“Arts & Crafts”: Busywork or Enhanced Learning?

I had the opportunity to write for Edweek once again. This time exploring how hands-on activities can be an integral part of learning rather than “fluff.” Spoiler alert: PBL is a great way to integrate arts into your classroom with a purpose!

Arts and crafts can be a purposeful part of learning. They grant freedom of expression and offer an alternative way to demonstrate student knowledge than standardized assessments. Coloring or drawing can be filler activities with no educational value. Or they could be used as sketchnoting for visual notes or summaries of content. Students could collaboratively create concept maps demonstrating learning connections. The question for teachers to consider is how will the art or crafts be tied to learning goals?

Check out the rest at Edweek-“Arts & Crafts”: Busywork or Enhanced Learning. I also recorded a short podcast on this topic that was released earlier this year.

Pulse of PBL

Matinga and I are excited about the early feedback on our book! From the back cover:

Each chapter of The Pulse of PBL will demonstrate, competency by competency, how SEL can be naturally embedded into PBL. Specific examples, protocols, and stories from both elementary and secondary classrooms around the U.S. illustrate how PBL and SEL are a powerful combination. Transformative SEL changes the way students see themselves as learners, becoming active participants in their communities and the world! 

  • How do I leverage student social and cultural identities to develop their Self-Awareness?
  • How do I build students’ ability to Self-Manage their time, task, and teams?
  • How do I create student experiences that heighten empathy to sharpen their Social Awareness?
  • How do I strengthen students’ capacity for collaboration and communication to forge productive Relationship Skills?
  • How do I present authentic opportunities for Responsible Decision-Making in projects to affect their communities and their lives? 
  • How do I assess the SEL competencies to ensure ALL students apply their skills in meaningful learning?

Learn with me!

If you are interested in how your school can use a PBL framework to teach SEL skills. I would love to have a conversation on how I can help. I am scheduling PBL & SEL workshops for this summer right now. Check out my workshop page or drop me an email at mikejkaechele@gmail.com. I would love to chat and co-plan meaningful PD for the educators at your school.

One and done Professional Development is ineffective. Here’s a great little post about questions you should be asking before you hire a consultant. I would be glad to develop a vision with you!

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