Happenings Worth Hollering About

Thursday, November 7, 2013

It's All About STEM These Days!

It seems that every where I look in education now, the term STEM is used like it's going out of style. Well, I'm here to tell you that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math is here to stay!

I am currently at the GaETC, Georgia Educational Technology Conference, and am maximizing my time here by attending sessions that focus on STEM integration at the elementary level. I am learning so many new things from people who are in the forefront of STEM education.

What has been most valuable to me so far was a session I attended yesterday where the presenter, Chris Anderson, actually had us develop a common definition of the term STEM.

S.cience is the study of the natural world. It encompasses Earth, Life, and Physical sciences. The process to learn in science is often called Inquiry, BUT Next Generation Science Standards are pushing towards learning through design.

T.echnology is the student of the human developed world. We so often think of technology as computers, but that is not the only aspect of technology! Medicine is technology. Cars are technology. Appliances are technology. I know that I need to do a better job conveying to my students that technology is not just phones, computers, and tablets!

E.ngineering can be broken into a BIG E section and a little e section. The BIG E focuses on the vocation of being an engineer. The little e is the actual engineering design process. This is often the most misunderstood and under-utilized component of STEM.

M.athematics is the study of the relationship of numbers and number patterns.

Now, there is a new letter being added to the STEM design, and it's a little "i" in front of STEM to make iSTEM. The "i" stands for the integration of science, technology, engineering, and math. No longer should we be teaching all of these in a compartmentalized manner. We should strive to integrate all components into our lessons.

This is not to say that teaching in a compartmentalized manner is now obsolete. There are instances where a focused "attack" on a particular subject or standard is more beneficial, but we as educators need to start thinking in an integrated manner.

With all of that being said, tonight is Woodland's first annual STEM night. I hope to see you there! This is a wonderful opportunity to shed some light on this now "trending" educational topic.

Ms. Carter, Ms. Brannan, Ms. Paduano, and myself will be doing a hands on activity to simulate an oil spill. It will be your job to choose from a table of materials what you think will absorb the most oil and leave behind the most water. We will only have time for the simulation part of the experiment because it is such a limited time.

The engineering part would have to be done at home and would consist of developing a cost effective device that would use the best material to clean up the oil spill. It could also be extended with technology by researching real companies that do oil spill response and clean up.

The sessions are as follows:

6:00 - 6:30 General STEM and PTA Meeting

6:40 - 7:10 Session I

7:15 - 7:45 Session II

I hope you will be able to join us tonight!

I also wanted to let everyone know that third grade will be taking part in the Write Source Mock Writing Assessment. This is a MOCK writing assessment that takes approximately two - three hours. The finished pieces will be sent to Write Source for scoring and sent back to us for analysis. The best part about this process, we will be given resources to help SUPPORT students in areas of weakness. The assessment will take place next Wednesday during the first part of the day after specials. Please make sure your child is here to take part in this wonderful opportunity for writing support.

A quick update on Class Dojo. We are still using this, but I have revamped how we're going to use our points. We are going to use their points like spirit tickets. I have created a Dojo menu and my Dojo store will be open on Fridays for the first 10 minutes of class. They can still "save" their points to spend on a big purchase, but I wanted to give more opportunities for the students to use their points. With that being said, I will need your help in providing items for the class store. Items needed for our class store are as follows:

Stickers (for boys and girls)


Pencils (for boys and girls)

Capris Suns

Canned Sprite

Snack Size packs of Candy and other Snacks (Goldfish, Cheez-Its, Fruit Snacks, etc.)

Items for the treasure box (think party favor items...)

Candy for the Candy Jar (must come in a wrapper)

ALL DONATIONS ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED, and every little bit helps. :) I just want to make sure that I reward the students for GOOD BEHAVIOR b/c so often we as teachers get hung up on reprimanding the negative behavior, we don't focus on the positive. I don't want to be that way!

I also want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you...parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and extended family for being so supportive of your child's education. It means so much to them and to ME, and I just want to let you know that you are greatly appreciated.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. :)

-Ms. Garris, Nerfy, and Harry

Thanksgiving Luncheon

Thursday, Nov. 21st, 11:30am-12:30pm

1130 Spalding Drive

Atlanta, GA

Please join us for our Thanksgiving Woodland tradition for a delicious turkey lunch prepared by our wonderful Woodland cafeteria staff.

Please also note that we will not be doing class visits this year. Instead, we are encouraging you to spend the 30 minutes before or after the luncheon to take your child to the Scholastic Book Fair. The kids are always so excited to have the opportunity to look at books with a person they love!

Contact Info

Notice we're now on Twitter! We will be composing class tweets at least once a week to begin!