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Professional Learning Community Model for Entry into Teaching Science

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  1. Professional Learning Community Model for Entry into Teaching Science Mentor Teacher Workshop July 14 – 16, 2008

  2. A Professional Learning Community • Professional: We’re each members of a profession • Learning: Trying to learn something • Community: Together

  3. Members of Our Community • Novice science teachers • Mentor science teachers • Special experts • Coordinators • Researchers

  4. Members of Our Community Everyone in our community is trying to learn something: • Novice science teachers: How to engage students in inquiry • Mentor science teachers: How to help novice science teachers overcome hurdles so they can engage their students in inquiry • Special experts: How to use their areas of expertise to provide science teachers access to useful strategies, resources, and lesson ideas • Coordinators: How to set up a professional development program that supports novice teachers in using inquiry in their classes • Researchers: Whether a program like this is effective in helping everyone to learn

  5. Community Activities • Team Meetings • Jump Start Workshop and Seminars • Observations and Classroom Visits • Electronic Interactions (webinars, portal, listservs, podcasts) • Mentor workshop and meeting

  6. Goals of Our Community • Goal 1: Improve novice teachers’ understanding of scientific inquiry. • Goal 2: Improve novice teachers’ ability to engage their students in scientific inquiry. • Goal 3. Improve novice teachers’ classroom management in inquiry lessons. • Goal 4. Reduce attrition of novice teachers involved in PLC-METS relative to their non-participating peers.

  7. Scientific Inquiry Inquiry is a question-driven process that scientists use to explain the world. Practices that scientists commonly engage in include • Identifying questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations • Designing and conducting scientific investigations • Using mathematics to improve investigations and communications • Formulating and revising scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence • Recognizing and analyzing alternative explanations and models • Communicating and defending a scientific argument This concept has become embedded in almost all national and state science standards of class environment & standards-based teaching practices.

  8. An Example of Scientists’ Practices: Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge In this area agricultural, residential and commercial activities compete with the natural ecosystem for water resources. This competition has initiated changes in the natural ecosystem (Zarikian 2000) Developing questions and initial hypotheses

  9. An Example of Scientists’ Practices: LANMR Field Explorations

  10. An Example of Scientists’ Practices: LANMR Digital Elevation Maps and Initial models

  11. An Example of Scientists’ Practices: LANWR Testing initial hypotheses

  12. Varied Nature of Inquiry in Schools

  13. Does Inquiry Work? Inquiry leads to active engagement of students. Percent learning gains on standardized pre- and post-tests in physics for 62 courses enrolling N=6542 students in high school, colleges and universities Hake, 1998, Am. Assoc. Physics Teachers, 66(1):64

  14. Inquiry Versus Active Learning To what extent does Pat’s Apple activity get students to • Identify questions and concepts that guide their investigation ? • Design and conduct a scientific investigations? • Use mathematics in their investigation? • Formulate a scientific explanation using evidence ? • Analyze alternative models? • Communicate and defend a scientific argument?

  15. Inquiry Versus Active Learning To what extent does Pat’s Chicken Wing activity get students to • Identify questions and concepts that guide their investigation ? • Design and conduct a scientific investigations? • Use mathematics in their investigation? • Formulate a scientific explanation using evidence ? • Analyze alternative models? • Communicate and defend a scientific argument?

  16. Inquiry Versus Active Learning To what extent does Pat’s Lung Tissue activity get students to • Identify questions and concepts that guide their investigation ? • Design and conduct a scientific investigations? • Use mathematics in their investigation? • Formulate a scientific explanation using evidence ? • Analyze alternative models? • Communicate and defend a scientific argument?

