This school year started with not only Shaw students eager to learn, but Shaw teachers too! Alongside my colleagues, I participated in two professional development opportunities in October. Professional development is about becoming the best-equipped teacher I can be as well as sharing what I know with other educators.
Ms. Peralta and I attended the Women in Stem Conference in Orlando, Florida hosted by the National Educator Program. The conference focused on how to promote student achievement, mastery of STEM content, and getting under-represented populations interested in STEM.
Brenda Skoczelas, a physics professor at Lake Sumter State College in Florida, talked about closing the gender gap in STEM and what educators can do to help. She talked about exposing students at an earlier age to STEM, making students aware of the different STEM careers available to them, and making sure students have female STEM mentors.
During the conference Ms. Peralta and I participated in various workshops and STEM building challenges. We learned about coding, the value of play, and even participated in a forensic science experiment about the Wicked Witch of the West! Attending this conference helped me remember that it’s our responsibility as teachers to give girls a positive early experience. We need to let girls explore and have fun, and the library is the perfect place to do that!
Alongside Holmes Innovation School librarian Paula Pickett, I was a presenter for STEAM Up Your Library! at the MassCUE Fall Conference. Paula and I believe that structured makerspace activities combined with well-selected literature increase awareness of STEAM careers in elementary students. We demonstrated how to combine literacy and STEAM-based activities in the library to expose students to career opportunities within STEAM fields. Some of our project examples included strawberry science, school yard gardening, making fossils, 3D technology, coding, and making clothes for dolls.
There is always more to learn. Life-long learning keeps me motivated, and I’m hoping that my students will be inspired to do the same.
Mrs. Keohane is the School Librarian at the P.A. Shaw. She loves hockey, going to the beach, and reading (obviously!)