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.
The first Wednesday of October is National Walk and Bike to School Day! Even if you didn’t walk or bike to school with your students today, don’t worry – I've got you covered. Here are 3 activities you and your students can try today (and beyond):
The drive for integrating more hands-on STEM activities and lessons that tap into and sharpen students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills is high. Educators are trying to find and/or design lessons that students will be motivated by and further their interest in STEM learning. But with limited time and resources, this can also be one of the bigger challenges, and STEM is often limited to what is ‘left over’ after language arts and mathematics has taken the bulk of the focus.
There are countless rewarding moments in teaching, but we can agree that when we see students totally excited about a new topic, concept, or skill, we are as overjoyed as they are! This is what teaching is all about – seeing the spark of understanding in students’ eyes when they are actively involved in learning something new. We feed off that energy and look for ways to create more of these experiences. Excitement for learning is increasingly associated with educational technology that invites interaction such as a touchscreen or interactive displays.
We are living in an age of Gen Z-ers who, as digital natives, are in tune with technological advances in communication such as social media, gaming, and conducting research almost exclusively using the internet. Their avenues for engagement are changing and teachers who are increasing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) instruction in their classrooms are exploring ways to incorporate more hands-on, immersive learning experiences that combine innovative technology with real-world connections. The motivation for doing so? To see their students’ active participation in experiments and projects, as well as strengthening the four Cs to 21st-century skills: Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity.
As many people can attest to, if we aren’t totally keeping up with the basics of technology such as using a PC, reading and sending e-mail, and searching the internet for content, the digital divide – the gap between those who can benefit from using communication technology and those who cannot -- widens and creates a chasm for those who are lacking key 21st-century skills. This is a concern for many education decision-makers since they understand that today’s students need essential technological skills to compete in the future job market.