Curiculum Studies and Secondary Education Archives
Math Educator Megan W. Taylor on KQED to Discuss Innovative Professional Development Models for STEM Teachers
Byon October 8, 2014 12:18 AM
Today's KQED public radio program Forum with Michael Krasny brought together education experts to discuss the best models and reforms in teacher preparation programs. Sonoma State School of Education's Asst. Professor Megan W. Taylor was a featured guest on the program along with SFSU's former Dean of Education Betsy Keane, Stanford's Linda Darling-Hammond, and EdSource executive director Louis Freedberg.
The radio discussion was prompted by a new report from EdSource entitled "Preparing World Class Teachers". This particular report is intended to highlight the most promising reforms to create a more effective teaching workforce. The article suggests that such induction programs could benefit from innovation and reform.
Implementing Innovative Models for New Teacher Support
Megan Taylor, Asst. Prof. of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education at Sonoma State is a sought-after expert in mathematics education, teacher development, and curriculum design in the Bay Area and beyond. Her recent work with Sonoma Valley School District is notable. Taylor worked with Sonoma State University teacher candidates and ElevatEd fellows (undergraduate and graduate students in Math and Science) at Adele Harrison Middle School in early September as part of a year-long pilot of a professional development school partnership between Adele Harrison and the Sonoma State University School of Education.
In the program Taylor facilitated teacher candidates and ElevatEd Fellows as they observed lessons across the classrooms of the math teachers at the school, with an eye on rich classroom discussion, then participated in structured debriefs with each other and the teachers they observed.
Principal Mary Ann Spitzer, Director of Curriculum & Instruction Karla Conroy, and ElevatEd CEO Zach Levine observed and participated in the work as well, reflecting the belief that teacher education "takes a village."
As discussed on KQED's Forum on October 8, this experience is part of a long-term effort by SSU to strengthen the partnership between the mentor teacher and the student teacher candidate. The strong partnership is formed through key strategies, making the clinical experience for its students more effective and the return for mentor teachers more substantial.
Another new innovative initiative, the CalCorps program strives to be the "gold standard" in teacher education and professional learning for secondary STEM teachers in California, guiding new teachers for a full 6 years from pre-service to in-service teaching. (much longer than the standard one year credential program plus two years of induction that most teachers experience)
CalCorps focuses on creating the first, research-based, practice-focused, long-term program for the recruitment, education, support, retention, and development of outstanding STEM teachers. CalCorps is different from other models because it provides a cohesive trajectory of professional experiences for new a teacher that spans the moment they choose the profession to their 6th full-time teaching year. Find out more at: http://calcorps.squarespace.com.
To learn more about professional, university and research based teacher credential programs visit us at www.sonoma.edu/education
Byon June 20, 2014 3:15 PM
As education is rapidly running to catch up with today's digital advances, institutions have begun to acknowledge and reward educators who are helping pave the way through useful and creative classroom strategies.
PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program is a year-long professional development program designed to foster and grow a community of ed-tech leaders. Each year PBS hand-selects 100 digitally-savvy K-12 educators who are effectively using digital media and technology in their schools to further student engagement and achievement.
School of Education Alumna Kaki McLachlan, graduate of the Single Subject Credential Program and Master's in Education in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, has been selected for this honor for the 2014-2015 school year.
"When students use technology in the classroom it allows them to take ownership of what they are learning," said McLachlan. "It is also an engaging way for students to gather up-to-date information in a variety of ways and share what they have learned in more exciting ways then ever before!"
She acknowledges that all the new technology can be confusing for teachers. "New amazing resources are available each and every day for teachers. At times, it can be overwhelming, but it's not necessary to know it all!" Trying a new technology with students can be a risk, and doesn't always work perfectly. She notes, "It's important to remember, as a teacher, that not every lesson is going to be a success. This is especially important to remember when you begin to implement new projects with technology in the classroom. It is okay to fail! We are students too."
