5 Easy Ways to Get Started with STEM

Erica Peron Teacher Resources for Success

For most teachers, tackling STEM in the classroom can be a daunting endeavor. What is STEM? Where do I begin? How do I find lessons, activities, and experiments? How long will it take?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math. Three of the most important components of a good STEM lesson include:

  • Problem Solving or Challenge Based Learning
  • Real World Applications
  • Integration of Multiple Disciplines

The goal of STEM activities is to put students in the driver’s seat and encourage them to think critically to solve real world problems using ideas and concepts from many different subject areas while reflecting on their successes and their challenges.

It turns out incorporating STEM in the classroom can happen in all kinds of ways, not just in the form of complex experiments. November 8th is National STEM Day and we’ve dedicated this month’s post to helping you get started with STEM using 5 easy to implement ideas.
1. Start with a Book or an Article
  • Unsure of where to begin? Find a short book or an article that touches on a problem or STEM career you wish to highlight. Reading this story aloud with students can be a wonderful starting point to get students in the problem-solving mindset.
    • For Elementary Students- Consider books like Rosie Revere Engineer, by Angela Beaty, or The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds.
    • For Secondary Students- Consider starting with this PBS article about a 15-year-old student who invented a new test for the early detection of pancreatic cancer.
2. Create Maker Time and Maker Space
  • Set aside an area in your classroom for students to build and create. STEM Bins are an easy way to organize materials for students to build with.
  • Create your own STEM Bins from many everyday items found in your house. Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, straws, plates, magnets, etc. Click here for a step by step to create your own!
  • Feeling more ambitious? Consider a STEM subscription kit like this one! You’ll get new age appropriate STEM activities in the mail each month for students of any grade level!
3. Promote Challenge Based Learning & Activities
4. Plan a Field Trip
  • No budget for field trips? Try Skype in the Classroom! You can take your class on a digital field trip to museums, national parks, laboratories,and even to the ocean floor!
  • Do you have hands on learners? The National Park Service offers “Traveling Trunks” that are filled with artifacts and hands on materials to learn about over 100 different topics and locations!
5. Expand on Careers & Real-World Workplaces
    • Have you heard of EVERFI? Step Up for Students is excited to share our continued partnership to bring EVERFI’s digital learning platform to your school at no cost. These Lessons are student-paced, grade themselves and come with supplemental lesson plans.
    • The courses address topics such as Character Education, Financial Literacy, Bullying Prevention, STEM education and many more.
    • Your school is already set up and has full access. 1) Visit EVERFI.com/register 2) select Florida 3) type in the first part of your school name to get started. EVERFI also provides training and support to your teachers cost-free. Contact Liam Obrien at lobrien@everfi.com or 241-886-0690 with questions or to schedule a training for your staff.

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Solving Your Parent-Teacher Conference Headaches with Student-Led Conferences

Erica Peron Teacher Resources for Success

Student-Led Conferences offer an opportunity for students to take ownership of their learning and lead the conversation about their progress. Though these conferences require a little more preparation, the student-led approach solves some of the biggest headaches and pitfalls associated with parent conferences.
  • Will they even show up?– Attendance improves when parents are encouraged to attend with their children.
    • Parents are more likely to attend knowing their students are the stars of the show. Not only will parents get to see their child shine in a leadership role, but they will also receive valuable information about success and opportunities directly from their child.
    • Watch this video to see Student Led Conferences in action!
  • Lack of follow through – Knowing they must discuss their successes and challenges with parents encourages students to take ownership of their learning all year!
  • Defensive Parents – When students lead the conversation, parents are more likely to show support and encouragement rather than anger and defensiveness.
    • When students are responsible for explaining their growth and progress, teachers no longer need to justify the areas that students are struggling. Parents hear directly from the student and are able to brainstorm solutions with the teacher and student to become a part of their student’s growth.
    • Still nervous about discussing a difficult situation? Read this article from Edutopia on providing difficult feedback.

Want to learn more? If you are interested in trying Student-Led Conferences at your school, consider attending one of our online webinars or contact your regional coordinator to schedule an in-person session at your school!


Check out these exciting free resources for the month of October!

Reading Eggs through Edmentum: Looking for support for your struggling readers aged 2-13? Reading Eggs is an award-winning program that uses games to engage students in learning to read. Reading Eggs is offering a FREE 4-week trial through October 31st.

Book It!:  BOOK IT! motivates children to read by rewarding their reading accomplishments with praise, recognition and pizza from Pizza Hut. The program is simple, flexible, fun and free to use in your classroom! BOOK IT! was created in 1984 and currently reaches more than 14 million students and 37,000 K-6 grade schools annually.

Lead4change: Lead4Change is a FREE leadership program where students identify and use their leadership skills by doing a service project. The ready to use lesson plans will take you through the steps of leadership and service. All resources are available to registered members for free.

