Creating a makerspace in a school or classroom has several benefits including but not limited to high student engagement, critical thinking skills are nurtured, and collaboration and communication is common. In a well-run makerspace, teachers and students are designing, testing, refining, and building materials that answer real-life needs.
Today is Read Across America Day (March 2)! Established in 1998, the goal of Read Across America Day is to motivate all areas of society to engage in reading. Classrooms across the country will host special guests who’ll read aloud to students, schools will decorate hallways and libraries with images from their favorite stories, and children will happily share their own well-loved books with others. Use today to launch National Reading Month and encourage your students to experience the joys of reading through various activities that highlight what the written word can do! Here are three ideas to start:
In the past year cultivating empathy has become a need in every classroom, helping students and teachers navigate the challenges of our ‘new norm.’ We all realize two years in that the growing feelings of isolation, lack of community, and limited interaction have affected how our students engage and develop relationships. As we approach two years of masking, social distancing, hybrid learning, remote learning, and more, how can cultivating and nurturing empathy bring positive results to the classroom and beyond?
Mars exploration made strong advances in 2021. There were exciting missions to explore the Red Planet by several countries, such as China, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. The exploratory missions include analyzing the atmosphere, mapping out the planet’s magnetic field, searching for water and ice, and scouting the land and rock formations. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) provides insight into their Mars missions, allowing space exploration enthusiasts to share in the exhilaration of new discoveries. Teachers can help spark interest in space exploration for their students by incorporating robotics in their curriculum. While the overall focus is on Mars, skills such as coding and programming are also taught – skills that are in demand for jobs in the STEM fields.
The past couple of decades have shown that the pace at which technology has influenced teaching and learning is moving at hyper speed, and within the past two years – warp speed. Not only have this generation’s students grown up in a technology-rich environment, but they also benefit from lessons and activities that are interactive and immersive. Educators have seen the advantages of implementing educational technology, like interactive whiteboards, that offers students multiple opportunities to engage and collaborate with others.
There has been an increased focus on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in recent years, with teachers working to incorporate strategies to help students recognize and manage their feelings and emotions. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “SEL can help all young people and adults thrive personally and academically, develop and maintain positive relationships, become lifelong learners, and contribute to a more caring, just world.”
A general belief is that incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning is crucial to help spark students’ interest in STEM-related careers where the demand is steadily increasing. STEM learning boosts vital skills such as critical thinking, perseverance, creativity, and problem solving, skills that are important for navigating life and its challenges.
The National Book Awards will be announced on Wednesday, November 17, celebrating the written word of some of the most outstanding creative minds in America. Established in 1950 and overseen since 1989 by the National Book Foundation, the National Book Awards recognize the best writing in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature.
Growing up, flipping through family photo albums, and asking questions about each picture was part of my childhood. As I got older, I could retell the stories to visiting relatives and friends as if I were part of each event including details such as what each person said, why they were laughing or crying, even the smell of the food, flowers, or person (as applicable, of course!).
We are in the middle of National Friends of Libraries Week, and at the start of National Book Month, National Reading Group Month, and International School Library Month! This is definitely a time to enjoy reading amazing stories and books that introduce us to new experiences and ideas. It’s also a reminder that we can find these amazing stories with STEAM concepts. Science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics should take up more than a couple of baskets or shelves in our classroom library – they should be regular parts of our daily teaching and learning lives. STEAM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and empowers the next generation of innovators. STEAM affects every area of our lives and it's important for our youth to see and understand how they can create a positive impact on how our world operates. By integrating reading and literacy with STEAM, not only do our youth develop as stronger readers, their interests in STEAM education and careers are piqued.