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Bringing together creativity and literacy
POSTED IN CREATIVE LITERACY
We all know that literacy is the ability to read and write but the definition of creative is a little harder to define: it can be the ability to solve problems or being able to use your imagination. Bringing creativity and literacy together can be a powerful tool in teaching, writes Tonya Meers
Creativity is characterised by originality and expressiveness, so it can mean making something or it can be something new and innovative. Sir Ken Robinson has said that “Creativity is about working in a highly focused way on ideas and projects, crafting them into their best forms and making critical judgements along the way.” Bringing creativity and literacy together can be a powerful tool in teaching. It allows children to be active in literacy, from acting out plays through characters that they’ve made themselves or through making props. It allows children to explore their imaginations. Getting involved in a story re-enforces the learning and can also teach practical skills, for example, working with templates or basic sewing. Children are naturally creative, if you stop and listen to them they often are natural storytellers. They love to make things up and will very often have imaginary worlds they will refer to. They also love to get involved in making things, giving them a sense of achievement. If they are engaged they will learn more, so it’s about harnessing their ability to soak up information and to capture their imaginations, which can make teaching more fulfilling.

Benefits of creative literacy
The benefits are numerous and wide-ranging. It encourages greater pupil engagement, brings a subject to life – therefore capturing pupils interest, and improves knowledge retention. It can also improve oral and listening skills, encourage team building, and can be made practical, suiting those who may struggle with some traditional methods of teaching, eg, children who are dyslexic. Creative literacy can also encourage reluctant readers, build confidence, and help teach practical skills. Education Scotland Foghlam Alba has shown through its research that creativity in learning encourages pupils to think creatively. They were more open to new ideas and challenges. It gave them a greater ownership over their learning, they became more interested in discovering things for themselves and were more able to solve problems, so 
they became more effective learners. In addition, research carried out by Kimberley Stafford and Myra Barrs for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) in 2005 also found that linking creativity through arts and literacy was a powerful tool. They found it aided sustained learning as the children made strong connections between reading, writing and their work in creative arts. It enhanced their oral language skills, and a workshop atmosphere promoted concentration and confidence and deepened their understanding so they could reflect on their learning. It also encouraged the children to work as a team. This approach to learning has famous supporters; Sir Ken is a strong advocate for allowing creativity in education. In an interview, he said students were different and you needed something to engage the whole class. He went on to say: “If they are engaged they will learn.” Sir Ken believes education is about people and not process, he thinks our education system is currently about conformity which is the opposite of where it should be. Clearly, Michael Gove is not a fan of Sir Ken as he seems to want to go in the opposite direction, which is worrying for our future generations and doesn’t help them to prepare for the future. Pie Corbett, educationalist and author, is known for his books on teaching creative writing. He also advocates that if you use things such as puppets, role-play and acting out stories, it brings stories to life and makes them more memorable. He believes drama also helps children generate their own story ideas.

A cross-curricular approach
So where does creative literacy fit into the curriculum? Well, in a variety of areas. Research carried out for the CLPE showed that the role of texts brought together reading, writing, crafting and bodily enactment in a holistic way that addressed curriculum demands. Creative literacy resources can also be used to teach geography, history or PSHE. All of these can be brought vividly to life through a creative literacy approach to learning. A story’s location can be a good way to teach geography, for instance, a pirate tale with a treasure island can be used to teach children about the geography of islands. By creating a model of an island it can be used to create a map. The story could lead to making and using a compass. The location may also help teach about the environment if the story covers a specific area, eg deforestation in Costa Rica. With the characters of a story, you can teach many PSHE topics by discussing the moral dilemmas or situations the characters find themselves in. Making puppets can lead to discussions or, if it’s something sensitive, a child may talk about it through the puppet. The time-setting of a story is a useful tool to teach history: a story set in ancient Egypt could also be used as a starting point for how pyramids are constructed, the story of Tutankhamun or how Egyptians used to live. Natasha Dennis of Little Creative Days can concur with the research carried out to the benefits of using creative literacy resources. Natasha says: “During the testing of our products we have seen how the children have engaged with the learning in the stories. It has brought the subject to life for them. It has built their confidence, particularly the quieter ones.”

