Some professionals may be a little bit jealous that teachers get the summer off. Well, teachers don’t necessarily get the whole summer off. Laser i3 school districts in North Carolina, Texas, and New Mexico are currently undergoing summer professional development that brings the teachers back into the classroom and puts them on the other side of the desk.
Two groups of teachers participated in training in Houston, Texas, last week. The first participants were elementary school teachers whose schools are currently using units from the Science and Technology Concepts (STC)TM curriculum. They had lecture-formatted content sessions with some hands-on instruction from middle school teachers, who are also familiar with and currently teaching STC content. In this level of training, the middle school teachers imparted some of their more in-depth subject knowledge to the elementary school teachers. For example, in grades 1 and 2, they may teach students about clouds in a unit on weather. Learning would focus on different types of clouds, some names of clouds, and what the different types look like. Also, to increase background knowledge, the middle school teachers introduce some higher-level content, like under what type of pressure and density conditions the clouds form and how convection in the atmosphere helps create the weather that we experience around us. The discussions on pressure and density are not designed to be taken back and taught in a first- or second-grade classroom; rather, they give the teachers a richer foundation of understanding and more of the backstory that relates to the subjects they teach.