Education in the News

Ways to Include STEAM Education Outside of School

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Teaching children about the world is one of the greatest challenges with long-lasting rewards. Children of all ages must learn the necessary skills to best handle the physical, emotional, social, and educational knowledge they will need to grow into a healthy and stable adult.

Many schools are now implementing a learning strategy called STEAM education – this includes the core curriculum of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.

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Fun Bulletin Board Ideas for February: Celebrate National Haiku Month

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Valentine’s Day, Groundhogs and President’s Day have all been over used. Black History Month has been covered extensively too. So you wonder, “What’s an educator supposed to do in order to inject a bit of novelty into February’s list of themes?” Our answer is, “Why not create a lesson plan around National Haiku Month?” It typically takes place in February and we have some fun bulletin board ideas that may help:

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DonorsChoose.org: Single Donor Covers Entire State’s Wish List

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California is a big state. In fact it’s the most populated state. In that big state, during a recession, there are likely a lot of teachers with wish lists for their classroom. Those teachers that put their wish lists to action via DonorsChoose.org are now through wishing, but are now receiving.

DonorsChoose.org is a website that allows public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org. Requests range from whiteboards for a class instruction, to stages for a school play, to science tables for a chemistry class. Then, you can browse project requests and give any amount to the one that inspires you. Once a project reaches its funding goal, the materials are delivered to the school.

Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org, recently received a phone call from a person with a seemingly hypothetical question. “What would it cost to fund every California teacher’s wish list posted on your website?”  Best gave the caller his best guess of somewhere over $1 million.   Only a day and half later, held a check in his hand for $1.3 million dollars covering all of California’s wishes.  In his other hand he also held a check for an extra $100,000 to pay for other teachers’ wishes across the country.

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Schools Omitting Grade Levels

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According to a recent article by eSchool News, some Missouri schools will group students by ability instead of grade level this fall.

As Kansas City, Mo., students return to their age-assigned classrooms this fall, they will begin to take assessments in math and reading—tests that will determine their mastery of specific skill sets and, ultimately, where they will be placed.

Instead of simply moving kids from one grade to the next as they get older, Kansas City schools will begin grouping students by ability. Once they master a subject, they’ll move up a level. This practice has been around for decades, but was generally used on a smaller scale—in individual grades, subjects, or schools. Kansas City is believed to be the largest U.S. school system to try grouping by ability.

It’s the latest effort to transform the struggling Kansas City school system. Starting this fall, officials will begin introducing 17,000 students to the new system to turn around lagging schools and increase abysmal tests scores.

“The current system of public education in this country is not working,” said Kansas City Schools Superintendent John Covington. “It’s an outdated, industrial, agrarian kind of model that lends itself to still allowing students to progress through school based on the amount of time they sit in a chair, rather than whether or not they have truly mastered the competencies and skills.”

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