STEAM Learning

Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math

Rebranded, Again

I've had a bit of a slow start to newsletters this school year, but I'm back, with a new name. STEAM Learning is the name of my new blog, which also has been neglected lately. When we decided to change my role, I made the switch to reflect the fact that I'm not just here for technology. I am in fact here to help you integrate STEAM into your teaching and into your student's learning.

STEAM isn't really about science, technology, engineering, art and math in isolation. It is about the thinking skills that go along with these disciplines, skills that can be used all the time and in many different ways. So while I am happy to be a curriculum specialist, I'd also like for us to break down some of those walls to bring thinking skills to all subject areas.

I'll be using this newsletter to share ideas related to STEAM. These might be activities, or articles, or resources. Hope you find them useful.

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Outside of the Box with BrainPOP's Make-a-Map

While I love the thinking processes behind creating a mind map, I've thought of a few other things that make a map could be used for.

First is for sequencing. When you make a map you don't have to connect all of the bubbles, you could just snapshot images onto the canvas without adding arrows. If you were to do this at intervals throughout the movie, you would have a great tool to use for sequencing. You can move the bubbles around on the canvas and add smaller boxes below so the students could add numbers, or you could have students cut out the bubbles and manipulate them. Either way, you have an activity to help them learn and practice sequencing.

Another idea is to use the tool to create an advanced organizer. Advanced organizers help students focus on the content. As you preview the movie, use the make a map tool to snapshot the pieces of the movie that you think are most important. Print this for students to use to take notes as they watch the movie. The visual cues will prompt them to pay attention and take note of important parts.

Often the movies are very rich in vocabulary. You could easily make vocabulary cards for a word wall using make a map, or create a print and use matching game for the students. If you are using the Frayer Model to help students visualize and understand vocabulary, you could have students create a Frayer Model on the canvas or they could use pictures from the movie as a visual on their Frayer Model.

I'm sure we could find so many more uses for this tool. I'm happy to help you get started using it yourself or with your class, just let me know!

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TCEA's Lunch and Learn

The Texas Computer Educator's Association is an fantastic organization for any teacher who uses technology in her classroom. In addition to a fabulous conference each winter (which I would love to send you to), they also support classroom teachers in a myriad of other ways, including newsletter with use it right now tools and ideas, professional publications that also are top notch, and many other professional development opportunities.

One of these opportunities is their Lunch and Learn webinar series. This 30 minute webinar is just the right length to get new information without being overwhelming. Almost every topic is something that I would find interesting, in fact, I've registered for almost all of them!

If you are interested in attending one of these webinars, I will be happy to cover your class or take your duty. The cost of the class is $45 for non-members, which is the same cost as a membership. If you are interested in joining TCEA I will be happy to have your cost reimbursed.

Take a look at the Lunch and Learn titles and let me know if we can get you scheduled.

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Showing your work...

We can tell students all day and night why we want them to show their work, but it doesn't seem to be working. My fourth grader, pictured above, always erases her work. :(

This is one of the best analogies I've seen for showing work when problem solving. It is a super short read, but worth it.

Problem solving, it's all about family.

About me

I'm Krystal Weiss, STEAM coach for an elementary school in Houston, TX. I adore learning, laughing, trying new things, and asking "who's doing the thinking". You can find me doodling in my journal, getting excited about changing education and learning in any shape, form, or fashion.