This past Tuesday we were able to host an incredible event at the Shaw called HERStory. HERStory was a chance to share the mission of celebrating women’s achievements and empowering our female students in particular. Teaming up with the BPS Office of External Affairs and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, we were able to work with some wonderful volunteers and bring in guest readers to every classroom.
Vertex “has grown into a leading global biotech that repeatedly innovates to bring transformative medicines to people around the world.” All of the volunteers that came for this event were women working at Vertex. The shared with students STEM-related picture books that had strong female characters.
Students were then able to ask the volunteers questions about their careers and how they reached the point where they are now. Some of the women shared photographs and talked about where they went to college. A few even shared their personal struggles throughout their own school experiences. Some of the classes are currently studying community helpers and jobs, so this was a great tie-in with what they are learning.
Women and men of color are grossly under-represented in STEM careers, so one of my personal goals is to help my students develop an interest in these fields. This event was great exposure to people and careers in STEM! It was a chance for our students to meet strong, dynamic women making a difference.
A good teacher never stops learning. I recently finished a course at Lesley University called "The Maker Mindset”. I was able to engage in hands-on activities that model learning through play, fostering opportunities for self-awareness and identity affirmation, creativity, collaboration, and problem solving. I also learned about some beneficial technology to start using in the Shaw library.
Using Scratch and Makey Makey, our K0/K1 students can participate in Reader's Theater! They can press the characters to have them speak for each role. This helps our non-verbal and shy students be included in our literacy activities, giving them a voice they didn't have before.
Using the Stop Motion Studio app, students can start making stop motion videos! They will be able to create their own videos, bringing stories and poetry to life.
Learning about circuits, students can combine natural materials with electronic components to make a nature bot!
Learning doesn’t just happen. Rather, it’s something you work at. Making can help students develop that growth mindset we want them to have, teaching them to push through obstacles and be resilient in the face of failure. Our students need the skills to succeed in a constantly changing world. Robots, computer programming, upcycling, and STEAM building challenges are all engaging ways of learning the essential skills of collaboration, communication, and digital literacy. These skills are critical to providing children with opportunities relevant to today's world, and having these resources will help to put our students on a level playing field in the future. Building and making is a way for some students to know something deeply. We have the opportunity to ignite a passion in them so they become doctors, architects, scientists and astronomers. We can start this when they are young so they grow up believing that they can and that they have the ability to do so. According to Dale Dougherty, Editor & Publisher of Make Magazine, “By the process of tinkering, we learn how to change and shape the world in small but significant ways and adapt it to our personal needs.” Making will open doors of opportunity for all our students, and I know they will have a positive impact on the world.
Mrs. Keohane is the School Librarian at the P.A. Shaw. She loves hockey, going to the beach, and reading (obviously!)