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February 28, 2013
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News for the Education Profession

ASCD SmartBrief Special Report:
Creativity now!
Though "standardized tests" and "common core" are the frequent buzzwords of the day, that doesn't mean creativity has been eliminated. Teachers across the country are meeting the challenge of keeping creativity in the classroom with a variety of new approaches to student engagement.

From using project-based learning to solve real-world problems to the incorporation of art into science, teachers and administrators are adjusting to an educational environment that is increasingly high-tech and complex. Educators are meeting the challenges head-on by adding iPads and social media to their classes, encouraging students to think critically and individualizing instruction to bring out the best in students.

In this special report, we also offer a list of 10 links to ASCD resources to help boost creativity in the classroom.

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  • Md. school maps out project-based learning
    A public middle and high school in Baltimore this year adopted a schoolwide project-based learning approach aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The school's adoption of PBL included the creation of a map that offers a diagram of standards under the common core, writes Eric Isselhardt, chief academic officer at the Green Street Academy. A project route then was created, which aligns with the standards map, and educators then focused on what was needed for students to be successful and whether the project met the standards, Isselhardt writes in this blog post. Isselhardt's blog (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How to encourage creativity in schools
    Creativity isn't limited to thinking outside of the box, write Ronald A. Beghetto and James C. Kaufman. Creativity requires originality and task appropriateness, features levels and context, they write. They add that creativity also needs work, effort and risk, plus an understanding when it's appropriate to be creative. "Teachers should provide honest feedback that strikes the just-right balance between challenging students and supporting them as they develop their creative competence," they write. Educational Leadership (2/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Real-world situations urged to boost student engagement
    Schoolwork must be presented in a way that is understandable, relevant and interesting to engage students, educators said at a recent conference for more than 200 administrators and teachers from Aiken County School District in South Carolina. Such an approach will mean a change in culture and assessments, which primarily measure knowledge. "What we need to be teaching and assessing is how knowledge can be applied to the real world," said King Laurence, an administrator. Aiken Standard (S.C.) (2/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Infuse learning with creativity
Harness your students’ learning potential by weaving creativity into core instructional practices. Discover resources by leading authors like Suzie Boss and Alan November and inspire students to think as a new generation of innovators, while equipping them to succeed within the competitive, global framework of the 21st century.
  Technology Tools 
  • IPads are "transforming" instruction
    Educators say students who use iPads are able to look up unfamiliar words as they are reading on the tablets, receive instant feedback from teachers and have access to an unprecedented amount of information without leaving the classroom. While it's still relatively rare, a growing number of public schools are purchasing enough iPads so that every student can have one. "It's transforming instruction," said Marianne Currie-Hall, principal of Roy B. Kelly Elementary School in Lockport, N.Y. "I've got kindergarteners who email me their work." The Buffalo News (N.Y.) (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • More K-12 classrooms incorporate social media
    A growing number of teachers are using social media such as wikis, Twitter and other tools to foster engagement through student collaboration and help students learn. With growth, there also are words of warning and opportunities for "teachable moments" if and when students come across inappropriate material online. Schools also are taking additional steps to provide security for students accessing social media. T.H.E. Journal (2/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News

“In Bringing Innovation to School, Suzie Boss gets directly to the heart of why we need innovation in our schools, and she describes practical, realistic solutions to get there. This book will be extremely useful to all people who seek to improve education.” —Cindy Johanson, executive director, The George Lucas Educational Foundation
  Academic Learning and Creativity 
  • Creativity requires yin and yang
    Creativity can't be measured by standardized tests, but it's a quality increasing sought after in the global marketplace, write Bryan Goodwin and Kirsten Miller. Teachers can help students bring out this quality through the teaching and modeling of complex problem-solving. "Creativity requires bouncing an idea back and forth between left- and right-brain thinking; stepping back to analyze what we've created, and if necessary, tearing it up," they write. Educational Leadership (2/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Moving from history memorization to critical thinking
    Teaching history should focus on narratives, not memorizing facts and dates, writes Craig Perrier, high-school social studies specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. In this blog post, Perrier shares examples of the standard narrative found in history textbooks, as well as alternative narratives that could be shared with students. "Teaching history through narratives focuses on knowledge construction, resource evaluation and active learning. These skills speak to the demands of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, global competency and 21st-century education," he writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (2/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Art's interactions with science can be profound
    An aptitude in science can be enhanced by participation in arts and crafts, write Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein. As an example, Albert Einstein played violin and piano, and attributed some of his gifts for science to "musical thinking," they write. "Arts and crafts develop such skills as observation, visual thinking, the ability to recognize and form patterns, and manipulative ability. They develop habits of thought and action that include practicing, persevering, and trial-and-error problem solving," they write. Educational Leadership (2/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  ASCD Resources 

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