Saturday, August 3, 2013

Passion Ignites at Summer Institute

Colleen Weathers from Gorham NH on our quest in Harpers Ferry
The lovely Potomac River
Empowered. Excited. Energized. This is how I feel after attending the TTEC summer institute.  Even though the 40 TTEC participants came from different areas and taught different grade levels and subject areas, we all share a common vision and passion – we want to get students outside and create responsible global citizens. This was the best professional development opportunity in my ten years of teaching. It stood out because the program incorporated the current educational initiatives (UbD, STEM, Common Core, 21st Learning Expectations, especially civic). It was extremely helpful to have “team time” to process and reflect immediately. This is rare during a workshop, and allowed us to make our ideas a reality instantly and utilize our immediate resources (the TTEC leaders and peers). Each session was engaging and sparked new ideas and ways to incorporate place based service learning into my curriculum.
Kristy Duris and me from the White Mountains in NH and Sue Garcia and Rebecca Neet from the Berkshires in MA

The most valuable aspect of the week was sharing ideas, including case studies and receiving feedback from peers. I had the opportunity to learn about grant writing and that there are many communities that offer funds for education. The time we were given to work on our individual units was helpful to process information and to reflect upon how to make this a reality in our classrooms. My projects will involve taking my 9th graders hiking on the Appalachian Trail and doing nature and narrative writing. Also, my colleague and I will coordinate with our local Appalachian Trail Club to plan a trail maintenance day.

During the week, my colleague, Kristy Duris, and I created a presentation to share with our staff during our professional development day before school begins. We plan to share what we learned about place based service learning and the research about why this approach engages students and inspires them to be invested citizens in their communities. We also will share resources and handouts, along with our curriculum for implementation. Our goal is to gain colleague support, plan interdisciplinary units and activities, encourage other teachers to implement a place based service learning activity or unit and to gain student awareness and action.

The most fascinating fact  I learned was that ⅓ of the east coast water is protected because it is on AT lands. This shows the importance of encouraging the youth of today to become active citizens in our communities along the AT. I am looking forward to the start of the school year with a unit about place that will lead into a service learning opportunity in collaboration with our local Appalachian Mountain Club and my colleagues. Thank you so much for all the TTEC Advisory Board's time and efforts to put together this program.

Lori Innes
Curriculum Coordinator
English Department
Nordic Coach
Profile School

No comments:

North Carolina NCCAT participants

North Carolina NCCAT participants
At the Wayah Bald Fire Tower

Mary Jane

Mary Jane
On top of Silers Bald