10 Ideas to Get Those Back-to-School Juices Flowing

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Educators are getting prepared to welcome students back to school this month. Many have spent the summer reading up on new teaching strategies or getting inspired by colleagues across the country. To help get those idea juices flowing, here are some MindShift articles that delve into creative work, tools, and methodologies. Happy back to school!

  • FOR STORYTELLING PROJECTS, COOL NEW MULTIMEDIA TOOLS: Writing will always be important, but weaving text, images, sound, and presentation together can give students more and different ways to express themselves. Easy-to-use online tools allow students the opportunity to create multimedia projects that demonstrate knowledge and develop useful skills. Check out three tools on the scene.
  • 13 FREE WEB TOOLS STUDENTS AND TEACHERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT: Web-based tools continue to proliferate, giving teachers more to add to their arsenal, but it can be hard to determine which resources are worth spending time exploring. Here are some tried-and-true favorites of ed-tech veterans Adam Bellow and Steve Dembo.
  • 5 WAYS TO INSPIRE STUDENTS THROUGH GLOBAL COLLABORATION: The Internet has made the world smaller. Teachers can now collaborate with classrooms around the world to expose students to different cultures. Some advantages of investing in a globally connected classroom include motivating students through international friendships and inspiring independent learning as students become curious about different cultures.
  • HOW TO APPLY DESIGN THINKING IN CLASS, STEP-BY-STEP: Adding elements of design thinking to the classroom doesn't necessarily require a huge classroom redesign or an expensive 3D printer. There are plenty of ways to bring the creativity and energy of designing thinking into class, helping to inspire students and teachers alike. Here are some ideas for integrating different components of a design learning experience into familiar, pre-existing scenarios that play out in every school.
  • HOW TO TRIGGER STUDENTS' INQUIRY THROUGH PROJECTS: Project-based learning has got a lot of educators excited about the future of education. It's easy to get excited about what students could make without thinking through the learning outcomes that are the ultimate goal. In this article a project-based learning experts Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss walk through simple steps to set up effective projects.
  • WHY SLEEPING MAY BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN STUDYING: Part of the excitement of going back to school is imagining all the ways to stimulate student curiosity and passion through classroom work. But it's also important to keep in mind how overwhelmed students can be with homework, extracurricular activities and other commitments. Sleep is a huge part of the learning process and both parents and teachers should keep it in mind as kids move through the school year.
  • TO GET STUDENTS INVESTED, INVOLVE THEM IN DECISIONS BIG AND SMALL: Technology is becoming an inherent part of many classrooms, but that doesn't mean educators can stop thinking about how to integrate it effectively into learning goals. A big challenge can be how to frame curriculum design using the technology so that it moves beyond novelty and engagement into deep learning. One way to get students engaged is to involve them in designing their own learning. It can be eye-opening to see how students understand learning and engagement.
  • WHY READING ALOUD TO OLDER CHILDREN IS VALUABLE: Storytime often disappears in school after first or second grade. But some teachers are finding that reading aloud to older children can help them understand literary devices and nuance that they might otherwise miss. And research shows that it can enhance interest in and attention to reading.
  • WHY CODING TEACHES SO MUCH MORE THAN TECHNICAL SKILLS: Computer programming is often seen as a technical skill, but at its heart, learning to code is just like learning another language. And, once kids speak the language, their power to create expands. Learn about some of the specific benefits coding offers.
  • IS GAMING THE NEW ESSENTIAL LITERACY? Game-based learning has taken off in the last several years, often offering students fun ways to problem solve and achieve mastery in a subject. Educators are finding value not only in the game, but also in the meta-cultures that surround games, inspiring fan-fiction, collaboration and peer-editing from a diverse set of students. Gaming has become so popular that some big names in education are even hoping to assess learning through games.