McLachlan teaches science and technology to 6th-8th graders at White Hill Middle School in Fairfax. In addition to teaching life science, this year she took on two brand new technology elective courses focusing on digital citizenship and media.
Throughout the year McLachlan will participate in various virtual trainings in educational technology. As a Digital Innovator, she is expected to lead several professional development activities in the 2014-2015 school year to share her innovations with other educators within her school and district
The PBS Learning Media Digital Innovators Summit was held in June, hosted at the PBS headquarters in Washington D.C. You can learn more about Digital Innovators by following the event on Twitter at #pbsdigitalinnovator and #pbsdisummit.
Byon June 13, 2014 11:38 AM
Educators + Entrepreneurialism = Edupreneurialism
"Edupreneurialism?" Just another term or something meaningful? As an instructor in this course The Entrepreneurial Educator, of course, I lean towards the term having great meaning. For too many years educators have avoided any ties to business, and business has criticized education's graduates. This artificial separation has led to neither side being able to benefit from the depth and wisdom of the other. Every business must see itself as a learning organization. Every school and student must see themselves as a bit more like a business.
If we are to truly move to 21st century learning and embrace the concepts of the Common Core, our students (and teachers) must begin to think of themselves not as passive recipients of knowledge but as finders and shapers of their own future. In the course we explore the concept of every student and teacher seeing themselves as an "economic unit of one," not in just a financial sense, but with the belief that each student must, early in their education, begin to see themselves as responsible for developing themselves, for marketing themselves, for discovering their passions and for aligning these passions and interests with the realities of today's world. This is not a task for a career project as a senior in High School, but a way of thinking that needs to be nurtured at an early age.
Come and join us in exploring this concept. Begin looking at yourself as an entrepreneurial educator. Our course begins on June 23 and is hosted on Canvas.net. Enrollment is free.
Byon May 21, 2014 10:00 AM
Sonoma State School of Education is pleased to be a co-host of the 2014 ieSonoma event on Monday, June 9, 8:30am-12:30pm at Sonoma Country Day School in Santa Rosa. The event is focused the changing demands of the 21st century and how our community, and its schools, must respond to meet those demands. Two keynote speakers will be featured, Dr. Sugata Mitra and Nirvan Mullick. A discussion on "Design Thinking in Education" will include a panel of experts, including Greg Bamford, Kristen Swanson, and others to be announced.
Dr. Sugata Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, England. His 30 years of research spans a wide range of disciplines, but he has earned the greatest recognition for his creative experiment known as the Hole in the Wall, which showed that children can teach themselves and each other when they're motivated by curiosity and peer interest. This work inspired the book and award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. Dr. Mitra received the 2013 TED Prize and was named one of the Top 10 Thinkers of 2013 by CNN.
Nirvan Mullick is a filmmaker, creative consultant, speaker, and entrepreneur. His animated short films have screened in festivals worldwide. In 2001, he began an ongoing collaborative experiment called The 1 Second Film, which was one of the first crowd-funded films. In 2012, he directed Caine's Arcade, an 11-minute film that became a viral phenomenon, receiving over 8 million views and sparking a global movement of "cardboard creativity." Mullick subsequently founded the non-profit Imagination Foundation to find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children. He has received the Dan Eldon Creative Activist Award and Innovation in Action award.
Registration is free for teachers and students using the promotional code innovate14 on the registration form, but tickets are limited. General admission is $40 for non-teachers. To register, see this registration page
ieSonoma is a partnership of educational institutions and the larger community dedicated to exploring the research, theory, and practice of transforming education for the 21st century. The partnership was initiated by SCOE in collaboration with founding partners Sonoma Country Day School and Sonoma State University and is aligned to the Cradle to Career Sonoma County goal of ensuring that every child succeeds academically
Byon May 7, 2014 1:53 PM
By Guest Author: Suzi Fischer
Tips from a Student Teacher: Suzi Fischer
I contemplated what might be more helpful for prospective and beginner student teachers--a glimpse into the life of a student teacher, or a list of suggestions to help create a successful student teaching experience. I decided to follow in my colleague's footsteps and share the personal insights that I have discovered on this incredibly rewarding journey. Some of these tips might be repeated from other blog contributors--that just means they are extra important!
