Weekly Roundup for February 24, 2012

>   If you have fond memories of watching—and singing along to—Sesame Street, you’ll want to listen to this podcast of Sesame Street star Bob McGrath talking with his daughter Cat about the importance of music education. Warning: The last minute or so might leave you with a persistent case of earworm-itis. But it’s worth it.

>   The Wallace Foundation and Big Thought launched www.creatingquality.org this week, a new website that provides information, tools and other resources to evaluate and improve the quality of arts education and creative learning in schools, after-school programs and summer learning opportunities.

>   A school choir won’t be singing at this year’s Oscars, but another extracurricular club will be in the house. Undefeated, the story of an under-resourced high school football team from inner-city Memphis and its volunteer coach, is vying for top honors in the Best Documentary category. Fingers crossed that you keep up that winning streak, Tigers.

>   I’m a fan of most things Bjork (yes, including the swan dress she wore to the Academy Awards), so I was happy to learn that music education, STEM and informal learning are all part of her latest project, “Biophilia.” Read about how she she’s introducing kids to Tesla coils and arpeggioas in The New Yorker and on the New York Hall of Science website.

>   On the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub blog, Cathy Davidson asks: Can badging be the Zipcar of testing and assessment? Check out the comments section to see some of the cool badges offered by our friends at Global Kids.

>   Ever wondered what it’s like to be a cyber school teacher? Learning Matters takes you behind the scenes of the PA cyber school.

>   Emily Richmond of the Education Writers Association summarized the coverage of President Obama’s proposal to require kids to stay in school until age 18. The closing paragraphs echo what our very own Charissa Fernandez said at the time: “It seems to me that our energies would be better spent making school more engaging and relevant so that kids wanted to stay.”

Featured Friday Funding Opportunity:

Active Schools Acceleration Project
This grant program seeks to increase quality physical activity in schools as a means to promote healthy, active living. Prizes for school programs range from $25,000 for regional efforts to $100,000 for national groups.

Deadline: April 2

And now for something completely different:

For me, the Oscars will forever be associated with hospital waiting rooms (some don’t have TVs!), frantic phone calls and helicopters. In 2005, as millions of Americans were watching the red carpet, I was at Johns Hopkins Hospital, waiting for my dad to wake up from heart transplant surgery.

Since that Oscar night, my dad has had the chance to see my sister graduate from high school and college, be an official witness at my wedding and meet my daughter. He celebrated his 60th birthday last year by competing in an international bike relay with his brother. I can only imagine what he’ll do in the next seven years, thanks to one anonymous donor and his family.

If haven’t already done so, sign up to be an organ donor. Put it on your driver’s license. Most importantly, tell your family. You never know whose life you could change.