Posts Tagged ‘classrooms’

International Jazz Day: Creative Lesson Ideas

"International Jazz Day -- UN Music Ensemble 2014." Photo credit: US Mission Geneva / Foter / CC BY-ND

“International Jazz Day — UN Music Ensemble 2014.”
Photo credit: US Mission Geneva / Foter / CC BY-ND

April 30 is designated International Jazz Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the first International Jazz Day held on April 30, 2012. Because of the rich influence jazz music has had on people and events throughout history, this is a day to celebrate how jazz has strengthened cultural and historical ties all over the world. Music is often said to be a universal language, and jazz music especially speaks to audiences from all different backgrounds. To foster jazz appreciation in the classroom, consider devoting a day or more to sharing the contributions of jazz musicians, how jazz music coincided with the Civil Rights Movement, the women of jazz or create an activity that students can do together to express themselves artistically.

Here are some ideas to start customizing a lesson focused around jazz!

1. Jazz-Themed Classroom Tools: ProQuest SIRS WebSelect contains multiple resources to influence classroom instruction and guide discussion. Some websites that can be found here can help you start planning for a jazz-themed lesson:

Jazz in America — Great resource for building a lesson or curating ideas for projects.

Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns — This PBS documentary transports viewers to earlier jazz days.

Smithsonian Jazz — Educational ideas for bringing jazz to the classroom. 112 Ways to Celebrate Jazz is a fun compilation of ideas to spread jazz appreciation.

NPR: Jazz — Packed with videos, interviews, sound clips, webcasts and more all about jazz.

2. Adventure: The International Jazz Day website suggests organizing a field trip to a local record store and then having students design their own jazz album covers or having the class create a jazz wall mural together.

3. Investigate: Maybe you live in a place where jazz has made a major impact on the community. Turn your students into investigative reporters and have them find out what jazz accomplishments make their hometown special. Older students can decipher public records to back their research. Share as a class.

4. Concert: If you’re a music teacher or librarian, encourage students to add some new jazz songs to their repertoire or organize a jazz concert. Any ticket sales can be donated to a charity of their choice.

5. Documentary Show & Share: Since jazz is such an interactive form of expression, share a jazz documentary with your students and challenge them to express how it made them feel. Let them show or tell their classmates through words, pictures or their own creative project. Ask them why it’s important to continue teaching and learning about it.

How do you support jazz appreciation? Tweet us at #ProQuest or let us know in the comments below!

Makerspace Inspiration for March

Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/52926035@N00/12229383703">Makerfying your library</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

Sketchnotes from a session at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference on “Makerfying Your Library.”
Photo Credit: Sally Wilson via photopin (license)

Creativity not only exercises your brain, it’s good for your overall well-being. Playing, creating, tinkering, experimenting, inventing and programming are just some ways children and adults alike can exercise their “making” powers. All the tools and materials we might use to make a creative project shine are stored collectively in what are coined makerspaces, and they come in all varieties and sizes. Makerspaces are DIY places to collaborate, co-create and innovate. Whether you want to build a makerspace for the classroom, the library, on a bus or even at home, the possiblities for doing so are endless. There’s really no wrong way to build a makerspace, so we’ve pulled together some different types to inspire you during the month of March. Perhaps the start of spring will also be the start of a new makerspace!

1. Mobile Makerspaces: Around the world, makerspaces are becoming traveling ‘create’ spaces that can be housed on buses, RVs or basically anything that can be transported easily to a new location. Equipped with anything from a 3-D printer to Play-Doh and wire, you can find an online starter list of existing mobile makerspaces. There are currently over 1,000 Meetup groups in various countries just for makerspace enthusiasts.

"FryskLab" by lauwersdelta35 via Flicker, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Children Working in a Makerspace at an Innovation Center in The Netherlands
Photo credit: “FryskLab” lauwersdelta35 via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

2. Hackspaces: Hackspaces often focus a lot on technology, computers, electronic art and engineering. You might find a combination of electronic gadgets, hardware, science experimentation and digital art creation here. The hackerspaces wiki contains an extensive list of current locations in the U.S. and beyond.

