After introducing participants to the early childhood/primary grade STEM-based books, the presenters will discuss how schools can provide leadership and mentoring opportunities to students. Most of the discussion will focus on theories used in the program, which breaks down gender and cultural stereotypes embedded in STEM culture and literacy. Participants will select a book and collaborate to explore an accompanying hands-on activity that applies the messages conveyed in the story.
Donna Jagielski, Ed.D.
Roosevelt Elementary School District
Biography: Donna Jagielski received her Ed.D. in 2016 from Arizona State University. The emphasis of her work has been in the area of instructional practices for the STEM based middle school classroom as well as digital and virtual learning. Dr. Jagielski has been serving the K-12 educational field for over 15 years in the capacities of teacher, instructional coach and administrator. Most of her background is within the high school and junior high levels. Using literacy and hands-on activities as a conduit to introduce younger students to STEM based learning, Dr. Jagielski quickly learned of the positive impact this program had on both groups of students. She later launched a similar program with high school students matched with preschool students and an additional program where high school students were matched up with 5th grade students.
Both STEM-based learning and early childhood/primary grades literacy is filled with gender and cultural stereotypes. This STEM-based literacy program is grounded in several theories that support how educators and administrators can refocus their approach to STEM learning as a whole, especially through the powerful vehicle of peer mentoring. With 15 years of experience as a K-12 educator and administrator, the presenter has initiated a several student-led programs that foster fundamental change. All areas of action research produce fundamental change, but none more powerful than YPAR (youth participatory action research). YPAR is utilized first to demonstrate how fundamental change can take place when older students (high school) serve as mentors for either early childhood (preschool) or primary grades (kinder and first). Female high school students who serve in the capacity of leaders and involved in STEM coursework provide clear role models, breaking down the gender stereotypes of females in these roles. Thie program utilizes social learning theory by Bandura, gender schema theory by Bem, and cross-age peer mentoring (specifically the helper therapy principle of Riessman). Because high school students are the driving force behind this program, the impact is rather immediate. This program provides high school students with opportunities for active mentoring whereby they facilitate thought-provoking questions to further examine the potential gender and cultural stereotypes found in such STEM-based books and then examine how to create coordinating hands-on activities that apply the concepts embedded in the storybooks. Placing an emphasis on the environment, various upcycled, reuse, and everyday materials will be used in the accompanying hands-on activity for this session. Participants will explore a variety of hands-on activities that relate to the message of the storybook and that will have relevancy to their local context. The presenter will examine and discuss how teachers and administrators can work in conjunction with the high school students to fully support them in the leadership role, because they are expected to make the decisions on developing the STEM literacy program so that it is most successful for all stakeholders. All participants will receive an electronic copy of the handout for the session upon providing an email address. The handout will include the list of books used in the program and several suggested hands-on lesson components.
K-12 teachers and administrators. Audience should have some familiarity of STEM based learning. Audience should demonstrate an interest in utilizing peer mentoring, leadership and literacy within their organization.