Teachers attend STREAM Academy

Aug 27, 2015

Area Catholic school teachers learned how to bring STEM into their classrooms.  The Diocese of Buffalo held its STREAM Academy for its elementary teachers.  WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley says this allows teachers to incorporate religion and art in STEM Learning.

Catholic elementary school teachers attend the STREAM Academy and build the 'Tower of Babel'.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Teachers gathered inside classrooms at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute  in Kenmore for break-out sessions. 

STEM Learning provides lessons in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  But in STREAM, the 'R' stands for religion, the 'A' for arts.  Teachers in one lesson were learning how to conduct various engineering experiments with four stories from the old testament. 

"One of the groups is working on the Tower of Babel, hence the story," said Sophia Maxick, 1st Grade Teacher at Windermere Boulevard Elementary in the Amherst Central School District. Maxick served as one of the resonators at the STREAM training.

Teachers were given items for STREAM experiments they can use in their classrooms.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

These programs are designed for Pre K through 6th grade.

"Student driven then teacher driven. We are more facilitators. We are giving all the kids the power.  We are empowering them to do there own thing, to talk to each other," said Maxick. 

Kimberly Ignatius is a also 1st grade teacher Windermere Boulevard. He was helping to provide training session for the Catholic school teachers. 

Jean Comer, Diocese of Buffalo Coordinator for STREAM Education Initiative, instructs teachers.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

"So how can they use science with religion to deliver all the knowledge that kids need," said Ignatius. "In letting kids talk and collaborate and make mistakes, and fix them, and get excited again about science and religion and math and tech."  

In the public schools, Ignatius noted teachers insert fairy tales for these similar experiments instead of religious stories.   

Teachers engage in STREAM Learning to bring back to their classrooms.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

"You know what I love is a student who might shy away from reading or writing or math can really shine because they might be that builder -- that kid that doesn't need directions when they get that Lego set," stated Ignatius.

This is the second year of the STREAM Education Initiative. More than 150-teachers from over  25-schools participated.   

In another classroom,  Jean Comer, Diocese of Buffalo Coordinator for STREAM Education Initiative, led a session encouraging teachers to bring in items from their 'junk drawers' at home to build classroom learning.

Teachers worked together setting up  the experiments, testing their project, collaborating and problem solving, and now they can begin a new school year ready to bring STREAM learning to their catholic elementary school classrooms.