STEAM in my teaching

28) How do you incorporate STEAM into your teaching?

I teach technology my class is pretty much the T all of the time for me the challenge has been to incorporate or point out where the S-EAM exist in my lessons.  It’s been a struggle really to try and come up with ways I can tie it all in with what I’m supposed to teach: keyboarding, computer safety, code.  On the other hand as I started to think about novels I used in class when I taught middle school I could come up with more ideas.  Art always seemed to be easy to combine into com arts.   My students could complete a variety of book projects from making a board game, to drawing movie posters, or determining a soundtrack for the book.  Science might depend on the book, there is an easy connection in Number the Stars when they discuss how they hid the Jewish people from the German soldiers on the fishing boats.  I could see how you could tie engineering/architecture into stories about the hidden Jews as well.  Thinking about this makes me want a job teaching CA again so that I could start to do some more STEAM oriented lessons.  In the meantime I’ll just keep brainstorming to see what I can do to add S-EAM into my technology lessons.

Reporting student progress

25) How would you choose to report progress out to children and parents? How often?

I really liked the online grade system in my last district that allowed parents and students to check in at any time.  As a parent I’m frustrated that while I can see my son’s progress report or report card at the end of the quarter I can’t see his grades in  progress while he’s in elementary school.  I believe this changes in middle school.  I think it’s always good to contact parents when you are seeing a distinct change in grades either raising or dropping.

 

Connected Educator

10) What are the benefits of connecting with other educators? How am I going to make sure I do this on a regular basis?

Connecting with other educators keeps me up to date as new ideas in education are presented.  It also allows me more resources when I’m struggling with students or with a lesson plan.  I visit with my colleagues every day at lunch, by e-mail with those in other buildings, and I stop into two message boards for other teachers of my subject area at least once a week.

How students learn

 

  • What are my beliefs about how students learn best?

 

This isn’t a simple answer; there is no “one way fits all” that students learn best.  Each student is an individual and each student learns in their own way.  I do believe all students can benefit from information being presented in multiple ways: reading themselves, listening, modeling, practicing themselves.  Hitting as man of the multiple intelligences in a lesson, has in my experience helped students learn and remember what they learned better than any one instructional style on its own.

Cross curricular relationships

15) Describe a cross-curricular relationship that surprised you and made you a stronger teacher.

I have not actually complete any cross-curricular activities with this teacher yet however the art teacher in my building and I have had several conversations on how we could tie art and technology together.  As I am also on my district’s STEM+ committee we have talked many times about how STEM+ works in the elementary classroom.  This has opened my eyes a great deal.  As I plan lessons I’m beginning to see a multitude of ways to tie technology to art, science, math, communication arts that I simply wouldn’t have seen before.

Reviewing assessments

Getting back to questions from the January blog challenge.  Here’s #8 Describe the process you use in your reflection when studying assessment results. Where does your energy and focus lean?

In my current position I don’t actually give any assessments but in my last classroom position after giving an assessment I would look at the results specifically to see if there were questions that a majority of students missed or did poorly on so that I could examine was this a poorly written question, did students not understand what I was asking, or did I not actually provide them with the instruction needed to answer the question.  I also tried to look at the questions and see if they led the students to using real world critical thinking skills.

 

Positive classroom environment

24) What do you do to help your students learn in a climate of optimism and hope? Do you have a successful strategy you can share?

I don’t allow the words “I can’t” to be used in my classroom.  I have a poster on the wall that suggests instead “Please help me.”  “I don’t understand.” “I’m struggling.”  If I hear “I can’t” my immediate response is “Yes, you can! I know you can!  You’re smart!”  Often the problem is students looking at a large problem and rather than break it down into smaller steps they just put up a wall.  So I stand behind them and help them break it down.  As I walk around my room watching students work I offer lots of praise verbally and through pats on the back.  Sometimes the thing that makes a student smile the most is when I see what they’re doing and say “Ok you don’t need me, I’ll go help someone else.”  I have also nurtured my classes to be helpful to one another through coaching; I explain that doing for someone is not the same as helping.  We help by offering hints “coaching” that lead the person to the right answer.  The students have taken to it so well, if someone is stuck and I’m helping another student invariably they will end up with at least one classmate at their side talking them through.  They cheer for each other as well.