The month of October quickly flew by, with many activities occurring both in our classrooms and in the co-curricular/extra-curricular programs. Our students are working hard and achieving success in multiple areas!
During my visits to the schools this month, I focused on meeting with staff at Neff Elementary and Schaeffer Elementary and spending time in classrooms. Some of the highlights from these visits involved seeing student-created family trees, skill-based learning stations in Physical Education (PE) class, and the fun hands-on learning activities in the STEAM Lab.
The STEAM activities (Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math) are part of a grant written by several elementary teachers and approved by the Manheim Township Educational Foundation (MTEF). Through the financial support of MTEF, we have an expanding “STEAM Lab” that teachers can use with project-based learning focused on concepts in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. The teachers are currently writing curriculum for multiple grade levels that offer enrichment in these areas. For example, kindergarten students complete a Goldilocks and the Three Bears STEAM lesson where they build a bed for Goldilocks that holds the weight of two pennies. Third grade students demonstrate creativity and innovation by designing a bridge-like structure using existing materials that can hold a specified amount of weight. Students calculate their weight of the objects and record the data on charts.
My extended visit to this learning environment found much excitement and learning on behalf of all students.
During one of the visits I found a wonderful resource for students posted on a bulletin board. The visual showed strategies for helping students maintain a growth mindset — “change your words – change your mindset.” This strategy corresponds with the growth mindset research conducted by the Stanford University psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck. As shared in my September 2016 blog, a growth mindset in children and adults creates motivation and improves productivity.
My visits to the schools in October showed great productivity!