Get ready for ISTELive 21! Launch the site now.
Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Thinking Outside the Box: Integrating STEM, DigCit, and Coding into Elementary Classrooms

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Dr. Jayme Johnson  
Pressed for time, but know how important STEM, design thinking, digital citizenship, and coding are for elementary age students? Learn how one school thought “Outside the Box” and created weekly OTB time for homeroom teachers to focus on these important strands that support and extend the everyday curriculum.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Innovation in early childhood/elementary
Grade level: PK-5
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
Digital Citizen
  • Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Needing to carve out time for student experiences not tied directly to traditional curriculum, our school developed “Outside the Box” time. OTB time occurs for 45 minutes once every 6-day rotation. Attendees will learn how we introduced OTB time to teachers, created curricular resources to support STEM and design thinking, organized our digital citizenship scope and sequence, and curated resources for coding instruction in the K-5 classroom. Links to all resources will be provided.

This poster session will highlight and provide resources related to: Design thinking, STEM, digital citizenship, and coding. Many lessons have ties to picture books. Links to all OTB lessons will be provided, as well as our digital citizenship scope and sequence, and a variety of free coding resources.

Learner Outcomes:
Attendees will be able to use these ideas and resources in their classroom to foster students’ creativity and curiosity, promote exploration, create diverse learning opportunities, and seamlessly incorporate design thinking, coding, digital citizenship, and STEM into their classroom activities.

Supporting research

Flannery, M.E.. “Design Thinking: Connecting Students to the Larger World.” NEA Today, 19 Apr. 2018,

Gross, K., & Gross, S. (2016). Transformation: Constructivism, design thinking, and elementary STEAM. Art Education, 69(6), 36-43.

ISTE. “6 Reasons for Coding in K-5 Classrooms.” ISTE, 1 Feb. 2019,

Martinez, S. L., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn. Torrance, CA: Constructing modern knowledge press.

Ockerman, Lisa. “Why We Teach Coding in Elementary School.” NAIS, 14 Nov. 2017,

Swartz, R. J., & Parks, S. (1994). Infusing the Teaching of Critical and Creative Thinking into Content Instruction: A Lesson Design Handbook for the Elementary Grades. Critical Thinking Press and Software, PO Box 448, Pacific Grove, CA 93950-0448.

Resnick, M. (2013). Learn to code, code to learn. EdSurge, May 2013. Retrieved from,

Sokoler, S.. “Why We Should Teach Coding in Elementary School.” ESchool News, 8 Mar. 2018,

“Why All Students Should Learn How to Code in Elementary School.” Catapult Learning, 18 Aug. 2018, resources -

Additional books from Constructing Modern Knowledge Press
- The Invent to Learn Guide to Fun
- The Invent to Learn Guide to More Fun
- The Invent to Learn Guide to Making in the K-3 Classroom: Why, How, and Wow!

More [+]


Dr. Jayme Johnson, St. John's Episcopal School, Dallas

Dr. Jayme L. Johnson is an academic leader, educational technologist, and the Head of Lower School at St. John’s Episcopal School in Dallas, Texas. She is a Google Certified Innovator (GTAWA ‘11) and is Google Apps certified. She also holds certification or ambassadorships from: Apple Teacher Swift Playgrounds, Microsoft Innovative Educator, BrainPOP, SymbalooEDU, Fablevision League of Visionaries, Common Sense Education, Tech4Learning, and others. Jayme has presented for non-profit organizations, parenting groups, and at numerous conferences (edCamps, ISTE, CUE, ATLIS, Global Education Conference) on the topics of professional development, technology integration, global collaboration, robotics, and parenting in the digital age.

People also viewed

7 Digital Glide Paths To Digital Learning Online
Integrating Computer Science & Robotics for In-Person, Hybrid, and Remote Settings
Solving Instructional Design Challenges With Coaching and Creativity