People first and foremost

EDU434 class1 – Getting started

Blogging our weekly class blog involves some scribing (documenting what happened) and some interpretation (as author of the blog post, sharing my own interpretations and takes) as well as some teaching, questioning and resource sharing to support the community in our collective work.

Okay… here goes (note: I’m going to author the post before creating a title, so my title can represent a core idea that I write about)

The goals of the course include:

  • Developing a deep theoretical understanding of how people learn science in order to….
  • Unpack what it means to teach students science in effective, student-centered ways and thus…
  • Promote social justice for those traditionally marginalized in schools and in science.

Starting with getting to know each other, we authored and interpretted an image of who we are and what we bring to the class. It became immediately clear and increasingly inspiring to realize that the 10 people of our course have rich, diverse backgrounds and passions – personally and professionally.  There is no doubt that we will learn so much from each other!!  (See pictures below.)

Second on the agenda – authoring our first “commentary” – We watched the first 2.5 minutes of a science teaching video and authored a written reflection to the prompt, what do you see? Specifically, the task was to:

  • Analyze and comment on the practices you see/saw in this video using what you have learned about science teaching practice and student learning.

This writing was submitted, and we will look back at what we wrote later in the semester to see how we have developed our professional vision.

Third, CONTEXT: Then we shifted focus to learning about the teens of East High School.  Pragmatically, we want to be able to author a “Context” section for the unit plan we are creating for Science STARS.

  • What are the characteristics and special features of the classroom and school in which I teach?
  • Who are the students in this course (i.e., grade level, number, gender, race/ethnicity, ELLs, students with IEPs, students with specific learning needs)?

My goal for us was to author the context section by researching statistics and news stories about East High, the NE Rochester neighborhood and the young adults/families East serves.  My directions were not clear enough, so the work shifted focus to what my slide asked for:  “What do you want to know about East High teens?” “How will you find out?” “Why does it matter?”  As different groups interpreted this question slightly differently, we reminded each other about a range of things we need to learn:

  1. What we can learn by “doing our homework” before we meet the individual STARS on our lab teams.
  2. What we can learn from our STARS at the onset of the project.
  3. What we need to learn in an ongoing way each day we meet with them.

Finally, we set the stage for the course by looking at the syllabus… starting with the end in mind.  After repeating the goals (as listed above), we looked at the assessments that would be used to support us in reaching those goals:

  1.  Participation
    1. Discussions and collaborative in-class work
    2. Readings summaries (including theoretical framework)
    3. Professional Blogging (weekly)
    4. “Snapshot of Practice” (in pairs focusing on PST teaching)
    5. Collaborative Conversations (12/14)
  2. Project One: Using theory in practice
    1. PSTs: Science STARS lesson planning and preparation, lab reports, and unit paper
    2. Scholars: Six weekly ethnographies of personal interactions with youth in the work of science teaching and learning and a summary synthesis of the writings.
  3. Project Two: Digging deep into the theory of one practice
    1. PSTs: Series of lessons with an action research lens.
    2. Scholars: Construct a peer-reviewed research-practice brief.

Readings will foreground different aspects of the three course goals:

  1. Theory of learning (green font on syllabus)
  2. Reform-based science teaching
  3. Social justice

There are 6 readings for next class (9/14) because we have two weeks to complete them.  The reading notes for these 6 readings is due on 9/13 to Blackboard in one document with the file titled 20150913ReadingNotesLastnameFirstinitial.  These reading notes include:

  • Citation
  • Summary
  • Powerful quotes (p.XX)
  • Questions you are wrestling with or ones you’d like to ask the author

We really missed Dan D. and Sharon and look forward to seeing them next time!!

For Next Class (at LeChase)

  • Read the syllabus carefully; come with questions and comments.
  • Blog at least by the Friday before every class (by 7pm)
  • Carefully read and critically engaged with the texts – This will take time – space it out.
  • Prepare reading notes that that you will refer back to for the different projects of the semester and year (due to BB by 9/13 at noon).
  • Paige: Class blogger & snack provider

Go Team Go!


Getting to know one another – who is who, can you remember?

To help, names are Tingyu, Sharon, Dan, Paige, Anam, Daniel, Chelsea, Christa and me.


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Things we want to know about and from our STARS teens at East High:

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