Hello all, I am April McKnight and I am a STEAM teacher. Yes, you name the course I have taught it in my many years of teaching. My theme sitcom tonight is different strokes because it takes different strokes to move the world
Everybody’s got a special kind of story and this is mine and why I am a teacher. I have been a teacher, administrator and coach of everything. I am an Iron science winner, as well as other awards for teaching.
But this is the story of my why. I went to a Technical vocational school in Manitoba. Oh the classes I took... Yes all of this was in my high school.
But still I left school at 16. Wait don't worry. Yes I did graduate. But I left this amazing curriculum. It really makes you wonder why.
I had all the choices in the world but I was bored.
Yes, I was the square peg trying to fit the circle hole. I learn by doing and not from books, lectures or worksheets… They forgot that not everyone is the same. The world don't move to the beat of one drum.
You have probably figured out that I was that KID. The trouble maker but the brain too. So thankfully my junior high teachers were smart enough to move me to independent work and allowed me to fast track. But really I think they just wanted me out of the room… Cant blame them.
So my teaching career began with the view that we must always have fun in school. Learning happens when we enjoy what we are doing. So at first I started by throwing away the textbooks and doing more hands on work.
My first years were at my old high school. I was teaching and thinking outside of the normal status quo. Oh, I think I ruffled the feathers more of my old teachers. And this thinking has continued to today.
I don't give tests in my senior science classes we do performance tasks for each unit. These projects show the learning as they must do the work and explain the thinking behind the work and how our unit applies to it. I also have a hands-on lab final for each class.
In math we now do unit check ins. These are open book, using calculators and can be corrected several times. Each question has several steps and they earn 4/5 for the work shown to get the answer and just one mark for the answer. Its about the process not the answer.
My classroom is always learning and trying to figure out how their brain sees it. It is about solving the problem not just doing the steps the way the book says.
And yes we always do any idea a student has for a project. My job is to figure out how it fits in the curriculum. It’s about them having fun while learning.
And change is good so we moved to BC. New province, new curriculum, new provincial exams and new weather…. …
So I settled in the sunshine coast and in my first year there was a transition to a flex model. We meet twice a week as a class and they have two seminar classes a week for independent work. They pick the time to do the labs and have free access to my classroom at anytime..
We also have our xblock or really a student’s passion block twice a week. We are not the teachers anymore we are more the facilitators of learning.
So if this is not the option for you at your school at least try something for you classes. Try it. Call it whatever class you want but make learning fun for kids. The choices are there for us in BC with the new curriculum. But remember make it fun. Its not brain surgery,. Nobody dies from the lessons
So remember the world don't move to the beat of just one drum.
What might be right for you, may not be right for some.
It takes different strokes to move the world.
And that's the way our teaching should be.