I don’t know if I quite have the words to describe the impact the Kenan Fellowship has had on me personally and as an educator. Not only did Kenan provide me with opportunities to further my learning about STEM, implement new strategies into my classroom, and go hands on in a STEM career field- it has expanded my network. I have been privileged to work and collaborate alongside some of the greatest educators I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Kenan provided a spark for me when I needed it in my professional career. It has has challenged me to grow and become better at what I do. I am more confident and find myself taking on more leadership roles in my school and on my team at school. I feel like I also have a deeper understanding of what STEM really looks like in the real world. So, I’m not just throwing words around, I know their implications. I know why the soft-skills we are using and developing in students in our classroom are vital for their future success because I’ve been in the workplaces where they will use them.
Kenan has helped me find new innovative ways to keep my instruction fresh. It has helped me keep my students more actively engaged and make their learning more relevant to their lives. This has been the greatest professional learning experience I’ve ever had.
One new strategy I have implemented this school year that has made my life simply Ahhhh-mazing have been student tracker cards. I adapted this idea from my experience at Bosch Rexroth. When I was on the plant floor at Bosch, I noticed these lights that would change from Red to Green or Blue. I asked one of the machinists on the floor to explain to me the purpose. He told me that those lights sent messages to their supervisors phones to alert them as to what kind of production they were doing. Red meant they had no material or had some major problem. Green meant they were working. Blue meant that they had no work to complete/they were finished. I really liked this concept so I decided to take it back to my classroom. I created student tracker cards using paint chips from Walmart. I got 4 colors- red, yellow, green and blue. When ever my students are engaged in independent work, they flip their tracker cards to show me how they are feeling during their work. Red means I’m stuck and need help, Yellow means I’m confused and need some help but I’m still working, Green means I’m good, I’m working. Blue means I’m finished with my work.
This has made my life so much easier! No longer do I have students sitting with hands raised, or getting out of their seats to follow me around the room. These procedures have been great! My students understand how to use these cards and use them effectively. I also use them for quick learning checks (red for disagree, green for agree).
I highly recommend implementing these into any classroom as a free quick fix!
Thru my internship experience this summer, my eyes were opened to a whole new world! I had no idea how many different jobs existed and how many jobs it took to make a manufacturing corporation run effectively! I have enjoyed being able to share my experience over this past week with my students in class. I have begun to expose them to a few of the careers I learned about during my experience. I knew that there were different types of engineers, but I don’t think I fully grasped how important machinists and logistics were in the process. This project has exposed me to a lot of different career opportunities that I am now able to expose my students to.
My internship experience at Bosch-Rexroth was full of learning moments! I was able to spend my time engaged in multiple projects, shadowing employees, and sitting in on meetings. The most interesting moments I had were spent on the plant floor. I really enjoyed talking to the different machinists and learning about the different processes for the different products being produced. I also REALLY loved learning how to cut on the Kaltenbach Saw. It was fun getting to saw big aluminum extrusions into smaller pieces.
My biggest challenge in my internship at first was to find a way to make my experience relate to my 8-year-olds in the classroom. I realized at first I was thinking too literally. No, my students are not going to saw and manufacture ball-screws or rail systems in our classroom. Then a week or two into the internship I realized it’s not about the product, it’s about the process. This seems like such a simple understanding. Once I shifted my focus, I started seeing connections to my classroom all around me.
My biggest takeaway from my internship experience are all the different soft skills and processed I can incorporate into my classroom. Through observation and discussion it became very clear how important communication, collaboration, self-management, critical thinking, and problem solving skills are in the work force. I plan to incorporate these skills in as many different ways as possible throughout my school year. One way to do this is through Project Based Learning. Another procedure I observed (and am stealing) is the red-yellow-green-blue light system. This is a great way to track what students are doing simply through a colored card on their desk (Red: Need help Yellow: I’m struggling but still trying Green: I’m working and Blue: I’m done). On the plant floor they use this light system to track worker productivity.
I can’t believe the internship has already come to an end! I am excited to see what this new partnership with Bosch-Rexroth will entail!
Over the past few weeks at Bosch-Rexroth I have been engaged in multiple projects. I have worked on a “Bight Ideas” project, which are projects employees submit for improvement of processes in the company. The project I was assigned to was on the Mini-Rail line. The process in place was to label items that needed to be cut, deburred, cleaned, etc with a hand written sticky note. My task was to create and laminate cards for each of the processes that the company uses on this rail line. The first challenge I met was not understanding all the terms (deburring, mini-butt grind, etc) that were being referenced. I spent a couple of hours observing the mini-rail line and the processes. During my time working on this project I was able to observe how employees give input into the company and how their input is valued. This was a side to manufacturing that I didn’t originally know existed.
