Atoms, Cookies, and Creative Choice

Atoms, Cookies, and Creative Choice

Recently I had the chance to make spring sugar cookies with a group of young friends. We had all the cookie cutters you might expect–flowers, butterflies, hearts, rabbits, and eggs. The children had a grand time rolling out dough, cutting cookies, and later frosting them. Some of the cookies looked typical, but the ones we … Continue reading

Chalk Photography Magic

Chalk Photography Magic

Even in Michigan, there are hints of spring. While we can’t guarantee we’re snow-free yet, the dirty snow heaps are gone and I can begin to see buds on the trees. For many of you, spring break may be right around the corner. Here’s an idea for some family fun or art-lesson magic for your … Continue reading

Runway of Dreams, and Inspiration

Runway of Dreams, and Inspiration

If you were a parent whose child asked to wear jeans to school on “Jeans Day,” what would you say? No problem, right? What if that child had a disability that meant he could not put jeans on independently or use the bathroom while wearing jeans? What then? How do you tell a child he … Continue reading

How to Put Your Parents to Bed

How to Put Your Parents to Bed

I make no claim that this is an unbiased review: One of my friends, Mylisa Larsen, just wrote a wonderful picture book: How to Put Your Parents to Bed. But you don’t have to believe me—The New York Times loved it, too. Here’s a preview, just to give you a smile. As you can tell, … Continue reading

Motivation and Me: Part 2

Motivation and Me: Part 2

Again, today, I’m thinking about motivation, specifically, motivation to learn. Needless to say, teachers hope students will be motivated to learn the content they’ve prepared. There are few things more frustrating than facing a class with a carefully crafted lesson only to be met with indifference. Thinking about what motivates students to learn—and how it … Continue reading

Sparking Student Creativity

Sparking Student Creativity

If you are looking for a practical resource for adding some “sparks” of creativity to your curriculum planning, ASCD has a resource that may help. Patti Drapeau’s Sparking Student Creativity is subtitled “Practical Ways to Promote Innovative Thinking and Problem Solving,” and it delivers on that promise. The book is organized around four “roads,” one … Continue reading

French, Motivation, and Me

French, Motivation, and Me

They say that medical students spend much of their early training examining themselves for symptoms of every disease they study, no matter how obscure. The more they think about something, the more they find evidence of it in their lives. I’m finding something similar (although less frightening) happening to me this semester as I’ve taken … Continue reading

The Vizzies: Visualize Science

The Vizzies: Visualize Science

You know how easy it is to get lost in online searches for something interesting—one thing leads to another and before you know it, it’s time for dinner—or bed. While writing the last post on integrating math and art, I discovered the beauty of the Vizzie Awards. The Vizzies, sponsored by the National Science Foundation … Continue reading

Math and Art: A Match Made for Schools

Math and Art: A Match Made for Schools

Theater and dance for teaching math? Math for teaching art? Arts integration is not only a great idea, but a great idea in the news. A recent story in the Education section of the Washington Post describes students from kindergarten through middle school learning mathematical concepts through the arts. You can find a description of … Continue reading