Start an Earth Year in your classroom

Posted by Melissa Karsten on April 22, 2019

Earth Day is a great reminder every year on April 22 that we need to take care of the our planet because resources are limited. And it’s awesome that there’s a special day to celebrate with special events, but what about the rest of the year? How can this reminder be made part of everyday life and the lives of your students? Let’s take a look at projects that could make it an Earth Year.

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Topics: IN THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Culture, Social and emotional learning, Activities

FIRST® things first: Are you ready?

Posted by Preston Frazier on April 13, 2019

Top 7 things you need for FIRST® Champ

“Remember, if you fail to prepare you are preparing to fail.”
– H. K. Williams

Will you be traveling soon to the FIRST Championship in either Houston (April 17-20) or Detroit (April 24-27)? You might be a spectator watching from afar or a fan sitting in the stands supporting your favorite robotics team. But even more exciting, you might be on one of the competing FIRST Tech Challenge teams that has made it all this way. If so, congratulations! That’s something to celebrate.

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Topics: BEYOND THE CLASSROOM, Competitions, ROBOTICS, Collaborations, FIRST Tech Challenge, Technology, Social and emotional learning, TETRIX Robotics

Get sailing with social-emotional learning

Posted by Anna Gudde on February 14, 2019

SEL. What? It’s not just another trending acronym. Social-emotional learning (SEL) basically demonstrates how students relate with each other – and their teachers, their parents, and other adults – in any type of interactions.

It places a priority on creating a caring environment for learning and focuses on forming relationships among families, teachers, and community members. Applying SEL concepts in the classroom fosters richer student engagement, collaboration, and trust. So . . . how can educators introduce SEL competencies in the classroom? Project-based learning (PBL)!

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Topics: IN THE CLASSROOM, STEM, Missions, STEM Expeditions, Social and emotional learning, Hands-on Learning, STEAM

Texas educator on a mission to discover every kid’s genius

Posted by Tom Farmer on January 26, 2019

Last fall, we released our first ever teaching type personality quiz. We featured five general teaching types that we believe encompass educators you’d find in today’s classrooms: the Merry Maker, the Inspiring Innovator, the Prudent Planner, the Technology Trailblazer, and the Coordinator of Chaos.

Matthew Way, educator at Sweeny Elementary School, in Sweeny, TX, is the walking definition of a Coordinator of Chaos teaching type. In summer 2017, Way volunteered to run the new Pitsco Education STREAM lab. He sees more than 1,000 K-5 students in his STREAM lab each year. K-2 students experience whole-class STEM Units for 30 minutes each week during the school year, and students in Grades 3-5 explore the rotational STREAM Missions for one hour every third day for a semester.

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Topics: IN THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Missions, Social and emotional learning, Future Ready, Hands-on Learning, STEAM

Using inquiry-based learning in your elementary classroom – including coding education

Posted by Natalie Vanderbeck on November 10, 2018

Inquiry-based learning isn’t a new idea in education. While writing my master’s thesis, I studied science classrooms that utilized inquiry-based learning vs traditional teacher-led learning. To be certain we’re all on the same page, let’s define inquiry-based learning: “a student-centered approach where the instructor guides the students through questions posed, methods designed, and data interpreted by the students. Through inquiry, students actively discover information to support their investigations” (Edutopia).

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Topics: IN THE CLASSROOM, Elementary School, ROBOTICS, Collaborations, Technology, Coding, Social and emotional learning, Hands-on Learning, Inquiry-based Learning