The Spark News Roundup: Ideas Worth Sharing

Spark Roundup

In this edition of The Spark News Roundup, we take a closer look at how some schools are introducing new and innovative practices into their classrooms, from scheduling four recesses a day, to embracing a more interactive approach to preschool math instruction through the use of talking puppets, to employing Twitter, Instagram and even Periscope as learning tools and for community engagement.  

Why Some Schools Are Sending Kids Out for Recess Four Times a Day

Recess may just seem like fun and games, but it could be more beneficial for our students than we realize, says Texas-based program the LiiNK Project, which connects play and character development. The Washington Post takes a closer look at how and why the program is working with 14 public schools in Texas and Oklahoma to schedule not one but four recess periods per day. Since the program started last year, students with more recess seem to show better focus, and we’re sure the kids aren’t complaining, either.

$100 Million Awarded in Contest to Rethink U.S. High Schools

Imagine a class filled with students of all ages or 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. school days – this is the stuff that the XQ Institute’s Super School Project winners are made of. The New York Times reports on ten innovative schools who are each receiving a $10 million grant from the XQ Institute for thinking outside the box when it comes to new approaches to education. This is exciting news for these schools, one of which is in Somerville, Massachusetts - just across the Charles River from our HQ.

Counting The Benefits of Teaching Math to 3-Year-Olds

At HMH, we believe that early learning is imperative for a child’s future success, so we were excited to see this PBS Newshour feature about Building Blocks, a math program that has been adopted by a local Boston preschool and encourages kids to think about and discuss math concepts in fun ways throughout the day. Activities such as correcting a puppet named “Mr. Mix-Up” when he makes counting errors helps students demonstrate and vocalize the math concepts they are learning.

Teaching Middle-Schoolers Climate Change Without Terrifying Them

As the effects of climate change continue to become more apparent, educators are looking for ways to broach the subject with their students. A concerning topic for both young and old, some educators are unsure of how to discuss the topic with younger students. NPR talks with middle school earth science teacher Bertha Vazquez about how she is teaching climate change and balancing the fear that comes with taking climate science seriously, and measured optimism.

Three Ways Educators Can Embrace Social Media to Increase Engagement

Despite social media’s pervasiveness across the nation, still only 13% of K-12 teachers use social media in the classroom. Are you part of the 87% and looking for ways to incorporate social media into your lessons? EdTech Magazine’s Steven Anderson shares some innovative ways that Twitter, Instagram and Periscope can be used as learning tools and for community engagement, such as live-streaming student presentations to proud parents via Periscope.


In case you missed it…

Even Published Authors Get Stuck: How to Overcome Writer’s Block

To celebrate HMH’s Spark a Story contest, we turned to some of our authors and novelists to get their tips for how to overcome writer’s block.

The K-2 Guide for Back to School Books

As kids head back to school, HMH Chief Academic Officer Francie Alexander shares some K-2 books to help ease the transition from summer to fall.

Icons & Inspiration: The History of Curious George

For Curious George’s 75th birthday, HMH Archivist Susan Steinway takes a look back at the history of everyone’s favorite monkey.

Four Ways to Help Students Become Better Writers

HMH Program Author Dr. Bill McBride shares four ways to help students analyze complex prompts and become better writers.

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