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Multicultural awareness boosts teaching competency, but is an uneven resource among future teachers

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Student teachers with more multicultural awareness foster more positive classroom environments for their students, finds a new study by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and published in the Journal of Teacher Education. However, multicultural awareness varies considerably among future teachers based on their own race or ethnicity and prior experience working with youth of color.”(more)

4 ways to improve STEM professional development

E-School News – Mary Leonard and Dominic Piscitelli

“In Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS), all 10 of our elementary schools have a STEM lab. As early as kindergarten, students begin engaging in hands-on learning and exploring STEM careers. Yet, even with regular visits to the STEM lab throughout elementary school, our fifth graders struggled on the Florida Statewide Science Assessment. Another challenge was that our teachers didn’t have a defined STEM curriculum that was uniformly applied to all elementary STEM labs.”(more)

The Great Gingerbread House Project

Edutopia – Jeannie Curtis

“The weeks leading up to winter break can be a challenging time to keep kids motivated at school. It can feel like you lose precious teaching time because they’re distracted and anxious for the holidays to begin. A weeklong hands-on, cumulative math project may be just what you need to keep them engaged and thinking right up to the break. One project I love to do with fourth graders is the Great Gingerbread House Project, a mix of review and new content. It keeps kids’ minds active until the last day of the school term. The balance of old and new math works because the project is so hands on that students can see connections between previous understanding and new challenges.”(more)

Encouraging a Love of Poetry

Edutopia – L.L. Barkat

“A poem is a lightweight thing, a beautiful construction that can, despite its lightness, carry remarkable burdens. Poet Mahmoud Darwish imagined this paradox as “the butterfly’s burden.” When you consider that meditation works similarly—that the tiniest of phrases, matched with the movement of our breath, can bring remarkable calmness and clarity to a burdened life—the power of poems begins to make sense. The best poems often work in the same way as these meditative phrases. They match speech. They match breath. They offer rhythms that are pleasing to the psyche. In this way, poems can function like little bits of magic or lullaby.”(more)

Edtech is booming-but does it make better teachers?

E-School News – Nancy Lin

“Kids are natural learners, but sometimes schools create an environment where learning does not happen naturally. Many children are struggling with such essential skills like problem-solving, creative thinking and writing, and simple implementation of tablets and ebooks does little to address this problem. According to the Yale Center of Teaching and Learning research 2017, using technology in the classroom appears to have both bright and dark sides. On one hand, engagement may improve when students have a chance to use Twitter for their classroom and homework activities. On the other hand, unlimited internet exposure may wreak havoc on their motivation and final grade.”(more)

Teaching Current Events in the Age of Social Media

Edutopia – By Heather Wolpert-Gawron

“With each click of the mouse or flip of the channel, our society is inundated with headlines focused on natural disasters, sexual harassment allegations, countries on the brink of war, and teen suicides. While none of this is anything new, the bombardment of these stories is unique to this generation of student. Social media, the 24-hour news cycle, and questionable media sources (or questionable reporting techniques) have become their own newsworthy headlines. As a result, life can appear dark, far darker than in pre–social media days.”(more)