3. Fab Labs: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was an integral collaborater in making the first fab lab come to life. By definition, one of the most important aspects of making a fab lab is having open access. Materials should be easily available and the fab lab itself should promote free expression. The FabFoundation is a wonderful resource for first-time and experienced fab lab founders.

4. Makerspaces at Home: What if you could convince a student to make his or her own toys or games? Building a makerspace makes that possible. Whether you need a space for making electronic-powered robots, dolls, board games, glow-in-the-dark Play-Doh or a digital piece of art, it doesn’t take much to get a personal Makerspace started. The dollar store is a great starting point as well as collecting common items like batteries, tools, cardboard, wires, crayons, paper and beads. Sometimes the best materials turn out to be the ones you forgot you had. Scholastic recently featured an article on how to build a mini makerspace at home.

5. Library Makerspaces: Libraries have always been cool. What makes them even cooler is the way they have latched on to the Makerspace Movement. Academic and public libraries alike have shown maker enthusiasm and some of them can be found Libraries & Maker Culture: A Resource Guide. Chances are there are even more you may not know about.

Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/63392151@N02/14167513417">Innovate @ Your Library - BCPL</a> via <a   href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

Innovate @ Your Library – BCPL
Photo Credit: Baltimore County Public Library via photopin (license)

6. Makerspaces at School: Makerspaces at school are wonderful because they are a little bit of everything wrapped into one space–part woodshop, part art station, part science lab. Since students are already at school, they will be able to collaborate with each other easily. Deciding some of the basics like where to build one, when to allow use and what to include are important decisions that are made easier with the help of how-to articles. Edutopia features an entire section devoted to Maker Education.

7. Makerspaces To-Go: Teacher Librarian and Technology Integration Specialist Shannon Miller recently shared a blog post on her Makerspace To-Go. Materials including books, crafts, markers, Legos and more were able to be stored in her oversized bag and she also set up a Makerspace Mobile by storing a collection of apps for makerspace play on her iPad.

What type of makerspace inspires you? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest

Best of 2014: K12 Education Trends


“Education.” Photo credit: Sean MacEntee via photopin cc

Each year, technology advances ignite excitement and change throughout the education world. For 2014, education trends specifically in the K12 area were a healthy mix of digital tools, classroom ingenuity and a handful of both controversial and creative movements. Here’s our Best of 2014: K12 Education Trends.

1. Digital Citizenship

The need for empowering policies that teach students how to use technology responsibly proved to be a welcomed addition in schools. The Edutopia article: Digital Citizenship: Developing a Culture of Trust and Transparency by Andrew Marcinek helps explain the benefits of applying digital citizenship with students.

2. Exercise in the Classroom

With standing desks and healthy work-life balance making an impact with adults, it’s no wonder educators are trying to incorporate more exercise time with students into the day. One example involved the Read and Ride program. Read about how the program worked for this school.


After lawmakers realized there is still a need for arts integration in core academic education, the arts once again gained steam and proponents advocated STEM to STEAM.

4. Non-Traditional Classrooms

The Flipped Classroom

“The Flipped Classroom.” Photo credit: AJC1 / Foter / CC BY-SA

Flipping traditional classrooms, allowing students to bring mobile devices to school, focusing on projects, and experimenting with virtual classroom models injected some more innovative teaching methods into schools.

5. Cloud-Based Tools

Tools like Google Classroom have transformed everything. Now assignments can be worked on digitally saving both paper and maximizing homework organization.

6. Social Networking for Schools

Social media in schools isn’t limited to the definition of Facebook and Twitter. Tools specifically for the classroom like Edmodo continue to flourish.

7. Educational Gaming

Research has noted that educational games can facilitate deep learning. Even “digital badges” earned through skills and achievements recognized for acquiring them have become games in themselves, encouraging students to continue learning and growing.

8. Maker-Spaces

The Maker movement gave educators and students ideas for inventing, creating and exploring all types of things both science-related and beyond.

9. Common Core

The Common Core movement has been stirring controversy from implementation. Regardless, it’s gaining traction and remains a topic of debate in schools.

10. Mobile Device Apps Designed to Aid Learning

Mobile devices have become more prominent in classrooms, and along with them are apps designed to enhance the learning experience. Everything from reading to math can be explored through a fun well-designed app.

What trends did you notice this year? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us at #ProQuest!