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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Time to Imagine: STEAM Center Development

Ready for the next steps!
As students complete a systemwide test, I have the luxury of looking around the classroom. Several are working carefully on the math problems, facts, and figures. Others, who are done, are reading a variety of books including lots of the science picture books I have in the room. One boy is studying the empty aquariums which are ready for our spadefoot tadpoles, and still one more, is writing as he reads.

It was a similar moment to this that I read my first book all by myself in third grade. Yes, I was a late reader. I sat next to the six foot window in my beautiful, old elementary school, and picked up the book, Mike's House by Julia Sauer. That was a great moment in my life.

Quiet moments like these are very special in a classroom. I have the time to observe my learners with depth, and they have the time to observe each other and make a choice that fits their learning interests, needs, and style. There's often little time for this kind of quiet in our teaching/learning lives.

The quiet observation has also prompted me to think deeply about my rag-tag STEAM Center that I've been developing for many years now. Just as those experts from The Intersection Event advised me years ago, this effort had to evolve. It couldn't be a bought system, but instead it had to be born out of a living system--organic efforts.

So as I turn the corner again in this effort, I recognize the need for greater organization, new storage shelves, and signage. The shared teaching model has made room for this growth, and the seeds planted so long ago when I made the film below are beginning to grow stronger roots. Onward.