  17. Inquiry Versus Active Learning After examining over 800 published papers on “inquiry,” the multi-year NSF Inquiry Synthesis Project came up with a “bare-bones” description of the classroom climate or student activities that are present if inquiry is occurring: • Student Active THINKING • Student Responsibility for Learning • Student Motivation

  18. Inquiry Versus Active Learning Student Active THINKING • (e.g. generate ideas, take risks, use logic, make deductions, brainstorm, crystallize ideas, engage in active questioning, link ideas, use prior knowledge, evaluate alternative explanations)

  19. Inquiry Versus Active Learning Student Responsibility for Learning • (e.g. make decisions, identify when they need help, keep self and others on task, assist with others’ learning, contribute to advancing group knowledge)

  20. Inquiry Versus Active Learning Student Motivation • (e.g. display/express interest, involvement,curiosity, enthusiasm, perseverance, eagerness, focus, concentration, pride)

  21. Two Approaches to Inquiry • In PLC-METS, we’ll help novice teachers figure out how to engage their students in inquiry through two approaches: • Modifying existing lessons to engage students in inquiry • Using five types of Simulated Research Activities (the Chinn and Malhotra framework) to guide the design of new lessons

  22. Modifying Existing Lessons • We will ask participants to examine existing lessons and make modifications so that students do one or more of the following • Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations • Design and conduct scientific investigations • Formulate and/or revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models • Communicate and defend a scientific argument

  23. Creating Original Lessons • Simulated Research Activities (The Chinn and Malhotra framework) • Hands-on inquiry activities • Simulations • Data Sets • Evidence Evaluation • Verbal Design of Studies

  24. Models in Authentic Inquiry • Systems are incredibly complex • models help simplify the system • Models are a set of ideas that describe a process • They represent selected parts of a whole • They are used to explain & predict natural phenomena • Are used to guide future research

  25. Models & the Standards • http://www.project2061.org/publications/bsl/online/ch11/ch11.htm#B • By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that: • Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly, or that are too vast to be changed deliberately, or that are potentially dangerous. • Mathematical models can be displayed on a computer and then modified to see what happens. • Different models can be used to represent the same thing. What kind of a model to use and how complex it should be depends on its purpose. The usefulness of a model may be limited if it is too simple or if it is needlessly complicated. Choosing a useful model is one of the instances in which intuition and creativity come into play in science, mathematics, and engineering.

  26. Different Kinds of Models • Conceptual Models • Physical models • Mathematical models • Computer simulations

  27. Different Kinds of Models • Conceptual Models • Physical models • Mathematical models • Symbolic representations • Graphical representations • Computer simulations

  28. Different Kinds of Models • Conceptual Models • Physical models • Mathematical models • Symbolic representations • Graphical representations • Computer simulations

  29. Different Kinds of Models • Conceptual Models • Physical models • Mathematical models • Computer simulations Ecosystem in a Bottle Simulation

  30. Black Box Activity • Ground Rules: • Cannot pick up the box • Cannot open the box • Tools: • Graduated cylinders • Containers • Water • Graph paper • Observations sheets

  31. Black Box Activity • Objectives: • Explain the model inside the box that produces the data patters you collect • Final products: • Written data & observations • Diagram of your model • Predictions/future experiments to confirm your model

  32. Critique Black Box Activity • To what extent does this activity get students to • Identify questions and concepts that guide their investigation ? • Design and conduct a scientific investigations? • Use mathematics in their investigation? • Formulate a scientific explanation using evidence ? • Analyze alternative models? • Communicate and defend a scientific argument?

  33. Critique Black Box Activity • Where does this activity fit on this chart?

  34. Wrapping Up Day 1 • What do you see as your role in PLC-METS? • What are your concerns about helping novice teachers learn to implement inquiry in their classes? • Do you have any concerns about the program in general? • What went well today? What could be better?