1. Get to Know Your Students
They are the entire reason you're considering this profession, so make sure you take the time to really get to know them, and enjoy the process of learning more about their unique interests, personalities, and backgrounds. This is my favorite part about teaching--forging these relationships and being a positive force in these students' lives. Knowing your students also helps immensely when formulating your lesson plans--it allows you to create a lesson that meets the specific needs and interests of your particular class and students.
2. Show Them That You Care
When students know that you care about them, not just their interests and background but their well-being and individual growth as well, they begin care about you too. So greet your class every morning, express that you're happy to see them, check in on them one-on-one to make sure they're doing alright, and support them. This means carving out a chunk of your busy day to go to their basketball game, or show up at their band concert, or even just take the time to sit and talk to lonely students through lunch instead of rushing home to finish that 459 assignment or grade that mountain of papers. Even if they don't verbally express it, they care. They care that you care. Additionally, showing students that you care also ties into your classroom management and creating a safe environment for your students.
3. Consult with Your Mentor Teacher, and Often
Where would Luke Skywalker be if he didn't have an Obi-Wan or Yoda to guide him through the challenging process of becoming a Jedi Knight? Just as your students look up to you as a role model and guide, so too, do student teachers need to rely on an experienced mentor to navigate the murky waters of first-year teaching. It is so important to have easy and open lines of communication with your mentor teacher. I meet with my mentor teacher twice a week to collaborate on lesson plans and assess how previous lessons have gone; on top of this, we email and text regularly to ensure that our co-teaching flows smoothly and we are on the same page. It's all about teamwork, collaboration, and constant self-assessment and reflection.
4. Feedback is Your Friend!
The feedback that your mentor teacher and SSU supervisor provide for you is extremely helpful--take their constructive criticism to heart to learn from mistakes and benefit from their wisdom. Now is the time to create positive habits and correct negative ones before they become routine and are ingrained in your everyday teaching.
Also don't be afraid to ask for feedback. There is no such thing as too much feedback, as long as you take the suggestions with a grain of salt and make sure that you stay true to your style of teaching. What works for one teacher may not work for another--it all depends on who you are, the relationship you have with your students, and how you approach teaching.
The advice that helped me the most was gathered from a survey I took from my Senior Honors English class, in which I asked them to anonymously and thoughtfully give suggestions and feedback that would help me to be a better educator. They took the task to heart and I was rewarded with a treasure trove of insightful and helpful information. They were very honest, and while some of the criticism was hard to hear, their willingness to help and perceptive observations aided greatly in my growth as a teacher. I had a short discussion with the class openly examining areas where I need improvement and discussing specific ways in which I could strengthen my skillset. They were pleased that I was genuinely interested in what they had to say and the entire experience was very rewarding for both parties.
5. Be Prepared!
I cannot stress this enough! Always, always, always have a backup plan! Teaching demands flexibility, thinking on your feet, and being able to roll with the punches. One of my favorite sayings is "keep calm and pretend it's on the lesson plan--" it's funny to laugh about, but you will face the unexpected--even when you're expecting it! There have been many times when the classroom wifi has failed when the entire lesson depended on our ability to access the internet. Additionally, you will have days when equipment breaks (like a projector), teachers "borrow" your Elmo on the day you really need it (like during your instruction section of the PACT Teaching Event), or all of the electrical outlets in your room will suddenly decide to stop working. The more prepared you are, the easier it is to whip up a secondary lesson on the spot and proceed just as if it was always on the lesson plan.
