Making the Arts Accessible

I just finished reading this article over at Education Week. I am a firm believer in the arts and that an education is incomplete if it neglects the artistic aspects of the human experience. If our goal as educators is to prepare our students for the world, as I believe we ought, then we need to expose them as early on as possible to the arts, or we are neglecting a critical component of life.

Heather Omara puts forward some good advice on integrating arts on a budget, and targeting at-risk populations who may have little or no exposure to the arts and are thus at a deficit. I highly recommend reading, especially if you are an administrator struggling to find a way to make it all work.

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Online Instruction: Choices, Choices, Choices

I am finding, as I work towards building a demonstration of online instruction, that the sheer number of choices for creating content are almost overwhelming. I am young enough, though I do not consider myself a digital native , where the technology is fairly accessible to me. I am finding, however, that it can still be overwhelming. My strategy has been to focus on a handful of useful tools and attempt to not be overwhelmed by the marketplace for technology tools for educators. I recommend, for anyone who has not yet used it, that Prezi is very versatile, especially if used in conjunction with video capture software native to your computer (in my case, iMovie). Combining these enables me to script, rehearse, and record presentations for class, or simply create dynamic interactive modules.

Common Core: Crossing Subjects for ELLs

From Education Week, teachers are finding that the Common Core math standards and accompanying curriculum changes are requiring them to rethink their approach with ELL students. The focus on word problems, especially, is requiring the incorporation of language supports for math instruction. While frustrating for some, at the core of the change may be potential for professional growth, reflection, and better service to students.

Thinking in Pictures

NYT-art-347x355

Reading through articles this week (and as a component of my current class) I had the pleasure of perusing this article the other day.  The author’s reflections on how her thinking differs from that of most learners around her is a cogent reminder to educators that we should not approach students with preconceived notions of how they are learning.  This individual is clearly high-functioning as a result of his different way of thinking, though others who think in pictures may not do as well in conventional instruction.  Systems thinking encourages us to pay close attention to Mental Models, and reading this gave me a timely chance to reflect on how I have always viewed learning.

Credit goes to the New York Times for the picture.