The Spark News Roundup: Ideas Worth Sharing

In this edition of The Spark News Roundup, we take a closer look at the top five practices that successful schools have in common, ways wearable technology could provide insight into how we learn, what the Trump presidency means for education, and more.

How A Happy School Can Help Students Succeed

Positive mental attitude – we’re always told it is important to have, but where’s the proof that it actually helps? NPR reporter Kat Lonsdorf says it can be found in Arkansas’ Weiner Elementary School, where morale-boosting activities like morning dance parties and school-wide assemblies to sing songs, celebrate birthdays, and crown the Student of the Day, have had a notable impact on school-climate, and ultimately, student engagement levels, with an improved attendance rate of 99.93% and infrequent tardiness (for fear of missing out on the assembly).      

Five Practices Successful Schools Have in Common

Wondering what makes some of the top performing schools in the country tick? EdTech Magazine was curious too, so they talked with 150 administrators representing more than 750,000 students about their best practices and pulled together the top five habits that the successful schools had in common, including prioritizing collaboration across organization silos and setting long-term goals and working back from them.   

How Mindfulness Practices Are Changing an Inner-City School

We love to hear about schools thinking out of the box and implementing new and innovative practices in their classrooms, so we were intrigued by this Washington Post article that takes a closer look at how mindfulness practices are positively impacting the students of Robert W. Coleman Elementary in West Baltimore, Md. Principal Carlillian Thompson says the mindfulness practices have helped students become more reflective and aware and have therefore changed student disciplinary methods and more broadly, the school’s culture.

Wearable Tech Weaves Its Way Into Learning

These days it seems that everybody who is anybody is sporting some sort of wearable technology – from FitBits, to Garmins, to Apple Watches – they’re everywhere recording almost everything. EdSurge reports on how education researchers are hopping on this tech trend and dreaming up ways that wearable technology could provide insight into how we learn, for example, is there a correlation between heart rate or skin temperature and engagement in class?

Education Under Trump: Who Will Ride Shotgun, and Who Will Get Locked Out?

As President-elect Donald Trump continues to build out his cabinet and policies, Education Week considers which education organizations and groups will prosper under the Trump presidency, such as The American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation and opponents of Common Core, and which will be “stuck in detention,” such as teachers’ unions and The Center for American Progress.