I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past week or so thinking about how I’m going to go about establishing norms and expectations with so many (25!) different sections of learners. When I’ve worked with just one classroom of students, I’ve tended to devote most of our first week together to discussions about what we want our classroom to be like, what rights everyone in the room should be guaranteed, and what responsibilities everyone has to help make sure that those rights are upheld.
While I don’t want to move completely away from those democratic conversations, because I’ll be working with students for only 30-35 sessions a year (and don’t have wall space for 25 different sets of rights and responsibilities!), I’ve decided to define a set of expectations that will articulate to all students, Pre-K to 8th grade, the type of mindset that they’ll need to engage most fully in our STEM classroom.
The result of this thinking is a set of qualities and dispositions that I hope to encourage in my scientists and an acronym that I believe is perfect for STEM class — IDEAS.
Dig Into Mistakes
Share and Show Kindness
In our first classes, I plan to introduce these qualities, one or two at a time, and then engage the learners in a discussion and an accompanying activity for each one. Hopefully this will bring a balance of meaningful discussion about key STEM (and general learning) qualities while opening up plenty of space for student participation in shaping what our classroom will be like.
If you’re interested in getting a copy of these posters for your own STEM students, you can find them in my TeachersPayTeachers store.
A note about graphics in this file:
The blue question mark — Q — is my original artwork and my classroom mascot.
Gear borders available for purchase & download from Elementary Inquiry on TPT.
Critical Thinking Clipart from Teacher Karma on TPT.