Unique Challenges of Managing a STEM Classroom
I would like to brief out the joy side rather than going deep into the frustration side of STEM teaching. Here, let’s talk about how to manage a STEM classroom. I hope you enjoy all the STEM education classes after you read this blog.
STEM is an inventive, creative, thought-provoking process. Creative processes are usually not linear. They are often shaky in nature and often go ‘on n on’ and suddenly take a different path all of a sudden.
That’s how it works.
In a STEM classroom, we take this creative process, throw into the mix bunch of supplies, a choice of partners (with who we may or may not enjoy working) and which may sometimes lead to a chaotic environment.
Now, the question arises, how does a teacher who is trying to foster a creative STEM process maintain both behavioural order and learning objectives.
My 6 tips for the best STEM Classroom Management.
Tip 1: Get to know your students
How well does it feel when a professor or teacher really knows you? We all like when we get recognized. So many classroom management behaviours can be smoothed over or short-circuited by really connecting with our students. Feed them with their interests and grant them opportunities to flourish at their strengths. This is what it is all about in building up a creative society. Atlab also has this great blog post on using STEM education with play. A lot face difficulty in pulling out their strengths.
Tip 2: Give teacher-led choice
Let the child make his/her own choices with proper guidance. Offering many choices and permitting them to choose one from many makes them feel they have their own decisions. 99% of students love the feeling of making their own decisions and will work hard for what they have chosen. Thinking only then they would be allowed to choose.
The curriculum brings in a choice to select partners for STEM challenges. However, if you decide to give choice, make sure to think through the options so that no matter what choice students pick, they will have a productive learning experience.
Tip 3: Positive words
Positive words. Always. That’s my classroom management style.
Stomp out the negative behaviours by calling all the good out. It’s always amazing to know the end result in complementing and sharing all the positive behaviour. In addition, I lollipop my “extra” helpers. Which brings in an element of appreciation.
This enriches their attitude and becomes natural problem solvers and team players.
Tip 4: Idealize how to work as a team
Try to keep things humorous and demonstrate all unsuccessful behavioural traits.
Ask them which was the one to model teamwork.
I use these role names:
Supplier: supply gatherer, organizer & returner
Reader: read the task & read brainstorming
Recorder: record testing info
Videographer: Record a video, test and other interesting points.
This often leads to some great discussion in the groups about what occurred during their tests.
Lastly, we take the next class period (or whenever we finish testing) to view every group’s videos and share results along with glows and growth – things we did great and things we could work on.
Tip 5: Assign seats
Set up a classroom that the STEM classroom set-up looks like. Allotting them their own spaces in the classroom will make them feel comfortable even while taking classes at home.
Tip 6: Portable Nametags
With the simple nametag tents, move seats easily as it is perfectly organized. A bonus nametag activity is to turn it into a STEM challenge by creating these light-up name tags from Atlab.