Blog

How Common Sense Is Helping NYC Welcome Cell Phones into Schools

Today’s students are hyper-connected multitaskers who operate in the state of now. But opportunities for connected learning aren't always available at school, where students are often asked to disconnect and power down. As a result, students can feel the world of school isn't relevant to their outside lives. Fortunately, an increasing number of districts across the country recognize that for student success, we must allow them to learn with the tools they love. The New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) is one of them. On March 2nd, 2015, they are lifting their cell phone ban and empowering schools to make instructional decisions regarding the use of personal devices for learning. Lifting the cell phone ban mean....read more


5 Classroom Strategies That Help Introverts and Extroverts Do Their Best Work

Thanks in no small part to Susan Cain's bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, people have never been more aware of extroverted and introverted personality types -- that is, people who gain energy from social interaction and people who gain energy from alone time. Cain argues that contemporary Western culture, fueled by corporate structures and values, has overemphasized extroverted traits and norms: quick decision-making, outspokenness, and social confidence among others. Given education's close connection with the corporate world, schools are no exception. Often it's the students who eagerly raise their hands, dominate small groups, and think on their feet that draw ....read more


Zoom In on These 12 Fun Photography Tools

Photography is both art and science. As an art, it's an excellent tool for creative self-expression. A photograph can open a person's mind or even change it, and is invaluable for documenting moments in history. Photography communicates. It's also a sophisticated technical tool -- teaching lessons in science (light, motion), math (calculating the relationships between focal length, aperture, shutter speed), and tech skills (photo editing, online sharing). A great beginner's tool is Pixlr Express, an intuitive photo editor that also teaches basic art techniques. More advanced young photographers will enjoy PicsArt - Photo Studio, an a....read more


Tech Integration Works in the Arts

Practical ways arts teachers use 1-to-1

My job as a technology integration specialist for a PreK-12 public school district became a whole lot more interesting this year as the schools I support implemented a 1-to-1 iPad program in grades K-12. It’s been especially exciting to see the creative things the teachers and students are doing in the arts. Vocal Music Arts teachers Vicki Angell and Elysia McGill have their vocal students record themselves singing. The immediate feedback kids get by listening to themselves leads to greater improvement. Angell, who teaches at Sabetha Middle and High Schools, has her students record close to their own mouths while singing parts in a group since she feels that is a true measure of what they do in a choral group. The ....read more


5 Teacher-Approved Apps for Arts Integration

Arts integration is a great way to engage students in academic content. Arts integration can also bring content to life through the infusion of instructional technologies. Here are five great apps that will engage students in digital literacy, creation, and problem-solving activities. Skitch -- Skitch is an awesome app that has multi-platform capabilities. It's an Evernote product available for download on iOS, Android, and desktop computers. Use Skitch when discussing fractional parts of the whole and relating benchmark fractions to food, building and construction, and rhythmic notation. Other uses: Have students take pictures of a piece of art, then have them label elements present in the work like use of line, texture, c....read more


Jazz Things Up with These 12 Music Tools

Music is a valuable teaching tool in any subject area. It makes complex concepts more accessible and engaging -- sustaining kids' attention and adding some fun to everyday learning. This week, we've highlighted 12 music-centric apps, games, and websites that really strike a chord. For a solid introduction to music, Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra by Benjamin Britten teaches about individual instruments and how they combine to make music. Video games, too, can be a great gateway. In Sound Shapes and Audiosurf, kids intuitively learn principles of rhythm, pitch, and tempo. Supplement existing music curriculum with tools like iTooch Music, a comprehensive, middle school-lev....read more


Teaching and Learning in a Media Literacy Class

Create a safe space for students to have open conversations about meaningful topics.

I have the privilege of teaching a media literacy class, which looks at how media impacts both our society as a whole and ourselves as individuals. It teaches students critical-thinking skills and helps them become more aware of the impact media has on their thoughts and actions. Students in my class watch movies and TV shows, read articles, listen to news, and peruse the Internet. They come to class every day to write, watch, discuss, and debate. Though all students would be well served to have an entire media literacy course, it’s hard to sell to other teachers and school boards because of its nature. The class is about watching media and talking about it, which means a lot of time spent viewing screens. The truth is, many k....read more


3 Reasons Why Your ELLs Need Arts Integration

During my tenure as a teacher, I had the privilege of teaching English to non-native speakers -- both young people and adults. Those of you with English learners in your classroom (I'm guessing that's nearly everyone) are well aware of the challenges these students face. Beyond struggles with language and communication, many are grappling with their own identities as they learn to navigate two cultures. A fantastic way to support English language learners both academically and emotionally is to integrate creativity and arts-based projects into your teaching. Art projects can help lower kids' affective filters, giving them more confidence to break out of their shells and get talking. From the classic arts such a....read more


Rome to Rococo: 7 Art History Apps and Sites

Gone are the days of dusty slides, dimmed lights, and the sound of a shuffling projector. The digital shift has drastically changed how we study art history. Slides are now high-resolution images. Museum visits are bolstered with virtual tours. Thirty-pound textbooks are reborn as online databases. Naturally, these changes have generated tons of new resources -- not just vast databases, but also curricular resources to build lessons and engage students. So, like looking at an impressionist painting, let's stand back and make sense of it all. A comprehensive, interactive tool like Google Art Project is a great jumping-off point since it features a huge database of high-resolution images alo....read more


Arts Integration Is a Win-Win for Everyone

"Arts integration" is a popular catchphrase in education reform these days. Studies suggest arts integration greatly impacts deep learning, increases academic achievement, and levels the playing field for minority groups and students with learning differences. The Kennedy Center defines arts integration as "An approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both." Many feel arts integration may be the missing piece to the constantly changing educational paradigm puzzle. However, some myths surrounding arts integration must be debunked before....read more


Pages