“Sorry, that’s a great idea, but we can’t build it here.”
That’s my nightmare. A student in the STEAM Room, our student Makerspace, approaching me with a brilliant project concept requiring some reasonable tool we didn’t even consider. Of course, there are worse nightmares involving our reciprocating saw or our drill press, but those scenarios are easier to plan around.
How do you come up with an all-encompassing list of tools and materials that will facilitate every student’s wildest dreams, while staying within budget and within space constraints? How can you avoid stifling creativity when you haven’t even polled your students for their interest areas? How do you know when your Makerspace is complete?
When you’re putting in long hours and working relentlessly towards a purpose that you’re passionate about, burnout is inevitable. Entrepreneurs know this; it’s part of the process, and everyone has their own strategy for coping.
When it’s your employee feeling the burn, on the other hand, you have a critical problem on your hands — and limited time to solve it. You have to take the right steps to assess the situation and determine your role in improving their happiness and job satisfaction.
Seven entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) discuss some tactics they use to alleviate a key employee’s stress when times are tough.
Technology alone can't educate students. It’s not some mystical, magical ingredient one sprinkles over core curricula like salt on a meal. The magic is inside the child. If designed correctly, technology only extends the creative powers of the individual. Technology needn’t be “high-tech” to be effective, either. Chalk on a graphite board is one of the earliest forms of technology in the classroom; a printed book is a kind of machine; a magnifying glass is technology for investigation of the natural world; string is a tool for building things.
With all of the apps, electronics, kits, and games, it’s easy to forget that science books continue to be a fantastic resource for both education and entertainment.
There are countless science books available for kids of all ages and education levels. The best books teach scientific concepts and ideas through fun, memorable, and engaging content. Many books, and quite a few on this list provide multiple science experiments that can easily be performed at home, using common household items. Whether it’s a book of experiments and activities, a biography of a historically significant scientist, or simply a book of information that kids will find fascinating, science books for kids are a wonderful way to encourage children to explore science and the world around them.
I’m always looking for new ways to encourage my students to read. If you’re a primary teacher, I know you do, too. I encourage students to read alone. To read with their teacher. To read to a classmate. To read to a big buddy. To read to their parents or siblings. The more you read, the better reader you will be, so it just makes sense.
Because our classroom is connected with so many people OUTSDE the four walls of our physical space, I have sometimes been able to find a pre-service teacher or someone else who is willing to listen to my students read via Skype.
A social studies teacher who was near retirement showed up at one of my educational planning sessions for a new classroom building. I asked him about the social studies classroom of the future. At first he hemmed and hawed, but after some prodding, he said, “Do you really want to know what I think?”
Genius Hour is a time given during the school day to allow students to follow their passions and learn about topics that interest them. My gifted 5th graders participate in this project, and present their learning when they are ready. This page is devoted to sharing some of the resources I’ve collected over the past two years with anyone else who is interested in starting a classroom Genius Hour.
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