With almost all educators going back to in-person teaching this year, many are overwhelmed with the tasks needed to make this year meaningful for their students. Students need to not only relearn how to collaborate and communicate with their classmates, but also reorient themselves with the norms and expectations of being in a classroom space. While these might feel like heavy lifts, they can successfully happen if educators prioritize joy in their teaching practice.
As STEAM educators, we have the opportunity to create a learning environment that fosters joyful exploration and play within an inquiry-based curriculum. Our classrooms can be spaces where students feel safe to ask questions and encouraged to explore what they are genuinely curious about. When we ask students to be creative and collaborate with peers on projects that are aligned with their interests, students are more likely to be actively engaged in the learning process and proud of the knowledge they have gained. By centering students’ curiosities and interests, we are nurturing a joyful experience for them to see how STEAM is relevant to their lives and communities.
One way students can share and explore their curiosities about the world around them through media making is with KQED’s Science Documentary Youth Media Challenge. This challenge gives middle and high school students the opportunity to explore topics, observations or issues that are important to them and create a short video to share their understanding with an audience beyond their classrooms. Giving students the choice to tap into their curiosities increases engagement and empowers students to be agents of change.
If you want to learn more about our youth media challenge and find inspiration on sparking joy in your classroom, join us at the California STEAM Symposium from October 21-23. This virtual conference provides excellent peer-led professional learning workshops that highlight lesson and project ideas, teaching strategies and innovations that increase student engagement in all content areas. Come to our session “Creating Documentaries to Inspire Science Communication” on October 22 at 5:30PM PST. Register and see the full agenda at steamcalifornia.org.
Special California STEAM Symposium Scholarship
We are excited to be able to offer an incredible scholarship for KQED educators to attend the CA STEAM Symposium. Use the code KQEDSCHOLARSHIP at check out to get your registration fees fully covered! Come, engage with three days of energizing content and spark more joy into your STEAM classroom at this invigorating event. Don’t miss out! Register today!