  35. Day 2 • Tour of Electronic Resources for our community • Critiquing lessons for inquiry • Modifying lessons to include greater opportunity for inquiry • Reflecting on our own practices

  36. Electronic Resources in PLC-METS • Wiki • iGoogle • Listservs • Ning: Social network • Blogs: • E-meeting software (centra)

  37. Data Sets • Population & Water Demands Projections for Texas • http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/wrpi/data/popproj.htm • In Texas what do we use the most water for? What county in your region uses the most water for irrigation? How will this trend change over the years to come? • How will water usage change as the population of the area you chose changes in the future? What do the data trends show for each area of water usage? • What are some ways that water can be conserved to make sure this resource is available for all uses in the future?

  38. Simulations • Make a Quake: http://tlc.discovery.com/convergence/quakes/interactives/makeaquake.html • What buildings are most likely to remain standing if a superquake hit a city? • City A is located along a fault line. What building codes should the city adopt in order to minimize damage from a quake?

  39. Wrapping Up Day 2 • Has your conception of inquiry changed based on what we’ve discussed so far in this workshop? • How would you explain the difference between hands-on, active learning activities and an inquiry activity? • Tomorrow we’ll discuss mentoring techniques, but before we do, what concerns do you have about being able to mentor early career teachers in the use of inquiry?

  40. Day 3 • Mentoring early career teachers • Using probes to engage students in inquiry

  41. Objectives • Focus our thinking on the growth of the novice teacher. • Consider common mentoring practices. • Adapt common mentoring practices to the unique needs of new science teachers implementing inquiry-based practice.

  42. Remember when… • Think about a time that you learned something. • Tie your shoe • Ride a bicycle • How to check your email… • What do you remember about the experience? • What do you remember about the person or people who were around you when you were learning? • Can you list 5 defining characteristics of those who mentored you through this experience?

  43. What is a Mentor? • A mentor teacher is a professional educator who assists, models, and guides the new teacher to improve classroom instruction and management techniques. The mentor is able to communicate a variety of instructional techniques, to model effective teaching practices and serve as a resource for general operational proceedings for the campus and the district. The mentor teacher has knowledge of adult development, effective communication skills and a repertoire of instructional techniques. -Nora Hutto Texas Education Agency

  44. National Standards for MentoringRole of the Mentor - 2000 • School-based teacher educator • Facilitator and model of self-reflection, problem solving, and instructional improvement • Recognizer of trustworthiness • Promoter of professional growth • Maintainer of professional relationship with novice • Collaborator with novice for professional growth, lesson planning through formal and informal interactions • Observer of classroom practice • Provider of feedback to novice Odell & Huling, eds., 2000

  45. Why Mentor? • New teachers are leaving the profession at an alarming rate. • Schools are facing growing enrollment and many veteran teachers are approaching retirement. • The revolving door of professional teaching staff in schools has been shown to negatively impact • Relationships • Student achievement • Innovation implementation and maintenance

  46. Why Mentor? The presence of a mentor has been found to be the single most cost-effective component of new teacher induction. The NEA Foundation, 2001; Odell & Huling, eds., 2000

  47. What Are All These Big Numbers?

  48. Retention Dilemma • By 2008-2009, the U.S. will need 2.4 million new teachers • By 2013 – 3.5 million new teachers will be needed • In the next 10 years, over 700,000 teachers will be needed in high poverty urban and rural areas • 240,000 teaching positions will need to filled each year Center for Education Statistics, 1999; Jalongo & Heider, 2006

  49. Retention Dilemma • In 2002 the State Board of Educator Certification indicated that Texas alone could be short up to 40,000 teachers • Teaching has one of the highest attrition rates 13.2% when compared to other professions at 11% • Science and Math teacher attrition rates top the chart estimated at as much as 16% Combs, 2003; Heller, 2004; Ingersoll, 2000; Watkins, 2005

  50. Retention Dilemma • 30% of new teachers leave during their first three years • 50% leave by their fifth year of service • These rates could be up to 50% greater in urban settings • 9.3% of first year teachers do not even complete their first year Boyd et al., 2007; Brooks-Young, 2005; Odell, 2006; Rebenstein, 2007; Watkins, 2005; Zeek & Walker; 2006