Brand New One by One Sessions Involve Kids!

Watch Kids in Action as they Interact and Learn with Seesaw, BeeBot Coding and Scratch!

K-2 Seesaw Classroom Observation & 3-5 Seesaw Classroom Observation

Come and see what Seesaw looks like in action!  See how students are able to use Seesaw when given choice in demonstrating their understanding.  

K-2 BeeBot Coding Classroom Observation 

Bee-Bot is an exciting new robot designed for use by young children. This colorful, easy-to-operate, and friendly little robot is a perfect tool for teaching sequencing, estimation, problem-solving, and just having fun!  During this session participants will be able to observe students learning to code and problem solve.  

3-5 Ozobot Coding Classroom Observation

Ozobots are miniature smart robots that can follow lines or roam around freely, detect colors, and can also be programmed. During this session we will be able to see students engage in programming to solve a problem using the Ozobots.  

K-2 Scratch Jr. Coding Classroom Observation & 3-5 Scratch Coding Classroom Observation

Watch kids create their own interactive stories, games and animations using Scratch.

Listen to Students’ Honest Stories of Their School Experiences

Uncovering Hidden Bias

During this session, a panel of high school students will share their stories and experiences living and learning as an EL in Evergreen Public Schools.

Modeling is More Than Replicating

Students often examine and interact with models as they learn content. But is it really modeling when students create a 3-dimensional representation of a cell?

cell model

We’ll use the word “modeling” here to refer to the practice of developing and using models in science. Teacher modeling of behaviors, skills, and cognitive routines is incredibly important in classrooms, but this post will focus on students’ interactions with conceptual models.

From the page 50 of the Framework for K-12 Science Education:

Science often involves the construction and use of a wide variety of models and simulations to help develop explanations about natural phenomena. Models make it possible to go beyond observables and imagine a world not yet seen. Models enable predictions of the form “if … then … therefore” to be made in order to test hypothetical explanations.

Creating the cell representation pictured above might demonstrate a student’s ability to design to criteria or to recall the shape of organelles, but it isn’t really an explanation or prediction. Continue reading “Modeling is More Than Replicating”

EPS Integrated Scope and Sequence Site

It’s here! We’ve been working on the new integrated scope and sequence for elementary writing, reading, social studies, and science for over a year now. Thank you to the teachers, coaches, and principals who have provided feedback throughout the process.

You can access the site through the links provided here, using the Evergreen Bookmarks folder in Chrome, or through ClassLink.

At the site, you’ll find information specific to the content areas of  ELA, social studies, and science with images and links to resources. On the grade level pages, all 36 units for grades K through 5 are included, with unit themes, standards, resource suggestions, and integrated literacy task ideas.

We’ll continue to improve the format, add more details, and link more resources to make this resource as valuable and accessible as we can, but we continue to need your help. If there’s something that we can do to make the site better, please let us know! Your ideas and feedback will help us prioritize the ongoing work.

Linking the Known to the New

IMG_2988

I have a confession to make. Despite working in the curriculum department, despite quite a few years in this education field, and despite reading, researching, and hours of discussions with colleagues…I’m still trying to figure out what personalized learning is.

Good news, though, if you’re sitting next to me on the same gently rocking boat–it’s OK. We still have time. In my case, things became clearer when I listened to students.

Last Monday night I drove my two boys to Covington Middle School for their 6th grade orientation/showcase night. Wearing both my educator and dad hats, we toured familiar hallways (to me, at least; my 5th grader’s eyes bulged a bit at the rows of lockers and the open staircase in the entry, “Is this school really TWO WHOLE STORIES?”). I slyly introduced him to some 6th grade teachers, and embarrassed him in front of Mr. Gourde, the principal (“I can text him anytime, you know.”). Continue reading “Linking the Known to the New”

Engineering in Unexpected Places

We all engineer parts of our lives every day. Children (and adults!) engineer structures with blocks, Legos, and Minecraft. Cooks engineer recipes. Teachers engineer learning experiences.

Engineering K-2There are many different graphics of the engineering design process. The image above comes from Appendix I of the Next Generation Science Standards. At its core, engineering consists of three key processes: identifying a problem, developing solutions, and optimizing those solutions. Sounds a lot like a teaching and learning cycle, right?

TL CycleIt sounds a lot like almost any artistic process, too. A “problem” is identified (a piece of music to perform), solutions are developed (rehearsed) and optimized (director feedback).

choir

What about mathematicians? Don’t they identify problems, develop solutions, and optimize? And how about writers? How are the processes of drafting and revising similar to designing and testing?

Engineering, design, and art are not always distinct activities; the lines between them are often fuzzy. Our students should know about and appreciate this “fuzziness”. It brings them closer to understanding the outside world and eliminates some of the potential barriers to STEM careers that students encounter. Students benefit from seeing engineering as something that everyone engages in because it makes the field more approachable and provides a set of useful problem-solving skills that students can apply in many different ways.

Interested in some additional reading? Check out this research brief:  Learning STEM Through Design: Students Benefit from Expanding What Counts as “Engineering” or this blog post on the connections between engineering and social emotional learning.

Roles, Matrices, and Equity

I had the good fortune of attending a wedding recently (congratulations Dan and Candice!) that offered me the chance to strike up conversations with new acquaintances. One of these conversations was with Pat, a leader at a large STEM firm in Minneapolis. He was very interested in what steps we’ve taken as a district and region to support STEM instruction and prepare students for careers. He shared his perspective on what students need in order to thrive in the workforce. Continue reading “Roles, Matrices, and Equity”

NGSS and Language in Elementary Classrooms

I was recently at a PD and we were discussing the NGSS. One of the comments made in the presentation was that the NGSS were written so there wasn’t so much language for students to learn and understand. As an ELL advocate, I thought that sounded like a wonderful idea! Let’s concentrate on the Scientific behaviors, thinking, ideas, enthusiasm and creativity that our ELLs bring to our classrooms during our Science Workshop Labs and take some of the burden of adding yet more vocabulary into their learning day.

Then we were given a Fourth Grade NGSS investigation to try out as a group. As I read the directions of the task, I noticed immediately that I had the wrong idea. Although knowing specific Scientific content language has somewhat been removed as a focus, language itself is a vital part of students being able to think about, talk about, explore and collaborate about the Scientific and Engineering ideas and concepts the NGSS employ. Our students can’t think and talk like Scientists and Engineers unless they have the language to do so. Exploring, designing and investigating all require our students to be able to collaborate, develop, and express their ideas and communicate them with others.  Continue reading “NGSS and Language in Elementary Classrooms”