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THE STANYS BIG IDEA TEACHER INSTITUTE SERIES (STANYS-BITIS) PART 1: 

THE STANYS BIG IDEA TEACHER INSTITUTE SERIES (STANYS-BITIS) PART 1 Don Duggan-Haas Colgate University Glenn Dolphin Union-Endicott High School

Feynman’s Question:: 

Feynman’s Question: “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?” (Feynman, 1963) Twist Feynman’s question to the Earth sciences. What one Earth science idea would you want some future civilization to understand?

Your answer? : 

Your answer? Take one minute to answer, individually, Feynman’s question. If only one sentence of Earth science information was passed to the next generation of creatures, what should that sentence be? We’ll share in a minute, and then sharpen our definition of Big Ideas and then reframe the question to address Earth science.

What is a Big Idea?: 

What is a Big Idea? A big idea is not simply a topic that typically appears in textbooks, but a key concept that cuts across all topics within a discipline. “A big idea can be described two ways: as involving an enduring principle that transcends its origins, subject matter or place in time; and as a linchpin idea – one crucial to a student’s ability to understand a subject.” (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998 pg. 113)

Big ideas require uncoverage – : 

Big ideas require uncoverage – -- a sustained inquiry with breadth and depth. A novice and an expert may both understand a big idea, but they likely understand it in different ways and to different degrees. -- Big Ideas are not the same as the generative topics described by Wiske, but they are similar in that they “often have a bottomless quality, in that inquiry into the topic leads to deeper questions” (Wiske, 1998).

A small set…: 

A small set… TIMSS found that American curricula in math and science are “an inch deep and a mile wide.” The typical US curriculum in MS & HS science or math addresses more than thirty major concepts in a single year. In Japan, about seven… Can we frame a small set of ideas that encompasses all that we would hope everyone would understand in the discipline?

Expand it to a small set of ideas…: 

Expand it to a small set of ideas… We teach too much and students generally don’t hold onto key principles. If everyone understood only a few key principles, what should they be?

Your answer?: 

Your answer? What do you think everyone ought to understand about Earth science? Turn to your neighbor for one minute. We’ve identified, with the help of several Earth scientists, and a few Earth science teachers five big ideas for Earth science.

Criteria for a set of Big Ideas: 

Criteria for a set of Big Ideas Each idea cuts across the curriculum. Understanding of each idea is attainable by students and the understanding holds promise for retention. The idea is essential to understanding a variety of topics. Each idea requires uncoverage. The entire curriculum is represented by this (small) set of ideas.

Share…: 

Share…

Our Earth Science Big Ideas: 

Our Earth Science Big Ideas The Earth System is a Complex Adaptive System. The Flow of Energy Drives the Cycling of Matter. Humans and the Environment Impact Each Other. Evolution and Uniformity Define the Earth System. To Understand (Deep) Time and the Scale of Space Models and Maps are Necessary. (Miller & Duggan-Haas, in review)

Conclusions: 

Conclusions In terms of curriculum… We tend to try to do too much. Less is often better. Organizing a coherent and articulated conceptual framework around a small set of key ideas holds promise. Well crafted questions can drive instruction and enmesh assessment into its practice.

THE STANYS BIG IDEA TEACHER INSTITUTE SERIES (STANYS-BITIS) PART 2: 

THE STANYS BIG IDEA TEACHER INSTITUTE SERIES (STANYS-BITIS) PART 2 Glenn Dolphin Union-Endicott High School Don Duggan-Haas Colgate University

Research Based Professional Development: 

Research Based Professional Development Research has found most teacher professional development to be problematic. There are common characteristics to effective programs. See packet -- Two (Complementary & Research-Based) Views of Good Professional Development.

Characteristics of Effective Professional Development in Mathematics and Science, from Garet et al (2001). : 

Characteristics of Effective Professional Development in Mathematics and Science, from Garet et al (2001). Form. Traditional classes, workshops or a "hands-on" activities were less effective than reform types of activities, such as teacher networks or study groups. Duration. Longer professional development programs are more likely to make an impact. Sustained and intensive programs are better than shorter ones. Collective participation. Activities designed for teachers in the same school, grade or subject are better than professional development programs that do not target groups of teachers who work together.

Characteristics of Effective Professional Development in Mathematics and Science (cont.) from Garet et al (2001). : 

Characteristics of Effective Professional Development in Mathematics and Science (cont.) from Garet et al (2001). Content. Professional development courses that focus on how to teach but also on what to teach-the substance and subject matter-are key. Active learning. Observing and being observed teaching, planning for classroom implementation, reviewing student work, and presenting, leading and writing. Coherence. Professional development is part of coherent programs of teacher learning and development that support other activities at their schools, such as the adoption of new standards or textbooks. Go to goals.

