Webinars Explore Making in Schools, Features Panel of Maker-Educators

Posted by Pamela Van Halsema on December 2, 2014 10:38 AM

Making in K-12 Schools Webinars: Part 1, Wednesday, December 3 and Part 2, Wednesday, December 10, noon PST

To join the webinars, go to http://educatorinnovator.org/webinars/

2 webinars december 3 and 10 for Making in K-12 Settings

Join School of Education Assoc. Professor Jessica Parker, along with several Bay Area maker-educators as they discuss the role of "Making" in schools.  Set up as a forum, these teachers will share stories from their own experiences in the classroom--from elementary up to high school--incorporating making into the curriculum and both creating and maintaining a culture of creativity

In Part 1 of the two part series, on December 3, the panel will focus on how to set things up to foster hands-on, interdisciplinary maker projects and events which successfully support student learning.

In Part 2, on December 10, they will discuss the kind of professional development that they themselves need as educators to implement these programs and adopt a 'maker mindset' as a teacher.

The Maker Movement

Making emphasizes learning-through-doing In a social environment. Maker culture emphasizes informal, networked, peer-led, and shared learning motivated by fun and self-fulfillment. Makers encourage taking risks and experimentation with materials from simple to high tech equipment, they set up opportunities to build and tinker and create. Robotics, woodworking, crafting, 3D printing, and machining are just a few examples of projects used in Maker Spaces all over the world top inspire through project-based learning.

The notion of tinkering and Making has become popular world-wide and is now truly a movement capturing the imagination of young and old, across cultures and disciplines. Maker Media, based here in Sonoma County, has been the hub and helped build this movement around the world with their publications and their Maker Faire events.

This global community consists of inventors, artists, engineers, and many other types of people with all kinds of backgrounds. This movement is taking many in the direction of successful independent creativity that is allowing for outside the box thinking and knowledge expansion and growth.

This kind of thinking is a great fit for project based learning and creative problem solving curriculum in schools, as well as creative and artistic development.

The Maker Educator Certificate Program

This webinar is hosted and produced by the National Writing Project's Educator Innovator initiative (educatorinnovator.org), and is affiliated with the Maker Educator Certificate Program offered by The Startup Classroom at Sonoma State University. The certificate program offers a selection of mini courses to help educators of all kinds (not just school teachers) learn how to start and maintain MakerSpaces in their own setting, and become part of a network of Maker Educators.  

To learn more about the Maker Educator Certificate Program visit www.thestartupclassroom.org/maker-course/ 

Education Graduate Research Fair Thursday Highlights Current Work by Master's Candidates

Posted by Pamela Van Halsema on November 17, 2014 4:45 PM

Grad-Research-PosterThe Master of Arts in Education Program at Sonoma State University is pleased to present the Fall Graduate Research Fair on Thursday, November 20, 2014 from 5:00-7:30 PM in Schulz 1121.  

In this poster session style event, sudents who have just completed the program will present their findings related to their thesis and cognate projects Programs represented range from Curriculum, Teaching and Learning to Special Education to Educational Leadership and more. The Fair provides these students an diverse audience of faculty, local educators and fellow students to share and discuss their ideas and research.  

For local people contemplating entering the Master's program, this a wonderful opportunity to get a closer look at the kind of in depth work that candidates pursue in the program. The School of Education is accepting applications now for admission to Master's programs to begin in Spring and Fall.  The application window for Spring closes on November 30.  To learn more see www.sonoma.edu/graduate/

The event is free and open to the public.  

Looking Through the Camera Lens: A Videographer's Nostalgic View of the Sonoma State's Global Cardboard Challenge

Posted by Casey Sears on October 27, 2014 2:38 PM

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Guest Blog Post by Russell Brackett, Sonoma State University Communications Major and Multimedia Communications Intern in the School of Education


When I saw the Caine's Arcade video for the first time, I couldn't help but smile uncontrollably. Flashbacks to my childhood washed over me as I watched this amazing kid use his imagination to build something incredible out of nothing. This video tells the story of a creative kid from East LA who built an incredible pretend arcade out of cardboard boxes. It was heartwarming to see especially in this world of video games and nonstop technology.