Another project that I worked on with Scott (another Kenan Fellow) was to problem solve an issue the company was having with the tables in their main conference demo room. The tables had a foot rest, but it didn’t have appropriate support so it would come loose each year. This particular bar had also been assembled upside down so when it needed to be tightened, the entire table had to be flipped upside down for maintenance! Scott and I felt like this was not the most efficient process. We first took off each foot rest on each table and flipped the foot rest bar the correct direction. We then measured for a supporting piece of the eco-shape tube to be cut and attached so that the tables will hopefully not need to be tightened as much as the past. This project helped us to get into the mindset of engineers. We jumped into the design process in the revision stage and after a few efforts had found what we felt was the best solution. The design process is one thing I have observed a lot of at Bosch Rexroth and will be incorporating into my classroom.
The final major project that Scott and I were tasked with was designing and creating an Eco-Shape Creation Kit (see picture below). We first did some research, learned the purpose of the project, and played around with the tubing and connectors to see how they work and function together. After we had an idea we drew out some sketches and created an EXCEL sheet to list the materials we would need. We learned the process for how to put in a material order to the Logistics Center and in a couple of days our materials had arrived. Before we could cut the aluminum, we had to be trained on the Kaltenbach Saw. We spent a few hours learning how to input measurements and operate the saw. We also wrote up user friendly directions for saw operation that Bosch will be using in the future for training interns.
The challenge with the Eco-Shape project was that since we had not built much with the materials before, we didn’t account for the added size caused by some of the connectors. This led to the base of the kit being too large for the container (oops!). We went back to our EXCEL sheet and revised our measurements. Bosch will be creating more of the kits we designed for their Community Outreach events. Side note, Scott and I each got to keep a kit for ourselves!
Overall my experience has taught me so much about the manufacturing world. I have learned the ins and outs of their processes, the value of logistics, the importance of having solid problem solving and communication skills. All of the things I have learned I will take back with me into my classroom.
What do you hope to gain from your fellowship experience?
I hope that throughout this fellowship experience I will gain new knowledge and practices to use in my classroom, develop lasting relationships with colleagues, continue to develop my leadership skills, and find meaningful ways to link the classroom and real world experiences through my internship experience.
With this experience I expect to learn new information through different PD opportunities, the institutes, my time at my internship, and through discussion with colleagues. I think this will help further improve my classroom instruction as well as benefit my grade level team and ultimately my school.
One of the components of this fellowship I am most excited about are the relationships that will be developed within our CMS cohort and the larger Kenan Cohort. Through having discussions with each other we will be able to reflect on our own practices. This fellowship will require me to lead PD at my school and take ownership in some areas. I think this will help me continue to develop my leadership skills.
The other component of this fellowship I’m excited about is the relationship with my mentor and my internship experience. This experience will show meaningful ways to connect the classroom to the real world. By being in the manufacturing world, I will be exposed to elements I have never seen/learned about before. I think this well help me do a better job when thinking about STEM and what it means long term for our students. Understanding the skills necessary for these careers will help us begin to instill processes at a young age with our students to help prepare them.
I can’t wait for this to get underway as I know it will challenge me and draw out the best inside of me and my colleagues!
This past week at the KFP Summer Institute was nothing short of amazing! The week was jam-packed full of great PD, fun fellowship with colleagues, and great food! There are so many aspects of the week that I can’t wait to bring back to my school and into my classroom.
I’m planning to implement the PBLs that we learned about this week. It was so helpful that we extended beyond the basics of PBLs and learned how to plan for PBLs and incorporate them cross-curricular. I’m also excited about everything I learned around Makerspace and design thinking process.
My favorite part of the week was probably the Ed Camp. I liked how we were able to not only choose the topics we wanted to learn about but also select which topics were up for discussion. This provided a great time for collaborative discussion among colleagues.
This was the greatest week of PD I have experienced as a teacher. Everything we spent time learning about and discussing was practical and valuable to the work we are doing in the classroom. Having the steering committee there all week and in the mix with us at dinner and on the patio was wonderful! I feel re-energized to bring this work back to my school!