10 January 2006

Building a Better Monster

I had an amazingly good meeting today. I had sweated this one a bit, because I don't feel like I have a good grasp on elementary...let alone elementary science. This group I am working with is trying to select some materials to go with the standards assigned to sixth grade.

Conversations were rich today. People want to make connections between the materials, standards, assessments, and the way these are reported to parents and students. The teachers see how the possibilities in using the science materials to set up their reading and writing goals for the day. We have much more work to do, but there was some fabulous groundwork laid. I actually left work today with far more energy than I had when I went in this morning. I wish that happened more often.

If you've been lurking around this blog, you know that my district has several other significant concerns about the elementary science program we are using (FOSS). Teachers today described doing an alignment with it as "putting round pegs in square holes." Our regional science consortium is wanting us to send teachers again this spring to continue this process. I wasn't so sure this was in our best interests even before today's comments. This group's recommendation? Go through the process we are using now for grades 3 - 5.

This is a monstrous suggestion. Brilliant, but very problematic.

You see, we have to be ready to make a decision by next week as to whether or not to leave the consortium. If we do, then we have to completely outfit our district for elementary science. If we stay with FOSS, it would be doable. If we don't, well...what is the plan, then? Can we get it outlined in a week?

The truth is that I want to open this can of worms, as ugly as it is. The teachers today were right (in my opinion) to raise this issue. I think we can build a better monster than FOSS to help students reach the standards in science. I just wish we had more time to think through the options.

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