Byon April 15, 2014 1:22 PM
By Guest Author: Amy Nelson
5 Tips from a Novice Student Teacher
Accept the Awkward
There are going to be MANY uncomfortable and awkward moments during your student teaching year. Embrace them, laugh about them, and learn from them. Nothing can really prepare you for the moment when you are staring at a room full of 35 seventh graders, and somebody tells you that you have spilt coffee down your white shirt and didn't even notice. You will have moments when you simply don't know what to say or can't recall the brilliant point you'd planned on making. Student teaching is a time when you can make mistakes, you won't be perfect. In fact, I've learned the most from the lessons I created that didn't work out whatsoever. So when you're "onstage" and the lesson doesn't turn out like a clip from Freedom Writers... just roll it.
Work with Your Mentor
One of the first things my mentor told me was that picking a student teacher is like picking a roommate or a spouse. Having a good relationship with your mentor truly makes a huge difference in your experience. Your mentor is there to coach and guide you: ask them questions, admit defeat and confusion, talk to them about what you're doing well and what you need to work on. Don't be offended when they offer you constructive criticism about your instructional approaches. RELY on your mentor, for they are there to support you in every situation, a.k.a. when the class has gotten out of control and you have absolutely no idea how to quiet them down before the principal walks in.
Get to Know Your Students
This seems obvious, but as a novice teacher it is easy to get caught up in the chaos of prepping for your next class, remembering how to work the copy machine at break, trying to find the assignments for a student who hasn't been to class in two weeks, etc. Make it a goal to just talk to your students when time permits--ask them about their lives and what is going on in their world. Just the other day I noticed while putting in grades that Lilly, a quiet student who doesn't "hide" from me nor shout out and demand my attention, has been performing exceptionally well during my "Outsiders" unit. Sometimes I get so caught up with interacting with the students who require so much attention, that I don't get to check in with the students who don't beg to be noticed. I made sure to approach Lilly at her desk the next day and tell her that I have seen how well she has been doing, and that I was really proud of her. The smile that stretched across her face sent chills down my arms--she beamed with pride and it surprised me how just that one comment meant so much to her. You are the teacher, but you will learn so much from your students... so talk to them.
Make a Name for Yourself
Student teaching isn't a time to be shy. Talk to the other teachers and administrators at your school, there is no better time to observe the teaching styles and techniques of others. Ask educators why they got into the profession. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and be the student teacher who is always shaking people's hands and roaming around campus.
Remember Why You Want to Teach
During your student teaching you will be completely stressed out, overwhelmed, and unsure of yourself--it's okay. You will have one million things to do: papers to write, projects to make, and essays to grade, but be sure to take time for yourself. Take a deep breath and remind yourself why you want to be a teacher. There have been many days where I've felt like I'm doing a horrible job and question whether or not I have what it takes to be an English teacher. Days like that happen, but then, a student tells me that I'm their favorite teacher -or--someone spells the correct form of "your" and "you're" on their essay and I know that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. It is easy to get caught up in the stress of it all, but remember that the kids are what make it all worth it in the end... teaching is truly a joy.
Byon April 8, 2014 1:27 PM
By Guest Author: Travis Pappa
5 Ways to Make your Student Teaching Effective, Enjoyable and Fulfilling
Form a Positive Relationship with Your Mentor Teacher
This may come very naturally or it may take some intentional effort on your part. Chances are, you probably won't agree with everything your mentor teacher says or does, nevertheless, do your best to understand their point of view and the experiences they have had (namely, their teaching experience that caused them to adapt the procedures or habits they have). While you may find yourself eager for the freedom of your first year of teaching solo, take advantage of the ideas, constructive critique (as humbling as it may be, it will be worth it!), perspective, advice and anecdotes that years of experience have yielded your mentor teacher. Developing a sense of teamwork and camaraderie with your mentor teacher can be of great value to both you and your students.