Form.: 

Form. Traditional classes, workshops or a "hands-on" activities were less effective than reform types of activities, such as teacher networks or study groups. Central to our program design is the development of a network of emerging leaders. While this involves workshops, they are intended to foster study groups and nurture the network. Back to characteristics

Duration.: 

Duration. Longer professional development programs are more likely to make an impact. Sustained and intensive programs are better than shorter ones. Study groups will be given several hours per session to develop materials based on presentations given. The program will span two consecutive summers and STANYS conferences (July 07 –November 08). Back to characteristics

Collective Participation: 

Collective Participation Activities designed for teachers in the same school, grade or subject are better than professional development programs that do not target groups of teachers who work together. Preference will be given to candidates who apply with a colleague from the same district or who were in the same teacher education cohort. With rapidly improving technologies, electronic commun-ication will allow individual groups to span across the state. Back to characteristics

Content: 

Content Professional development courses that focus on how to teach but also on what to teach-the substance and subject matter-are key. Teachers will be working in discipline dependant groups, focusing on the content that they teach. Scientists and teachers will collaborate in the design of instruction. Back to characteristics

Active Learning: 

Active Learning Observing and being observed teaching, planning for classroom implementation, reviewing student work, and presenting, leading and writing. Teachers will observe one another teaching. They will do this live, swap videos of each other teaching or use technology to observe each other from a distance. They will review student work, and present at STANYS conferences that occur over the duration of the grant. Back to characteristics

Coherence: 

Coherence Professional development is part of coherent programs of teacher learning and development that support other activities at their schools, such as the adoption of new standards or textbooks. By explicitly modeling our program after characteristics of effective professional development, we will help teachers to make apparently incoherent PD activities within their own districts more coherent. Back to characteristics

Program Goals: 

Program Goals Discern big ideas in the discipline (the program is not limited to Earth science). Design effective educative assessments that guide instruction. Organize material in a way that makes pedagogical sense. Develop a network of emerging teacher leaders.

Goal specific strategies Organizers will:: 

Goal specific strategies Organizers will: Structure workshop on big-idea development informed by the research. Structure workshop on unit plan development employing effective design strategies that lead to a coherent, well-articulated unit plan. Connect teachers with content specialty scientists. Provide electronic resources for linking both teachers and classrooms.

Strategies for meeting goals Participants will:: 

Strategies for meeting goals Participants will: Produce unit plans and assessments and will review one another’s work. Collaborate within group to review works of others in group. Present work at STANYS conference and other appropriate venues. Create online portfolios in which they provide evidence of goal attainment. The portfolios should substantiate the claims of the program.

Claims: 

Claims At the completion of my class, students understand key principles of the discipline. Authentic assessment is not only embedded in my teaching, but drives instruction. The organization of my instruction is informed by educational research. I am networked to other teachers in ways that support my continuing professional development.

Program structure: 

Program structure Summer institutes in 2007 & 2008. Develop and review of units and portfolios will be ongoing throughout the duration of the program. Teachers present at STANYS in 2007 & 2008. Application materials available in Spring 2007.

Questions?: 

Questions?

A suggestion from E.O. Wilson…: 

A suggestion from E.O. Wilson… On Charlie Rose (Darwin’s Legacy: E.O. Wilson and James Watson; December, 2005). Listen, if facilities allow…

The Earth System is a Complex Adaptive System.: 

The Earth System is a Complex Adaptive System. The Earth System is composed of and part of a multitude of systems, which cycle and interact resulting in dynamic equilibrium. The Earth is also nested in larger systems including the solar system and the universe. However there is an inherent unpredictability in systems, which are composed of an (effectively) infinite number of interacting parts that follow simple rules. Each system is qualitatively different from, but not necessarily greater than the sum of its parts. Back

The Flow of Energy Drives the Cycling of Matter: 

The Flow of Energy Drives the Cycling of Matter The Earth is an open system – it is the constant flow of solar radiation that powers most of Earth processes and drives the cycling of most matter in the system. Earth’s internal heat is also a driving force. Energy flows and cycles through the Earth system. Matter cycles within it. Cycling is largely driven by the interaction of solar radiation and gravity. Convection drives weather and climate, ocean currents, the rock cycle and plate tectonics. Back

Humans and the Environment Impact Each Other. : 

Humans and the Environment Impact Each Other. Earth system processes affect where and how humans live. For example, many people live in the shadow of volcanoes because of the fertile farmland found there, however they must keep a constant vigil to maintain their safety. The human impact on the environment is growing as population increases and the use of technology expands. Human activity has changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere and in so doing have changed the dynamics of the atmosphere. No other species has so modified Earth. Back

Evolution and Uniformity Define the Earth System.: 

Evolution and Uniformity Define the Earth System. The Earth is in a constant state of change, but the processes (erosion, evolution or plate tectonics, for example) changing the Earth are fixed. Just as the evolution of species is dependent on the Earth systems that surround it, the evolution of life on Earth has drastically changed Earth systems. For example, the evolution of photosynthetic plants changed the composition of the atmosphere. Back

To Understand (Deep) Time and the Scale of Space Models and Maps are Necessary.: 

To Understand (Deep) Time and the Scale of Space Models and Maps are Necessary. The use of models is fundamental to all of the Earth Sciences. Maps and models aid in the understanding of aspects of the Earth system for which direct observation is not possible. Models assist in the comprehension of time and space at both immense and sub-microscopic scales. When compared to the size and age of the universe, humanity is a speck in space and a blip in time. Back

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