*Giveaway Alert* 4 Ways to Increase Classroom Engagement without Breaking the Bank

Erica Peron Teacher Resources for Success

We know teachers spend a lot of their own money buying supplies and resources for the classroom every year. We want to help offset some of that cost for you and #clearthelist by giving away four $25 Amazon gift cards! Click here to enter to win!!

Our post this month aims to provide you with some low cost ideas to increase classroom engagement! We’ve also partnered with a couple of educational companies that are offering discounts to our schools through September 30th. Check out the offers from Reading A-Z and Edmentum here!

4 Ways to Increase Classroom Engagement without Breaking the Bank

Meaning: To create buy-in, students first need to know why they are doing an activity.
  • For help communicating the objectives of your lesson or activity, check out this FREE printable poster that can be laminated and displayed in your classroom. Update it with each new goal!
  • To find ideas for designing meaningful lessons, explore this article from Texas Tech University.
Movement:  Sitting still for hours during the school day completing book work does little to engage students. Find ways to add movement to your lessons!
Meet-ups: Allowing students to collaborate with their peers helps them process new information and apply what they’ve learned.
Monitoring Learning: Students need to know where they are in relation to their goals. Help students monitor their learning through formative assessments.

 

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Making the First Days Meaningful

Erica Peron Teacher Resources for Success

With the start of school quickly approaching, we wanted to provide some resources for your pre-planning needs! Explore our unit planning resources to get a jump on the year. Learn about ways to create a positive classroom culture from day one! Get to know your students in a way that helps you plan instruction. Plan creative ways to communicate procedures & expectations to make the most of the first few days of school!

Unit Planning Resources:
Get to Know Your Students:
Create a Positive Classroom Culture:
  • Explore this article on classroom culture with some compelling do’s and don’ts for the start to your year!
  • Check out this article from TeachingChannel on the importance of building class culture as a foundation for classroom management.
  • Check out our free training from the Step Up for Students Office of Student Learning on “Rethinking Classroom Management.”
Communicate Procedures & Expectations:
To Register for training from the Office of Student Learning:
  • Go to https://sufs.gosignmeup.com.
  • Click on the Lesson Planning or Classroom Management.
  • Register for a course in your region. Trainings are currently being scheduled and more will be added throughout the year. If you are interested in hosting any of these trainings at your school, contact your regional coordinator!

 

The Year In Review

Erica Peron Teacher Resources for Success

Another school year has come to a close, and for teachers, it’s time to take a well-deserved break! Before you break out the beach towels, take a moment to reflect on the past school year. Reflection is a vital component of growth. Let’s take a moment to explore our successes and our challenges so that we can enjoy our summer break and begin the new year refreshed and renewed!

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Teacher Appreciation Week Resources & Freebies

Erica Peron Teacher Resources for Success

 

Thank You Teachers!

We know teachers deserve to be celebrated every week, but this month we wanted to support and encourage teachers by providing connections to FREE resources, giveaways, discounts, and so much more! Check out the complete list of deals, freebies below!

Teacher Appreciation Week Deals & Freebies

Free Unique Classroom Resources for Teachers 

Check out these other time sensitive resources!

  • Do you teach AP courses? Khan Academy has great resources for students taking AP classes. Click here to check out the resources!
  • Are your students good at explaining science or math? Khan Academy is partnering with the Breakthrough Junior Challenge video contest for a chance to win a $250,000 scholarship. Check out breakthroughjuniorchallenge.org for more details. Deadline June, 15th.
  • Check out edweb.net! It’s a free professional learning network that hosts education-based webinars and other resources. New free webinars each month!

To view all previous Teacher Resources for Success postings, click here.

Free Resources to Reignite Your Students’ Passion for Science & Math

Erica Peron Teacher Resources for Success

How many of us have heard the phrase, “I’m just bad at math,” from a student in our class? Oftentimes, it’s not that students dislike math, but rather that they dislike the feelings often associated with math- confusion, embarrassment, frustration. This month we have a whole host of ideas, examples, and freebies to help your students get excited about math and science!

Math Resources for the Classroom:
Science Resources for the Classroom:
  • Khan Academy AP Courses– The courses below have hundreds of exam-style practice problems designed to set your students up for success on their AP exams. Khan Academy also has a wealth of resources & practice for students in general math courses!
    • AP Calculus AB
    • AP Calculus BC
    • AP Physics
    • AP Statistics
  • Check out these Classroom Resources from the National Science Foundation.
  • Science Buddies has a great collection of resources for teachers.
  • Lakeshore Learning also provides lesson plans and resources for teachers.

School Tech Improvement Resource:

Additional STEM Resources:

To view all previous Teacher Resources for Success postings, click here.

March Reading Madness & Giveaway!

Erica Peron Teacher Resources for Success

Congratulations to the winners of our Book Giveaway!

