The Instructional Coaches in Wood Dale District 7 supported the SEM (Schoolwide Enrichment Model) staff with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Fair that took place on Tuesday, April 17th. Staff members from NIU STEM Outreach program provided the materials and training to all the volunteers manning the stations. Volunteers included Wood Dale community members, high school students from Fenton High School, and Wood Dale District 7 staff members. All students from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade got to experiment various STEM stations, including but not limited to strong magnets, hydro cars, telescopes, reflection and refraction mirrors, hydro cars, laser and diffraction lensed rainbow glasses, nanotechnology and much more. Students in the picture above experiment using a bicycle wheel gyroscope at one of the stations.
The instructional coaches in Wood Dale District 7 continue to support teachers in developing their UbD (Understanding by Design) units. Recently, the coaches supported the 7th grade Language Arts team as they completed Stages 2 and 3 of their units. The teachers worked to incorporate both summative and formative assessments, informational text and literature, and strategies to address word analysis and grammar instruction into their units. Throughout the day, the team continually reflected on how the new Common Core Standards were addressed in each unit. The day concluded with discussion and research for their final unit entitled "Survival".
The website www.instagrok.com is one of our new favorites for helping kids research. Your students can search a topic and instead of giving them a list of websites, the site creates a semantic map with the search word in the middle. Other words to describe the topic are then linked to the center circle. On the right-hand side of the website, your students can browse facts, websites, images and videos all related to the topic in the center of your semantic map. If students want to find out more about one of the related terms in the semantic map, they can simply click on the new topic and it reconfigures the map placing the new topic in the middle. The facts, websites, images and videos change to represent the new search topic.
And it gets even better…At the top of the page, students can use a scroll bar to adjust the readability of the resources that come up when searching a topic. On the bottom left-hand side of the page, a glossary is provided for students to find definitions of unknown words related to the search topic.
If desired, students can create a free log-in, take notes from the sources provided and save them in a personal account. You have to check out this website! You will be amazed at all that this resource has to offer. As always, the coaches would love to come into your classroom and share this resource with you and your students.
We are instructional coaches working in District 7, Wood Dale, Illinois. We work with teachers in grades PreK-8 to help teachers build their own capacity for curriculum development and instruction.