Head of School Blog

STEM Makes me Smarter!

Jill Singleton | Volume: 5 Issue: 21 | March 19, 2016
Did you know that online bidding has been going on since Monday afternoon?!  So even if you are not able to attend the Auction this Thursday, you can still use your phone, iPad or computer to bid on desired items from anywhere in the world. Whether you are on a business trip or away on vacation, or just couldn’t find a sitter in time, supporting our annual Auction – and therefore our wonderful STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiative – is as easy as ordering from Amazon!

Get started now by registering on www.501auctions.com/allsaintsauction and bid on any and all Silent Auction items.  Bidding ends at 9:40pm Thursday (March 10th).

Don’t feel like bidding?  You can also make a fully tax-deductible donation on the site:  https://www.501auctions.com/allsaintsauction/item/57482.

Our STEM initiative has been so valuable that we decided to extend it another year by having all auction funds raised this year support new and continued STEM projects and related teacher training.
Our entire community has benefitted from our work with STEM this year. “STEM has actually shown me the power of stepping back and empowering my students to ‘work it out,’ “said Ronnie Loving, Second Grade North Teacher. “It’s a thrill to show students that everything is a real life problem and that they need to rely on trial and error sometimes.” Ms. Loving also said that the STEM initiative has prompted her to “dive deeper into my curriculum and find meaningful ways to make it all thread together.”

Several teachers have shared the evolution of their comfort level with STEM.  “I've gone outside my comfort zone and it's scary,” said Ms. Loving, “but it’s also powerful for students to see that I can scaffold, guide, and manage their work, and that it is they who can actually become the experts.” Pre-K Teacher Ms. Allison agrees.  “Initially, the squishy and paper circuits were challenging for all, but through patient trial and error, students (and teachers) were not only able to create circuits themselves, but they also taught their Second Reading Buddies,” she said.  

Third Grade NW Teacher Tatianna Wisniewski has really embraced the STEM initiative, and her enthusiasm has clearly carried over to her students.  “STEM inspires me to learn new skills,” Ms. Wisniewski said.  “I am inspired to learn about coding, robotics, and engineering.”  Her students feel the same way. “STEM projects make me feel like I'm a real life engineer,” said Arjun. “STEM makes me feel like I can create anything that inspires me.”  

In addition to developing complex scientific problem-solving and engineering skills, STEM has had a positive impact in other areas.  Fourth Grade East Teacher Colleen Nguyen said, “I notice that the students who readily embrace our STEM projects are also applying those problem-solving skills to revising work, researching sources, and trying to solve math problems in more than one way.”

In addition to academic skills, STEM has supported our students’ development of other important 21st century skills. Kindergarten South Teacher Kathy Ferman said, “STEM has helped students understand the pragmatics of working with partners and groups, and has taught students about resilience.” After a failed attempt at working with Sphero (a robotic, programmable sphere), Ms Ferman said the students “had a mature conversation about recalling the steps they learned for making it work, and eventually they figured it out and were able to ‘control’ Sphero.”

All signs are that STEM is making a significant impact on our community.  “When I participate in a STEM project it helps the things in the textbook come to life for me!” said Fifth Grader, Lainey.  Third Grader, Narina, who proudly shared her recent 100th Day of School Project – a spinner made using a battery pack, a motor, and alligator clips – summed it up by saying, “STEM makes me smarter!”

Questions? Comments?  Ideas?  I’d love to hear them!  Email me: jsingleton@allsaintsdayschool.org