Back to school!

Can you believe summer is coming to a close already? This happens every August, but we’re still always surprised when it’s time to gear up for a new academic year.

Preparation for teachers means the practical task of getting your lesson plans together for the fall semester. Speaking more broadly, it means figuring out the right mix of content, activities, and fun that will kick off your year and get students engaged in learning from the first day they step into your classroom.

In June we talked about the summer slide, and all of you can attest that the struggle is real when kids return to school. Starting their engines and moving them ahead, particularly in reading, can be an uphill slog. But does it have to be? No!

Novel Engineering is the perfect way to re-engage your students because it’s a fresh and surprising take on literacy that incorporates the ever-popular hands-on STEM. Kids will get moving, thinking with their hands, building, making. They’ll also get to know each other as they work together to creatively solve problems. And for you, the teacher, it’s an accessible, friendly way to find out what your new students are all about, how they think, and how they interact with each other.

As you prepare, remember that Novel Engineering doesn’t require much of anything that you don’t already have in your classroom. The deep and rich learning experiences are easily created using existing textbooks, children’s books, or other literature, and the hands-on component is meant to be done with common items found in any classroom (or easily “borrowed”!).

So how do you get started? First, register and then use our getting started activities to jumpstart your lessons. Also, consider a few simple things as you plan your first few weeks of school:

  1. Review your resources with new eyes – nearly any text or book in your classroom is a treasure trove of engineering problems for students to solve. Don’t overthink it – just get started with what you have in front of you that you have to use anyway.
  2. Take a look around at your “stuff” – we’re fairly sure you already have what you need to conduct some pretty engaging activities in your classroom. Kids don’t need much to express their creative problem solving skills. Paper, paper clips, straws, pipe cleaners, cardboard, tape. You get the idea.  
  3. Begin with the STEM in mind – there is an opportunity at every turn to incorporate STEM into your literacy lessons. We’ve already done the work for you by creating the Novel Engineering process that combines engineering and literacy. Keep an eye out for engaging ways to turn your everyday literacy lessons into cross-curricular learning opportunities.

Just in time for the fall semester, we’re launching a new Novel Engineering Challenge, a way to take your students’ English language arts and STEM learning to the streets! Well, the internet at least. Novel Engineering Challenges are an excellent way to get started, as they can be completed quickly – bite-sized literacy and STEM that adds an element of competition as they see what other kids from around the world have come up with.

Register today and get your semester off to the right start! The fall Novel Engineering Challenge starts October 1 and ends November 10.