Resources for Arts Integration

kqed-education-arts-100x100Regardless of the content you teach, integrating arts into your curriculum can tap into students’ natural interests in areas such as music and visual arts while expanding their understanding of how subjects interconnect.  And whether students experience others’ art or make their own, creativity is a powerful antidote to boredom, distraction, or worse.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that right now we can share two exciting resources for arts integration.   Enchanted Circle Theater is launching its first Institute for Arts Integration, a program designed to train teachers in the pedagogy of arts integration as a method for engaging students in meaningful and memorable learning.  Due to support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Northampton, Holyoke and Springfield Public Schools, ECT is able to offer a subsidized tuition fee of $250 with a savings of $1200 per person.  Click here for the full brochure.  (Registration Deadline is September 18.)

You can also regularly explore thousands of resources at PBS LearningMedia where arts integration is currently highlighted on its homepage.  For example,  Overview of the Arts, part of KET’s Social Studies/Arts Toolkit for K-12, provides an overview of the benefits of an arts-infused classroom; important notes on each aspect of the arts: dance, drama, music, and visual art; and basic techniques for integrating the arts into your classroom.  Paint Art ,a video for grades 4-6 , shows young engineers Renee and Margarita as they experiment with unusual and creative painting techniques at the Science Museum of Minnesota, using a bike and spinning wheel to create unique, splat-tacular art.

How music technology can boost student skills

music_brainresizedThis report by Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor, eSchool News, August 15, 2013, may confirm observations you’ve already made about the achievement of students who participate in school music programs  —  The new study reveals that music education can offset widespread student achievement gaps, enhance student learning skills, and promote better brain function later in life. The good news for schools is that whether or not music funding is available, new music technology can provide students with music education at little to no cost.

“We are what we do,” said Nina Kraus, Hugh Knowles professor and principal investigator at the Auditory Neuroscience Lab at Northwestern University. “And the brain helps prove that.”

Read the entire story by clicking here

Youth At Risk: Guns, Incarceration and Football Injuries

indexOn Tuesday, August 13, WGBY is airing three consecutive programs with tragically strong connections to education.  (You can also search these PBS programs at a later date to learn about their availability.)

8:00pm:  AFTER NEWTOWN: GUNS IN AMERICA is an unprecedented exploration of America’s enduring relationship with firearms. This program traces the evolution of guns in America, their frequent link to violence and the clash of cultures that reflect competing visions of our national identity

EUA_MAINPHOTO9:00pm:  FIXING JUVIE JUSTICE — America’s reliance on juvenile incarceration is the highest among the world’s developing nations. It has costly implications, both financially and for the future of the youth at risk.  (It costs approximately $88,000 per year to send our youth to juvenile incarceration and nearly 70% of them are re-arrested after being released.) Could there be an alternative to this broken system of kids cycling in and out of the grasp of the juvenile justice system? Now in an experiment, a group of innovators in Baltimore, on a quest to fix the broken system, turn to an island on the other side of the world for a possible solution.

Concussions Thumbnail10:00pm:  FOOTBALL HIGH:   As high school players grow bigger, faster and stronger, there are growing concerns about the health and safety of these young players — with rising rates of concussions, career-ending injuries, even death. In Arkansas, FRONTLINE documents a tragic story of heatstroke injuries that reveal how weak regulation has created a crucial lack of athletic trainers at most high schools. It all raises a critical question: has the amped-up culture of high school football outrun necessary protections for the boys who play the game?

13 Inexpensive, User-Friendly Writing Tools & Apps

typing2-150x150Since writing allows students to practice critical-thinking in virtually all subjects, we thought you might want to look at this article by a contributor at eSchool News on  July 26, 2013  “Being able to write clearly is an essential skill for all students. With these simple online writing tools and apps, students get to practice writing informally in settings that won’t be too daunting.”

“This information comes from Common Sense Media and its new Graphite service, a free collection of teacher-written reviews of websites, apps, and digital games for the classroom. Thirteen products are reviewed here with a description of the program and its pros and cons. The various products reviewed cover K through grade 12.  Web addresses are included with each review if more information is desired. . . .”

Read the complete article by clicking here.

Lessons from Kindergarten Classrooms — It’s Elementary!

ddjpg-84bea22bf110a943By Sam Gliksman, eSchool News, July 3, 2013 — In this article, Mr. Gliksman strongly encourages teachers to: “Take a stroll down to the lower grades in your school. In fact, the lower the better. Spend a few minutes observing the dynamics in class. Note the energy, laughter, and enthusiasm … the genuine thirst for learning. Then ask yourself: Why can’t it be that way throughout school ?”

He goes on to list eight ways in which learning can be enhanced by importing kindergarten structure to higher classes:

  1. Play – Play is a highly effective method of informal learning that requires imagination and creativity.
  2. Create – Creativity is becoming lost in the shuffle of the current “back to basics” school movement.
  3. Socialize – We understand that young children are social by nature and encourage them to mingle.
  4. Discover – Children are curious and love to explore the world around them.
  5. Experience – Effective learning occurs when children build new understandings based on experiences that help them construct new knowledge.
  6. Express – Mixing different forms of media and communication is an essential component of kindergarten class.
  7. Move – Children need to move. We all need to move. It’s healthy for both body and mind.
  8. Relate – In kindergarten we strive to make learning as meaningful as possible. Learning has meaning as defined by its relevance to the lives of students. If children can’t relate to it, then it won’t hold their interest.

