Knowing my Why

Knowing my Why

Awhile ago I came across this article on twitter: https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2019/06/08/dear-teachers-please-dont-make-your-lessons-relevant/#4c5aa11552f5 It reminded me of a science conference I went to years ago about animal dissections. The speaker challenged the participants to know their why for (or against) dissection and own it. His advice stuck with me. I deeply considered the pros and cons and refined my opinion to form my solid why. It came in handy multiple times, but mostly for myself. It felt refreshing, almost freeing to have this…

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Identity Theft

Identity Theft

I’ve been thinking a lot about identity lately. I have been a teacher – specifically a science teacher- for 24 years. I love my job and am passionate about many aspects of this career: teaching through inquiry, being a part of the discovery process with students, connecting ideas to larger concepts and seeing our role in the greater world. I also enjoy talking about my work with others. Secretly, I am pleased with the admiration others would give when learning…

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Rolling From Inquiry into Engineering Design

Rolling From Inquiry into Engineering Design

I was recently asked to contribute to the NSTA Early Years Blog. I am pleased to share the post that was recently published on their website: http://nstacommunities.org/blog/2019/01/15/rolling-from-inquiry-into-engineering-design/ I enjoyed taking the time to write about this experience. I also found myself thinking about additional experiences and questions that could be explored or documented from this: Add some data collection by having students leave each item where it lands, letting us see which one rolls the furthest. Offering additional shapes to…

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Surprises Never Get Old

Surprises Never Get Old

Usually by now, I am having students use found nature items to make a boat, or looking for symmetry in nature. But this year, we had a two hour delayed start due to fourteen more inches of snow just this past Monday – April 16th! This has forced a bit more creativity in outdoor lesson planning. I don’t mind repeating lessons, and think it’s good for kids to experience the same learning, but at a different time of year. This…

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Nature + Tech = A Good Combination?

Nature + Tech = A Good Combination?

Last week I brought a first grade class outside to build on some recent work they had done around settings. To get them excited about seeing the outdoor classroom through a different lens, we used the Creaturizer App from PBS Kids http://pbskids.org/apps/plums-creaturizer.html On this app, kids tap to both create and modify an imaginary creature. Each body part is able to be switched out (legs, tail, wings, mouth, head, horns etc…). I modeled how to do this before taking the…

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Remembering to Change

Remembering to Change

I was doing so well at writing these posts to help me reflect and document this year, then suddenly it’s April and three weeks have passed. Ok, well only two weeks of school since spring break was in there. And even though it’s April, I am sitting in bed with the cats at my feet nearing the end of my fourth snow day of the year -a new record for me. So it felt like the perfect time to do…

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What if…

What if…

We had a staff development day on Friday and I was lucky enough to be given 90 minutes to share ideas with my colleagues. For nearly a year now, we have had a focus on the 4 C’s of learning: Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity. A variety of resources have been used throughout the year to lead us toward a greater understanding of how these skills might look in our school and classrooms, including: Design thinking, such as: The…

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Making Connections

Making Connections

Last week, I worked with a colleague to participate in #kindergartenbioblitz. This week long adventure to get kindergarten students outside paying attention to their world was started by Rob Ridley in Ontario, Canada. I came across it by chance on twitter and it seemed like a good chance to get kids outside and get connected to other classes. We had a great week exploring different parts of our school yard. The focus theme each day inspired us to dig deeper…

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Unseen Connections

Unseen Connections

I really like getting outside with kids. The potential for new discoveries, finding fresh tracks, a unique formation or rare animal sighting makes my heart thump and maybe a bit giddy. From my observations, kids get equally excited, a change in routine can sometimes be just the right thing. In my opinion, getting outside builds community; we don’t have to have two quiet lines when we walk, we don’t have to keep our hands by our sides and bubbles in…

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Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about my role at school. I’ve been thinking mostly about my official title (K-5 science specialist) compared to what I do. What do I do? Last week consisted of the following: I traveled to a different elementary school to co-present a science focused staff meeting on modeling phenomenon; I worked with a 4th grade class on a Design Thinking Project related to their earth science unit; I worked with a third grade class…

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