Rocky Shore Curriculum

Where Is It?

Where It Is

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The Rocky Shore Marine Science Curriculum that I wrote last year in collaboration with the Seacoast Science Center and the New Hampshire Sea Grant is starting to go places!  Just recently it made itself home in the teacher resource center of the New England Aquarium.  It is also available at the Seacoast Science Center, and at the Seacoast Science Center’s website.

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It can also be found at my Engage Your Students website and it has been accessed by several people from many countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Brazil, China, and more!

Where It Is Going

The curriculum will soon be flying to Atlanta, Georgia with Carol Steingart of Coast Encounters.  Atlanta is hosting this year’s National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) “Share-A-Thon,” and I am so appreciative of Carol’s desire to share it with science teachers from acround the country!

I have thankfully had several requests for hard copies of the curriculum and will be snail-mailing them shortly.  Many New Hampshire schools have recently requested them, including East Kingston Elementary School, Saint Mary Academy, North Hampton Elementary School, and Hillsboro-Deering Elementary school.  Eliot Elementary School in Maine will also be getting a hard copy soon!

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The Casco Bay Estuary Partnership just recently contacted me as they have tremendous interest in the curriculum.  The tentative plan is share my curriculum with educators at the Brunswick High School on August 4th.  The curriculum will be available to participants during this summer professional development opportunity.

Where I Hope It Will Go

In efforts to spread the use of this curriculum, I am going to be contacting several aquariums and science centers on the Atlantic coast in hopes that they might house a copy or two of the curriculum at their facility.  I am hoping to have the curriculum available on multiple websites as well.

I have recently set up a Twitter account to spread the word of this curriculum, as well as to post topics about science at the elementary level, about inquiry-based instruction, and other topics revolving around elementary education and marine science.

Please consider helping me spread the word of this curriculum – the purpose behind its development was to offer a free resource to elementary teachers, and my hope is that it will be utilized by many educators and students across our state, region, and beyond!

Curriculum, Sabbatical

Nearing the Finish Line

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:

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  • 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

  • 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.

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  • 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.

 

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Collaboration, Rocky Shore Curriculum

Collaborating with the SSC Using the NGSS (and more)!

img_4898The rocky shore curriculum I am developing is nearing its final stages, so I recently met with the Seacoast Science Center (SSC) to see how their institution might be able to assist me at this time.  I met with Kate Leavitt, Director of Mission Initiatives, to discuss fine-tuning the curriculum as well as promoting it.

The following ways we are going to collaborate include:

  • Analyzing the entire curriculum to ensure it is user-friendly and standards-based.
    • Kate, Sarah Toupin (School and Group Program Manager) and I will take a day to review each lesson of the curriculum to check for any errors to areas in need of improvement.  We will also us the EQuIP Rubric to provide evidence on the quality and alignment of the rocky shore science unit with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  You can check this rubric out HERE.
  • Promoting the curriculum via SSC website.
    • We will explore various ways the rocky shore curriculum might be able to be accessible via the SSC website so the curriculum can have as much exposure (and get as much use) as possible.
    • Part of the objective of creating the curriculum is to provide elementary school teachers with a free science resource, and advertising its existence as much as possible is very important.
  • Possibly offering webinars to educators and/or science workshops using SSC’s facilities. 
    • SSC has the technology to provide quality distance learning opportunities for educators, and they also have a great onsite room that can be used for teacher or student education – the Gregg Interactive Learning Studio (GILS).  Doing one or both may be in my future.
  • Helping educators who benefit from SSC’s services be aware of the curriculum’s existence. 
    • Whether by handing out flyers or sending out emails, we are considering ways to promote the rocky shore curriculum to educators who visit the SSC for a variety of educational purposes.
  • Gathering more image / illustration resources with the much appreciated help of Karen Provazza, SSC’s Director of Marketing.
    • Karen has been a wonderful, behind-the-scenes help in the development of this curriculum.  Several images and illustrations featured in the curriculum will be from the SSC (and were found and virtually delivered by Karen).

