5,000 years ago, represents a blip in human history. It’s younger than agriculture, music, and construction. And as recently as the Revolutionary War, a majority of Americans couldn’t put pen to paper. In short: Writing remains a new feat of technology. We’re still figuring it out. 

Despite its relative youth, writing has evolved into a vital skill. Today, we broadly recognize that citizenship requires the ability to read and write. As Orwell put it: “If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.”

Perhaps as importantly, writing is a key skill for professional success. Hiring managers, for example, are more likely to cite writing skills as “very important” for new hires, compared to technological and quantitative reasoning skills. If students leave campus without refined writing skills, we’ve done them a great disservice. …Read More

3M Names America’s Top Young Scientist of 2021:14-Year-Old Sarah Park, for Music Therapy Treatment to Improve Mental Health

St. Paul, Minn. and Silver Spring, Md. (Friday, October 22, 2021) 3M (@3M) and Discovery Education (@DiscoveryEd) have named 14-year-old Sarah Park from Jacksonville, Fla. the winner of the 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge ( #YoungScientist), the nation’s premier middle school science competition. Sarah created Spark Care+, an innovation that personalizes music therapy treatment for mental health improvement using artificial intelligence (AI), skin response (GSR) and photoplethysmography (PPG). As the 3M Young Scientist Challenge grand prize winner, Sarah received a $25,000 cash prize, the prestigious title of “America’s Top Young Scientist,” and a special destination trip.

“The 3M Young Scientist Challenge aligns with 3M’s commitment to fostering the next generation of science leaders, and exemplifies how a quality STEM education can get young people interested and excited about science as a way to improve lives all around the world,” said Dr. Denise Rutherford, senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at 3M. “Against the backdrop of an ongoing global pandemic, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge finalists have each shown how grit, determination, resiliency, innovative thinking, and the scientific process come together to create truly incredible innovations with the potential to address major global challenges. 3M is inspired by these young inventors, and we celebrate their accomplishments. Congratulations to this year’s winner, Sarah Park, and to all our 3M Young Scientist Challenge finalists. We thank you for inspiring us through your efforts.”  

The global pandemic has had a profound impact on mental health – negatively affecting millions of people and creating new barriers for people already suffering from mental health disorders. For her project, Sarah developed SparkCare+ as an efficient, affordable, portable, and personalized music therapy for mental health improvement. SparkCare+ is made up of two components: a communication with the participant, and a mechanism that uses deep neural networks to select therapeutic music.…Read More

How a former music teacher approaches school leadership and learning

The pandemic has taught us that change is inevitable, but being prepared can set a school apart. It’s important to bring together research and outside learning tools to a team that is always striving and driving in the same direction. As a principal, I’m enthusiastic about what lies ahead for our school and district after a year of adjustments.

Like the characters in the Ron Clark book, Move Your Bus, we are all independently and collectively moving together to reach a positive objective. As a former music teacher, I see it as an orchestrated process where all members, from school leadership to teachers to custodial staff, realize their role, importance, and dynamic in the school’s overall symphony. It takes communication, organized teamwork, and a belief in modern data-driven approaches to bring forth learning success.

A school is an orchestra…Read More

Kids Discover Partners with Rhino Records to Release Free Units Celebrating Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Curtis Mayfield for Black History Month

Kids Discover, a leading provider of high-interest nonfiction for social studies and science, has partnered with Rhino Records, the catalog division of Warner Music Group, to celebrate Black History Month by releasing three free units honoring classic Atlantic Records artists Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin as well as Curtom Records’ Curtis Mayfield. Each of these units, featuring music, original album art, and more, will be freely available on the Kids Discover website for the entire month of February.

Designed to shine a light on the lives and impact of these music industry legends, the free units engage students in grades 3–8 through music and raise awareness of Black contributions to the arts and society. Educators can choose from three different Lexile levels for use in grades 3–4, 5–6, or 7–8. To make the materials available to as many students as possible, the free units do not require a registered account or login.

“In the past, we’ve always made a number of units in our library free to celebrate Black History Month,” said Ted Levine, the President and CEO of Kids Discover. “Given what has transpired in our country over the past few years, we took time to reflect on what else we could do to share the stories and impact of Black history and culture. In July, we released a five-part pledge, two tenets of which were to increase the number of stories we tell about Black figures in American history and to collaborate with organizations that share this vision. We’re excited to partner with Rhino to offer engaging, multimedia content that will educate and inspire students while highlighting the impact these three figures have had on our history and culture.”…Read More

Super Duper Digital Library is selected as a Winner by Two Prestigious Family Awards Programs

The Super Duper Digital Library, a collection of hundreds of online cards, games, and worksheets to support reading and literacy skills for children in Pre-K – Grade 5, recently won two prestigious awards programs – the Family Choice Awards and the Mom’s Choice Awards.

