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Embracing Inquiry-Based Instruction

Edutopia – Christi Alper

“Recent education reforms call for a shift in pedagogy to provide students with the skills necessary to be competitive in a global society. One such shift, inquiry-based instruction, is supported by evidence as a successful approach to fulfill the goals and processes of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).” (more)

21st century or every century?

SmartBlog on Education – Fred Ende

“We hear a lot today about the importance of 21st-century skills, from proponents who say we need to make sure all learners showcase these characteristics, and from critics who say we need to worry less about 21st-century skills, since we’re already 15% into the century, and instead, we should extrapolate what the skills of the 22nd century might be. I think both of these views are correct; there doesn’t have to be an either/or…As we continue moving from one century to the next, I can’t help but wonder if all our focus on skills of the century, misses the opportunity to go back to basics and focus on skills that are timeless. After all, one man’s (or woman’s) 21st-century skill is someone else’s eternal one. Here are three examples:”(more)

How to Get Your Kids Interested in STEM (Without Forcing It on Them)

Lifehacker – Melanie Pinola

“Hopefully your kids are getting a great education in science, technology, engineering, and math at school, but chances are those classes aren’t enough to instill a lifelong interest in these fields for most kids. As parents, however, there are a lot of easy ways we foster a greater love of learning and exploration in STEM subjects in our children…It’s important not just because STEM fields offer awesome job opportunities and our future depends on these kids. STEM is about a spirit of experimenting and evaluating information objectively, of understanding our world a little bit more. These are valuable skills and also mindsets to acquire, wherever the kids go next in life…when presented a different way, kids might actually find that they do like these subjects…here are three things we can do.”(more)

Rote learning is failing science students

Education News – Dr. Shane Bergin

“One of the strongest predictors of a science student’s academic performance is their level of engagement with their learning. There is considerable published evidence showing how inquiry-based, student-centred teaching can create and sustain engaged students who are motivated to learn.”(more)

Learning to view the world in two languages

The Saratogian – Jennie Grey

“Confucius once said, “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for 10 years, plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years, educate children.” Local educator Margaret Sharkey has taught children all over the world, and now her lifelong dream has come true as she helps open the bilingual G.L.O.B.E. School in Saratoga this fall. There, academically gifted elementary students can learn in both Mandarin Chinese and English…“What’s so exciting and creative about immersion schools is that you’re teaching language and content at the same time,” Sharkey said…The school will develop global perspectives and renaissance thinking in its children through an arts-infused, multidisciplinary approach to inquiry-based learning. All that translates into teaching kids to become bright, active global citizens.”(more)

Seeds of learning: School uses garden to teach valuable lessons – Elizabeth Roberts

“A growing national movement incorporating gardening into the curriculum — and curriculum into the garden — is something of a passion for Principal Connor Sloan…Using the garden as a living classroom can do everything from broadening a student’s ability to connect the cycles and systems of nature to the sources of food to the nutritional connections between water and soil…It really helps infuse the process of inquiry, of asking questions, digging deeper…Studies have found that integrating gardening into the school day can boost test scores and student behavior.”(more)