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STEM in a              1 st
             Grade Government
Thai Classroom




                     Yes, They Can!

by Rebecca Petersen, M.A. Ed. University of Northern Iowa, USA
Teacher/Curriculum Specialist at Anubanchonburi Primary School, THAILAND
Pictures sometimes explain better…



     http://animoto.com/play/qgyety6V00B8Rf1zuUQkuQ

     http://animoto.com/play/D1NvBs9SfoPQwU8XgMnr1A
My Definition of STEM:
 Some Teachers Expect More!
 It’s about the students – nothing more
  and nothing less.
 It starts or ends with the classroom
  teacher. Choose your mindset – live it.
 A lot of obstacles are self-created.



             I believe all my kids
                 are super heroes
How I Started a STEM Program at a
Thai Government School:
 Built a trust relationship with my
  Director – I got the green light.
 He ordered “Leave her alone!” - all dutifully
  obeyed and I had FREEDOM to take risks.
Here’s What I Did:
1.   Changed Staffing Structure
2.   Changed Scheduling
3.   Prepared My Classroom
4.   Trained Foreign Teachers in STEM
     Principles
5.   Planned a P1 STEM Curriculum
6.   Strengthened Home/School Connection
7.   Implemented – Centered Around Inquiry
8.   Evaluated
9.   …Now Planning Next Steps
Easy, right?!
1. Changed Staffing Structure: HOW
 Made homeroom teachers in 3 P1 classrooms
  (same teacher, same kids – no rotation).
 Joined Science and Math duties P2 – P6.
Changed Staffing Structure: ISSUES
 The other 2 P1 teachers aren’t getting the same
  results, despite having same lessons – why?
 Majority of teachers are not qualified in education
  let alone subject matter
 Foreign teachers complaining the work is too hard
 Disconnect with C&T and Computer teachers
 High turn-over of staff – training headaches
2. Changed Scheduling: HOW
   3 P1 homeroom teachers – no rotation
   Schedule says STEM not subject - varies
   Back-to-back periods
   1 period on Friday used for P1 formal assessments
   P1 allowed Friday afternoons for a staff meeting
   P2-P6 teachers rotate horizontally instead of
    vertically
Sample Schedule




                                                                                 10:10 – 10:20
                                                       8:30           9:20                          10:20         11:10                        12:50           1:40                        2:40      3:30




                                                                                                                             12:00 -12:50
            8:00 – 8:30




                                                                                                                                                                           2:30 – 2:40
                                                        to             to                             to            to                           to             to                          to        to

                                                       9:20          10:10                          11:10         12:00                         1:40           2:30                        3:30      4:00




                                                                      Thai                        Reading &
                                                       Math                                                      Grammar                       STEM         Thai History                   Club     Review
 Monday                                                             Language                       Writing
                                                     Khemika                                                      Becky                        Becky            Pui                      Various    Khemika
                                                                    Khemika                         Becky




                                                                                                                                                                                           Thai
                                                                     Health                         STEM         Grammar                     Thai Social       Convo                                Review
 Tuesday                                           Phonics Becky                                                                                                                         Language
                                                                    Jonathon                        Becky         Becky                         Jira           Becky                                Khemika
            Flag Ceremony – Teacher Becky Review




                                                                                                                                                                                         Khemika




                                                                                                                                                                                           Thai
                                                        PE          Thai Art                        STEM         Grammar                    Thai Science    Thai Music                              Review




                                                                                                                                                                           Milk Break
Wednesday                                                                                                                                                                                Language
                                                     Jonathon         Bird                          Becky         Becky                         Duan           Malee                                Khemika
                                                                                 Break




                                                                                                                             Lunch
                                                                                                                                                                                         Khemika




                                                       Thai
                                                                   Thai Scouts                      STEM          STEM                       Thai Social      Phonics                    Computer   Review
Thursday                                             Language
                                                                   Khem/Bird                        Becky         Becky                         Jira           Becky                      Betty     Khemika
                                                     Khemika