Read Articles and Books Related to Education that Interest You
Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov has been one of my favorite reads during my time as a student teacher because of the practical and easily implemented teaching techniques it describes. Ask your mentor teacher for reading recommendations since it is likely they have established a personal library of education-related readings. Books and articles provide a great point of conversation between educated individuals (such as you and your mentor teacher) and are certainly a catalyst for creativity during your lesson planning.
Greet the Students Who May Feel Overlooked or Unnoticed in Class
While student teaching, I was surprised to find that I had at least two students each period who would try to be as unnoticeable (by teachers and/or students) as possible. I challenged myself to greet each of these students personally and consistently at the beginning of each class period - even if it was a simple: "Good morning, Irvin, I'm glad you're here today." Although one of my students wanted to keep their interactions with me limited to this, over the following three weeks, most of these quiet students began to change their classroom behavior. Most of these students who were once shy and quiet began to be more alert and active in class. These students also began to hold conversations with me (during and after class!) and even began smiling more frequently during the period. It was an enjoyable lesson in how intentionality and consistency go a long way for the students who are accustomed to being overlooked.
Listen More, Talk Less
The more I teach, the more I am reminded that I become a better teacher by listening: talking with other educators in my content area, formal student feedback, informal student feedback and reading works by published educators. Ironically, the best teachers seem do a great deal of listening. High school students have an average "lecture attention span" of 14-18 minutes, which means that a teacher should spend most of a class period not addressing the entire class. There are a plethora of ways students can learn content aside from lecture (and a substantial amount of research-based methods and materials to do so). Save your voice for when it's needed and spend time circulating your classroom, talking with students and conducting thoughtful formative assessments on how your students are understanding the material. Often, the less I talk, the more meaningful my words are to my students.
Remind Yourself of the Reasons You Want to be a Teacher
No matter how good of an imagination you have, teaching looks, feels and is much different than you ever imagined. Inevitably, there will be days when you will feel you don't have what it takes to be a teacher. After some pizza, chocolate, or a power nap, take some time to remind yourself of why you want to be a teacher. There were likely multiple things that inspired you to pursue this profession and it is important to remind yourself of such inspiration on the days that discourage you. After that, create opportunities that allow you to enjoy your favorite parts of teaching.
The Accelerating Academic Achievement for English Learners (AAAEL) Project is a five-year, teacher-centered professional development project funded by the U.S. Department of Education that is focused on improving English Learner (EL) student achievement in mathematics, science and English language arts.
Byon April 2, 2014 9:11 AM
The MAKER Movement has taken hold in many schools around Northern California. Over the last several years interest in the grass roots MAKER Movement has grown. MAKER Fairs around the world have attracted hundreds of thousands of people. Now MAKER is beginning to spill into schools and be used by innovative teachers seeking to provide engaging, hands-on, authentic learning experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics.You can find out what MAKER is all about the 1st annual MAKER Day on April 12 at the Marin County Office of Education.See how the future is being imagined,invented, designed, programmed, and manufactured by Marin County students.Meet the MAKERS and have fun with the hands-on exhibits. Everyone is welcome--teachers, kids, families and more-- and it's free! HERE to register.
GO Green and ride your bike to MAKER Day on April 12. Valet bike parking courtesy of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition!
The Marin County Office of Education
and partners Autodesk,
Microsoft, Edutopia, Intel Clubhouse, Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Lego
Play-Well, Buck Institute for Education, and Bay Area Science Festival are hosting MAKER Day on April 12, from 10:00-4:00 at the Marin County Office of Education, 1111 Las Gallinas Avenue, San Rafael. Experience the excitement,
creativity, genius and the "do it yourself" ingenuity of our students.
More info at http://make.marinschools.org.
The School of Education encourages both pre-service and in-service teachers to take advantage of this opportunity to see how schools are incorporating the MAKER mindset in their classrooms.
Byon January 10, 2014 1:40 PM
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.
Byon 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.