Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Year of Changes

Well, I know it has been a LONG time since I have posted anything on my blog.  Many things have changed over the past couple of years, great changes full of opportunities and learning experiences!

I moved from teaching English language arts to PLTW (Project Lead the Way), which prepares students to be the most innovative and productive leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and to make meaningful, pioneering contributions to our world. Through an engaging, hands-on curriculum, PLTW encourages the development of problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creative and innovative reasoning, and a love of learning.

This move has been one of the most rewarding and rejuvenating of my career!  Although I teach almost every student in the school and only have them for 9 weeks at a time, I get to see students in a completely different way and in a class that most times they do not hate.

I teach a robotics class, a green architecture class, and an app building/programming class. Learning all of this material has been a challenge, especially with having more of a language arts background.  Luckily, that one year of teaching science in middle school plus a few in elementary school has come in handy.

I still love my interactive notebooks and use a form of them in my PLTW classes, we just call them engineering notebooks.  We use them more for creating sketches of designs and ideas and spend less time attaching items in the notebook.    

This past year has also been spent creating a makerspace at our school.  I will be writing more on that in the future. We had an empty, unused space in our basement and a supportive principal and we went for it!  We are the only middle school, well, the only our district to have a dedicated makerspace for our students.  And, with lots of grants writing, we have obtained a fair amount of items for our space.  

This post is written to serve as an announcement that the direction of my blog will be changing from that of language arts to more technology and STEM related.  Plus a lot about makerspaces and the journey to create the best tinkering and learning space for our students that we have named GFMakerS.

In our makerspace quest, I also became a littleBits Chapter leader.  We are one of five chapters in the North Carolina, which is pretty cool because the others are in rather large cities. 

I will still post any language arts infused activities that I use with my PLTW classes or in our makerspace, but they will have a definite technology or STEM twist to them. 

Stay tuned for a great 2016 with lots of fun and exciting projects, activities, and learning opportunities!  And...I promise to do better at blogging and answering questions!  Learning the PLTW curriculum presented a huge learning curve along with many new opportunities and challenges.