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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Smart Start the New Year, World Class STEM Building

Smart Start was introduced to USD by Jon Corippo, Director of Academic Innovation for CUE. Its purpose was two-fold. First, it functions as a way to build community at the beginning of a school year. Students use the activities to learn about each other in a supportive, fun, and creative environment. Second, students are introduced to skills that can be used later in the year to support curriculum.

This school year, USD has decided on a district-wide “Smart Start” on January 3rd. Students will have the opportunity for fun hands-on, out of the box type activities to reengage and reinvigorate students and set the tone for the rest of the school year.

Many teachers have already begun planning cardboard challenges, STEAM activities, Breakout EDU opportunities, grade level rotations, Spheros, board games, and special art projects. Need more ideas? Mary Pat Vargas, STEAM ToSA at Lietz, created this Smart Start hyperdoc with ideas and resources. Click here to see the full document with ideas. While these activities include suggestions for grades K through 5, many can be modified and used in other grades as well.

Middle school teachers at Union are starting off the year by taking the opportunity to team build and reinvigorate their classes with activities that include improv, karaoke, and introducing their students to Because I said I would, a movement to encourage people to make and keep commitments.

At Dartmouth, the emphasis will be on team bonding and connecting with their students after the break; things like minute-to-win it games, art-based projects, and STEM and Break-Out EDU challenges.

There are lots of great ideas and resources on this blog and on the web. We encourage you to check them out. Remember, the sky's the limit! Talk to your grade level partners, STEAM ToSA, Tech ToSAs, or Instructional ToSAs for implementation support. As we prepare for winter break, let’s all get ready to reStart, renew, and rejuvenate our teaching and inspire our students to get off to a great start in the new year.

World Class STEM Building at Dartmouth

The STEM program at Dartmouth is housed in a building, much like the STEAM labs that are planned for each elementary school site. If you didn’t get a chance to peek at it at our back-to-school PD Day in August, get an idea of the building that will be coming to a site near you this spring, and see the amazing things happening there by watching the video below.

Thanks to STEAM ToSAs, Cindy Loper and Mary Pat Vargas, Megan Mullaly, and the 6th grade team at UMS for contributing to this week’s blog.