Yes, I did it! I survived my first week as a STEM teacher, and can I tell you?! It was amazing, all thanks to my wonderful team who helped me through it and made my first week so successful for me and the kids! To show my appreciation, I even put together differentiated gifts for them! :)
While there was definitely some bumps along the way, I can't wait to share with you my class' small victories that led up to our first wonderful and successful week together!
Preparation was definitely the key! To maximize on the design and engineering time for the students, I prepared the materials for each team in buckets in advance. After kicking off each challenge as a grade level, we went straight back into our own classroom and got to work!
Collaboration is everything! Expecting students to work collaboratively and cohesively together is a truly a real challenge, especially in the primary classroom. Model it by planning as a team and then kicking it off with other classrooms on the grade level! Not only does it give students an opportunity to learn in a different environment, it also reinforces collaboration and teamwork as they can witness it.
The kids are helping poor Fred, the worm from drowning by putting on his gummy lifesaver for him using only paperclips!
Clear expectations lead to successful learning experiences! During each kick-off, each teacher took turns going over the criteria for the day's challenge and expectations for teamwork. The students brainstormed and helped create anchor charts as a grade level on the Do's and Don'ts of working together and reminders on good teamwork. By being clear with our expectations and reiterating them daily, the teamwork progressively improved as the week went on. Even when disagreements broke out and tears were shed, I was able to refer back to our expectations and conflicts were quickly resolved.
Below is my TEAMWORK Acrostic poem that you can use for your own classroom! Click to the picture and save it straight to your files!
Celebrate learning! So rarely do students get to get out of their seats, work with other kids, share ideas without fear of judgement, and create something of their own! STEM allows all of this to happen! Everyday this week, my students were anticipating for our STEM block and engineer something with their teammates! It was so refreshing and exciting to see how much fun my students were having while learning!
Here's a bridge one of my the groups built using only popsicle sticks. They were so happy with their design, they danced and clapped for themselves! :)
I will do my best to update regularly. In the meantime, I think I'll be doing some retail therapy and celebrate a great first week back! :) Please stay tune!