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There’s Something Missing From STEM Learning

Education Week – Susan Riley

“The education field can always count on shifting priorities. Over the past 20 years, in an attempt to “fix” what many people dub a broken public school system, everyone from politicians to famous athletes to business moguls to education leaders has tried to find and repair the gaps in student achievement. But many educators are skeptical of new initiatives that come down the pike. Is a revamped approach really meant to help prepare children for the future, or is it just people outside of education sticking their noses where they don’t belong?.”(more)

How to improve the school results: not extra maths but music, loads of it

The Guardian – Josh Halliday

“Abiha Nasir, aged nine, walks quietly into the small classroom, takes a seat, adjusts her hijab and picks up the drumsticks. A shy smile spreads across her face as she begins to play. She was just five when she turned up at Feversham primary academy’s after-school clubs, leaving teachers astounded by her musical ability and how her confidence grew with an instrument in hand. Last year, Abiha successfully auditioned for Bradford’s gifted and talented music programme for primary school children, the first Muslim girl to do so. The assessor recorded only one word in her notes: “Wow!” Abiha’s teachers say her talent might have gone unspotted in many schools, where subjects such as music and art are being squeezed out by pressure to reach Sats targets and climb league tables.”(more)

Putting the “A” in STEAM education this school year

E-School News – Ricky Ye

“As more students head back to school, we will continue to hear about how educators can successfully incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education into curriculums from as early as Kindergarten. Whether it’s providing students with hands-on robotics tools where they can learn to code, program and design on their own, or using more in-class devices like Google Chromebooks that familiarize students with technology and problem-solving skills, there are many ways to integrate STEM into the classroom.”(more)

Portraits Without Pencils: Rethinking Drawing Instruction in Your Elementary Art Class

Education World – Danielle Dravenstadt

“Picture an important person in your life. Could you capture the shape of her eyes, the slope of her nose, and the curve of her grin in a drawing? From Leonardo da Vinci’s renowned muse to Pierre Auguste Renoir’s rosy portraits to the striking realism of Chuck Close, the human face has been an alluring and challenging subject for artists throughout history. Acclaimed artists are not alone in their interest in portraiture. Young children often depict real or imagined people in their drawings. However, just as many adults might be intimidated to pick up a pencil and draw a self-portrait, children too can be overwhelmed by this task that they so frequently face in art class. By introducing portraiture early and in developmentally appropriate ways, students can gain the confidence and skills to capture one of their favorite subjects—people.”(more)

How art could help encourage kids to study science

Popular Science – Cassidy Mayeda

” That fascination never went away. Byron is most well known for her science-facing roles as a member of the build team on Mythbusters, and her recent role in Netflix’s The White Rabbit Project, but she has been a creator for as long as she can remember. Trained in film and sculpture, but with over a decade of experience diving head-first into wacky televised experiments, Byron also embodies a recent push towards STEAM education. STEAM includes arts in the traditional STEM cluster of science, technology, engineering and math. The move is controversial to many in both STEM and arts fields for distracting from the primary purposes of each discipline, whether it be the mastery of technical knowledge or divergent thinking and self-expression. Mixing the stereotypically “intuitive” with the “analytical” disciplines challenges conventional knowledge that the people have an aptitude for one or the other. But Byron, influenced from a young age by unconventional figures such as Ada Lovelace, has always believed in the happy marriage of the two. What she thinks is really important is getting kids excited about exploring their curiosity.”(more)

Can STEM instruction benefit from an infusion of the arts? One Maryland district says yes

Education Dive – Pat Donachie

“In the 2014-2015 school year, Prince George’s County Public Schools District in Upper Marlboro, MD, instituted a pilot program to integrate the arts into curricula at 14 of the district’s schools. The program was initiated by John Ceschini, the district’s Arts Integration Officer, who wanted to offer professional development for educators to integrate the arts into an array of subjects, including STEM subjects.”(more)