Calling All Grandparents!

August is definitely time for parent relief! It is the perfect moment for grandparents to come to the fore as parents start gearing up for school, and kids need a change of scene. Good kinds of play can build creative thinking skills! As an “elder” of your “tribe,” you have the wisdom that comes from the long view, and know just how far creative thinking can take you in the “real world. And the best Read More →

Getting to Know You…

(This entry is especially for teachers.) With school beginning all too quickly, many teachers may be reflecting on last year and considering how to make this year even better. Along with reviewing the school calendar and given curriculum, I hope you will consider how you can make this year even more learner-centered. I have two tried-and-true suggestions that can be modified to fit every age level and every subject area. First of all, at the Read More →

Vive la différence!

I am always searching for children’s books to share with teachers and parents. My criteria have not changed since my daughter was a baby: (1) They must appeal to the child(ren). (2) They must be enjoyable enough for me to read 200 or more times. (3) They must have literary, social or other values. Lately, I came across The Exclamation Point by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. In this story, an exclamation point is a character who Read More →

Zip It!

Imaginative play is important at all ages, but especially for young children. Decades of research studies have shown how much play can positively effect social, emotional and cognitive development. The best toys and situations are often the simplest. Here’s an example from my own family. We gathered together for a holiday feast at my sister’s house—with children ranging from toddlers to her own two who were in college. After the big meal, the younger children Read More →

Spring Fling with the Sensory Alphabet

Spring is finally here, which means it’s the perfect time of year to try out new activities. We’ve gathered a few of our favorite springtime activities designed to flex the Sensory Alphabet muscles. LINE – Spring Story Lines Using index cards, your favorite spring related photos from magazines (and/or photos from your child’s life), make story cards that can be rearranged to tell different story lines. Arrange them in different ways to tell different stories Read More →

Ft. Worth, here we come!

The 2013 NAEA National Convention is just around the corner…that is, the National Arts Education Association. And this year it’s being held literally around the corner in Ft. Worth! March 7 — 10. If there are any arts educators out there who are attending, we want you to know that co-authors Susan Marcus and Cindy Herbert will be giving two presentations. We’d LOVE to see you there! Details below: Session 1: Monkeybars for Young Minds: Read More →

Powerful Voices for Change

For parents who are interested in systemic change in education: know that there is important ongoing research that supports these large questions and is engaged in imagining what these changes might look like—from a foundation of applied research. What we’re posting here is an evocative 7-minute video that voices these concerns and hints at some forward momentum. It introduces the story of connected learning, the outcome of a six-year research effort supported by the MacArthur Read More →

Rethinking the Meaning of Literacy

Redefining the meaning of literacy in the 21st century is an international megatrend! This was just one of the topics considered at the New Media Consortium’s “Future of Education Summit” here in Austin this past week. I was one of the lucky one hundred participants from around the world representing the different fields of education, research and technology. The NMC has built this extraordinary annual gathering on ten years of research in emerging technologies in Read More →

What is Creativity?

    Creativity is not just for the “gifted and talented.” All children are creative. Even all adults are creative. It’s part of our heritage as human beings. Creativity is not just in the arts. Creativity is at the top of the list of best characteristics for business leaders. Scientists need creativity to gain new insights and solve tough problems. All areas of life need creativity. Creativity isn’t just being clever or cute. Real creativity Read More →

The Power of Imagination

When we write or talk about creative thinking, we are acknowledging that it all starts with imagination, whether in the arts, science, business or every day life with our families. This video about sculptor Janet Echelman from YouTube and TED is a wonderful example of the power of imagination. Echelman’s work is changing the cityscapes of the world, in powerful, evocative and stunning work. Work that takes noticing, collaboration, deep thought and research and the Read More →