Sunday, August 27, 2017

New School Year in the STEAM Lab

At the end of this week I sat down and realized that I had enough missed "tweets" to warrant a blog post. There were so many wonderful things happening in the STEAM Lab this week!

Full disclosure, I also saw this week that my blog bio said I had two children. My youngest will be two in the next couple of week, so I decided it was time to pay the neglected blog some attention! Either way, this week was blog-worthy!

Monday started with the eclipse. The school purchased glasses for all our students. The STEM coordinator also made these signs.

Once school was out for the day I was able to take my kindergartener and my second grader out to view the eclipse with me. It was pretty special!

I decided to bring back this project again this year. Instead of just self portraits like the onse in the picture below, I asked students to draw themselves as scientists. I started by asking what a scientist looks like. I typically got the answer I expected - a man in a white coat and googles. From there I showed the search results on PBS LeanringMedia for "Scientist Profile" and picked  few students to select a scientist to learn more about. Interestingly enough, very few of their drawing ended up wearing white lab coats! I have parent volunteers putting the project together next week. I'm excited to see how it comes out!

I always try to start the year with digital citizenship. A could of years ago I purchased the Nearpod version of the Common Sense Media curriculum. I love that I don't have to copy any pages before class starts. It is the perfect way to start the year in the STEAM Lab.

This year the elementary specialists got together and decided to try something new. I still see all elementary classes on a rotating basis, but we added a fourth day to the rotation. Instead of traveling to specials with the whole class, on the fourth day students go to Special Project Enrichment Classes (SPEC). Each quarter students have a different SPEC Class. We even had a team of teachers that have given up their planning once every four days in exchange for a stipend.

This quarter my SPEC class is all about LEGOs. My fourth and fifth graders get to travel into the high school STEM Lab. It has been a lot of work (and will be another post), but it has been worth it so far.

It was a full week, but it was the kind of week you look back at and feel good about. I've spent the weekend trying to distract myself from watching storm coverage and worrying about my mom and sister. I grew up in the Houston area and am praying for all those that are trying to deal with the effects of Harvey. Hang in there my Texas friends!

Have a great week!

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