Missed a newsletter?  Visit our website to read past issues -- S2TEM Centers SC Newsletter Archive

July 2016

Last month’s issue of Insights highlighted reading as an essential component of the Profile of a South Carolina Graduate.  But what is the “Profile”, and how is it relevant to classroom learning?  Here are my thoughts.  Recently, I went back to the city I grew up in, sweet home Chicago.   There I indulged in several of my favorite foods; deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches.  Everywhere I ate proclaimed to be the “best of” its kind.  Heck, even the Art Institute of Chicago proclaimed it was the “world’s best museum” in 2014.  I did not eat there.  How does a hot dog or a museum get to be the “best of” its kind?  First, there must be some idea of what the “best” experience must be, right?

The Profile of a South Carolina Graduate, is a “best of” document…in a way.  It broadly identifies what we want students to know and be able to do once they reach the destination of high school graduation. Put another way, it describes the “best of” South Carolina in the form of a 17 or 18-year-old who has successfully completed 12 or more years of schooling. You will recognize these “best of” individuals by their demonstration of specified skills, knowledge and characteristics. Yay!  We’ll know them when we see them.  But, how do we make sure that we provide the “best of” school experiences to support young learners in embodying the “Profile”?

Schools may take different paths to ensure students reflect the skills, knowledge and characteristics listed in the “Profile”.  Since this is a STEM-focused newsletter, you, the reader, should naturally assume that I’ll be recommending the path of STEM education. STEM is like the bun of a hot dog and the crust of a pizza.  It gives substance and support to all sorts of content, skills and characteristics.  STEM can hold lots of learning experiences that kids should relish.  (Pun intended.) 

STEM questions can provide the content for reading, writing and discourse necessary to engage learners at all age levels in critical thinking.  Should gorillas be kept in zoos?  Is there life on other planets?  Why is Pi so special anyway?  Need ideas on how to bring content literacy to life in your classroom?  Visit our resource library

Want kids to build their collaboration and problem solving skills while also practicing perseverance and integrity?  Give them real science experiment experiences.  Not the “cook book” lab activities of textbooks, but the kinds of citizen science where young learners collect data that matter and report them to real scientists.  Right here in South Carolina we have bird, bumble bee, firefly, oyster, and frog projects.  Nationally, there are dozens more.    Visit National Geographic’s Citizen Science Projects for ideas.

Want kids to gain a global perspective?  Investigate global STEM issues.  Our friends in engineering know what challenges these are and have their own “best of” list.  They have a K12 Partners Program too.

STEM matters.  Yes.  It matters in the world outside of school and it matters that we bring the “best of” the outside into our classrooms. You can learn more “best of” strategies and meet a terrific cast of “best of” STEM thinkers and doers at The Next Steps Institute.  Hope to catch up with you there!

 Profile of the South Carolina Graduate  

Professional Development Opportunities

Online Courses for K12 Math Educators
Information on courses beginning September 2016 now available.

10 Session STEM Instructional Leadership Training
Currently accepting new teams to participate in iSTEM:  an in-depth, 10-day, instructional leadership experience for STEM educators preparing to understand and implement engineering practices as identified in the South Carolina Curriculum Standards and national standards documents. 

8 Session Cognitive Coaching Seminar
Inquires are being accepted for Cognitive CoachingSM ,  a research-based 8-day foundations training seminar.  Participants meet once per month starting in September 2016.  The mission of Cognitive CoachingSM  is to produce self-directed persons with the cognitive capacity for excellence both independently and as members of a community.  Cognitive CoachingSM is recommended for anyone within an educational environment from teachers to superintendents.

Register Now for Fall Conferences

September 26 - 28, 2016 (3-Day Institute)
The Next Steps Institute:  "Next Steps for STEM Learning and Leadership In and Out of School"
Charleston Convention Center, Charleston, SC
September 26, 2016 (1-Day Event) – Focused on the Every Student Succeeds Act
The Next Steps Institute:  "Next Steps for STEM Learning and Leadership In and Out of School"
Charleston Convention Center, Charleston, SC

September 26 - 28, 2016 (3-Day Institute)
The Next Steps Institute:  "Next Steps for STEM Learning and Leadership In and Out of School"
Applications for vendors and exhibitors still begin accepted.

Visit STEM Linx to learn about more STEM events and opportunities around the state.
Strategy of the Month
Table Talk
Table Talk is a strategy that provides students with an opportunity to engage collaboratively with their peers to process new information, solve a problem, or complete an activity. All the students are accountable and have a shared responsibility in completing the learning task. As students engage in dialogue with their peers about the content, they are in essence teaching themselves. The teacher’s role moves from “information giver” to that of a facilitator of learning. It’s important that the teacher monitor the groups as they work to check their understanding and progress, ensure they students are on track, and encourage them if they get frustrated or discouraged.  See this strategy used in a 7th grade math lesson - The Chocolate Problem.

For more, visit the S2TEM Centers SC Disciplinary Literacy Virtual Library.

What S2TEM Centers SC clients say about their Professional Learning Experience...

" I have already competed two of the project-based learning activities in my classroom and I have brought out an engineer from one of the places we toured to come speak with my students. I don't believe my students nor I realized how industry has played a key role in redeveloping our area and that there is the potential for technology related jobs for our students right down the street. Only 30 minutes away they are doing some pretty cool things like 3D printing etc. "
Chelsea Shoben, Teacher
Marion High School, Marion County School District
iSTEM Instructional Leadership Program
"I found the game to be extremely useful looking at a strategic plan for a school and the next "best" steps.  I plan to use the Cognitive Coaching strategies as I move forward in my career.  In addition, "practicing" strategic planning will assist me if /when I become a campus administrator."

Denise Strong, Instructional Coach
Ridgeland Elementary, Jasper Country
Instructional Coach Training
"This experience furthered my professional goals by giving me a plethora of resources to fill my teacher tool box.  These strategies help me to become a better teacher and to give students a purpose in the classroom to engage them."
Chrissie Smith, Teacher
Saluda Middle School, Saluda School District
Read to Succeed (R2S) Content Area Reading and Writing for Middle School and Secondary Teachers

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