Despite the pushback we’ve seen lately against implementation of the Common Core State Standards, the rollout continues. But as the discussions around the merits of the standards occur—some of which seem motivated more on political or ideological than educational grounds—the education community is tweaking and developing its response to those standards. The more interesting of those tweaks and developments are, of course, not grounded in politics or ideology, but in thoughtful application of ideas and concepts believed to further learning.
One area that is getting a lot of attention is the role of the arts and the encouragement of creativity in moving toward achieving the educational goals set by the Common Core Standards. So, STEM to STEAM is coming of age, reminding us that arts education needs to be part of the mix of the science-technology-engineering-math juggernaut. And the “Maker Movement” and makerspaces are gaining attention, with their inherent appeal to, well, creating! That’s a part of learning too!
To address this arts, creativity, and innovation theme—the issue focus for this month—we asked Victor Rivero to gear his Tools for Learning feature toward it. Learning by Design—Common Sense, Common Core, and Tools for a STEM to STEAM Approach (page 6) is his compendium of ideas and resources to help educators embrace the Common Core Standards while refocusing on the arts. As Victor notes, “With increasingly widespread adoption and integration of Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards and Visual and Performing Art Standards … and with educators seeking solutions to combine the best features in a cross-discipline approach to science and the arts, the time to move from STEM to STEAM has come.”
And Also …
Our two columnists this month are Mary Alice Anderson, whose New Media Center piece will help you build out your professional development/professional growth resource shelf (see Ten Titles for Your Professional Growth and Collection, page 9), and Mary Ann Bell, whose Belltones column What About the Kids?, page 12, springboards off her perception that “Too many kids are unhappy at school right now.” Both make worthwhile reading!