It is hard to believe that a year ago I was preparing for the end of the school year and getting ready to embark on my sabbatical journey. Now there are only a couple months left in my sabbatical year and time seems to be washing away faster than the tides!
The Last Month:
April 14th was the “release date” if you will of the marine science unit I created collaboratively with the NH Sea Grant, Seacoast Science Center, illustrator Adam Kelley, Hobblebush Design and the New England Aquarium – located on the homepage of engageyourstudents.org.
Carol Steingart, a local marine science educator and former Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association (GOMMEA) president, promoted the curriculum at a National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference in Los Angeles, California in April.
More recently I had the privilege of promoting this curriculum at the New Hampshire Science Teachers Association (NHSTA) Spring Conference.
The Next Two Months:
I will be seeking out New Hampshire educators who are willing to pilot this curriculum so that I can take their feedback and build upon and refine the curriculum.
Next week I will be teaching a couple of lessons from the curriculum to students at the Andover Elementary Middle School.
I will be traveling with docents from the UNH SeaTrek Programs to schools around the state in order to learn from them and promote the curriculum.
The Seacoast Science Center (SSC) and I will be collaborating to create a workshop or two centered around the curriculum I am offering, as well as planning ways to promote the curriculum – including having it available on their website.
I will be teaching a few summer institute classes at New England College and Keene State College in late June.
The Kearsarge Regional School District’s Middle School has asked me to present at their STEM Camp this July and I was more than willing to participate!
I will be presenting a workshop at the New England Aquarium on July 30th.
I am so grateful for all of the people who have encouraged and supported me throughout this sabbatical. I know it is not over yet, but as I near the finish line I can’t help but begin to lament how quickly it has passed, and at the same time reflect on how thankful I have been for this amazing opportunity.
I have had the opportunity to visit the New England Aquarium several times. None were anything like the experience I had yesterday, however. Yesterday I had the pleasure of not only being an observer of a fantastic organization but a collaborator, as I met with Corrine Steever, Teacher Services Supervisor at the New England Aquarium.
Corrine has supported my project to advance science education at the elementary level, as well as my efforts to create a free rocky shore ecosystem for curriculum available for teachers and students. Her assistance for the past two years in advocating for my sabbatical application was extremely appreciated and needed.
In our meeting Corrine agreed to help with revising and editing the rocky shore curriculum. She also provided me with a lot of helpful ideas of how to proceed with organizing the curriculum for educators. The New England Aquarium’s teacher resource center will also be a valuable resource – just as it has been to numerous educators and students for several years.
At the end of Corrine’s letter of support for my sabbatical application process, she stated “Any professional development that will help raise teacher and student knowledge about the Oceans benefits all by allowing a deeper understanding of how to protect the planet.” And this is perhaps the most important aspect of this project – education that will improve the health of our planet. The New England Aquarium will certainly prove to be an invaluable collaborator for this endeavor.
It can be difficult to work hard on anything when you can’t visually see the results of your labor. As much joy as I have had in the pursuit of creating a curriculum for New Hampshire educators and their students, it has been no easy task to work for hours and hours and see little development. However, the anticipation of the outcome makes tasks worthwhile, no matter how arduous or tedious they can be.
And the first outcome of many was emailed to me this afternoon by Kirsty Walker of Hobblebush Design – the first draft of the first lesson of the curriculum…woo hoo! Although it is only a draft, and will receive some illustrative upgrades and perhaps more tweaking, it was a beautiful sight.
I am thrilled that the creation of this curriculum is underway, and I am extremely thankful for the time and effort Mark Wiley of UNH, Kate Leavitt of the Seacoast Science Center, and Kirsty Walker of Hobblebush have put into this project.
I am currently working on lesson four of this rocky shore curriculum, and have many more to go, but couldn’t wait to share a sample of what has been made and what is to come with all of you.
Thank YOU for taking the time to read this, and for your support and encouragement.