As the school year winds down, with tests out of the way and spring vacation either here or arriving shortly, we can perhaps begin to catch our teaching breaths and reflect on the past school year. But, because it’s spring and the weather is nicer now and because we have a bit of a breather in this period of winding down, there are also opportunities to be explored. Many teachers take advantage of this time of year by planning special experiences for their students, activities they might not have had time for earlier in the school year, but that students will eagerly anticipate, thoroughly enjoy, and have fond memories of in years to come.
With that in mind, I want to offer you, by way of inspiration, some reflections from past participants in Golden Apple’s STEM Institute program. When we asked a group of iTEAM teachers to tell us about one instance during the past school year when their students were genuinely connected to learning science … “connected kid” moments … they shared some beautiful memories with us.
Here are some of those special “connected kid” moments:
“A special education student who glowed when we did hands-on experiments.”
“When Rayana was dying to know if water was renewable or nonrenewable.”
“I brought a beta fish to class and they began to change their attitudes about me as a teacher and themselves as care givers.”
“A special ed student who didn’t participate much in class jumped right in when we had a hands-on science project, making parachutes.”
“When a student with behavioral problems was so engaged he became silent and still as he explored! I was able to enjoy his presence and loved watching him learn.”
“A problem student who ‘shined’ when allowed to do a demonstration.”
“My kindergarten students were so excited when we did ramps and rollers last year. They were so excited to get to explore in groups and develop their own questions.”
“When kids say, ‘Can I take this home? Can I take this and work on it at home?’”
“When I taught lessons from Project Wet at the beginning of the year and the kids in the last month of the school year remembered all of the activities and what we got out of them. They retained all the water information.”
“One connected kid moment I remember is when my first group was able to make a bulb light up. They were all so excited. They wanted to share their knowledge with the rest of the groups and one of the students was able to explain the process.”
“When a student looked at me and declared, ‘I like this class. You make it hard because you don’t give us the answers. You make us think and record. I like that I feel like a scientist.’”
“When taking some of these activities from last summer and doing them with our staff in professional development and watching some of the non-science teachers faces light up with enthusiasm!! Non-science means teachers I know didn’t teach any type of science the previous years. Now they want to incorporate more science in their classrooms!”
“I love when a student or multiple students say, ‘This was the best day ever!’”
When moments like these occur, we know we’re on the right track instructionally. And aren’t momemts like these why we got into teaching in the first place … to make a positive difference in the lives and learning of children?
Please share a “connected kid” moment by leaving a comment. And why not explore using the idea of “connected kid” moments to inspire your future planning? How could you get your students to really connect? After all, spring is the season of rebirth and renewal. Happy Spring!
You can learn more about Golden Apple’s STEM Institute here.