22 January 2006

A Sandbox of My Own

Wednesday and Thursday this week will be the first two out of five days allotted to restructuring one of the kits in our elementary rotation. It is the only kit that is not from FOSS: it is homegrown. This "realignment" was set up early this year, long before any of us knew the direction my district would choose to take. I think this turns out to be a rather fortunate set of circumstances.

Working with these teachers will be an experience in miniature for me. Not because the grades they teach are small, but because we will work through realigning all of the kits next year. Being able to focus on one this spring gives us a bit of a laboratory experience...a little sandbox to play in regarding how to best structure this kind of professional development for teachers. This will also be a big piece of my doctoral research.

I have spent a lot of this weekend looking at resources and trying to get my vision out on paper. I have started with A Private Universe. If you haven't seen it, follow the link and you can watch the video on demand. It opens with a Harvard graduation and many graduates being asked to explain what causes the change in seasons. Nearly all are unable to do so. It illustrates the need for helping students grasp concepts in science. From our discussions there, we'll move into an examination of the 5E cycle for lessons in science. Beyond that, I'll need to guide teachers into an examination of the appropriate content standards and then we'll start looking at restructuring the kit.

There are other considerations in all of this. I expect that by the end of Day Two, we will have little to show in terms of the physical product, but the teachers' should have a far richer background for our work. The final outcomes in March should be incredible.

Here's hoping that this sandbox turns out to be as nice as a day at the beach.

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