STEM Training

Working together to improve education for students at Salem Schools, 10 teachers came together last week for STEAM training and certification.

STEAM Director Jessica Morgan said there were five teachers from Bradie Shrum and five from Salem Middle School who gathered in the STEAM lab to learn how they can work together with other teachers to incorporate STEAM into their curriculum to better prepare students for the ever-changing workforce.

STEM Training

The STEAM Kick Off Training was paid for through the STEM Integration Grant that the school received in the spring. 

“At the PLC meeting Wednesday, we shared what we learned with the rest of the staff,” said Morgan. “And introduced everyone to the 5 E Model, which we plan to start using at both the elementary and middle schools.”

She explained the 5 E Model stands for Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate. This includes ways to differentiate instruction for all students, including special ed and high ability. Morgan said she is continuing to look for ways to incorporate community partners into lessons as well.

“They may have insight into ways students can use these skills they are learning in the workforce, as well as resources we can use for teaching to add to our learning,” she said.

The school is also hoping to focus on making more cross curricular opportunities for students, such as combining lessons between language arts and history or language arts and science.

Morgan said 8th grade teachers Rebecca Consley, Kristen Bailey and Lesle Leis came up with a lesson for an ice cream shop activity that includes business, math and technology. 

“And just because teachers are working together on a lesson it doesn’t mean they have to do it at the same time,” she said, adding that the flexibility makes it easier for multiple teachers to work together.

Morgan is currently working with sixth grade language arts teacher Amy Abner on a project titled “Animal Eyes.” It involves students observing the world through an animal’s eyes. The activity also incorporates science. Students will design and develop their own animals after some research. They will watch webcams of the San Diego Zoo. They will also use virtual reality goggles to take tours of zoos. In the end, they will design habitats for the animals with the materials provided. 

STEM Training grop

“And they will vlog about their animals and explain what they are and where they live, etc.,” Morgan explained. 

Teachers at BSE are also working on several cross curriculum plans. STEAM teacher Emiliy Johnson said the social studies standards for first and third grade have to do with communities and community helpers/heros. 

“We thought we could do these lessons at the same time and the third grade classes could partner with a first grade class,” she said. “We would introduce the project with either a walking trip to different places in town with helpers/heros or have members of the community actors theater come and perform some of the characters that they use from the cemetery walk since those are all people from the community.”

She said the students would do some activities that go along with their reading stories that focus on communities and tie in some informational writing for third grade and sentence writing for first grade. 

“Then we would end the unit by creating characters to attach to robots in the STEAM rooms and have a 'parade' in the safe room with their community heroes,” she said. “They would also work on this in library class as well.”

In addition to the recent training, Morgan has also been working on the corporation’s application for STEM certification. It has been a process of gathering information and artifacts from staff to show how much the school has already started incorporating STEM into its curriculum.  

“Mrs. (Jill) Mires was very helpful getting the application put together,” said Morgan. “And the staff went above and beyond in helping get all the information I needed to send the application in.”

She added that SMS Principal Kevin Albertson was helpful with gathering documentation and putting together a community board and Salem High School English teacher Megan Elgin helped her with the language in her application.

“It truly was a team effort,” she said.

Morgan said the application has been submitted and she should hear something by Dec. 8.