This past year I didn’t communicate well enough with some of the classroom teachers I work with so some science activities that might have been used sat on the shelf instead. Putting my efforts into doing science with the classes of children has introduced their teachers to many activities but has not developed the teachers’ knowledge of science inquiry as fully as I had hoped. So next year I plan to…..(“calm” is relative—at least the summer pace of re-thinking my science work, planning family gatherings and summer school attendance is less hectic than the weekly gathering of materials for upcoming activities and parent meetings that occur during the school year.)
Now I have more time for reflection on where I want to make improvements to the science instruction at the preschool programs I’m involved with. One school has already sent out an email requesting ideas for strengthening the curriculum for the upcoming school year. I would like to do a training in science inquiry with the classroom teachers so they can experience the process themselves away from children. Taking a professional development course about science inquiry in early childhood myself at the University of Northern Iowa is one way I’m going to develop my skills. My summer reading list has a few teaching-related items on it, including the short piece How to…Ask the Right Questions by Patricia E. Blosser, a guide to evaluating your use of questions in the classroom and how the amount of time you wait for students to answer, and how long you wait to reply, affect the students’ learning. And I’m going to look for ways to collaborate close to home so I can learn all year long—your comments on the NSTA blogs and the discussions on the NSTA email lists always inform, and planning time with the other teachers in the school helps me reflect on what and how I teach. See the Summer 2010 issue of Science and Children for more ideas about how to make professional development work for you.