Alejandro is probably our biggest success story. As a 6th grader, he was a kid who was on the fringe of making it or not. We all felt that school could kind of go either way for him and he could turn into a real trouble-maker as he got older or a leader. But he has stepped up this year in so many ways and is having an awesome year! He's a leader on the basketball court and in the classroom. He has accepted the challenges in his science class this year brilliantly and has gotten many compliments from other staff members for his great attitude. He has told me multiple times what a cool experience going to STEAMmaker Camp was (even though I wasn't sure at the time he was really 'getting' it). I am so glad we picked him as one of our campers!
Sweet, shy "Kathy" was always a perfect student but never eager to share her ideas, and when doing so, was often quiet and backed down if another idea even sounded half as good as hers. This year, not only has she spoken up and eagerly shared her ideas, she always has some support ready to deliver as to why her option is a viable one. Others have taken notice and listen to her eagerly. She even decided to join the Odyssey of the Mind team this year. I don't know if she would have done that prior to attending STEAMmaker Camp. Her "team" experience last summer certainly boosted her confidence and sparked a fire for learning.
Student engagement has increased as students work on meaningful projects, but more so, the projects in which they attack have more merit and depth. Students are willing to be creative, expose true passions and actively seek to benefit their lives or the lives of others without as much worrying about being graded solely on completion of tasks or the success of the specific task itself.
(After attending STEAMmaker Camp strategies in my classroom), I have witnessed the level of learning increase with the use of questioning strategies. Students are eager to enter the room and get to work. Students are more self-reliant and reliant on peers than me (the teacher) for answering/probing for needed information to accomplish a task. Students seem more reflective throughout learning, stopping to ask themselves what they need to know and planning how to go about the 'finding out' as we practice more and more=less waste of time and materials.
At a Glance