                                                                                                                                                                                          Sports
                                                    Review /                                                     Thai Intl
                                                                    Grammar                      Thai Language                              Thai Language    Chanting                    Khemika    Review
 Friday                                            Assessment                                                    Subjects
                                                                     Becky                         Khemika                                    Khemika         Khemika                    Meeting    Khemika
                                                      Becky                                                         Fai
                                                                                                                                                                                          Becky
Changed Scheduling: ISSUES
 Most teachers think I just play all day
 Most don’t believe I cover the Thai indicators
 Schedule supports integration yet no other
  teachers are really doing it – still following
  textbooks per subject by unit
 Dedicated Thai teacher support for Science is
  unstable
 Office has difficulty arranging observers/trainees
 Computer lab availability
3. Prepared My Classroom: HOW
 Anything that didn’t have the potential to be used
  for students’ learning was taken out
 Kid-friendly to encourage exploration of materials
 Space was maximized to support group work
 Computer positioned for ease of students’ use
 Blank walls for students’ work
Prepared My Classroom: ISSUES
 Rooms are too small - difficult to maneuver
  between desks
 Minimal storage space
 No place to work on long term projects
 No place to store work-in-progress
4. Trained    FT in STEM Principles: HOW
   2-day training in-house by me
   Sent links to additional information and resources
   Begged P2-P6 teachers to at least try
   P1 teachers have weekly staff meetings with me
Trained FT in STEM Principles: ISSUES
 Thai teachers not there – which is most important
 Not enough training – research indicates you need
  80 hours at a minimum
 No content support – teachers had to be
  resourceful – didn’t know how
 No quality control (QC) afterwards – left to
  themselves
5. Planned   a P1 STEM Curriculum: HOW
 Reviewed Thai indicators - again
 Identified knowledge by subject (What do students
  need to KNOW)
 Identified skills by subject (What do students need
  to be able to DO with the knowledge)
 I added what I wanted students to BE
 Looked at international and US efforts
Planned a P1 STEM Curriculum: ISSUES
 Plan is mostly in my head week-by-week – I value
  my students’ interests
 Doesn’t sync with what the Thai teachers are doing
  or when – they don’t like that
 Lack of resources that are applicable to ELL
  students in Thailand
 Time consuming to plan, tweak, and then prepare
  for my Thai kids
6. Strengthened   Home/School Connection: HOW
  Talked to parents first via letters in English and
   Thai – let them get to know me
  Started a class Facebook Page – share everything
 https://www.facebook.com/TeacherBecky?ref=profile
  Invited parents into my room
  Planned activities requiring
    parent volunteers
  Relied on my parents to help
    get needed materials
  Gave homework requiring
    parent interaction
  Invited community businesses
     in as guest speakers
Strengthened Home/School Connection: ISSUES
 Thai teachers are uncomfortable with it
 Uniformity – other 2 classrooms not doing it
 Difference between “Parent Power” and “Power
  Parents”
 Some parents doing all their child’s work
7. Implemented   – Centered Around Inquiry: HOW
7. Implemented      – Centered Around Inquiry: HOW
 Set the yearly attitude and enthusiasm from Day 1 – you are all
  scientists (bulletin board messages)
 Required scientist tools (clipboards, bug boxes, magnifying glasses,
  specimen trays, etc.)
 Dove in with problem-based situations in every subject (creativity
  and critical thinking)
 Focused on behavior / democratic education (collaboration and
  community)
 Grabbed project ideas weekly – shared on DropBox with other
  teachers
 Stopped using textbooks – used REAL LIFE
 Stopped focusing on English (inquiry practices naturally increase
  literacy!)
 Got out of the classroom lots
 Listened to my students, got their input on their interests
 Mini field-trips for just my class
 Ignored resistance, stayed enthused and positive
 Got mentorship from professors
Implemented – Centered Around Inquiry: ISSUES
 Teaching 6 year old Thai students self discipline was no easy task – must have
  the patience of a holy man
 Inquiry practices and project work contradicts Thai classroom culture
 No room in the class to do project work properly, to store work-in-progress, or
  to showcase students’ work
 Other P1 teachers got my ideas late, not enough time for them to digest and
  adapt - got content but not techniques
 Parents are used to textbooks. They think not filled in = I’m not teaching
 Textbooks are not technology based and usually not culturally relevant
 Phonics only subject I follow regimentally – Thai concern I’m not covering
  everything – they can’t see my big picture
 Parents more concerned about speaking English rather than comprehension
 Kids used to rote memorization rather than applying higher order critical
  thinking skills
 Kids don’t like being in the sun; aren’t exposed to athletic activities like US kids
  – hard to get them to “play”
 Parents overly concerned about safety – a tad spoiled
 High teacher-student ratio
 No aids for special needs kids
 Grading nightmares
8. Evaluated: HOW
 Allotted Friday mornings for 1-on-1 student
  formal assessments – checked for
  comprehension
 Spelling
 Reading
 T/F Science
 Math
 Class Cheer Partner Conversation
 Rubrics for projects completed by teacher
Evaluated: ISSUES
 1 project but grades required in different grade
  books – time consuming
 Not well documented – don’t maintain student
  portfolios
 Not enough “stuff” for my grade books
 Lose 1 period of teaching time
 Midterm / Final tests don’t match to the Thai tests –
  yet my success is compared to them
 Needs to be easy enough for the other two P1
  classrooms to do
 Difficult to show skill improvement; work now
  usually not demonstrated until later years
9. Now Planning Next Steps: SO FAR
 Have a clearer picture of the issues and
  understanding of the steps needed to overcome
  them
 Brought in Thai QC personnel
 Reviewing teachers in the classroom, their lesson
  plans and assessments more regularly
 Providing more training and support – Thai and
  Foreigners
 Networking with other schools / experts
 Getting content from ITEEA and Discovery
  Education to be used as a pilot class
 Continuing my teacher action research
Now Planning Next Steps: NEEDED
   Put more focus on training Thai staff
   Thai staff needs to increase their English ability
   Strengthen partnership between Thai and foreign staff
   Provide incentives for quality foreign teachers to come
    and stay for at least a year
   Set benchmarks for grade levels – and expect it
   Help for special needs kids
   Revamp the C&T and Computer curriculum
   Mandate home/school communication
   Integrate technology into everything we do using TIMS
   Fix the tablets – let foreigners use them, too
   Develop rubrics / project reviews / student portfolios
   Change the classroom settings / layouts/ tools
   Maintain a consistent STEM professional development
    program
Parting Thoughts
 Why must schools integrate their curriculum?
 Why must we focus on self-discipline and skills more so
  than knowledge?
 Why must inquiry be the heart of STEM?
 Why must creativity, communication, collaboration and
  critical thinking be the building blocks of STEM?
 Why must we stop relying on textbooks?
 Why must we integrate technology with every subject?
 Why must the teacher’s role change drastically?
 Why must the primary years be bilingual with a homeroom
  teacher instead of total immersion with rotation?
 How do we want Thai students to be as members in a
  global society?
 Why should we care about any of this?
Our job is an important one. It’s meaningful and
valuable – yet goes mostly unrecognized and
unrewarded. But give it all you’ve got. Aim higher.
Live more passionately. Every child is important.
Every child is relying on you.