Inclusivity and SEN
A further benefit is inclusivity in the classroom. By teaching this way you can ensure that all children feel included. Some children, particularly those with dyslexia, like to learn in a multi-sensory way so bringing subjects to life will suit their style of learning. They will feel less isolated/different from their classmates. They are likely to take hold of the subject and help others to see things differently, thereby enriching the experience for all.
Ecoliteracy is founded on a new integration of emotional, social, and ecological intelligence—forms of intelligence popularized by Daniel Goleman. While social and emotional intelligence extend students’ abilities to see from another’s perspective, empathize, and show concern, ecological intelligence applies these capacities to an understanding of natural systems and melds cognitive skills with empathy for all of life. By weaving these forms of intelligence together, ecoliteracy builds on the successes—from reduced behavioral problems to increased academic achievement—of the movement in education to foster social and emotional learning. And it cultivates the knowledge, empathy, and action required for practicing sustainable living.
To help educators foster socially and emotionally engaged ecoliteracy, we have identified the following five practices. These are, of course, not the only ways to do so. But we believe that educators who cultivate these practices offer a strong foundation for becoming ecoliterate, helping themselves and their students build healthier relationships with other people and the planet. Each can be nurtured in age-appropriate ways for students, ranging from pre-kindergarten through adulthood, and help promote the cognitive and affective abilities central to the integration of emotional, social, and ecological intelligence.
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1. Develop empathy for all forms of life
At a basic level, all organisms—including humans—need food, water, space, and conditions that support dynamic equilibrium to survive. By recognizing the common needs we share with all organisms, we can begin to shift our perspective from a view of humans as separate and superior to a more authentic view of humans as members of the natural world. From that perspective, we can expand our circles of empathy to consider the quality of life of other life forms, feel genuine concern about their well-being, and act on that concern.
Most young children exhibit care and compassion toward other living beings.
This is one of several indicators that human brains are wired to feel empathy and concern for other living things. Teachers can nurture this capacity to care by creating class lessons that emphasize the important roles that plants and animals play in sustaining the web of life. Empathy also can be developed through direct contact with other living things, such as by keeping live plants and animals in the classroom; taking field trips to nature areas, zoos, botanical gardens, and animal rescue centers; and involving students in field projects such as habitat restoration.
Another way teachers can help develop empathy for other forms of life is by studying indigenous cultures. From early Australian Aboriginal culture to the Gwich’in First Nation in the Arctic Circle, traditional societies have viewed themselves as intimately connected to plants, animals, the land, and the cycles of life. This worldview of interdependence guides daily living and has helped these societies survive, frequently in delicate ecosystems, for thousands of years. By focusing on their relationship with their surroundings, students learn how a society lives when it values other forms of life.
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2. Embrace sustainability as a community practice
Organisms do not survive in isolation. Instead, the web of relationships within any living community determines its collective ability to survive and thrive.
This essay is adapted from Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence (Jossey-Bass), which draws on the work of the Center for Ecoliteracy.
By learning about the wondrous ways that plants, animals, and other living things are interdependent, students are inspired to consider the role of interconnectedness within their communities and see the value in strengthening those relationships by thinking and acting cooperatively.
The notion of sustainability as a community practice, however, embodies some characteristics that fall outside most schools’ definitions of themselves as a “com- munity,” yet these elements are essential to building ecoliteracy. For example, by examining how their community provisions itself—from school food to energy use—students can contemplate whether their everyday practices value the common good.
Other students might follow the approach taken by a group of high school students in New Orleans known as the “Rethinkers,” who gathered data about the sources of their energy and the amount they used and then surveyed their peers by asking, “How might we change the way we use energy so that we are more resilient and reduce the negative impacts on people, other living beings, and the planet?” As the Rethinkers have shown, these projects can give students the opportunity to start building a community that values diverse perspectives, the common good, a strong network of relationships, and resiliency.
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3. Make the invisible visible
Historically—and for some cultures still in existence today—the path between
a decision and its consequences was short and visible. If a homesteading family cleared their land of trees, for example, they might soon experience flooding, soil erosion, a lack of shade, and a huge decrease in biodiversity.
But the global economy has created blinders that shield many of us from experiencing the far-reaching implications of our actions. As we have increased our use of fossil fuels, for instance, it has been difficult (and remains difficult for many people) to believe that we are disrupting something on the magnitude of the Earth’s climate. Although some places on the planet are beginning to see evidence of climate change, most of us experience no changes. We may notice unusual weather, but daily weather is not the same as climate disruption over time.
If we strive to develop ways of living that are more life-affirming, we must find ways to make visible the things that seem invisible.
Educators can help through a number of strategies. They can use phenomenal web-based tools, such as Google Earth, to enable students to “travel” virtually and view the landscape in other regions and countries. They can also introduce students to technological applications such as GoodGuide and Fooducate, which cull from a great deal of research and “package” it in easy-to-understand formats that reveal the impact of certain household products on our health, the environment, and social justice. Through social networking websites, students can also communicate directly with citizens of distant areas and learn firsthand what the others are experiencing that is invisible to most students. Finally, in some cases, teachers can organize field trips to directly observe places that have been quietly devastated as part of the system that provides most of us with energy.
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4. Anticipate unintended consequences
Many of the environmental crises that we face today are the unintended consequences of human behavior. For example, we have experienced many unintended but grave consequences of developing the technological ability to access, produce, and use fossil fuels. These new technological capacities have been largely viewed as progress for our society. Only recently has the public become aware of the downsides of our dependency on fossil fuels, such as pollution, suburban sprawl, international conflicts, and climate change.
Teachers can teach students a couple of noteworthy strategies for anticipating unintended consequences. One strategy—the precautionary principle—can be boiled down to this basic message: When an activity threatens to have a damaging impact on the environment or human health, precautionary actions should be taken regardless
of whether a cause-and-effect relationship has been scientifically confirmed. Historically, to impose restrictions on new products, technologies, or practices, the people concerned about possible negative impacts were expected to prove scientifically that harm would result from them. By contrast, the precautionary principle (which is now in effect in many countries and in some places in the United States) places the burden of proof on the producers to demonstrate harmlessness and accept responsibility should harm occur.
Another strategy is to shift from analyzing a problem by reducing it to its isolated components, to adopting a systems thinking perspective that examines the connections and relationships among
the various components of the problem. Students who can apply systems thinking are usually better at predicting possible consequences of a seemingly small change to one part of the system that can potentially affect the entire system. One easy method for looking at a problem systemically is by mapping it and all of its components and interconnections. It is then easier to grasp the complexity of our decisions and foresee possible implications.
Finally, no matter how adept we are at applying the precautionary principle
and systems thinking, we will still encounter unanticipated consequences of our actions. Building resiliency—for example, by moving away from mono-crop agriculture or by creating local, less centralized food systems or energy networks—is another important strategy for survival in these circumstances. We can turn
to nature and find that the capacity of natural communities to rebound from unintended consequences is vital to survival.
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5. Understand how nature sustains life
Ecoliterate people recognize that nature has sustained life for eons; as a result, they have turned to nature as their teacher and learned several crucial tenets. Three of those tenets are particularly imperative to ecoliterate living.
First of all, ecoliterate people have learned from nature that all living organisms are members of a complex, interconnected web of life and that those members inhabiting a particular place depend upon their interconnectedness for survival. Teachers can foster an understanding of the diverse web of relationships within a location by having students study that location as a system.
Second, ecoliterate people tend to be more aware that systems exist on various levels of scale. In nature, organisms are members of systems nested within other systems, from the micro-level to the macro-level. Each level supports the others to sustain life. When students begin to understand the intricate interplay of relation- ships that sustain an ecosystem, they can better appreciate the implications for survival that even a small disturbance may have, or the importance of strengthening relationships that help a system respond to disturbances.
Finally, ecoliterate people collectively practice a way of life that fulfills the needs of the present generation while simultaneously supporting nature’s inherent ability to sustain life into the future. They have learned from nature that members of a healthy ecosystem do not abuse the resources they need in order to survive. They have also learned from nature to take only what they need and to adjust their behavior in times of boom or bust. This requires that students learn to take a long view when making decisions about how to live.
These five practices, developed by the Berkeley-based Center for Ecoliteracy, offer guideposts to exciting, meaningful, and deeply relevant education that builds on social and emotional learning skills. They can also plant the seeds for a positive relationship with the natural world that can sustain a young person’s interest and involvement for a lifetime.

