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Why some parents choose bilingual education for their children

The Post and Courier – Paul Bowers

“When the time came for Caroline Parr to send her daughter Hazel to preschool, she chose an approach that has earned some scholarly support but is still rare in South Carolina: bilingual education. Today there is no hint of Carolina twang in 5-year-old Hazel’s voice when she offers her teacher some vegetables from the family garden: “Pepinos y tomates.” Native-speaking Spanish teachers at Hazel’s school say she sounds like she grew up speaking the language — because she did. It’s long been known that when it comes to learning a language, the earlier the better. And an emerging body of research suggests that young brains like Hazel’s are especially open to the sort of re-wiring that makes them bilingual for life.” (more)

Can a simple classroom redesign inspire student achievement?

E-School News – Dr. Juli Marshall

“Imagine a 5th grade classroom in the middle of a lesson. What do you see: charts, letters, and drawings on the wall? A teacher writing notes on a large chalk or white board at the front of the room? Rows of desks and chairs, which face a single direction? Maybe you imagined small bookshelves, an American flag, or other supplies. It’s likely we formed the same, all too familiar image in our mind. This has been the traditional classroom for decades. Any generation could walk into a room and immediately identify it as a classroom. At South Carolina’s Saluda Trail Middle School, my room has evolved from this stagnant design to one of innovation. It’s flexible. It’s colorful. It’s engaging.”(more)

STEAM education is a collaborative experience

The Daniel Island News – Kate Maas

“In schools across the country, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) is the exciting new approach to classroom learning. Replacing STEM, STEAM acknowledges the importance of art (and design) in fostering creative problem solving and risk-taking. The introduction of STEAM opened exciting new instructional possibilities, good news for educators who favor creative, hands-on approaches to learning in place of textbook based lessons. Educators like Daniel Island School’s Jason McDermott. Although he’s technically the sixth grade social studies teacher, by most accounts, he’s an experienced time-travel guide who leads his students on fascinating journeys through world history.”(more)

Star Wars 101: How 3 Teachers Are Using The Force to Teach Politics, Myths and Monsters

The 74 Million – Mark Keierleber

“In order to amp up student engagement in their classrooms, these teachers aren’t using any Jedi mind tricks. But they are using The Force. When Thomas Riddle and Wes Dodgens were both teachers at Mauldin High School in Greenville, S.C., the duo discovered they had a shared passion for Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies. So they built websites highlighting how to integrate a transdisciplinary approach to teaching around the films — launching “Adventures in Learning with Indiana Jones” in 2007 and “Star Wars in the Classroom” in 2012. “Wes and I both believe in hands-on learning experiences, not so much traditional sit-and-get,” said Riddle, who is now an assistant director at Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville. “Pop culture is a great hook to bring kids into learning — whatever subject you’re trying to teach them.” With the website, they took some advice from Yoda: “Always pass on what you have learned.” Incorporating a professional learning network called “The Rogues,” to share Star Wars-themed lesson plans, Riddle and Dodgens quickly learned a whole galaxy of similarly obsessed teachers wasn’t so far, far away.”(more)

Students in Charleston Learn Math While Exercising

Care2 – Judy Molland

“Across the U.S., the amount of time devoted to physical education and to recess has been declining sharply. Educators at Charleston County Schools, in South Carolina, want to change this approach. They know that more movement and exercise makes kids better learners…Numerous studies have shown that exercise can play a major role in learning. This makes perfect sense: at the most obvious level, exercise results in an increased blood flow, and an increase in oxygen levels…But while this should be obvious, there has been an alarming downturn in the amount of physical education and recess that children get.”(more)