November 2018 – Della Larsen's Class

6 Top Reasons to Use STEM Challenges in Your Class -Today!

November 16, 2018

Have you been using STEM challenges in your kindergarten class? I have and wow it’s made a huge impact with my kids. I didn’t really know much about STEM so I did a little research first. I discovered the engineering design process – it sounds intimidating but it’s actually what we do in kindergarten every day. Who knew we are basically scientists! The engineering design process is identifying a problem, brainstorming solutions, designing your idea, trying it out, and redesigning, and of course sharing what you’ve learned. So once it didn’t sound so difficult, I decided to try it out. I had to make a couple of changes to make it work for my students, but we’re used to that. So I dug in and this is what I found #1 Kids love stem. I mean they really love stem. Talk about hands on! It get the kids out of their seats and moving you can almost see the wheels turning in their heads. #2 My behaviors decrease when I use challenges – read that one again. My challenging behaviors decrease. We all know that kids learn in different ways but this puts the money where our mouth is....

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Do we need to think about High Stakes Testing in Kindergarten?

November 11, 2018

Kindergarten teachers are never done. That’s because our kids remain “our kids” long after they move on. We are totally invested in their success, as if they are our “school sons” and “school daughters.” We want them to do well even after they leave us—especially after they leave us! So, when it comes to high-stakes testing—which is happening more and more, and earlier and earlier—we are invested in our students’ success. As a kindergarten teacher fo over 30 years, I know kindergarten teachers feel a sense of relief that we don’t have to give these tests—but we also feel that it’s our responsibility to be the first to prepare them.   We share the pride of students who succeed and we share the pain with students who don’t. For those of us in low-performing schools the impact is even more intense. We feel a huge responsibility to our kids. High-stakes testing is harsh and we know it doesn’t give an accurate view if our kids. But testing is how we and our kids are judged. Even more importantly, schools are moving away from pencil-and-paper tests toward digital testing, online, via Chromebook. This is what we have to prepare our...

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