Grade-A ideas


The article below outlines five creative approaches some Boston schools are taking to “reinvigorate education for all ages.” Among them is teaching Arabic. Nancy Rhodes of the Center for Applied Linguistics says the federal government supports Arabic since “They see it as a real necessity for security and diplomacy issues,” but classes fill up immediately because many students see it as an opportunity to stand out on college applications.

Another approach was inspired by Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. Researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education are developing hands-on virtual field trips for middle school students to study science. According to the article, “EcoMUVE, a multi-user computer program will enable students to immerse themselves in an ecosystem and gather data to solve problems.” Christopher Dede, one of the lead researchers, explains “We know that active learning is more powerful than passive learning. In virtual worlds, you are not only active, you are in the middle of it. You are wearing the shoes of a scientist.”

Interactive learning engages students and enables them to practice their critical and creative thinking skills in order to apply new knowledge and experiences to information they already know. CRITICAL AND CREATIVE THINKING FOR TEENAGERS promotes these skills and encourages students to apply them to the real world around them, not only academically, but in their personal lives and in their careers. For a free review copy call our toll free number at (877) 737-8510 or email

Lastly, even teachers need to take a break to find their centers and return to students more effectively. While the article mentions meditation for teachers, coaching your peers/co-workers is also another way to help guide them through sticky situations or ruts in their instruction. For more information on coaches training visit or email

Grade-A ideas
From virtual-reality science instruction to meditation for teachers, these approaches aim to reinvigorate education for all ages.
By Patti Hartigan
May 2, 2010

Art From the Start The current rage in education is STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. But creative types are working valiantly to turn STEM into STEAM – with the A standing for the arts. At the Boston Arts Academy, for instance, the arts are infused in every subject. While creative pursuits are often the first to go when budgets are cut, this high school continues to innovate as it engages students through the arts. The ninth grade just wrapped up a unit on African civilization with a multimedia celebration called “Africa Lives.” The students got their hands dirty. And they mastered the material.

“High school shouldn’t be a preparation for life,” says co-headmaster Linda Nathan. “It should be life.”

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