As the school year comes to an end, I read the last blog posts from students and realizing how they’ve grown in the way they assess and reflect on their learning

“One challenging moment was working on my game design document because I did not get a met the first time and using the feedback from Mr.Aringo I knew what was wrong but I still couldn’t figure out how to think of better items you need to play the game and better rules for my game. I overcame this by getting inspiration from my peers in the class and then taking that and making my own ideas and rules from that inspiration.”

Hemanta — Rising 9th Grader — 2020

It is important for me to improve on having a schedule for work, so that I can do the work in order and not get confused and procrastinate. In order for me to reach my next level of improve, I need to make sure I write reminders on my calendar and always do the work in order.

Tiffany — Rising 9th Grader — 2020

After reading these quotes, I also started looking through my old archives of videos to see the previous developments of STEAM classes. After posting old STEAM Videos up on my Instagram @teamaringo, I have alumni STEAM students who are responding to those videos in shock, in awe, and feeling a sense of nostalgia as they revisit a time in their lives where they felt happy. And then . . I found this video of Michael from my STEAM:Spark Class.

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Michael pitching his product during Spark Night with STEAM:Spark. Awesome pitch.

A post shared by Jacob Aringo (@teamaringo) on

After posting this up, I had to message Michael. He and I exchanged some words below:

At first, he replied “OMG!!” with a laughing face emoji right next to it. He also replied that he looked nervous. I remembered he workshopped his presentation with me and with his Spark mentor many times. As a middle school student, he modeled exceptional presentation skills as he kept to the essence of the presentation.

In the message, he showed me his Presenter Rockstar certificate for his Junior Exhibitions. My heart glowed (I was practically in tears) as I looked back at having Michael for 3 years in STEAM from being a talkative silly guy to now seeing how much he has grown as a learner and as a person (and still that silly student). In my mind, I’ve remembered Michael as a middle school student but he part the frustrates me is that I will never see his best work, his best self, and the development of his GREATNESS.

I guess that is the CATCH 22 of being middle school teacher, you will never see the drastic growth and the GREATNESS of your students in the future. You might see a glimpse of it through their work, their presentation, or through their reflection but trust that however you guided them, they are using the tools you taught them to transform and advance themselves where ever life may lead them.

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