Students are empowered to personalize and self-direct their STEM learning experiences supported by STEM educators who facilitate their learning.
Standard 1.3 Narrative
At all stages in their academic career, students at Fayetteville School are encouraged to direct and advance their own learning. This generates proactive scholars who will continue to advance themselves in a process of lifelong learning. Educators facilitate learning as individual students set SMART goals that accurately quantify their academic progress and achievement. Allowing students to direct their own learning empowers them to make their own decisions and fuel their passions as learners and leaders. Students at Fayetteville School are encouraged to personalize and self direct their learning through meaningful learning experiences. Students, beginning in the sixth grade, are presented an option to participate in rigorous coursework in pre-advanced and advanced placement courses. These classes are available in the core content areas of English, Math, Science and History. This opportunity gives students the ability to personalize their educational path with standard or advanced level courses.
High School students at Fayetteville School are also given the opportunity to self-direct their high school career by participating in dual enrollment and ACCESS classes. Many of our students take college level coursework at Central Alabama Community College, University of Alabama Early College, and Jacksonville State University. This allows students to achieve credits and apply them to high school diploma requirements and college graduation requisites.
ACCESS classes offer students unique elective coursework that would otherwise be unavailable to them. This remote classroom allows students to take such courses as Spanish I and II, theatre, French, etc. The ACCESS program allows students to personalize their learning and provides a meaningful framework for academic and personal growth.
All students at Fayetteville have the opportunity to visit the MCSTEAM lab and Makerspace. In these locations you will find an abundance of tools and materials for students to explore, create new things, or improve things that already exist. Students have the opportunity to practice their STEAM skills and learn by trial and error. MCSTEAM and Makerspace are areas where hands-on activities are aligned with content, teachers act as facilitators and students are leaders of their own learning.
Fayetteville School reinforces a growth mindset by allowing students to build a curriculum that fits their personal needs. For high school and middle school students, we continue to offer PreAP and AP courses to challenge students’ creativity and advance the depth of their knowledge in all subjects. Fayetteville School looks to Project-Based Learning that integrates STEAM thought processes that empower students to continue directing their own learning.
Area of Focus
An area of need is the variety and the usage of materials in the Makerspace of the McSTEAM lab. The resources in the Makerspaces, for student choice, are limited.We will continue to expand the availability of Makerspaces to allow students the opportunity to brainstorm and creatively interact with material.
Plans to Improve Area of Need
To improve, Fayetteville School educators are centering professional development around student choice. Releasing control of learning to students has been a challenge for everyone at Fayetteville School, but consuming information and collaborating with other schools will aid our transition to a student-led curriculum and learning environment.
Helping Our Helpers
"What is a community helper, and how can we show we appreciate them?"
When learning about various community helpers, our students expressed a desire to learn more about firefighters. We began to research firefighters and realized they face many problems throughout the day.
Students personalized and self-directed their STEAM learning experience by using the Engineering Design Process.
Ask - What's the problem? Oh no! The house is on fire? How can we put it out?
Imagine - What can we do to solve the problem? Build a ladder!
Plan - Make a plan!
Create- Students were able to choose the materials they wanted to use to create a ladder.
Improve- Students found out that the materials they used first to build their ladders were not sturdy enough. They regrouped and made changes to their plans, adding sturdier materials, so that firefighters could to rescue their victims from the fire!
It's for the Birds
During First Grade PBL Problem Solving: It’s For The Birds, first graders began a study of birds in our area. As the study developed, students began to self-direct their learning by directing their attention on researching barn owls. The research uncovered that owls are important to our area by assisting in controlling the rodent population. Students also discovered that by building barn owls, it encourages owls to remain in the area. When owls are present they benefit residents and farmers within the community. Students designed prototype owl houses and raised money at our school to erect a barn owl house near our outdoor classroom.
Students were given the opportunity to learn about windmills. They learned about the purpose of them as well as the various types. After researching windmills the students worked in collaborative groups to design and build a windmill. The teams were given the choice to create any type of windmill they thought would best meet the requirements. The main requirements were that the windmill would stand alone and the blades would spin. Some of the windmills were a success.
The Gifted classes at Fayetteville School have implemented Genius Hour into their curriculum. The idea behind Genius Hour is that students choose a topic they are passionate about, research that topic over the course of the school year, create an innovative product, and present their projects to their parents, teachers, and peers. During this time, the teacher steps back, and the students are the experts on their topics, using investigation and discovery methods. Students are provided rubrics and materials needed to successfully complete their project and share their learning. Since it is student-led and inquiry-based, students develop collaboration skills and the confidence needed to become lifelong learners. This project allowed students the opportunity to personalize and self-direct their learning.