               Smile. Laugh. Learn. Sing. Dance. Enjoy!
Projects So Far:
 Draw a Scientist Test – set attitudes and expectations
 Voted on a student-created class logo for our image branding
 Lessons on scientist skills / safety
 Implemented and maintained democratic education with monthly leaders who solve real-life problems in the
classroom
 5 senses activity with popcorn and a visit from a local massage school
 Park phonics – watched living things die on our letters and discussed why
 Parts of a whole – made moveable bodies and designed outfits
 learned the design process - clay bodies – cupcake designs – living and nonliving things - toys
 Mangrove field trip – experiments with sand
 Pirates, Mermaids and Sea Monsters – interdisciplinary approach to all subjects
 Tiger Zoo and Khao Keow Zoo critical literacy – habitat clay models – camouflage activity
 Inquiry process – Oleander Hawkmoth
 Bug and plant investigation corner
 Poster presentations – how to show what we know
 Science integrated into reading textbook - movies
 Facebook wall, student manager, and homework
 Fish gills dissection
 Weekly class cheers – learning grammar through science concepts
 Break journals (PhotoVoice) – documenting what we observe and using that as a basis to communicate our
understanding
 Recycled Christmas tree construction
 Alien life cycles design and clay models
 Force and motion with toy cars – Discovery Education content
 Designing a moon station
 Engineering to solve real problems as they arise – problem solvers
 Problem Based Instructional Tasks (PBIT) for Math
THANK YOU!
   …..and happy STEMing