When I heard we were putting on our own Global Cardboard Challenge at Sonoma State, in response to the Caine's Arcade video, I instantly began thinking of ways to contribute to this movement to get kids to be creative and have fun in the process. I not only thought about ways to film this event, but also the things that I could build with cardboard! This was a great opportunity to help not only the kids, but myself as well by taking me back to my childhood days of imaginative play.

Growing up, I was the type of kid who had to be told multiple times by my parents to get in the house for dinner. I'd always yell back "Just a minute!", but one minute often turned into fifteen before they physically would come and get me. I was often wrapped up in some imaginative scenario using random objects to build forts, cars, or weapons to fight battles to save a damsel in distress. This is why I was so excited because I remember getting lost in play on a daily basis as a kid and always having a blast! I waited in anticipation for the day of the Cardboard Challenge as I was hoping to relive some of something from my childhood.

October 10th finally arrived and I woke up excited and ready. Our plan was to build a village out of cardboard. Once the first wave of children began pouring in with their amazing creations built out of old boxes, I again found myself smiling and feeling happy in the same way I did when I watched the Caine's Arcade video the first time. 

Our event included preschoolers, elementary kids and college students who built houses, hospitals, and even trees for the village, made colorful with the splash of poster paint. Sounds of laughter and happiness could be heard throughout the makeshift village all day as more and more people poured in with their projects. 

Rocket ships, hotels, buses, ice cream shops, and all kinds of imaginative ideas built by people of all ages filled the quad. I was focused on filming, but there were a couple moments where I had to step back, put the camera down, and just enjoy what was taking place.

As a videographer, I film all day in hopes of capturing those moments that not only look good on camera, but most importantly evoke emotion in my viewers. Those moments were not hard to find that day as everyone who participated seemed genuinely excited to be there, and it showed in their body language and finished projects. 

At the end of the day, I was exhausted but couldn't help smiling as I knew we had accomplished something great. That day will always serve as a reminder that no matter your age, it is important to step away and be creative just like when you were a kid.

To read more about the event visit The Startup Classroom website. Check out my finished video story here: Global Cardboard Challenge Video

The Day in the Life of a Multiple Subject Student Teacher

Posted by Gabrielle Cordero on October 13, 2014 11:50 AM

By Guest Author: Jared Candelaria

Editor's note: This guest blog article is one in a series written by students in the Multiple Subject Credential Program, intended to offer a glimpse into the life and work of a credential candidate in our program. Candelaria completed the program in Spring 2014.

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My day as a student teacher starts when I wake up at 6:00 a.m. Immediately, I start to think about the lesson plans I have done that prior weekend. As I drink a cup of coffee, I look over my daily lesson plans and wonder how effective they will be that day. I arrive at my teaching placement site around 7:30 a.m and about 7:45a.m. I start to feel a little nervous about the start of my day. As students trickle into the classroom, I greet them at the door with a smile; and after the bell rings, I say, "Time to begin our day, class".

In the classroom not every day is the same. Obviously, the content of the lessons are different and each student is unique. Because no two students are the same and have individual needs, everyday is filled with new challenges. Teaching multiple subjects daily is one of the many challenges I face not only because of the knowledge requirement but also because I must find ways to relay that knowledge to a variety of learning abilities. Some days these challenges are easy to overcome and other days lessons simply fail. No matter the outcome, each day is a learning experience for me and because I care, these experiences will allow me to grow as a teacher.

When the last bell rings and the students are gone, it is time to reflect. I am sure student teachers are overwhelmed by these feelings. I might feel discouraged, happy, excited, sad, or disappointed; but no matter the feeling, tomorrow is another day. A day you continue with the successes and correct the missteps with the help of your mentors. As a student teacher in the Multiple Subject Credential Program, always keep in mind the reason why you entered it. It was to help students reach their potential; and by remembering this, it will allow you to face the classroom challenges and eventually overcome them so that you can be successful.

To learn more about becoming an elementary school teacher and the Multiple Subject Credential Program at Sonoma State University, read more online or drop by and visit us on the ground floor of Stevenson Hall, Suite 1078.

Math Educator Megan W. Taylor on KQED to Discuss Innovative Professional Development Models for STEM Teachers

Posted by Pamela Van Halsema on October 8, 2014 12:18 AM

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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.

Listen to the Forum podcast from KQED


 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. 

Megan Taylor

Megan W. Taylor, Asst Prof. of Curriculum and Instruction in Mathematics, SSU

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