The best kept secrets of the STEM coordinator… Where do you get this stuff?

  “I’m gonna pop some tags.”- Macklemore  The hands down, best kept secret of the STEM coordinator is the… Innovation labs, maker spaces, tinker materials, gaming, etc. all require large scale amounts of commonly found materials. And, for cheap. The thrift shop (or, if you have more time- yard sales) can be a fantastic source of these types of materials that can be collected over long periods of time, adding to collections to make first single group sets, then classrooms sets then full school sets perfect for open ended building…

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Hadas Heyman 

Learning With The Students

My favorite holiday as a child was always Purim. The reason I loved this holiday so much was the big carnival we had every year at my school that was run by students and the crazy costumes we were allowed to wear (Esther’s second name can be another reason). As a teacher, I also favor this holiday but for different reasons. I definitely love the fact that we can dress up every year on Purim. I also like the fact that everyone joins the Purim spirit (Jewish or not). I enjoy…

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The Case for Required Coding in Elementary and Middle School

  Today, I came across this article on NPR, which describes when women stopped coding, and computer science became essentially a man’s world. This happened in 1984 for a very specific reason. In the 1940’s through the 1960’s, coding was dominated by women. They were leaders in the field and in terms of employment and growth; they were on-track with men for coding positions. Something changed. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, home computers entered the marketplace, but weren’t very sophisticated. In looking for consumers, manufacturers realized that these simple machines…

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Hadas Heyman 

Providing Opportunities to Speak in Hebrew

How do I provide more opportunities for my students to speak Hebrew inside and outside the classroom? As a Hebrew language teacher, I’ve always asked myself this question over and over again. My students spend a short amount of time in my class every day, and this time is so precious and valuable. Every second should be planned effectively. My students know that wasting time is a big pet peeve of mine. There is time to write, read, use technology tools to enhance students’ learning, ask questions, discuss, work in…

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Andrea Hernandez 

#Comments4Teachers

It’s January, and we are wrapping up the (first?) Charles E. Smith blogging cohort by taking the time to reflect and discuss. I first had the idea to write this post after our first meeting in August, but I didn’t act immediately on the idea and, as these things tend to do, it lost its urgency. However, as I listened today to teachers discussing what they’ve learned, I reflect that perhaps, in my role of coach, I might have done more to connect my students (the teacher-bloggers) to that elusive “authentic audience.” Here’s the thing:…

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Hadas Heyman 

Teaching Hebrew through “Rotations” in First Grade

    The best part of my job this year is to step into some of the classrooms and observe learning in a non-judgmental way. As teachers, we focus on our work inside our classrooms and hardly ever find the time to step out and look around us. We can learn so much from each other and share what we see with the rest of our colleagues. One of the things that I had a chance to observe this year was our first graders working in a station rotation model….

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Alexis Soffler Andrea Hernandez Hadas Heyman Jessie Nathans Kim Sherk 

Professional Blogging: Our Reflections

Over the past five-ish months, a small cohort of teachers and administrators have been coached by Andrea Hernandez from EdJewCon to grow as reflective practitioners through the vehicle of blogging. As we are thinking about how to share our learning with other staff to change the purpose of blogging here at CESJDS, we took some time to reflect on our learning and outline it in presentation form to share with the community. Please reach out to us with questions, comments, and inspiration for additional blog posts. What would you like…

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Alexis Soffler Andrea Hernandez Hadas Heyman Jessie Nathans Kim Sherk 

Looking Through a Lens: Visual Bingo

We started with a blank visual bingo template (thanks Darren Kuropatwa for sharing). We brainstormed keywords, using the 5 characteristics from The Adaptable Mind (curiosity, creativity, initiative, multi-disciplinary thinking and empathy) as broad headings. Armed with our bingo boards, we set off to discover and photograph interpretations of our keywords. Afterwards, we reflected on the process as well as our individual products and discussed different applications of this type of activity. Jessie’s collage: Alexis’s Collage: Kim’s Collage: Hadas’s Collages (she made two): Andrea’s Collage:  

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Alexis Soffler 

Robotics Education in Elementary School- Goals & Development Part I: Early Childhood

Robotics in elementary education is a new concept. Especially when it as viewed as part of the school day and objectives and not relegated to clubs and afterschool programs exclusively. But there are few guideposts for schools interested in robotics to understand what is appropriate at the elementary level. After a few years of experimentation and research, this is what our school has decided. Pre-K through 1st grade COGNITIVE AND PHYSIOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT Students at this age need frequent and immediate feedback to evaluate and adjust Their ability to operate robots out-paces…

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Jessie Nathans 

The Art of STEM Day

The Art of STEM Day It’s STEM Day at our school! The second floor of our building has been converted to a pop-up makerspace. Teachers are prepared and ready to guide students through a fast-moving day of discovery.  As an art teacher, I look forward to seeing STEM learning up-close. I find learning goals similar to the art studio including hand work, trial and error and a range of 21st century skills. I am motivated to find natural links between art and science, technology, engineering and math; to discover when…

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