CONTACT:
Email: rebecca_petersen@rocketmail.com
Skype: thailandbecky
Blog: http://teacherbeckysworld.blogspot.com/



Project explanation and evidence available upon request

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Rebecca Petersen's ISMTEC 2013 Presentation regarding STEM Education in a First Grade Thai Classroom

  • 1. STEM in a 1 st Grade Government Thai Classroom Yes, They Can! by Rebecca Petersen, M.A. Ed. University of Northern Iowa, USA Teacher/Curriculum Specialist at Anubanchonburi Primary School, THAILAND
  • 2. Pictures sometimes explain better… http://animoto.com/play/qgyety6V00B8Rf1zuUQkuQ http://animoto.com/play/D1NvBs9SfoPQwU8XgMnr1A
  • 3. My Definition of STEM:  Some Teachers Expect More!  It’s about the students – nothing more and nothing less.  It starts or ends with the classroom teacher. Choose your mindset – live it.  A lot of obstacles are self-created. I believe all my kids are super heroes
  • 4. How I Started a STEM Program at a Thai Government School:  Built a trust relationship with my Director – I got the green light.  He ordered “Leave her alone!” - all dutifully obeyed and I had FREEDOM to take risks.
  • 5. Here’s What I Did: 1. Changed Staffing Structure 2. Changed Scheduling 3. Prepared My Classroom 4. Trained Foreign Teachers in STEM Principles 5. Planned a P1 STEM Curriculum 6. Strengthened Home/School Connection 7. Implemented – Centered Around Inquiry 8. Evaluated 9. …Now Planning Next Steps
  • 7. 1. Changed Staffing Structure: HOW  Made homeroom teachers in 3 P1 classrooms (same teacher, same kids – no rotation).  Joined Science and Math duties P2 – P6.
  • 8. Changed Staffing Structure: ISSUES  The other 2 P1 teachers aren’t getting the same results, despite having same lessons – why?  Majority of teachers are not qualified in education let alone subject matter  Foreign teachers complaining the work is too hard  Disconnect with C&T and Computer teachers  High turn-over of staff – training headaches
  • 9. 2. Changed Scheduling: HOW  3 P1 homeroom teachers – no rotation  Schedule says STEM not subject - varies  Back-to-back periods  1 period on Friday used for P1 formal assessments  P1 allowed Friday afternoons for a staff meeting  P2-P6 teachers rotate horizontally instead of vertically
  • 10. Sample Schedule 10:10 – 10:20 8:30 9:20 10:20 11:10 12:50 1:40 2:40 3:30 12:00 -12:50 8:00 – 8:30 2:30 – 2:40 to to to to to to to to 9:20 10:10 11:10 12:00 1:40 2:30 3:30 4:00 Thai Reading & Math Grammar STEM Thai History Club Review Monday Language Writing Khemika Becky Becky Pui Various Khemika Khemika Becky Thai Health STEM Grammar Thai Social Convo Review Tuesday Phonics Becky Language Jonathon Becky Becky Jira Becky Khemika Flag Ceremony – Teacher Becky Review Khemika Thai PE Thai Art STEM Grammar Thai Science Thai Music Review Milk Break Wednesday Language Jonathon Bird Becky Becky Duan Malee Khemika Break Lunch Khemika Thai Thai Scouts STEM STEM Thai Social Phonics Computer Review Thursday Language Khem/Bird Becky Becky Jira Becky Betty Khemika Khemika Sports Review / Thai Intl Grammar Thai Language Thai Language Chanting Khemika Review Friday Assessment Subjects Becky Khemika Khemika Khemika Meeting Khemika Becky Fai Becky
  • 11. Changed Scheduling: ISSUES  Most teachers think I just play all day  Most don’t believe I cover the Thai indicators  Schedule supports integration yet no other teachers are really doing it – still following textbooks per subject by unit  Dedicated Thai teacher support for Science is unstable  Office has difficulty arranging observers/trainees  Computer lab availability
  • 12. 3. Prepared My Classroom: HOW  Anything that didn’t have the potential to be used for students’ learning was taken out  Kid-friendly to encourage exploration of materials  Space was maximized to support group work  Computer positioned for ease of students’ use  Blank walls for students’ work
  • 13. Prepared My Classroom: ISSUES  Rooms are too small - difficult to maneuver between desks  Minimal storage space  No place to work on long term projects  No place to store work-in-progress
