How to Build Empathy and Gratitude at School

Thanksgiving, gratitude, empathy, Imagine This

Ah, Thanksgiving. That time of year when students celebrate life’s bounty by creating paper turkeys filled with colorful ‘gratitude’ feathers.

Meanwhile, older students may collect canned goods for the local food bank or gather coats for the homeless shelter.

As everyone buzzes with holiday anticipation, it’s pretty easy to feel grateful.

However, the holidays aren’t always rosy for everyone, including low-income students, students with disabilities, and those who live in negative or dangerous circumstances.

Even students with the greatest advantages can struggle with ingratitude, despite holiday activities that remind them to count their blessings. What’s the solution? Read more »

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Represent, Act, Engage: How Universal Design for Learning Works

NAEYC Week of the Young Child 2016 Imagine Learning print concepts ABC song (space theme) from free the aliensPeeked inside a typical classroom lately? If so, you’re likely to see one teacher surrounded by an increasingly diverse group of students–each with unique learning needs.

What’s more, that ‘typical’ classroom is filled with students who are anything but typical.

Colombia activity, Imagine Learning EspañolFor one thing, there’s really no such thing as an average student.

Each class might contain students who struggle with reading or math, students who don’t yet speak English, and students with disabilities. On the other end of the spectrum are the gifted students who may need more challenges to stay engaged.

How on earth can one teacher meet the needs of all these diverse learners? Read more »

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Imagine Learning Talks About the Common Core Standards

Common Core, Imagine Learning, state standards, advocates, opponents, CCSS, benefits, classroom, assessments, tests, fact or fictionAt Imagine Learning, we’re quite familiar with the variety of opinions surrounding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Although our own programs are aligned with multiple state standards (and not just the CCSS), we know what most educators are thinking on the subject. Here, we share a few of our findings.

What the Data Say

In August of 2015 a nationwide PDK/Gallup poll revealed that a majority of respondents oppose the teaching of Common Core. Interestingly, black and Hispanic respondents showed a lower level of opposition, at just 35 and 50 percent respectively.

In an earlier (2013) poll by PDK/Gallup, 72 percent of those polled indicated that they trust public school educators. But the same respondents also assume most educators oppose the CCSS, a view not aligned with the data.

In reality, 75 percent of educators support CCSS standards. Read more »

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The Truth About Game-Based Educational Software

Math-facts, game-based learning,, GSL, Big Brainz, Imagine Learning, math fluency

Math-fact gamification

Ask a typical educator about game-based learning and video games in school, and expect at least some skeptical responses.

Many educators and parents worry about gaming as an educational tool.

Research on the educational worth of video games has been mixed, and some educators point out the fact that most data come from short-term studies.

While research on educational software is still young, increasing evidence points to positive outcomes for today’s students—despite the prevalence of headlines linking video games to bad behavior or lukewarm learning outcomes.

According to James Gee, an education professor at Arizona State University, blaming all video games for poor results is like blaming all food for the existence of obese people.1 Read more »

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Empowering Autistic Students: 7 Strategies for Teachers

Imagine This blog autism spectrum disorder empowering strategies teachersEach year during World Autism Awareness Day (April 2nd), advocates–and even corporate buildings–wear blue as they pledge to shine a light on autism. Those with available means also donate monetarily.

To say that autism is an important cause would be an understatement.

Today, more than 3.5 million Americans exhibit some type of autistic disorder. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that autism impacts one in sixty-eight births.

Based on these statistics, it’s a given that Pre-K and elementary school teachers will encounter students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in their classrooms.

That said, children exhibiting signs of ASD may go undiagnosed, resulting in confusion for both teacher and student.

Even if teachers know a student has ASD, they may not know the best learning and behavioral strategies for that student. In short, teachers need empowerment strategies–both for themselves and for their ASD students. Read more »

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