I can’t believe this year just flew by so fast. For what it was, it was year full of memories and rich relationships that I won’t forget.
In the process of the adapting to summer break, I’m finally catching up to the things I’ve wanted to do. Though summer will go by pretty fast, I want to make sure that part of my summer is reflecting and developing goals on improving my practice. There has been so many instructional additions to STEAM and I have found myself spreading out and trying new things.
Storytelling with Blender
I got to teach Blender, a free 3D animation tool. Though this tool has a steep learning curve, our students developed a work in progress short. Check out the following blog – Storytelling in Blender (coming soon) – for more info on the experience.
After talking to Caine at the Exploratorium, using the cardboard arcade as a theme throughout the whole year has been a success. Cardboard arcades are used to assess student’s understanding on the elements of game design before they start learning how to program game. Not only did we start with the Cardboard Arcade but we also ended the year with it using the Makey Makey as a interface to connect the cardboard arcade to the computer. Below is a video of Trinity and Alexa giving a demo of their game.
Arts and Innovation Showcase
I’ve always wanted a way for students to showcase their learning as I don’t believe that testing is the best way of making learning visible. In the past, we had a Game Expo specifically to showcase STEAM:Coding’s games. Meanwhile, I was still developing the culminating projects for STEAM:Theater (now STEAM:Legends) and STEAM:Gaia so that all of my intermediate and advance level classes have the opportunity exhibit what they learned. Please check out the following blog – Art and Innovation Showcase – and read more about the process and experience.
Last year’s STEAM:Gaia class was a little rough around the edge. As I was transitioning from STEAM:Spark to STEAM:Gaia, my curriculum last year was underdeveloped and now this year, I’m a bit more prepared with at least the big picture in which I focused on growing food and creating sustainable homes. During the summer, I will be getting some coaching from Sonoma State University’s North Bay International Studies Project so that I can design the STEAM:Gaia course really hone in on the concepts of global competence, eco-literacy, sustainability education and active citizenship education.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ms. Castro in our all girls app inventing class, Technovation. Our female students worked in groups to design an app that will solve a particular local dilemma whether it be food, noise pollution, homeless pets, etc. Though our students got something out of this experience, I wish there was more time for them really delve into this on a consistent basis. I wished we had more time for community building so that our girls are able to work across different opinions and work styles. But for what it was worth, our girl gained skills in programming but also creativity and collaboration.
DonorsChoose and Grants Galore
During this year, I received 4 donors choose and cal retirement grants ranging from graphics cards, usb wireless cards, hard drives, makey makey’s, blue snow ball microphones, and some professional development book. There are companies and people out their who really care about our learner in general. I’m very thankful for those who invest in our student’s education. If you are interesting in support our student learning, check out our DonorsChoose page by clicking on the picture below.
Leverage technology in STEAM has been a strength of mine. I’ve decided to share that with our staff as a Technology Lead where we get to coach our teachers in integrating particular apps to enhance learning. I’ve collaborated on a workshop with Ms. Castro on using Padlet. I’m still putting up a course on teamaringo.org for teacher on Backward Planning using Padlet (more on that soon). I’ve also led a workshop setting on Setting Up ePortfolios on Google Sites, I’ve also facilitated an unConference on Project Based Learning.
For the last two year, I had the pleasure of working with the Leadership Institute at the Exploratorium where I mentored 7-8 new teachers as they journey through their first two years of teaching. It’s been an honor working with Lenore, who works at June Jordan, as she bring a lens of equity into our conversations. Through this, I’ve learned how to support teacher and empower them to be their best through conversation and modeling best practices.
REFLECTION ON STUDENT FEEDBACK
At the end of the school year, I gave a student survey to get feedback on student’s experience of the course. Out of 130 student, 69 students took the survey.
Did I Learn Something New
The results of the survey showed that students are definitely learning something new. Some students are coming from schools that teaches some STEAM concepts but not a whole lot. There are 5 replies that commented on how students learned but forgot what they learned. Concept retention is an issue. This tells me there is a need for repetition, concept spiraling, and differentiation in instructional strategies, and opportunity scale in and out of a subject matter so that students are able to see the bigger picture of why we are learning what we are learning.
Was STEAM Challenging
Over 70% percent of the felt challenged in STEAM class. Aspects that challenged students was learning how to manage their project and their time. How might I scaffold better project management structures in STEAM class? There were a number of responses that commented on the lack of communication and miscommunication between members in groups that negatively influenced productivity and project/time management. What structures can I put into place to keep student accountable to their tasks? I implemented group conference to check-in with each group on a weekly basis so that groups are able to reflect on what they did and what they have yet to do and improve on. There were a number of technical issues and a lot of students were asking for help because they didn’t know how to solve the problem. I could of lessened many of those problem through better instruction in those area. How do I empower my student to be independent problem solver?