  • 14. 4. Trained FT in STEM Principles: HOW  2-day training in-house by me  Sent links to additional information and resources  Begged P2-P6 teachers to at least try  P1 teachers have weekly staff meetings with me
  • 15. Trained FT in STEM Principles: ISSUES  Thai teachers not there – which is most important  Not enough training – research indicates you need 80 hours at a minimum  No content support – teachers had to be resourceful – didn’t know how  No quality control (QC) afterwards – left to themselves
  • 16. 5. Planned a P1 STEM Curriculum: HOW  Reviewed Thai indicators - again  Identified knowledge by subject (What do students need to KNOW)  Identified skills by subject (What do students need to be able to DO with the knowledge)  I added what I wanted students to BE  Looked at international and US efforts
  • 17. Planned a P1 STEM Curriculum: ISSUES  Plan is mostly in my head week-by-week – I value my students’ interests  Doesn’t sync with what the Thai teachers are doing or when – they don’t like that  Lack of resources that are applicable to ELL students in Thailand  Time consuming to plan, tweak, and then prepare for my Thai kids
  • 18. 6. Strengthened Home/School Connection: HOW  Talked to parents first via letters in English and Thai – let them get to know me  Started a class Facebook Page – share everything https://www.facebook.com/TeacherBecky?ref=profile  Invited parents into my room  Planned activities requiring parent volunteers  Relied on my parents to help get needed materials  Gave homework requiring parent interaction  Invited community businesses in as guest speakers
  • 19. Strengthened Home/School Connection: ISSUES  Thai teachers are uncomfortable with it  Uniformity – other 2 classrooms not doing it  Difference between “Parent Power” and “Power Parents”  Some parents doing all their child’s work
  • 20. 7. Implemented – Centered Around Inquiry: HOW
  • 21. 7. Implemented – Centered Around Inquiry: HOW  Set the yearly attitude and enthusiasm from Day 1 – you are all scientists (bulletin board messages)  Required scientist tools (clipboards, bug boxes, magnifying glasses, specimen trays, etc.)  Dove in with problem-based situations in every subject (creativity and critical thinking)  Focused on behavior / democratic education (collaboration and community)  Grabbed project ideas weekly – shared on DropBox with other teachers  Stopped using textbooks – used REAL LIFE  Stopped focusing on English (inquiry practices naturally increase literacy!)  Got out of the classroom lots  Listened to my students, got their input on their interests  Mini field-trips for just my class  Ignored resistance, stayed enthused and positive  Got mentorship from professors
  • 22. Implemented – Centered Around Inquiry: ISSUES  Teaching 6 year old Thai students self discipline was no easy task – must have the patience of a holy man  Inquiry practices and project work contradicts Thai classroom culture  No room in the class to do project work properly, to store work-in-progress, or to showcase students’ work  Other P1 teachers got my ideas late, not enough time for them to digest and adapt - got content but not techniques  Parents are used to textbooks. They think not filled in = I’m not teaching  Textbooks are not technology based and usually not culturally relevant  Phonics only subject I follow regimentally – Thai concern I’m not covering everything – they can’t see my big picture  Parents more concerned about speaking English rather than comprehension  Kids used to rote memorization rather than applying higher order critical thinking skills  Kids don’t like being in the sun; aren’t exposed to athletic activities like US kids – hard to get them to “play”  Parents overly concerned about safety – a tad spoiled  High teacher-student ratio  No aids for special needs kids  Grading nightmares
  • 23. 8. Evaluated: HOW  Allotted Friday mornings for 1-on-1 student formal assessments – checked for comprehension  Spelling  Reading  T/F Science  Math  Class Cheer Partner Conversation  Rubrics for projects completed by teacher
