“I can do this!” These were the words a struggling first-grade student shouted as he completed a S.T.E.M. challenge activity. Observing the excitement and joy when a child has confidence in their abilities is exciting for a teacher. Our school is on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. Our Title I school provides breakfast and lunch for 100 percent of the students. Providing meals means less stress for the student and they come to class ready and eager to learn.
I keep our days filled with hands-on, challenging, active, learning opportunities.
The schedule is predictable because many students home lives are filled with unpredictability.
I believe all students can learn and each is unique in their abilities. I take that into consideration as some students stand and work while others lay on the floor. My students are taught that each student gets what they need (from me) to be successful; they don’t all get the same thing. Children in the first grade understand this and look forward to having their needs met on an individual basis. My classroom is a comfortable, safe, and enriching environment that allows my students to feel confident to take risks and make mistakes.
“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” -Clay P. Bedford. Creativity is key to becoming a successful lifelong learner. I continue to cultivate my learning and creativity to become an innovative first-grade teacher. The Summer Pathfinders Institute will continue to build on my passion for science, creativity, and hands-on involvement in the early childhood classroom. This program integrates hands-on engineering and design challenges using inexpensive but high-tech equipment. I attended Pathfinders in the summer of 2018 and not only brought my new information into the classroom, but I have been networking with other teachers around the country. This professional development opportunity has changed my teaching and thinking and my students have reaped the benefits.
Integrating STEM lessons is an important part of teaching young learners so they will have appropriate skills as they advance in their education.
These skills promote creative thinking and hunger for learning. The teacher creates the climate for the classroom, when I am excited about a new learning concept, my students are excited. This is especially true for elementary students. I believe all students should be given opportunities to create and direct their own learning. When they have some input on what they want to explore, they come to school eager and excited about learning.
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