Monday, December 28, 2015

All Aboard

Recently, a second grade class joined me in #OurSTEAMCafe. The teacher had previously read the wonderful children's book The Polar Express with her class. We let them watch the movie version (Technology) to compare and contrast with the book they had enjoyed.

I asked students to silently vote on whether or not they enjoy hot cocoa. I placed printable pictures of the Polar Express hot cocoa cups (that I found online). If they enjoyed hot cocoa, they placed one of the cup pictures inside an envelope. If not they left the others on the table. I collected all the envelopes and rearranged in groups of 5. After the movie concluded we counted the number of those that perfer hot cocoa. There were 19 students present that day. We wrote the fraction 16/19 students perfer hot cocoa. And then discussed the reverse then 3/19 students do not like hot cocoa.

With a printable of a STEAM Train from the Internet, we summarized our thinking. I showed students how the publisher was offering to donate copies of The Polar Express to the less fortunate in Boston. How did this magic happen? The twitter hashtag #ReadandBelieve. Inside the cloud of smoke from the Steam Train printable students wrote a suggestion of what I should tweet out on behalf of the class. That was done with both the hashtag #ReadandBelieve and our hashtag #OurSTEAMCafe.

During the movie, the conductor punches out special words (traits/ideas) on the children's tickets. Using yellow construction paper we made personal train tickets. Each student wrote a word to represent themselves. A few great choices were "Brave", "Compassionate", and "Helpful".

As this was the last day before Winter break, that was all the time we had together. But I think the time was used productively with some memorable transdiciplinary moments.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

OurSTEAMCafe Has Been Brewing

Last year, I began a multipurpose space. The space remains in part a faculty lounge. But now there are added layers of community area for discussion, coffee bar for adult staff, material exploration area, and makerspace area. The STEAM Cafe stands for Science. Technology. Engineering. Arts. and Math. Community. Area. Focuses. on Education. The ideas have been brewing over the last year. Soon we will have some to share from our progress.