Thoughts on the First Year as a PLTW Launch Lead Teacher

Laurie Bradshaw is an independent study teacher and PLTW Launch Lead Teacher at Valley View Charter in Stockton, California. Laurie is a dyslexia specialist.

As the PLTW Launch Lead Teacher in an independent study program, my classes were not the usual 25 students in a class. Working with small groups of two to six kids during the past school year, I experienced seven PLTW Launch modules serving students of all elementary ages. What a year on multiple levels!

At first I was tentative because I did not know what to expect as an outcome. What would first graders create to solve the Light and Sound challenge or the Light: Observing the Sun, Moon, and Stars challenge? We all persisted, and the students loved the year!

I was challenged by the new materials, new apps, iPads, and robots. How could I do it? I put one foot in front of the other and went day by day, asking questions on the community boards, watching the training videos, and calling the PLTW Solution Center. Both students and teacher – me – learned to keep working and not give up. Setting up the VEX kits, for instance, was challenging, but I pushed through. The kids were challenged to build their own robots by following the directions on Inventor Publisher. Even though students experienced frustration, they persisted and were able to run their robots remotely through the challenge course. Even the youngest of learners were able to take the lessons learned and solve the problems. 

The outcome: amazing and creative projects that we put on display for students and parents to see. Students were excited about learning, and parents beamed with pride.

My first year with PLTW was both challenging and enjoyable. I look forward to learning new modules and continuing to grow as a PLTW Launch Lead Teacher.

PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.