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.
It is ALMOST complete! The Rocky Shore Marine Science Curriculum: An Ecosystem Unit for Elementary Educators will be accessible to anyone, for free, on April 14th.
I met with Kirsty Walker yesterday, the President of Hobblebush Design, and we thoroughly examined the rocky shore ecosystem curriculum for adjustments that needed to be made. Kirsty is remarkably talented, and for those who have had the chance to get a sneak peak at the ecosystem unit, they have been extremely impressed with its professional appearance and organization.
The following preparations still need to occur before it is deemed “ready for use”:
Complete the Atlantic Ocean Rocky Shore Guide and Life at the Rocky Shore Fact Sheets sections (additions need to be made).
Make final modifications to lesson plans based on classroom teachers’ feedback.
Have experts in the field of marine science and education examine the curriculum one more time before giving it their final approval.
This NGSS-aligned, Ocean Literacy Principles-aligned, 7-week ecosystem unit will prove to be a very valuable and helpful resource to all elementary educators who access it. And one of the coolest features – it will be a “living” document that will be modified from time-to-time to continuously improve it based on teacher and student input.
Lastly, a HUGE thank you to Carol Steingart, President of the Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association (GOMMEA) and owner of Coast Encounters for promoting this curriculum at this week’s National Science Teacher’s Association Sun, Surf and Science conferences in Los Angeles, California. Your efforts and passion for marine education and conservation are immensely appreciated!
When members of an orchestra tune their instruments before a big concert I imagine there is a high level of anticipatory excitement. That is exactly how I felt yesterday at the Seacoast Science Center (SSC).
I had the fantastic opportunity to spend the entire day with two tremendous employees of the SSC, Kate Leavitt and Sarah Toupin. The twenty-four lesson, seven-week rocky shore ecosystem unit is complete, but it will not be ready for its debut until a lot of “tuning” has been done. We spent many hours going over the curriculum with a fine-toothed radula to ensure it aligns extremely well with the Next Generation Science Standards. If you don’t know what a radula is, you should look it up!
While examining the curriculum we also did something that I was not planning for but am very excited about – we aligned each lesson to the Ocean Literacy Principles. These seven detailed principles were created by educators from kindergarten through college, researches from multiple ocean science disciplines, education policymakers, science coordinators from departments of education and federal agency representatives involved in education.
The seven principles were developed to promote ocean literacy: the understanding of the ocean’s influence on humans and our influence on the ocean. You can find the seven principles HERE. The correlations between the Next Generation Science Standards and the Ocean Literacy Principles and Concepts can be found HERE.
Besides ensuring that the standards and the lesson content aligned, we also spent a lot of time making necessary revisions to produce a user-friendly document for educators. A major objective of mine in the creation of this unit is to guarantee teachers that this curriculum will be an easy and enjoyable unit to implement in their classrooms.
The “finished” curriculum should be available at some point in April! However, my continued hope will be that this FREE ecosystem unit available to all educators will be a “living” document. As time passes and I receive valuable feedback from educators, necessary improvements will be made to increase the learning experiences of all students participating in the lessons provided by this resource.
A HUGE thanks once again to the Seacoast Science Center for all their collaborative efforts in the development and promotion of this curriculum.
One final question and answer to reflect upon…What did the ocean say to the beachgoers? Nothing…it just waved.