Cyberliteracy:
The Internet has changed our social spaces, our political and social realities, our use of language, and the way we communicate, all with breathtaking speed. Almost everyone who deals with the Internet and the new world of cyberspace communication at times feels bewildered, dismayed, or even infuriated. In this clear and helpful book, computer communications scholar Laura J. Gurak takes a close look at the critical issues of online communication and discusses how to become literate in the new mass medium of our era. In cyberspace, Gurak shows us, literacy means much more than knowing how to read. Cyberliteracy means being able to sort fact from fiction, to detect extremism from reasonable debate, and to identify gender bias, commercialism, imitation, parody, and other aspects of written language that are problematic in online communication. Active reading skills are essential in cyberspace, where hoaxes abound, advertising masquerades as product information, privacy is often compromised, and web pages and e-mail messages distort the truth. Gurak analyzes the new language of the Internet, explaining how to prepare for its discourse and protect oneself from its hazards. This book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the impact of the Internet on the practices of reading and writing and on our culture in general.
DEFINITION OF 'FINANCIAL LITERACY '
The possession of knowledge and understanding of financial matters. Financial literacy is mainly used in connection with personal finance matters. Financial literacy often entails the knowledge of properly making decisions pertaining to certain personal finance areas like real estate, insurance, investing, saving (especially for college), tax planning and retirement. It also involves intimate knowledge of financial concepts like compound interest, financial planning, the mechanics of a credit card, advantageous savings methods, consumer rights, time value of money, etc.
INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'FINANCIAL LITERACY '
The absence of financial literacy can lead to making poor financial decisions that can have adverse effects on the financial health of an individual. The advantages or disadvantages of variable or fixed rates is an example of an issue that will be easier to understand if an individual is financially literate. In 2003, the U.S government launched the Financial Literacy and Education Commission. The office is responsible for having resources available for individuals who want to be financially literate.
Analyze Media

