STEM educators collaborate as an interdisciplinary team to plan, implement, and improve integrated STEM learning experiences.
Standard 1.7 Narrative
Teachers at Fayetteville School immerse their students daily in STEAM activities. Teachers have been afforded the opportunity to have immense hours of STEAM related professional development. Having job embedded professional development shows the importance of training teachers on how to implement STEAM activities in classrooms at every grade level. Talladega County continuously provides system wide professional development in the areas of STEAM. Teachers attend the system’s yearly STEAM By Design Symposium and many even facilitate STEAM sessions. During faculty meetings teachers are able to collaborate and plan interdisciplinary projects. Having a DLP coach on staff here at Fayetteville School allows teachers to improve STEAM learning experiences for all students. The DLP coach helps teachers plan and implement STEAM lessons by meeting with them weekly, co-teaching, and even offering training to teachers in his/her area of weakness. Administrators use ELEOT during classroom observations in order to highlight areas of strengths and weaknesses of classroom teachers. During post assessment conferences administrators give resources to teachers in his/her areas of weakness. Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers have been trained in AMSTI. Each classroom teacher incorporates AMSTI lessons during math and science. These lessons implement on-going STEAM activities. Fayetteville School has many things in place to ensure that educators are able to collaborate, implement, and improve STEM learning experiences for students.
Administrators and learning specialists at Fayetteville School have ensured that teachers are given the opportunity to plan interdisciplinary STEAM activities by allowing teaching to have job embedded professional development. Elementary teachers have been AMSTI trained and implement AMSTI lessons in their classrooms. Talladega county school system offers opportunities for teachers to plan and improve STEAM lesson at system wide workshops
In order to sustain our work, Fayetteville School will continue to offer job embedded professional development to teachers. STEAM related professional development. We will also continue to provide opportunities for cross-curricular collaboration for effective planning for STEAM activities. Frequent classroom observations with intentional feedback will continue for instructional improvements.
Area of Focus
Because Fayetteville School is a smaller school, it is difficult to offer common planning time for grade level teachers. It becomes difficult for grade level teams to review student data and have discussions about individual students.
Plans to Improve Area of Need
In order to improve, Fayetteville School will make adjustments to the school schedule to allow increased common planning time and allow grade level teams to analyze student data. We also plan to provide additional time after classroom observations to provide feedback and plan with the Digital Learning Specialist.
Farm to Table PD
McDowell Farm School
Teachers representing several grade levels attended a two-day professional development on farm-to-table curriculum in schools. They witnessed many different examples of gardening and the raising of animals on the school grounds involving help from the students. The products were then used to create meals for the students to eat.
Teachers collaborated as a team to plan how to modeled our gardens after some of the ones we saw at McDowell Farm School.
Third grade teachers worked as a team to plan and implement a STEAM learning experience for their students. This experience allowed students to analyze problems and work together. Teachers know that STEAM education instills creativity in students. This creativity allows students to solve problems in new ways and think outside the box. Students learned about electricity, circuits, conductivity, and Makey Makey. To demonstrate their knowledge of parallel and series circuits, the students used Makey Makey with Play-Doh, aluminum foil, bananas, and apples to create complete circuits. Once students successfully created a closed circuit with Makey Makey and any of the other materials they selected, they were able to play different video games, such as PAC-MAN, Mario, and Flappy Bird, on their Chromebooks.
Teachers Working Cooperatively
Elementary students and classroom teachers at Fayetteville School visit the McSTEAM lab three times a month. Prior to their visit, classroom teachers collaborate with the McSTEAM teacher to plan STEAM related lessons that target standards. During this time, teachers receive imbedded professional development on how to teach STEAM components and the Engineering Design Process (EDP) to students in their particular grade level; for example, second grade teachers and students learn how to give commands to Ozobots via OzoCodes, which is the color code language that Ozobots understand. OzoCodes provide computational thinking coding for children. Students find and fix their bugs for their Ozobots to move in the pattern they have designed. Teachers at Fayetteville School are grateful for the continuous STEAM training they receive throughout the year that helps them prepare their students for a future filled with science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics!
Collaborative coaching is a great way for teachers at Fayetteville School to get the opportunity to work with our digital learning specialist and our instructional partner. Having a collaborative coach come into classrooms to both co-teach and facilitate student learning, allows teachers to plan and improve STEAM learning experiences.
STEAM Leadership Team
To support and guide teachers in the implementation of STEAM teaching, Fayetteville School organized a STEAM leadership team. This team is comprised of six classroom teachers, three resource teachers and three administrators. STEAM leadership meetings allowed collaboration among teachers from various grade and content areas to plan, implement and improve STEAM learning experiences. Leaders among this team transferred this knowledge to teachers and offered support and resources as needed. As Fayetteville School began to transform from traditional teaching to project based teaching with a focus on STEAM integration, the STEAM leadership team was essential to the continual improvement of teaching and learning. This strong team made it possible for synergy in problem solving, provide emotional and pedagogical support and promote interpersonal accountability necessary for growth.
English and history teachers collaborated as an interdisciplinary team to plan and implement a cross-curricular PBL. Having a common planning day allowed teachers to work together to create project based lessons to improve STEAM learning experiences for students. When teachers come together to plan, they share information, ideas, and expertise and learning becomes more effective for students.
Environmental science teachers collaborated with the DLP coach when planning an alternative renewable energy source lesson. They planned the standards that would be covered, the activities to reach the standards, the materials they would use, and how they would assess student learning. A final product in this lesson would be a working water wheel. Students independently planned, designed, and built a working water wheel. These creations were superb and varied greatly because it was student driven.
Curriculum Pacing Guide
Teachers from Fayetteville School were chosen to be on a curriculum pacing committee for Talladega County. English and math teachers for grades seven through twelve were selected to serve on this committee. These teachers worked diligently to identify power standards and pacing for our students and teachers.
Talladega County School District has been chosen as one of three school systems in the nation to participate in research and development of a curriculum focused on computational thinking skills. Each school sends a participant to join in the efforts to develop professional development for teachers all over the district. Fayetteville School participates as teachers engage in new strategies to incorporate computational thinking seamlessly into their lessons.
Talladega County teachers collaborated on a document to aid teachers in implementing the Digital Literacy and Computer Science standards. This group is called the Experts Down the Hall. One of Fayetteville School’s third grade teachers is on this committee. She has worked to develop the second grade portion of the Computational Thinking Pathways document. This is currently being rolled out to all teachers in the district. It will be used as a resource to define what the DLCS standards are and what they should look like in the classroom. For each grade level, teachers can find the standards as they are written as well as the unpacked version in more basic terms. Key vocabulary is listed to show what words students are expected to master at each grade level. Examples of where the standards may be applied to the curriculum and links to resources are also provided.
Teachers at Fayetteville School know the importance of continuing their own learning as a professional. The Expert Down the Hall provides professional development after school, giving examples of how to incorporate the competencies in the classroom.
Expert Down the Hall