Gifted Genius Hour
Tiny House Construction
Middle school students were studying area and perimeter, during class discussion the popular show "Tiny Houses" came up. Most students were familiar with the show. We decided to watch a portion of one of the episodes. The class was then
challenged with building a Tiny House that was created using accurate measurements. The students were in small groups to design and create their houses. They were given materials in the classroom, but were allowed to bring in any materials they felt would enhance the group's product. During this process the teacher simply acted as a facilitator as the students took charge of their own learning.
In 8th grade World History, the class built chariots to race like the Ancient Romans and Greeks. Students used Spheros as their horse and attached chariots designed to fit on, but not permanently attach to the chariots. Students were given a table of items and supplies to choose what they wanted to use to build their own chariot and worked in collaborative groups to design it. Through this activity, students used their knowledge of chariot races to construct and race their own chariots. We raced the chariots and the students competed in a timed maze using coding skills with the Spheros.
Why Should We Remember?
Middle school students read the novel, “The Book Thief”. The novel piqued their interest about the events of the Holocaust. The kids wanted to learn more about this historical event, so all of the middle school teachers came together to create a cross curricular/cross grade level Holocaust project. Our middle school was transformed into a Holocaust Museum. There were seven students that were chosen to serve on the museum committee, and they were able to collaborate with the education specialists at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC through Google Hangout. Each classroom in our middle school was turned into an exhibit. Our history classroom was an exhibit that housed the historical details of the Holocaust. The English classroom was about important events that happened during the time period. Math students used math skills to create 3D models of camps and box cars. Students in science focused on the health and nutrition aspects of the Holocaust. An enrichment class housed an exhibit about people of the Holocaust. Our band students created an exhibit where we could learn about the music of the Holocaust. Each classroom of students became experts in their particular area, and taught what they have learned to other students, teachers, and members of the community.
Students were able to decide what interested them the most and chose that to be their topic for their presentation. The only requirement was that the final product had to be something that could possibly be found in an authentic Holocaust museum and must tie back to the driving question, “Why should we remember?” Students were able to choose how they wanted to present their final product. Each group in the classroom chose a different way to present their final product.
Some of the choices were as follows:
Canva / Poster My Wall: Students can use these to create a primary source or advertisement.
TinkerCad: Design 3D Models that can be printed.
Hummingbird Kit: Use the kit to create symbols, replicas, etc that represent their topic.
Makey Makey: Use the Makey Makey to tell facts about the topic.
Scratch: Create games about the topic.
Interactive displays (QR codes that could take them to podcasts, videos, etc)
Virtual / Augmented Reality
Constructing a product
4 Year Plans and Self Assessments
Fayetteville students are empowered to personalize and self direct their STEAM learning experience in high school by participating in creating their 4 year plans. Whitney Murchison, Career Coach for Talladega County, works with Freshmen each year to update their 4 year plan on al.kuder.com. The 4 year plan is a plan for the courses each student wishes to take in during their high school career. STEAM and Career Technical courses are explained and students are encouraged to plan their coursework related to the results of their Kuder Interest Inventories.
Students in the elective STEAM class self direct their learning in this claymation STEAM activity, by not only having voice and choice in the topic, but also in the complete design of their original production. Students personalized their production by choosing their topic out of a list of options, and then self directed the project to meet their vision both in filming process, props and backdrop design. The experience forces students to work collaboratively in small groups to design, develop and create a claymation video that encompasses all students engagement in the claymation process. This empowerment for the students is crucial in helping to develop 21st Century skills which lead to better prepared for college and career ready individuals.
Fayetteville School students take ownership in their own learning through a variety of course options that differ from the traditional classroom. At Fayetteville School, students have opportunities to attend career fairs, college campus tours and career tech preview days that assist them in personalizing their four year plan. Students personalize their coursework to meet their own college and career goals. At Fayetteville School, students may dual enroll, enroll in Career Technical courses, and/or take Advanced Placement coursework. ACCESS distance learning is another non-traditional option for students. ACCESS distance learning offers both academic and career technical coursework.
STEAM related courses are offered through Career Technical Education. Students may decide to enroll in one of the STEAM pathways: Business and Finance, Engineering, Law and Public Safety, Agriscience, and Health Science. Fayetteville School has thirty-four students participating in career technical courses at the Childersburg Career Technical Annex.
Through dual enrollment agreements, students may choose to academically dual enroll at Jacksonville State University, University of Alabama Early College and/or Central Alabama Community College. In addition to academic coursework, Fayetteville School students may select to dual enroll in technical courses to earn certifications in one of the following STEAM areas: Welding, Machining, Industrial Maintenance, and Medical Assistant Technology. Currently, thirty-one students are dual enrolled.
Many students choose to take advanced placement course work. At the end of each course, students will take a final exam. A qualifying score on the final exam will earn students college credit. This personalization of course work allows students to complete high school requirements while earning college credit.