It’s budget and buying season for many schools and districts. April reflected this with several new product releases for the classroom. Here’s what SmartBrief on EdTech readers liked this month in Product Showcase:

Math@Work: Math Meets Homebuilding. Scholastic and TV host Ty Pennington are working together to help students connect math with real-world careers through their new webisode series, Math@Work: Math Meets Homebuilding. The 15-minute videos, available at no charge on Scholastic’s site, feature Pennington showing student builders how to apply math to projects such as installing solar panels and building a walkway for a home.

Studystorm. High-school students can use a new, free Android application to prepare for tests and college admissions exams. Studystorm, by Brightstorm, offers study guides and videos for 21 subjects, including ACT, SAT and AP tests. The mobile app is available now at no charge from the Google Play store.

Adobe Slate. (read more…)

Kids laughingDuring April, SmartBlog on Education will shine a light on educating the whole child. This blog post highlights the role of movement in teaching and learning.

“Children enter kindergarten as kinesthetic and tactual learners, moving and touching everything as they learn. By second or third grade, some students have become visual learners. During the late elementary years some students, primarily females, become auditory learners. Yet, many adults, especially males, maintain kinesthetic and tactual strengths throughout their lives.”Teaching Secondary Students Through Their Individual Learning Styles

Of the three primary learning modalities — visual, auditory, and kinesthetic — kinesthetic learning is the least frequently utilized in most elementary and secondary classrooms, by a wide margin. Students tend to get most of their information by listening to a teacher speak to them or by seeing and reading it in print or digital form. Learning that involves some form of meaningful movement comes in a distant third. (read more…)

Kids laughingDuring April, SmartBlog on Education will shine a light on educating the whole child. In this blog post, we explore how messages affect students’ social and emotional health.

One day I was running in my neighborhood and I saw the following sign on a front lawn: “Drive like your children live here.” I stopped and thought about the hidden message sent to the driver who sees it: “You are a responsible person who cares about kids but perhaps you need a little nudge or gentle reminder to drive the way that you know in your heart is right.” Compare that to this type of sign: “Fines Doubled in the Work Zone.” That message is not so hidden: “You are an irresponsible person who will only change when you are threatened with a significant loss of money.” Signs send messages. Messages shape identity.

Educators, who want to change student behavior, often forget the hidden messages embedded in even their well-intentioned efforts to help them. (read more…)

Every day we read about students, staff and administrators that post, Tweet or share something that, in retrospect, they wished they had not. We’ve fallen into the practice of sending whatever we want out to the world and hoping for the best. When asked, “Why would you post something like that?” the answer is often “I thought it would be funny,” “I was just kidding,” or “Who would ever see my post/Tweet/image?”

Here’s the reality: We are now connected digitally to one another and we need to understand that if we post something there might be consequences.

How do we address these issues? I have found that there are three areas we need to be aware before sharing: respect, educate and protect or REP.

  1. If we have respect for ourselves and others then why would we say things about them or post images we might regret? Have empathy for others; think about how a post or Tweet might affect them.
  2. (read more…)

Stock PhotoWith the advent of the Common Core State Standards for mathematics, more educational leaders, including teachers, administrators and policymakers, are realizing the need to change the way math is taught. Simply adopting a math curriculum that aligns with the standards will not lead to learning changes, so many schools and districts are turning to instructional coaches.

In fall 2014, I investigated the on-the-ground work of math coaches. Six people with current or former responsibility for coaching math teachers agreed to let me interview them and, in two cases, observe a day of their work. It comes as no surprise that all of them strongly emphasized the need to build effective professional relationships with the teachers they coached. While relationships are at the heart of any teaching situation, elementary math coaches face particular obstacles. In order to support teacher growth, math coaches must develop trusting relationships. School and district administrative leaders who want to use instructional coaching as a strategy for improving instruction would do well to collaborate with coaches so that the their leadership choices support the development of a productive relationship between the coach and the teachers. (read more…)