In our team-based STEM classroom, we have started winding down the semester of learning. I will miss their energy and the laughter that peppers the room within the five teams each class period. Their laughter has replaced the frustration of weeks past when they were at the threshold of understanding their role but weren’t functioning well as a team.
Their laughter is a signal to me that their team of co-learners have successfully reached a performance stage in team dynamics where they are comfortable with each other, they are comfortable in their role and the work is getting done. We are celebrating success!
I have more fans of team work this year than last. I take that as a signal that I am doing better at adjusting my path and method of facilitating the important and difficult skill of how to work on a team. I predict I will always be adjusting the approach, much like a pilot must adjust his approach with the often unpredictable wind and turbulence.
Within some years, teachers know that even some classes are more unpredictable and others are just a breeze. A sense of humor is a great tool in any teaching professional’s tool box if your plan is to survive motivating this and future generations in the classroom.
We are here to inspire a generation with technology at their fingertips. The students entering my classroom are the generation who, for many of them, have been using the computer since they were two years old.
The empowerment comes when you enhance your standard lesson with the buffet of technology that is only a Google query away. Search for podcasts and vodcasts to add to your lesson. Establish a video-based project that is student-produced using Movie Maker or another movie program already on your school computers. Students plug in photos or create their own edu-tainment script with music to teach a section of the science, math, or history lesson.
Find what you are comfortable adding to the learning space and adjust your approach as you get feedback from the students. Just as in any lesson, plan with the end in mind, but gently bring the lesson into the digital language that our students speak fluently.
The HOW DO YOUR STUDENTS LEARN video was introduced to our team of teachers and engineers last year at the Center for Advanced STEM Education training. It inspires. It informs.
Thank you for all you do for our next technology driven generation of inventors, doctors, leaders, and protectors.