Category Archives: education

Makerspaces

The decade-old maker movement has morphed into fully fledged maker education this fall.

Maker-centered learning is booming across the country, as kids return to school after being engaged in a vast variety of activities at camps, museums, science centers and community centers. Teachers, too, are returning from workshops in which they learned from engineers, programmers and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)related professionals.

One of the greatest benefits is that students are typically excited about learning in a maker space environment.

And isn’t that what every parent hopes happens for their child during this school year?

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The family totem pole

I was thrilled when my second grade grandson told me he was excited about studying D-Day.

Even with the promise of visiting battlefields, doing activities at living history site over Labor Day weekend, and showing where they fit on our family tree, I can’t seem to interest the other four grandsons in history.

I’m sad about that.

A personal history can be like an anchor, something the boys will need in our fast-changing world. Even today, or perhaps especially today, kids still need a sense of their heritage to ground them in their corner of the world.

Reading list trends

Some things in education change, but an assigned reading list is a consistent way to help students of all ages avoid the dreaded loss of skills during summer months.

Bowing to children’s desire for choice, most schools allow kids to choose individual titles among general categories.  But if your student has free choice, three big trends this summer include:

Diversity, again this summer.  Kids want to read about characters that look like them and live in the real world.

Fantastic beasts.  Although dragons and unicorns are still popular, real-life animals like peacocks and llamas are gaining traction.

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) has downaged into the very early childhood space.  Think babies and toddlers – long before kiddos have assigned reading!

How do kids learn best?

A local school district is working through the process of choosing new textbooks, but I’m not convinced they are making a good choice.

Regardless of what text is selected, researchers tell us that kids who have grown up on YouTube appear to learn some subjects more easily from videos and visuals than print-predominant resources.

As an author, I love books. Books are my life. I cherish them, but I think we need to look carefully at what appears to be a shifting preference for receiving information.

Happy 100!

I was always the noisiest, most physically active and probably the edgiest student in my college library science classes. At the mid-term of student teaching in an elementary school library, I was graded down to a B for being “too creative.”

But I’m so proud of librarians today.

They’ve changed the spaces to be inviting to children and their families. Programs have become accessible, with storytimes being held in stores, laundromats and wherever space is available. Librarians are trained to help with digital resources.

On April 29th, we begin the 100th anniversary celebration of National Book Week. I love the theme: Read Now. Read Forever. But don’t wait until then to visit a library. The doors are open today!

Adulting comes early

Middle school, junior high and high school students don’t need to wait to take classes in adulting, like so many of today’s millennials are doing now.

Educators noticed that kids are growing up without basic life skills. As a result, learning to make a monthly budget, pay bills and buy insurance is now being built into both required and elective courses.

Play with a purpose

The sounds, motion and flashing colors on this year’s holiday toys are intended to do more than engage your child.

Mere playthings are designed with a higher purpose: teaching foundational concepts that will turn into actual job skills someday.

Purposeful play has been a theme for several years, but it appears to be reaching a fever pitch this month.