Helping teachers solve the tension of too much curriculum to teach and keeping science a priority How to make "Science for All" a consistent reality in an elementary classroom setting
The Earth Systems Implementation Project (ESIP) in Anchorage has been using Kagan Cooperative Learning Strategies for the past year and a half in both LSC professional development activities and in 10 focus schools with students. Project staff heard Spencer Kagan speak at a local conference and make the claim that their research showed that teachers lose at least 18 days a school year on getting students attention and focusing them on their work. The science, math, health/PE and Training and Professional Development departments cooperated to send several trainers to Kagan Cooperative Learning "trainer's" training in Anaheim, CA. the summer of 1998. These trainers then supported monthly meetings/trainings in the 10 focus schools. The meetings had a focus on science and math instruction. The 200 teachers who took part in the focus school project were for the most part very positive about the use of the strategies in their classrooms. A large number of those teachers are taking another year-long credit class this year with no support from the LSC because of their successes last year. The principals from the 10 schools are actively engaged in implementing the structures on a school-wide basis and are very excited about the results they are seeing. Four additional schools signed on to be Coop Learning focus schools this school year. The science and math departments are providing training/facilitation for those schools, again with a focus on science and math instruction. The two ESIP professional development providers have successfully used the Kagan structures throughout their professional development sessions on our program NOT teaching coop learning as such. Now teachers attending those sessions are vocalizing their desire to have all other professional development activities offered by the district to use a Kagan Cooperative Learning format as well. Our curriculum is based on kits purchased from FOSS, STC, and Insights as well as units developed on-site. After learning the coop learning philosophy and practicing coop learning with teachers and students, it is clear that these units call for group work, but not cooperative work. Teachers from the 10 focus schools started demanding structures for science lessons! Therefore, during this year twenty teachers from the focus schools are working on developing and testing at least one structure for each of the lessons in our elementary science curriculum.
How to get more teachers/princpals, schools using the structures. Helping teachers stay focused on the coop learning principals and domains to get the most out of their structures in their science and math classes. Keeping up with the demand for training and helping teachers continue to "push their own envelopes" by learning and using new structures.
Professional Development, Student Outcomes, Curriculum Implementation And Materials Support