Teacher Experience: “Baker” Task for 4th Grade RTI Students
By Deanna Freeman, Intervention Educator at Castle Heights Elementary School, Lebanon, Tennessee
Building critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in students that are in my response to intervention (RTI) groups.
Project-based learning helps my students connect what is being taught in the classroom to everyday life. They see how the language, science, and mathematical skills they’ve learned can be used in the future. At the same time, they are becoming more familiar with various computer programs and emerging technology and building their collaboration and presentation skills, which will definitely impact their future job endeavors.
Using Defined STEM to support students at all levels of academic readiness.
Defined STEM has been a springboard for my response to intervention (RTI) groups. These students, in particular, need to be stretched and challenged and Defined STEM is a great tool to use in that process. It gives my groups an outlet for creativity while still meeting academic standards and providing a place to develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. The nature of the projects creates a collaborative classroom environment with a focus on independent work and expression.
I recently did the Defined STEM Baker performance task with my 4th-grade RTI students. They were asked to create a business investment proposal and a scale drawing for a successful bakery. Students would present their plans to a foundation consisting of our learning leader, the principal, assistant principal, and myself. The winner would be awarded pretend funds to open their business.
We started by conducting a whole-class discussion regarding what the students already knew about bakeries and what they thought it would take to design and open a bakery. We then watched the career video and answered the guiding questions together. The next day, we read and discussed the goal, role, audience, situation, and products (GRASP) and watched the videos of the product students would complete. Each student was then given the green light for creating a unique bakery to meet the needs of their chosen target audience, and to create a unique pastry item that would be their specialty. The students conducted research focused on average small bakery size, initial startup costs, current pastry trends, and supplies that would be needed.
When they had completed sufficient research, we began our bakery design by measuring the front facade of our school as a starting point in determining our bakery size. We also measured the windows and doors as a reference. The students formulated a rough draft of their design and then a final, hand-drawn, color elevation.
The final presentation included the elevation rough draft, the final scale elevation drawing, an exterior signage sample, a constructed-response paper communicating what they had learned during this process, and a sample pastry if they chose to prepare their specialty.
Although this project was a bit intimidating at first, students quickly shed any fear and dove head-first into the creative process. They enjoyed the challenge of learning about building a business from the ground up as well as applying many mathematical skills they had studied throughout the year. I heard, “I love this! This is fun!” so many times. A couple of students said that this peaked their interest in business ownership and one shared she would love to possibly open a bakery in the future! Defined STEM is the perfect tool for the advanced RTI classroom because it prompted so many quality discussions, which led to additional research and a greater understanding of the assigned tasks.
“This project produced a good learning environment. We held many quality discussions, which led to additional research and a greater understanding of the assigned tasks.”
As the teacher, it works for me because the projects are ready to go but I can easily increase the rigor by adding or tweaking products to meet my objectives. The students love it because they have a sense of ownership as they work on their products and defend the choices they make in them. There is also a great amount of respect among the students as they evaluate one another’s work and learn to participate in a collaborative and creative community.
Click here to view this performance task on Defined STEM.