Can I Apply STEAM Outside of Hoover
Student felt STEAM had prepared them for opportunities outside of Hoover when it comes to applying leadership skills, experiencing challenges and developing strategies to surpass challenges, public speaking, and collaboration. This shows that 21st century skills must be interwoven into teaching content to make learning engaging and relevant. Students also saw that making games is a potential careers and working with power tools gave students confidence and power in making something of their own.
Was I Given Voice In How They Wanted to Learn
In terms of giving students voice, I had some mixed responses. Students experienced that I gave them in voice in choosing group members for their final project, choice in how they will reach the course outcomes, and voice in critiquing student work. Though there are a number of students who felt that I over-managed their learning process. It’s hard to balance giving students freedom of choice and voice on their learning process and controlling their learning process if there are students who are not using their time and resources productively. How do I encourage self regulation so that students are able to manage themselves? I need to better scaffold project management skills so that students have the skills to manage themselves independently and with their teams. Certain STEAM classes needed more structure than other to support students who need that structure.
Did Mr. Aringo Give Us Enough Time to Finish Projects
In terms of giving students time to work, I also got mixed responses from I didn’t give them enough time to they had a lot of time. Digging deep into the responses, students who said they didn’t have a lot of time also mismanaged their time. How do I keep students accountable to their time management? I need to do a better job teaching kids how to make goals for the week and check off what goals they have accomplished so that when the final project comes around they are able to construct their own priority list with me asking them. Creating priority list and checking them off is a skill set.
Most Favorite, Least Favorite, Engagement, Needed Improvements
Student had favorite activities and projects which included making game, creating LED clothing, being part making the musical, creating cardboard arcades, and using power tool to cut wood. Least favorite activities included blogs, working with unproductive group members, having to fix project problems, having to do our start activity 3 times after taking the class 3 times. Student thought I can be more engage by making sure I talk less and use the time for more cognitive process vs. direction instruction, more engaging challenges in coding class, adding more environmental literacy into the STEAM:Gaia class, making sure project relate to the students lives. There is also need for integrating syntaxing coding, stop motion, web development and design, more time experimenting with Makey Makey’s, more field trips, and differentiating lesson for different learners.
GOALS FOR NEXT YEAR
Gamification of STEAM
I want to work on developing an engaging curriculum. The STEAM curriculum is still a work in progress after it’s 5th year in implementation and yet there is still some work I want to do. I will be integrating gamification systems so that learning STEAM becomes an epic adventure. I will be experiment this whole concept of creating a game like alternate reality so that students able to engage in STEAM. My moodle site will have some changes to provide students with immediate feedback as extrinsic reward and the development of an epic experience where they get to be creative problem solvers as an instrinsic reward. I have to make sure that as student gain experience, students are slightly challenged even more until they gained skill to perform a bigger task.
Pursuing National Boards Certification
I will be going through then National Board Certification for the next 1-2 years. I want make sure every instructional strategy that I have have is well developed, mapped out, and scaffolded.
Focus on Relationship Building and High Quality Teaching
I was fortunate to have taken lead in many opportunities this year from being a tech lead, being a teacher mentor at the Exploratorium, leading my student as we develop the musical, edtalking at CUE and SF State, and leading the arts and innovation showcase. With this came some compromises with my ability to teacher. Next year, I will be scaling back in my leadership so that I focus on what really matters most which is making sure I have a positive relationship with all my student, making sure students are accessing instructions in a variety of different ways, and making sure that student feel successful in their learning journey. At the end of the day, it’s all about supporting my students in their learning journey.
Reflect on Equity Frequently
I will need to find more time to blog. Reflection time is a time where I can make sense of the dilemma’s I’m going through as a teacher. There are informal moments at school where I can be a reflective practicioner but I wished there is structured way of looking at our teaching practices from an equity lens. I feel there is a need for protocol and structured discussions as a way of applying equitable practices amongst our staff. I do feel shutdown sometimes when certain voices in our staff overshadow the voices of others. Until that structure takes place, I blog as a way to reflect and I need to be doing that more frequently.
Straight to the point- I need to take better care of myself. This year was a year where I encountered a spike in my blood pressure and I felt some physical manifestions of that which included stress and migranes while teaching. I don’t want that to happen again.
The Balance of Give and Take
I need to be analyzing power dynamics a bit. Positive relationship I have with teachers and staff are those who are in this give and take relationship with me. Our relationship is highly mutual. I’m highly motivate to help those who help me. If I keep giving my power away without receive power back then, I go through a state of compassion fatigue which mean eventually I will have nothing to give and I will hide away until I recover my power back.
My space whether be the classroom or my own personal room is a manifestion of my mental state. If my space get’s a little chaotic and messy, I need to stop and take care of the issue that taking away time from focusing on creating a safe physical space.
Find more time with pups, family, cooking, garden, with a book, with a guitar, and at the gym.. Turn off my device. My brain into 500 direction when my device is on. Focusing on my pups, cooking, gardening, reading, with my guitar, and being a gym help me focus on 1 thing. I have to practice being mindful on my own clock.