Presentation on theme: "The Newgrange School POL June 2011. The Past PLC Stage 2 Goals and Progress Bring inquiry based learning to the forefront of our science program. ( Ongoing-"— Presentation transcript:
The Newgrange School POL June 2011
The Past PLC Stage 2 Goals and Progress Bring inquiry based learning to the forefront of our science program. ( Ongoing- see lessons learned and obstacles) Evaluate scope and sequence of curriculum to eliminate gaps and overlaps ( Done, but still evolving) Organize curriculum around Big Ideas ( Ongoing- see lessons learned obstacles) Provide staff development around content, inquiry and Big Idea thinking (Ongoing. All have attended Con- QUEST, participated in BIM planning/ creation on some level) The unique situation at Newgrange (school size/ grade range and special ed population) has influenced the path of our PLC.
Middle and High School Science at Newgrange Lessons Learned Inquiry is an uncomfortable process for students at first, but they can and do learn to use it. Afraid to not have the “right answer” Freedom of inquiry makes them insecure at first- some shut down Students don’t appreciate that uncertainty and failure are a natural part of the process
Elementary School Science at Newgrange Lessons Learned Through inquiry teaching, students are more likely to ask questions and probe for further information Assumptions about student background knowledge is often disconnected from student real world experience Student inability to “reality check” (Anything is possible) Expect the unexpected-an “aha” moment Students must be explicitly taught “critical thinking” skills Inquiry looks different for our population
Newgrange Science PLC Obstacles We’ve Encountered Re-evaluation of PLC goals revealed that the High School and Elementary School are in different places with regard to science teaching and learning Our team has temporarily “split” to focus on our respective areas of immediate need
With repetition, students have become more comfortable with inquiry and the scientific process PLC work on aligning scope and sequence has allowed us to build on the progress over several years and across scientific content areas (students see the scientific process is the same in all these areas) All teachers of science at Newgrange have experienced at least one BIM and have begun to adopt an inquiry approach Science PLC at Newgrange Successes from Past Connect- Ed work
Concentrate on building more comfort with inquiry at the lower grade levels Text with grade level content but appropriate reading level (we regularly re-write existing texts because reading level appropriate texts are too low scientifically) Bring our independent high school and elementary PLC findings back to the whole group for further exploration Science PLC at Newgrange What Might Help As We Move Forward?
Connect –Ed at Newgrange Imprint and Impact All grade level teachers now consider inquiry when planning science lessons All Newgrange staff have heard about the work of our PLC- we are forging the way for other PLCs. More coordination between teachers at different grade levels Impact on students is that many find science more approachable ( comment that it is “fun”) Many students eventually apply their learning to design their own inquiry explorations, and some come to relish the opportunity to predict outcomes of experiments Students making connections between facts from different science classes in different years is now evident
The Future? We will continue the pursue the PLC goals of developing our staff, and of bringing inquiry and big idea thinking into classrooms at all grade levels. Changing student population will require maximal flexibility in adapting lessons to student needs at the elementary level Elementary teachers will focus on developing critical thinking necessary for future inquiry Middle school teachers will introduce more inquiry based instruction to ready students for more independent work in the high school
Back Up Material
Students may be able to articulate their understanding, but that does not necessarily translate to being able to put it on paper ( many blank pages in notebooks are the norm) Struggles with the writing process get in the way of coherent thought. Ideas get lost in the painstaking process of writing Student disability often gets in the way of processing and following instructions and interpreting questions ( blank stares are not uncommon) Lack of self confidence prevents students from taking chances and venturing guesses readily Student interaction with scientific texts is a struggle Making inferences and connecting concepts requires direct guidance Science at Newgrange Obstacles We’ve Encountered in the Process ( Student focused)