January 2014 Archives

Professors Kathy Morris and Debora Hammond Honored with Goldstein Award

By Pamela Van Halsema on January 31, 2014 3:31 PM

Dr. Kathy Morris

Dr. Kathy Morris, Goldstein Award recipient

Sonoma State has named two faculty members as this year's recipients of the Bernard Goldstein Award for Excellence in Scholarship.  These faculty demonstrate a strong commitment to the teacher-scholar model here at the University.

The award recognizes the important connection between faculty professional development (scholarly creative activities) and enriched learning environments for students.

Dr. Kathy Morris received her Ph.D. in Educational Studies - Teacher Education from University of Michigan. Since joining the Sonoma State University faculty, Dr. Morris has authored or co-authored five peer reviewed publications, completed two book chapters and six other publications. In addition, she's participated in 38 conference presentations since 2003 alone.

Dr. Morris has been a Carnegie Fellow on two different projects; The Goldman-Carnegie Quest project related to elementary school mathematics teaching and the MSRI Carnegie Elementary Math Project. For the past five years Dr. Morris has been a Principal Investigator and Co-Director on grants totaling three and a half million dollars. This includes a current $500,000 State grant related to the California Common Core project.

This work has led to her current book project on effective strategies for implementing Math lessons. Dr. Morris was instrumental in the design of the MA in Mathematics Education through the School of Education. Graduates of this program are teachers who go on to take leadership roles in the K-12 education system.



Dr. Debora Hammond

Dr. Debora Hammond, Goldstein Award recipient

Dr. Debora Hammond received her Ph.D. in History of Science from University of California, Berkeley.  She is an international expert in the history of systems thinking; she has given plenary talks six times for the annual meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. She has over 20 publications on topics which range from systems thinking, to food, education, ecology and sustainability.

Her book, The Science of Synthesis; Exploring the Social Implications of General Systems Theory was published in 2003. She has also been an invited speaker, workshop organizer or participant in over 28 conferences and events. Her two recent publications in 2013 are "Reflections of Recursion and the Evolution of Learning" and "Systems Theory".

Dr. Hammond works with graduate students in the Hutchins Action for a Viable Future MA program, and as Coordinator of the MS in Organization Development. Dr. Hammond has the honor to be selected as an invited participant to the 2014 International Federation for Systems Research Conversation which will be held in Linz, Austria. This biennial event gathers a team of researchers together to work collaboratively for a week on a shared theoretical paper.

The vision of Bernie and Estelle Goldstein is definitely reflected in this year's "Goldstein Awards for Excellence in Scholarship" winners.  Each recipient will receive $1,500 to support their ongoing scholarship efforts.  Debora Hammond and Kathy Morris will be formally recognized at the annual Exposition of Faculty Research event that will be held later this spring.

Christina Sanders

By Lina Raffaelli on January 24, 2014 3:55 PM

Christina Sanders headshot

Christina has been teaching for 22 years in the Sonoma Valley, where she currently teaches 5th grade. She has taught everything from kindergarten to high school algebra in her career. 

Her love for gardening and being outside lead her to participate in a Jr. Master Gardener Program at her current school. Watching the students' engagement in the outdoors with this curriculum motivated her to incorporate it into everyday classroom experiences.

With her CTL Master's cognate project, Christina looked into whether the type of aesthetic experiences students have make a difference in their ability to learn and retain information. The purpose of her study was to investigate the connections between Aesthetic Learning Experience Theory in an outdoor classroom and student engagement and motivation. The conditions included in the Aesthetic Learning Experiences are: connection, active engagement, perceptivity, multi-sensory, risk-taking, and imagination.

Three lessons were developed and implemented and in-depth observations and reflections were collected from students and classroom teachers. The data consisted of fourteen participating classrooms, including over 337 students, spanning the K-5 grades. The findings show that if a teacher focuses on the 'Aesthetic Learning Experiences' and incorporates them into their daily lessons, students will not only be engaged and motivated, but the information will be retained by the students and stored long term in their episodic memory.

