S.T.E.M. Highlights

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." -John Quincy Adams

Leaders exemplify positive actions every day. This week, we're going to highlight some teachers we can all learn and gain some best practices from, thanks to the inspiring way they go about their daily work.


Resources: For hard-copy Unit 2 resources, please see last week's Highlights. This week resources address the question, "What should *this* part of my block look like?" See below for some answers!


Also, see two amazing learning activities at the bottom that will really push students' thinking!

This week...

Among other things, we're featuring best practices all the way from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, home to Packer fans, cheese curds, and an incredible family of staff and Rocketeers from Rocketship Community Prep.
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(Above) Principal Rodney Lynk leads launch at RSCP.


(Below) Not sure what it looks like to lead students through guided notes? Watch this video of Danielle Borja from RSCP deliver "knowledge" key points, followed by a CFU / processing question. Note: we're not just giving students words to copy down; we're teaching them a new term, then immediately having them apply that term by asking them processing questions!

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(Below) Janna McIntyre of RSCP debriefs the word problem of the day. Format used: 1. Class reads the problem whole-group; 2. Teacher leads discussion around understanding what's happening in the story (focus on comprehension, not computation here); 3. Students had four minutes to solve; 4. Teacher has one student show her work and asks the class processing questions i.e. "Why did Elizabeth make 4 of the counters light and the other ones dark?" Idea: Leading students to understand that there are two parts, and the parts are being added together.

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(Below) "In math board review, if a student can give us the correct answer, aren't we good to just move on and keep going? Isn't the point to call on students and make sure they get it right?"


No! Sort of. The point is to hit on common misconceptions and close those gaps, while giving as many students as many at-bats as possible! Watch the following scene from a math board review of Mr. Perez at Rocketship Rising Stars. Notice this flow of his types of talk: 1. Slow call (teacher asks a question, all students think, think, think, but no hands yet) 2. Turn and talk (all students getting an at-bat here) 3. Cold call- teacher calls on a student who may have a misconception, so that he can ask them prompting questions and help them conquer that misconception.

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Two awesome resources:

With the introduction of FLEX grouping to our classrooms, we sometimes find ourselves in-need of a center or "extension activity" for students who are not in SGI or working on the core lesson.


For lower grades, Kakooma is a fantastic manipulating numbers-type game. Take 5 - 10 mins. to teacher this one day, and BAM! Your students are set and can use this whenever it best fits into your block!


For upper grades, Game 24 pushes students to use all four operations to create an equation that equals 24. Example on the first card: 6, 1, 9, and 2 are given. Students need to think: "how could I make the number 24 using an equation with these numbers?" They'll then begin trying different ways to multiply, add, divide, and subtract in order to get the result 24!

Solution to this one: (9 x 2) + 6, multiplied by 1.

Helpful Links:

STEM Resource Tracker - your go-to for all things STEM-related (including common plans and list servs)


Mission Control - find out about your teacher benefits, perks, staff directory, summer PD resources, etc.


Box.com - where to find you "shared resources" folders, charts and chants, etc.; also where common plans are housed

Leave us a comment! We'd love to hear from you!