If We Want Global Competencies We Need to Stop Stigmatizing the Arts

There are conversations in all of our lives that we have repeatedly. “Did you brush your teeth? Are you sure?” “Do you have to pee? Please try to go before you put your snow pants on.” “Where is/are your lunch box/agenda/library book/snow pants/mitts?!? The bus is coming!” Clearly, I’m ready for winter to be over, […]

Spark Early Learning with STEAM

All Things STEAM logo

co-authored by Nancy Alvarez and Heid Veal What do you picture when you imagine an ideal early childhood learning experience? Do you see young children sitting quietly at tables, independently completing school work or do you visualize them in various groups exploring, creating, pretending, tinkering, and communicating? The later is what the majority imagine and […]

Never Ignore a Child Who Asks “Why?”

Anyone who has young children, teaches them, or has spent time with one knows that “Why?” is their master question. Once it starts, there’s no stopping it. Although adults do their best to come up with answers, the interrogation becomes an endless loop. When one question is answered, the next one comes right on its […]

An Unexpected Consequence for Kids Who Sit Too Much

alg classroom kids

The list of consequences for kids forced to sit too long is a lengthy one. Among other things, sitting is now considered as detrimental to health as is smoking (the human body was built to move!). Research also has shown us that sitting increases fatigue and reduces concentration, neither of which is an optimal condition […]

STEM Guide for Teachers

STEM logo

You’ve probably noticed that STEM and STEAM are really buzzy terms in the field of education these days. If you are new to the teaching field, or even a veteran ready to liven up your lessons, then this is a great time to leap into STEM. However, as an already very busy teacher, it can […]

5 Ways to Avoid Project Based Learning Fluff #HackingPBL

Marshmallow fluff

When I taught fourth grade, I was initially met with skepticism from other teachers when I started to regularly engage my students in project based learning (PBL) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). I think much of this apprehension existed because some of my practices did in fact perpetuate the myth that PBL was fluff […]

Mic Dropping (Again) at the White House

Never did I ever think there would be a ‘partdeux‘ to blogging about speaking in The White House, until it happened again. Most people don’t get invited to the White House, let alone twice. It’s humbling, it’s surreal, it’s one of those experiences that you get to share with your kids and their kids. About […]

Making STEM Learning Intentional Is Easier Than You Think

Preschool STEM

While most early childhood teachers are comfortable with learning centers, fewer probably would say they’re comfortable with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), a real focus in education these days. But Deirdre Englehart, co-author of STEM Play, approaches learning centers through a STEM lens and believes themes can be integrated into centers to promote creativity […]

Chicagoland: Science, STEAM, and Sheer Awe

Rain collection stations for fully functioning aquaponic workstations, along withcamera equippedbird houses A hallway designed with RGBOYV for studying purposes, along with monitors that are reporting outdoor temperatures and scientific data The tour also included a new STEAM lab and was loaded with students talking about their daily experiences. In all, three amazing days this […]

How to Transform Step-by-Step Directions into Inquiry


In a previous post we explored a potential problem with prepackaged STEM products (or STEM in a box). In short, the problem is when schools and districts invest more in them than they do in their teachers. Because, if the ultimate goal is to leverage these resources to promote inquiry-based learning (which it should be), […]

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