STEM educators collaborate to plan, implement, and improve interdisciplinary STEM learning experiences.
Our STEM educators from K5 through 8th grade meet twice a week for planned Professional Development (PD). Our STEM Coordinator and Director of Curriculum and Instruction prepare an agenda for the teachers’ bi-weekly PD time. In addition, we have two STEM lead teachers, one each for our upper and lower elementary grades, who work with their respective assigned teachers to further drill down the plan, implement the process, and improve STEM learning experiences for our students. Our STEM lead teachers provide in-person guidance and support for their team throughout the week and will set up regular meetings with individual teachers as needed. Each week, STEM lead teachers report their team’s areas of growth to the STEM Coordinator. Also, to apply a holistic approach to STEM learning, grade-level teachers collaborate with Specials teachers.
During weekly PD meetings, grade-level unit plans are developed collaboratively with mixed grade levels when appropriate. While developing the unit plan, teachers will often share innovative ideas on ways to infuse the unit with key concepts, STEM learning goals, and textbook resources that line up with common core standards.
Review Standards of Mastery
While our instructional team collaborates weekly on developing our unit planners, our teachers also have regular data talks monthly at our PD meetings. During our collaborative data talks, participants discuss alternative strategies to implement additional measures to support our students. We also collaborate on ways to increase the rigor of our STEM learning process to target specific areas for continued growth. For example, in one of our data talks, our teachers noticed that many students faced challenges relating to fractions and measurement. While keeping in mind the interdisciplinary nature of STEM, we discussed possible STEM projects that could help students develop a deeper understanding of fractions and measurement in a real-world context.
Another way we measure data is through our STEM Growth Rubric. Our lead STEM teachers and STEM Coordinator developed a growth rubric, a pre- and post-career focus rubric, and a STEM project rubric for all grade levels. These rubrics were reviewed by our entire team of teachers and adjusted according to their suggestions and critiques. The rubrics are now used as a guide for defining STEM mastery among students.
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