Ms. Warren- The Foundation Academy

Mrs. Koch- Incarnation Catholic School

Ms. Mateo- Basilica School of Saint Paul

Mr. Belcher- Beacon of Hope Christian School

In honor of Read Across America Day, this month’s resources are all about reading!

There’s no better way to kick off this month’s reading theme than with a BOOK GIVEAWAY! We are giving away a book to FOUR lucky winners! To enter, please email your name, school name & school address, and GRADE LEVEL TAUGHT, to officeofstudentlearning@stepupforstudents.org. Entries must be in by March 15th, 2019. Winners announced March 18th. Each winner will be randomly chosen and will receive a surprise book to add to their classroom library that is appropriate for the grade level they teach!

10 Ways to Encourage Reading in Your Classroom & School

  1. Read Aloud! This is important for students in all grades as teachers are able to model fluent reading, help students construct meaning from text, and improve student processing and comprehension.
  2. Create opportunities for students to talk about reading. Book clubs, reading groups, literacy circles, or invite students to share a “review” of a book with the class to encourage others to read it.
  3. Choose Books that Relate to Current Issues or Relate the Books you Read to Students’ Lives. Check out this report from Renaissance detailing what books kids love at each grade level!
  4. Organize a “Read-In” Night– Encourage students and their families to attend a read-in! Use the gym or multi-purpose room, set up blankets, wear PJ’s, and encourage parents to bring a picnic snack or provide pizza to eat while students read books with their families or friends. Be creative! Invite parents, community members, local authors, or sports figures to be mystery readers each hour! Click this link to get some ideas for your own Read-In!
  5. Take a Field Trip to the Local Library. Many libraries host children’s book readings and even have tours & presentations specifically for high school students on quality research strategies.
  6. Talk About How Much You Love to Read! Share your favorite books, read passages from them, talk about how excited you are to read.
  7. Create an Audio Book Station for Students to Listen to Books. Consider borrowing free audiobooks using your library card through hoopla digital! Make this a center activity, or a free time station.
  8. Invite Authors to Speak Using Skype in the Classroom. Check out the link to see available authors for elementary, middle & high school.
  9. Invite Guest Readers to the Class to Read to Students. Guest Readers could be other students, parents, community members, etc. You might also consider using these videos of authors reading students’ favorite books.
  10. Build your classroom library and encourage borrowing! Consider asking for donations from a local book store, check out the local library book sale, create a wish list to share with friends on social media, or use the local library on a monthly basis! Check out more tips from WeAreTeachers on ways to stock your classroom library.

Other Awesome Reading Resources:

To view all previous Teacher Resources for Success postings, click here.

 

Engage Students in Black History with Project Based Learning

Erica Peron Teacher Resources for Success

How do I start Project Based Learning in my classroom?

As many teachers can attest, without many breaks, February is a month we often struggle through. This month’s resources are designed to inspire you to easily integrate engaging and challenging projects that will improve your students’ literacy, writing, speaking, and 21st Century skills! February is also Black History Month, and what a great opportunity to let your students learn about heroic men and women that helped shape our country. Let’s jump into Project Based Learning to make Black History Month come alive!

Creating Meaningful Projects to Engage Students in Honor of Black History Month

 

Good teachers incorporate the rich history of African Americans throughout the school year, but Black History Month gives educators an opportunity to dig deeper! Project Based Learning can be a great way to encourage your students to not only dig deeper, but also make connections to the world we live in today. Below you’ll find some great resources and ideas!

 

Project Ideas:

  • Living Museum – Challenge your students to become an important figure from history. Students research the life and impact of an important historical figure and create a display and brief oral presentation that conveys the impact of this person’s life. They will role play this person in a “living museum” at your school. Other students & parents will be encouraged to walk through the museum to hear the story of each important hero.
  • Digital Storytelling– Students create a digital story about a defining moment, message, or lesson from a historical figure of their choosing. Students collect images, record voice overs, and create a final film product to be presented on the big screen for their parents or school community at a digital storytelling exhibition night at your school.
  • Check out 4 other Civil Rights themed project ideas from the Buck Institute for Education.

Resources:

Free Resource Alert!

Hess is giving away 1,000 free toy truck STEM kits! Click the image below to apply. Also check out their free STEM curriculum resources!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out these college scholarship options available through the League of Christian Schools!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To view all previous Teacher Resources for Success postings, click here.

Use Reflection & Goal Setting to Build a Growth Mindset in 2019!

Erica Peron Teacher Resources for Success

Start the New Year on the Right Foot!

Help your students understand the importance of self-reflection and goal setting. Through continued reflection and growth, your students will develop grit, resilience, and problem solving skills that will serve them well in their academic life and beyond!

Reflect & Create a Vision
Set SMART Goals
Discuss Growth Mindset

 

 

Once your students have set their goals for 2019, consider exploring Student Led Conferences as a way to engage parents in the goal setting conversation! Click here to find free Professional Development in your area from Step Up For Students.

To view all previous Teacher Resources for Success postings, click here.