'Taste' of Graduate Study Available to Newly Credentialed Teachers

By Pamela Van Halsema on January 10, 2014 1:40 PM

If you just finished your credential in Fall, the School of Education has a unique offer for you to get a little taste of what graduate study in education is like.  This might be just the right opportunity for those teachers who may be waiting to begin a full time teaching position in Fall, but have more flexibilty in their Spring schedule.   

For the semester immediately following completion of the credential program, students at SSU are classified as a "continuing education student." During that time (and that time only), students are able to enroll in one or two classes leading toward a Master's In Education degree through Open University, with instructor permission. For this unique opportunity, students do not need to apply to SSU or School of Education program for this offer to be valid.

The fee structure is $280 per unit through Open University.

Courses are offered one night per week, usually at 4-6:40 or 7-9:40 pm, or on Saturdays, and may have a hybrid model wherein some classes meet face-to-face and other sessions are constructed online through Moodle (or some other platform).

The spring 2014 course offerings are listed on our web page at http://www.sonoma.edu/education/graduate/electives.html. Not all courses are appropriate for students exploring the program as some have pre-requisites. But many of the courses will be useful for any teaching career and will apply to your MA degree if you apply and are accepted later on.

The process to enroll through Open University can be found at the Extended Education web page at http://www.sonoma.edu/exed/misc/open-university.html

Generally, the steps to follow are:

1. Look over the course offerings and determine if you wish to take any of the courses listed.

2. Get the REGISTRATION form in the Extended Ed office and secure the instructor approval and department chair approval to enroll in the class.

3. Pay the fee of $280 per unit, or $840 for a 3 unit class, $1,680 for two classes. (Note, this is significantly less expensive than the normal SSU graduate program course fee structure.)

4. Start attending classes the week of January 13.

While engaged in the course or courses, seek advising, review the programs we offer and, if appropriate, apply to that program in the spring for consideration of fall enrollment.

Note, attending courses as a "continuing education student" does not automatically allow you entry to that program--you must still go through the normal application process later if you decide to move forward with the advanced degree. No more than two courses taken through Open University can be applied toward your MA degree. The instructor must approve your enrollment.

To see what MA concentrations we offer and connect with one of our faculty advisors, see our Graduate Studies webpages for more detailed information.

SSU's Teacher Technology Showcase Fosters Dialogue & Innovation

By Lina Raffaelli on January 8, 2014 2:08 PM

Where can you play PacMan with a carrot controller, walk on the moon, and play a digital piano using Play-Doh, all in one evening? One month ago, educators and students gathered together for the Teacher Technology Showcase, and were able to do all three in this year's interactive Maker's Space.

The annual event, now in its third year, is an open house for creative thinking about how to effectively use technology in teaching. Thirty six presenters shared and demonstrated their ideas for lesson plans, tutorials, and tools, all designed to improve learning and student engagement. The event gathered over 200 attendees, including SSU credential and master's degree students, SSU faculty, staff, and alumni, and Bay Area educators.

Posters around the room encouraged participation and dialogue with phrases like "Choose to be Creative," "Create classroom activities that don't yet exist in the world!" and "Ask me how this meets the needs of all learners." One of the graduate students who attended said, "I really appreciated the opportunity to talk with the presenters about the benefits for students."

Watch the video slideshow:

This year the School of Education welcomed the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) as a partner for the event. Presenters from SCOE provided many of the hands-on Maker Space activities, and helped spread the word out about the Showcase to local schools. Technology Showcase supporters Edutopia and KQED also sent representatives to present and share information about the resources and tools they offer for the classroom.

Presentations covered a broad range of topics, and were aimed at various teaching levels, including elementary, secondary, and special education. Presenters shared their utilization of various websites including Prezi, Wix, Twig World, and Moodle, as well as a handful of useful iPad apps used for behavioral change, teaching science, and verbalizing emotions. In an attendance survey many participants said they appreciated the relevance and practicality of the presentations, as well as the broad range of topics and grade levels included.

One of the goals of this event is to help educators see creative and practical uses for a variety of applications for the classroom, and encourage them to try out some of these new ideas with their own students. To help them put the ideas into practice, each of the presenters created an online version of their presentation which is available online on the School of Education website. One elementary school principal left saying, "I have homework!" commenting on how there were so many things to learn at the showcase.

Read about the Tech Showcase in the Sonoma State STAR