* Understand both how and why media messages are constructed, and for what purposes * Examine how individuals interpret messages differently, how values and points of view are included or excluded, and how media can influence beliefs and behaviors * Apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of media
Create Media Products

* Understand and utilize the most appropriate media creation tools, characteristics and conventions * Understand and effectively utilize the most appropriate expressions and interpretations in diverse, multi-cultural environments Additional resources:
1. Cable in the Classroom's Media Literacy 101 | Media Literacy for Educators - Cable in the Classroom (CIC)
Excellent list of resources for teaching media literacy
2. Media and Information Literacy for Educators
Excellent list of resources for teaching and learning about media and information literacy
3. MediaLiteracy.com: Gateway Site for Media Literacy Education
Online portal for media literacy education
4. Media Literacy: Information from Answers.com
Answers.com and Wikipedia defintions of media literacy with resource links
5. Center for Media Literacy
A pioneer in its field, the Center for Media Literacy (CML) is a nonprofit educational organization that provides leadership, public education, professional development and educational resources nationally. Dedicated to promoting and supporting media literacy. SOCIAL LITERACY
I thought I would pull together some important things you should know about goals and objectives. I am assuming you already have a rough idea of how to write goals and objectives.
For a quick review a good goal will identify 1) Who will do 2) What 3) How well 4) Under what conditions 5) By when
These little buggers seem rather obvious but are somehow frequently forgotten
1) Its all about the data.
If you don’t have data, you don’t have any business writing a goal. First and foremost collect your data!!!
2) Start with a baseline.
Its nice that you would like your little johnny to count to 10 or to read at the 9th grade level…. but first you need to look at the data to see where little johnny is right now. If johnny cant say his numbers at all or is only read at the 2nd grade level your goal probably needs to be broken down in to smaller steps.
3) Make sure that baseline matches the goal!
I consistently see baselines that do not match the goal.
Wrong- Baseline: By 5/22/2010, Sally can decode at the first grade level with 80% accuracy independently.
Goal: By 5/22/2010, Sally will answer comprehension questions at the second grade level with 80% accuracy independently.
Decoding and comprehension may be related but they are not the same thing!
Right: Baseline: By 5/22/2010, Sally can decode at the first grade level with 80% accuracy independently.
Goal: By 5/22/2010, Sally will decode at the first grade level with 80% accuracy independently.
3) Consider pervious rates of learning.
Is Johnny a word wiz? Does the data show that he can master 10 new words a week? Great! Go ahead and write that goal for mastering 200 sight words. But if the data shows that Johnny is mastering 2 words a month then back that train up!!! Goals should be written with the student’s rate of learning in mind. remember that is the rate that the data shows he has been learning at-not the rate you would like him learning at!
4) Include conditions!
Are you prompting the student? Providing visual supports? Do you expect them to exhibit the skill or behavior across environments or only in one environment? It is important to delineate the conditions under which you expect the student to demonstrate a given behavior or skill.
Oh and did I mention DATA yet? Don’t forget Data is your friend it drives instruction and informs decision making!! Check out the Data post for tips on taking it, organizing it, presenting it.
The RIF Multicultural Literacy Campaign is a multiyear effort to promote and support early childhood literacy in African American, Hispanic, and American Indian communities.
There's no easy way to say it.
There's no way to dress it up.
There's no way to make it pleasant.
Children with poor reading skills face a bleak future—throughout their school years and into adulthood. A limited reading acumen means poor grades in the classroom, no or low-wage employment, and possibly a life of frustration.
This problem is most evident in several ethnic communities, where reading scores among African American, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native children lag behind those of White children. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2009): * 77% of White 4th grade students scored at or above the Basic Reading level. * 48% of Hispanic 4th graders scored at or above the Basic Reading level. * 52% of American Indian/Alaska Native 4th graders scored at or above the Basic Reading level. * 47% of African American 4th graders scored at or above the Basic Reading level.

"These differences constitute a national emergency," says Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. "And our organization has already initiated a program that will not only help shrink this gap but keep RIF continually aware of the challenge."

RIF's Multicultural Literacy Campaign promotes early childhood literacy in African American, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native communities, and the campaign is determined to make a difference. Since its launch in 2007, this proactive initiative has continued to expand existing services, develop new resources, and partner with other organizations to help make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life.…...

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