We have had a great start to the school year in STEAM class! I can't believe it is already the end of September. During this past month we have been busy with so many things. We met Isabella and her cat Applesauce, built bridges and coconut trees, and participated in the Global Cardboard Challenge. Read on below to see what each grade level accomplished during each session.
Sessions: For planning purposes, activities are broken up by sessions. DK and Kindergarten see me for STEAM on days 1-4 and technology on days 5-8. I consider days 1-8 to be one session. First grade is on a nine day rotation so one session will last nine days. We are at the tail end of session three for all students.
Session 1: DK, kindergarten, and first grade all met my teaching partner Isabella. She is approximately two feet tall with brown braided string hair. She is a puppet that has been developed into quite a person by the students. We read a book called Decibella that may or may not have been about Isabella. The book focused on learning different voice levels that should be used in school. Each student drew Isabella in their STEAM journal. The only difference between DK/K and first was that the first graders received a drawing lesson on how to draw Isabella. They were also encouraged to write a couple of sentences about her.
Session 1 Technology DK/K-Because the DK/kindergarten students see me twice in an eight day period, it only made sense to isolate their technology to teach them the basics. We spend 30 minutes on technology each session. We spent the first technology session learning the three rules of the internet: Always ask permission to use the internet, only talk to people I know while on the computer, and choose sites that are just right for me. I have been impressed with how many of the students remember these rules each time I ask them.
Session 2-DK/K-Chicka Chicka Boom Boom was the mentor text for this session. The students noticed that there was an orange cat at the top of the coconut tree in the classroom. Isabella introduced the class to her cat Applesauce. He was stuck at the top of the tree and didn't want any of the letters to be up there. The students were challenged to build their own trees using keva blocks and popsicle sticks. They then had to see how many letters they could balance on top.
Session 2 Technology DK/K-For our second technology session the students learned what a digital footprint is. We looked at various types of digital devices and footprints. Some footprints are easy to get rid of such as a muddy dog print or ones from our shoes. A digital footprint, however, is one that never goes away. We discussed how their digital footprint is very small right now but the more they use technology, the larger it will become. We also talked about how there are some things that we never want in our footprint such as our full name, address, phone number, and school. By doing this, we become good digital citizens. The students ended this session by drawing the sites and apps they play on inside a footprint.
Session 2-First grade-The book Stick and Stone was used as a mentor text for the first grade but not until the end of the class period, and I did that for a specific reason. The first graders met Applesauce in this session as well because once he came down from the coconut tree he ran from Isabella. She didn't want to lose her cat so she chased him. Eventually she ended up on one side of a river and he was on the other. The students brainstormed different ways the two could be reunited: swimming, taking a boat, and building a bridge. We had a quick talk about the dangers of rivers (strong currents and inconsistent bottoms). It was found that building a bridge was the way to go. The students were introduced to five different types of bridges: beam, arch, truss, suspension, and cable-stay. In groups and with different building materials, the students needed to build a bridge to reunite Isabella and Applesauce. It was interesting to watch the thinking process happen. Although there was one goal for the group, some decided they each wanted to build their own bridge, while some worked together. There were groups that became frustrated with one another and others just got along. I never intervened even when students came up to me. My response was always, "What are you going to do about it?" It wasn't what they wanted to hear, but it was important they heard it. At the end of class I read Stick and Stone. We then debriefed about the building process and frustrations some of them felt. We talked about the teamwork between Stick and Stone in the book, and it was an aha moment for many of them.
Session 3-DK/K-For this session, the DK/kindergartners participated in the Global Cardboard Challenge, which is an initiative inspired by the short video Caine's Arcade. Students were introduced to EETCHY, Isabella's friend from the outdoor classroom. EETCHY is a colorful caterpillar that helps students expand their oral and written expression. EETCHY's grandfather is the famous Very Hungry Caterpillar. This book was used as the mentor text for this session and students were able to choose whether to make a caterpillar or butterfly using either a paper towel or toilet paper tube. These turned out wonderful!
Created with images by Pexels - "abstract art backdrop" • silviarita - "flowerpot engine heart" • Florian Klauer - "vintage typewriter"