As I approach my 3 year anniversary with the Oceanside Unified School District, I've been thinking about how my role has evolved. I am blessed to have so much flexibility in my job and to be given so many opportunities to be innovative and creative. From STEM Lab facilitator, to EdTech TOSA, to Instructional Technology coach, I have worn many hats over these past three years, and have grown so much as a teacher.
The three schools that I support - Stuart Mesa, Santa Margarita, and North Terrace - all have amazing STEM Labs from Creative Learning Systems. The STEM Lab at Stuart Mesa is where I began with OUSD, and it is a really special place to me. Students in the STEM Lab have the opportunity to try new things - things that they would never try on their own. They get to struggle and fail. They get to troubleshoot and "start over." They get to succeed and improve. They get to do so many things in the STEM Lab that they do not get to do in the regular classroom or even at home.
Funding a facilitator for the STEM Labs has been a challenge and this year there is very little help in the STEM Labs (as far as a full time position). One school has support from the library/media tech and a substitute teacher, one school is relying on the classroom teachers, and one school is starting to get the library/media tech on board. As the EdTech TOSA for all three schools (and the person with the most familiarity with the Labs) I've been creating a student-driven STEM Lab curriculum for students in grades 3-5. The curriculum consists of 5 activities happening simultaneously in the STEM Labs, and takes about 4 hours to complete each activity. Students work on one activity for 4 hours (one hour per day), then rotate to the next activity when they return to the Lab.
Over the next few Blog posts, I will describe the activities that each grade level is participating in during their STEM Lab week. I will also describe the STEM Lab schedule, journal, routines, organization, and classroom expectations that have been working for my three labs this school year. Are you planning on creating a STEM Lab, Makerspace, Design Lab, etc? Follow my Blog posts to gather some ideas and inspiration to help get you started!!
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All thoughts, opinions, reflections, and ideas are that of Heather Love-Fleck, and not the school district that employs her. She reserves the right to change her thoughts, opinions, reflections, and ideas at any time.