Read the entire article by clicking here

Leveraging Technology in the Classroom: BYOD

green06-01By staff writers, eSchool News, June 21, 2013 —  The “bring your own device” (BYOD) phenomenon has exploded in popularity among K-12 schools, as educators look for cost-effective ways to leverage technology in the classroom.

Developers of audio-visual products are responding to this trend as well, making it easier for students and instructors to collaborate and share their presentations wirelessly from a wide range of mobile devices.

Support for BYOD initiatives was one of the key developments in school AV technology discussed at InfoComm 2013, the world’s largest AV trade show, held in Orlando earlier this month. Here’s more information about this development, as well as two other AV trends worth noting.

Read the entire article by clicking here.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Revolutionizing K-12 Classrooms?

MOOCk12resizedBy staf writers, eSchool News, June 24, 2013  —  According to one of the most popular International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2013 conference speakers, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are on the verge of revolutionizing K-12 education.

MOOCs — often free and non-credited online courses taught by educators — are currently transforming higher education.  But soon, MOOCs will begin to change the way high school courses are taught as well, said Dr. Scott Garrigan, professor of practice for instructional design and technology and teacher education at Lehigh University’s College of Education, during an ISTE highlighted session, “How will the MOOC explosion affect K-12 schools and students?”  According to Garrigan, last summer (2012) high school teens completed more than 15,000 courses from Udacity, a MOOC platform.

Read the entire article by clicking here.

Self-Paced Courses from PBS TeacherLine

PBSTeacherLine_FTR-320x180You might find summer the right time to energize your career and expand your skill set.  These new Self-Paced Courses from PBS TeacherLine — high-quality, anytime, anywhere online learning — might provide the challenge and fulfillment you seek during your freedom from school’s demanding schedule.

These 3-hour online professional learning opportunities focus on the principles and practice of teaching and offer you an easy and flexible way to strengthen your teaching muscles!

Human Impacts on Environmental Systems (SCIE1011)
Grades 9-12 | 3 Hours | Sign Up Here

Promoting Positive Behavior in Schools (LEAD 1101)
Grades K-12 | 4 Hours | Sign Up Here

Using Primary Source in World History (SOST 1001)
Grades 6-12 | 3 Hours | Sign Up Here

PBS TeacherLine also offers 15, 30, and 45-hour online facilitated courses that span 6-10 weeks. See the course catalog.

Featured Educator: Nicholas Bernier – The Importance of Relationships & Reflections

indexThis week we’re profiling Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award recipient Nicholas Bernier, who teaches seventh-grade social studies at Agawam High School.   As you’ll read in his responses to questions we posed to him this spring, Nicholas knows the importance of nurturing positive relationships with students and reflecting honestly about his practice.

What support did you receive, or wish you had received, early in your career?  I received all of the support I could ask for from my colleagues and principal at St. Mary’s Academy in Longmeadow.  I worked closely with teachers there and learned the in’s and out’s of the profession that one cannot learn in college.

What keeps you enthusiastic about teaching/education, and where do you find inspiration?  Seeing students grow into young adults, become more independent, and discover things about the world is very inspirational.  Being a part of that keeps me enthusiastic.

Who has been a role model for you and why?  My parents gave me all of the tools that I needed to succeed and taught me how to have a good work ethic.  For this, I would consider them to be role models.

What do you find helps you to effectively interact with students?  Forming positive relationships is a good start.  Also, when any sort of negative interaction occurs, ensuring that it is discussed and fixed so there can be closure and the student knows that there is no grudge.  Younger kids sometimes think that when one thing happens, then you dislike them for the rest of the year.  It is crucial that they know that all is well between you.  Also, caring goes a long way.  A student can sense who cares about them like a dog can sense fear.  If a student feels cared about, they will work hard for you and you will get along great.

What is some of the best advice you’ve been given? Or what is a favorite quotation?  My mentor teacher, Lesley Brodeur once told me that in teaching, you will often question things that you do or how you may have handled something, but if you can go to bed at night and put your head on the pillow and know that you have done a good job, that’s all that matters.  If you are honest with yourself when you reflect, you can continue to become a better teacher.

10 Best 2013 Apple & Android Education Apps

Summer could be the time to take a look at some apps you just needed time to explore.  Here at top picks from  staff writers at  eSchool News in an April 26, 2013 article: Last year we presented “New: 10 of the best Apple apps for education in 2012” which highlighted some of the best apps for iPhones and iPods. However, with new upgrades in touch technology, and the emphasis on Common Core State Standards and school reform in general, we’ve come up with a new list of the best Apple- and Android-based education apps for 2013.

This year’s list includes some of the most highly rated apps, both by educators and by parents and features a range that spans from interactive iBooks to current images of the universe, and from free video software to award-winning STEM curricula. Each entry includes a brief description of each with features and benefits, compatibility, etc.

This is just a brief sample of this year’s listing:

  1. Animoto – turns photos into professional quality videos
  2. HMH FUSE Algebra 1 – Common core math edition gives students a personalized learning experience.
  3. Oxford Picture Dictionary, Second E Continue reading