STEAM Creative Instant Challenge Grant Keep WSE Students On Their Game
Ready! Set! Go! Thanks to Wolf Springs Elementary Blended Learning Coach Katie Haberberger, WSE students are thinking faster on their feet with a grant she received for $493.06 from BVEF. While this amount is fairly modest, it was worth every penny as students’ team and individual skills flourished all year with the STEAM Creative Instant Challenges program.
Q. What were the objectives of the STEAM Creative Instant Challenge? Did your program fulfill these objectives?
A. The objectives of the grant were to provide connections for students between curriculum and learning standards and the life skills they will need beyond the classroom. Besides being a lot of fun, Instant Challenges provided students a method of engaging with peers while building collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills in a creative manner.
Q. How did this BVEF grant make this happen?
A. Our main goal was to build students confidence in their problem-solving ability while thinking quickly “on their feet.” During the year, we saw huge student growth. They worked through Instant Challenges weekly and became extremely engaged in their learning because the challenges provided relevant opportunities for them to showcase their knowledge. The students came together as a peer group and learned how to optimize their strengths. It was great to see students at all academic and social levels participate and excel!
Q. What were some of the other opportunities the STEAM Creative Instant Challenge provided for WSE students?
A. One of the best parts of this program is that it was creative and challenging in different ways. The Team Challenges allowed students that were previously very reserved and shy to shine! As teachers, we were blown away by how each student stepped up- bringing their own unique skills- and collaborated as a team. It brought them together and they became a cohesive unit which translated into success during project-based-learning (PBL) unit projects.
Q. This sounds like a winner for the WSE staff! What were student reactions?
A. Students loved the Creative Instant Challenges and noted them as a favorite part of their year! They loved getting to show their creativity and had so much fun working with their teams. Parents commented on how their children grew more confident as problem solvers. Students always wanted to know what the challenge for the week would be and eagerly anticipated Friday afternoons when they could compete!
Q. Can you describe the impact this program had on student growth outside the classroom?
A. There were several significant impacts. Our students were able to directly apply the 21st century skills they developed into other areas of their lives. For example, they developed communication skills such as stage presence and speaking loudly during performance challenges. These skills were needed during project-based-learning public product presentations. We also saw these skills impact their social lives as they made new friends and were able to problem solve if conflict arose.
Q. What would you like other teachers to know about the benefits of the STEAM Creative Instant Challenge grant?
A. It was so successful that we plan to continue it and already started using the Instant Challenge method building-wide at WSE. Classroom teachers were invited to observe Instant Challenges in progress and given an opportunity to make their own for their classrooms. Teachers helped one another implement them! We also used Instant Challenges as a part of professional learning as a staff.
This BVEF grant helped build strong peer relationships in the classroom and a community among the grade level. We loved seeing students develop new skills and build upon their confidence and creativity. Students were given a hands on way to apply communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking skills. These skills are imperative for success in and out of the classroom!