It wasn’t long ago where, I had to figure out what course I wanted to design in replacement for STEAM:Spark. It still needed to fit into this theme of college and career readiness and innovation. It’s interesting that all the STEAM courses had a physical science theme, media science theme, computer science theme, and theatrical theme but nothing was biologically based. It would be great to create culture of environmental awareness and stewardship at Hoover. I already know that there is niche at Hawk Hill via the science classes but school wide how is this behavior of environmental awareness and stewardship integrated within our school and throughout the San Francisco community?
I only had a less than a month to figure out what STEAM: Gaia was going to look like and I had this idea of using our fundamental elements and environmental themes of Water, Air, Light, Earth, and Heart to design the curriculum as I was so ingrained in this thought of using some gamification strategies in each of my course. So I went on developing a narrative for the course and a story that the student can following so they are rewarded as they went on in this course.
I went to a professional development in UC Santa Cruz focused on the possibility of a school gardening. Our school receive a grant to transform a portion of the black top into a greenified area but it wasn’t greenified enough. How can STEAM:Gaia greenify the school?
There was definitely space in front of my classroom and on the side of the school to create a garden/living laboratory so this could be a possibility. The 3 day workshop had tons of lesson and experiences that they modeled. Being in this space was helping me envision of the space at our school. The possibilities are there. Though I already know, this being my first year, implementation needs to happen step by step.
So I had to make connection to resources in San Francisco so our kids get hand on experiences being a steward to our environment. This year we went on a number of field trips and made some awesome connection with people at Alemany Farm.
and Literacy for Environmental Justice
Those were definitely successes. This year was a year of discovery, curating resources, and making connections. This class also left me with some growth opportunities for the upcoming year. Below are some of the opportunities that I will be focusing on in this class.
1.) CREATING AN INFRASTRUCTURE
Our garden never came to be. The garden being on a slope lacked structure. Kids step on each other plants. Space was open and there was no boundaries for supervision. Oh yah . . . water . . . . lots of it during our rainy season and lack of a watering structure for our dry season. We lacked space to set up or grow seedling. Something to think about for next is how set up an infrastructure for a learning laboratory. I have to ask myself, “What do I need?”, “Where should I place these structures?”, “What should we grow?”, “Why should we grow it?”
2.) DESIGNING THE STEWARD VISION
Though the essential question of this course is ,”How do I save the planet?”, it was a large question to wrap my heads around. I have to integrate a sense of how our actions affect the environment and how do we change our destructive behaviors and our school communities destructive behaviors into behaviors that will slow down or reverse environmental degradation? Part of this problem is envisioning how this class will affect the culture of our school and envisioning what the student outcomes and the life long outcomes after STEAM: Gaia. Once those outcomes and vision are well defined, I’m able plan backwards and designs scaffold and pathways to get to those outcomes.
Because of this lack of vision, there was an unsteady curriculum and instruction that didn’t support the intended student outcomes which to this day hasn’t been explicitly taught. I felt that I was giving out projects after projects with no theme or foundation to connect it back to. Questions to ask myself,
- What does it mean to be a steward to our planet and how do I model and explain that do our kids?
- What values and skills should our students learn and master by the end of the course?
There are a lot of what if when it comes to this class and my work over the summer will be revolving around creating a mission and vision for STEAM: Gaia, creating learning outcomes and associated project based assessments for the course, using gamification strategies to reinforce stewardship behaviors once the word “environmental steward” is well defined, and continuing connections with community based organizations to provide opportunities for our student to practice environmental stewardship in the San Francisco community.