I am so thankful for Kate, Sarah and Karen and the entire SSC staff.  The rocky shore curriculum would be lacking a great deal without their help, and it will prove to be of high quality thanks to their collaborative efforts.  I am also very grateful to their continuous dedication to encouraging ocean literacy and advocating for ocean conservation!

Rocky Shore Curriculum, Sabbatical

Three Pivotal Numbers

Good morning!  I am writing a very brief blog post this morning to celebrate three specific numbers associated with my sabbatical project:

1,000 – Engageyourstudents.org, the website I have created to track the progress of my project’s objectives and to be a home to the complete and published rocky shore curriculum has already reached 1,000 hits!

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4 – This morning I “googled” the following words: rocky shore curriculum. Engageyourstudents.org came up fourth in a list of 117,000 results!

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1 – Although not yet complete, the Rocky Shore Marine Science Curriculum for elementary educators has one complete cover page – special thanks to Adam Kelley (illustrator) and Kirsty Walker (designer) for creating this incredible cover!

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Although I have many more lessons to write, many more schools to visit, and many more objectives to carry out before my sabbatical is through, I find it extremely important to recognize and be thankful for each accomplishment, big or small.

Collaboration, Curriculum

New England Aquarium Collaboration

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Corrine Steever, NEAQ Teacher Services Supervisor

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.

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NEAQ’s Teacher Resource Center Staff

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.

 

Collaboration, Curriculum, Rocky Shore Curriculum

The Beginning Has Arrived: Lesson One

 

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.

Enjoy the “sneak peek”:

Collaboration, Rocky Shore Curriculum

The Seacoast Science Center: Learning Science by Doing Science

img_1019Studying ecosystems is a major component of elementary science.  Ecosystem education is recommended for nearly every primary grade in both the Science Literacy New Hampshire Curriculum Frameworks and the Next Generation Science Standards.  Learning about ecosystems is not only a high interest topic of life sciences among young students – it also provides them with a stimulating and illuminating opportunity to learn science by doing science depending on where they live.  For a vast majority of New Hampshire students, the rocky shore ecosystem is an accessible learning laboratory.

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Cindy VanHooyDonk & Megan Smith

 

This week I had a chance to shadow one of the Seacoast Science Center’s naturalists while she facilitated a classroom visit to the rocky shore.  It was a gorgeous Thursday morning with sunny skies, warm waters and plenty of space to explore the ecosystem’s diverse organisms and environmental elements.  To my excited surprise, the time slot I chose to observe belonged to Sutton Central Elementary School – one of the four elementary schools in my own district!

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Kelly Tivnan, SSC Naturalist

 

The Seacoast Science Center’s naturalist that allowed me to pester her with questions and tag alongside her all morning was Kelly Tivnan.  Ms. Tivnan is a soft-spoken yet spirited individual who decided to work for the SSC because of her love of the seacoast, joy in teaching, and dedication to education and the conservation of our state’s rocky shore.  You can tell she adores children and highly values the responsibility of providing valuable learning experiences for visiting schools.  This is reflected not only in her work but also in her life as a proud mother of four and a new member of the Middleton, NH school board.

Ms. Tivnan’s responsibilities can be divided into three major categories:  1) educate students about the rocky shore’s dynamic community, 2) facilitate on-site student investigations of the rocky shore and 3) field and answer questions from students.  I am thankful for her hard-working efforts in her local community and at the SSC, and am grateful that I had the chance to shadow her morning session with Sutton Central.

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Science class at the rocky shore is an experience that is not only memorable, but as I have mentioned before in my blog, an educational paradise.  The ability to be involved with inquiry-based learning at one of the world’s most interesting and diverse ecosystems – one that is quite perilous for its inhabitants and constantly changing – is an extremely valuable endeavor.  I was very appreciative once more of my time at the rocky shore and being able to spend it with Ms. Smith’s fantastic third grade class!  It was wonderful to be able to watch her students take their content knowledge from the classroom and apply and refine their science inquiry skills at the rocky shore…it was learning science by doing science at its best.