  • 24. Evaluated: ISSUES  1 project but grades required in different grade books – time consuming  Not well documented – don’t maintain student portfolios  Not enough “stuff” for my grade books  Lose 1 period of teaching time  Midterm / Final tests don’t match to the Thai tests – yet my success is compared to them  Needs to be easy enough for the other two P1 classrooms to do  Difficult to show skill improvement; work now usually not demonstrated until later years
  • 25. 9. Now Planning Next Steps: SO FAR  Have a clearer picture of the issues and understanding of the steps needed to overcome them  Brought in Thai QC personnel  Reviewing teachers in the classroom, their lesson plans and assessments more regularly  Providing more training and support – Thai and Foreigners  Networking with other schools / experts  Getting content from ITEEA and Discovery Education to be used as a pilot class  Continuing my teacher action research
  • 26. Now Planning Next Steps: NEEDED  Put more focus on training Thai staff  Thai staff needs to increase their English ability  Strengthen partnership between Thai and foreign staff  Provide incentives for quality foreign teachers to come and stay for at least a year  Set benchmarks for grade levels – and expect it  Help for special needs kids  Revamp the C&T and Computer curriculum  Mandate home/school communication  Integrate technology into everything we do using TIMS  Fix the tablets – let foreigners use them, too  Develop rubrics / project reviews / student portfolios  Change the classroom settings / layouts/ tools  Maintain a consistent STEM professional development program
  • 27. Parting Thoughts  Why must schools integrate their curriculum?  Why must we focus on self-discipline and skills more so than knowledge?  Why must inquiry be the heart of STEM?  Why must creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking be the building blocks of STEM?  Why must we stop relying on textbooks?  Why must we integrate technology with every subject?  Why must the teacher’s role change drastically?  Why must the primary years be bilingual with a homeroom teacher instead of total immersion with rotation?  How do we want Thai students to be as members in a global society?  Why should we care about any of this?
  • 28. Our job is an important one. It’s meaningful and valuable – yet goes mostly unrecognized and unrewarded. But give it all you’ve got. Aim higher. Live more passionately. Every child is important. Every child is relying on you. Smile. Laugh. Learn. Sing. Dance. Enjoy!
  • 29. Projects So Far:  Draw a Scientist Test – set attitudes and expectations  Voted on a student-created class logo for our image branding  Lessons on scientist skills / safety  Implemented and maintained democratic education with monthly leaders who solve real-life problems in the classroom  5 senses activity with popcorn and a visit from a local massage school  Park phonics – watched living things die on our letters and discussed why  Parts of a whole – made moveable bodies and designed outfits  learned the design process - clay bodies – cupcake designs – living and nonliving things - toys  Mangrove field trip – experiments with sand  Pirates, Mermaids and Sea Monsters – interdisciplinary approach to all subjects  Tiger Zoo and Khao Keow Zoo critical literacy – habitat clay models – camouflage activity  Inquiry process – Oleander Hawkmoth  Bug and plant investigation corner  Poster presentations – how to show what we know  Science integrated into reading textbook - movies  Facebook wall, student manager, and homework  Fish gills dissection  Weekly class cheers – learning grammar through science concepts  Break journals (PhotoVoice) – documenting what we observe and using that as a basis to communicate our understanding  Recycled Christmas tree construction  Alien life cycles design and clay models  Force and motion with toy cars – Discovery Education content  Designing a moon station  Engineering to solve real problems as they arise – problem solvers  Problem Based Instructional Tasks (PBIT) for Math
  • 30. THANK YOU! …..and happy STEMing CONTACT: Email: rebecca_petersen@rocketmail.com Skype: thailandbecky Blog: http://teacherbeckysworld.blogspot.com/ Project explanation and evidence available upon request