The Family Choice Awards selected the Digital Library as a winner in four categories: Technology & Apps, Children (Early Elementary), Special Needs, and Music & Audio Books.

The Mom’s Choice Awards named the Digital Library a Gold winner, making it the 11th Super Duper product to earn the coveted Mom’s Choice Awards winner’s seal.…Read More

Pinna launches “Time for Kids Explains”, a timely, informative weekly news podcast for kids

Pinna, the only on-demand audio entertainment service developed and curated exclusively for kids 3-12, today announced the availability of the first weekly podcast installment of TIME for Kids Explains, the result of its partnership with TIME for Kids, the publication that has provided quality, trusted journalism to millions of students for 25 years. Concurrently, Pinna is offering any teacher or educator who creates an account via Pinna.fm/teachers six months’ free access to Pinna’s entire collection of podcasts, audiobooks and music.

Each episode of the TIME for Kids Explains podcast is themed to the content of each week’s TIME for Kids issue, contextualizing the information to bring a broader understanding while allowing kids to process and interpret the news.

“Today’s announcement furthers our commitment to providing teachers with access to resources proven to enhance learning on multiple fronts,” said Maggie McGuire, CEO of Pinna. “By giving teachers access to Pinna’s full library of content, we are doing our part to provide them with flexible resources – regardless if they find themselves in the classroom, teaching remote, or a combination of both!”…Read More

America’s Favorite Rapping Teacher, Mr. Dwayne Reed, Joins Forces with Achieve3000

Achieve3000 is bringing teacher-led instruction to online classrooms in time for this year’s back-to-school season through a new partnership with Chicago’s rapping sensation Mr. Dwayne Reed, CEO of TeachMrReed. As educators and parents around the U.S. are raising increased concerns about the learning loss experienced due to the coronavirus pandemic, the partnership aims to reach students most in need of catching-up and getting back on track. Lessons will focus on teaching foundational literacy via Mr. Reed’s signature instructional style that engages students through music, a proven-effective method for enhanced literacy instruction (Kassel, 1997).

“The majority of online learning solutions are designed to provide opportunities to read or listen only. We wanted to do better than that. It’s more important than ever that we use every resource we can to keep kids excited about learning and provide the instructional resources teachers need to meet the increasing demands of their position,” said Mr. Kevin Baird, Achieve3000’s Chief Academic Officer.

Mr. Reed will facilitate complete, pre-recorded lessons that guide students through Achieve3000 Literacy’s original differentiated fiction stories. Each lesson will begin with students reading stories aloud along with Mr. Reed. Teachers can later access recordings of the students’ read-aloud sessions in order to evaluate pronunciation and provide personalized feedback for each student. Mr. Reed will then lead students through a series of word play games developed in partnership with Dr. Kay Stahl, Clinical Professor of Literacy for New York University. Finally, students will enjoy original instructional songs, including rap and other genres, performed by Mr. Reed before beginning their independent reading practice.…Read More

Education will play a bigger part of TikTok

Bryan Thoensen, who oversees content partnerships at TikTok, said that during the coronavirus pandemic TikTok is seeing people not only spending more time watching videos but also experimenting with the creation of different types of content, including in sports, gaming, cooking, fashion, and beauty. TikTok users are already doing more than just dancing and lip-syncing on the video app.

“It’s not just music. It’s, you know, all these different formats, from cooking to Q&A…” Thoensen said.

Read more at cnet.com…Read More

8 STEM learning challenges students can do at home

I was chatting with my brother the other day about how things are going with my two nieces learning at home while their schools are closed due to COVID-19.

My 13-year-old niece, Sophie, has continued to follow a typical school schedule each day with her school delivering a full learning program online. Her high school is doing a wonderful job providing lessons and activities to keep her motivated, learning, and engaged. She is enjoying this new way of learning, although she does report that hands-on subjects such as music and science are not quite us much fun sitting in her bedroom as they normally are at school.

Related content: A virtual learning lesson from Hong Kong…Read More

The story of a magical musical app

In the midst of the ed-tech revolution, teachers are need to make informed decisions about what brings value to the classroom. As a geography teacher at Monrovia High School in California, I’m interested in finding ways to prepare students for the 21st century while teaching them about the complexities of the world around us.

Teachers at Monrovia value being able to instill students with the skills they need to be successful outside of the classroom, a task that we’ve been able to achieve through an individualized approach to learning—and an acceptance of digital tools.

Breaking the tech barrier
Most educators are familiar with “the battle of the cell phone.” We’re faced with the tough call of whether to ban or embrace technology. Because students will need to be digitally literate to be successful in the workplace, I sought a way to keep things relevant, engaging, and valuable through technology.…Read More