FIRST HAND LEARNING E-NEWSLETTER

Vol. 2, No. 5

IN THIS ISSUE:

1. TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ACROSS THE COUNTRY

2. TRACK THAT SLIME! ON THE TRAIL OF SLUGS AND SNAILS

3. PLAN AHEAD FOR STUDENT INQUIRY

1. TEACHERS IN TRAINING

School may be out for students, but for teachers around the country the learning continues. Districts in Nevada, Kentucky, Connecticut and New York are preparing to run professional development workshops using First Hand Learning’s OBJECT LESSONS® curriculum materials, but each location is making the experience their own:

The Clark County School District in Nevada is concentrating on developing meaningful connections between formal and informal educators in their area. Professional development workshops focused on insects, mammals, archaeology and outdoor inquiries will be attended by local park rangers as well as by Las Vegas teachers.

In Kentucky, the Partnership Institute for Math & Science Education Reform (PIMSER) and the Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative (ARSI) at the University of Kentucky will concentrate on how to link a hands-on, inquiry-based mammal kit to the school curriculum by integrating the experience with all subject areas. Teachers will have five days to focus on the connections between science and literacy, social studies, mathematics, and more.

The Peabody Natural History Museum located at Yale University in New Haven, CT is running an intensive two-day workshop entitled “Connecticut Now and Then”. Designed to address state history standards, the conference will offer educators a variety of stimulating experiences, including training in the Object Lessons® Digging Archaeology kit. To learn more, go to: http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:ttSU2VCQtegJ:
www.ctsocialstudies.org/word-files/CTNowandThen-summer2006/CTNowandThen.doc+%22peabody%22,%22digging+
archaeology%22&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1

In New York City, the goal is to get students writing. Teachers will participate in Outdoor Inquiries as a way to see whether focusing on nature outdoors in the city will provide the impetus for students to record their observations, questions, and ideas. 

Through a New York State Education Department Math-Science Partnership (MSP) grant, the State University of New York at Fredonia is working with rural school districts. As part of their professional development offerings, the project will train 50 teachers using Object Lessons® materials this summer.

For more information about OBJECT LESSONS® kits and professional development opportunities, go to www.firsthandlearning.org/object.html.

2. HAVE YOU OBSERVED A GASTROPOD TODAY?

Astute observers may notice shiny, silvery trails wandering in a haphazard fashion across grass, stones, or other outdoor surfaces. These interesting phenomena offer lots of opportunities for investigation and inquiry. What causes these tracks? Where are they coming from, and where are they going?

Snails and slugs, the only class of mollusks to live on land, are great animals to observe. Go out and find them on the undersides of leaves, boards, or rocks. Try placing them on black construction paper to examine that slime (really protective mucous) the animals use to cushion their paths. Watch them walk across glass or plastic to determine how their body propels them forward.

Once students are curious, there are many avenues of the natural history of snails and slugs to explore. Check out some of these informational websites to learn more:

http://www.backyardnature.net/snail&sl.htm

http://www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/urbanwt/education
/wildlifeeducationwebsite/slugs%20snails.htm

http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/archives/05-06/nov19.html - scroll down to learn more about “Snails and their Slime”

Begin your explorations with a First Hand Learning MINI-JOURNAL. Download one for free, along with directions for assembly, at www.firsthandlearning.org/minijournal.html

3. ORDER FIELD JOURNALS NOW FOR SEPTEMBER!

Summer is stretching out ahead of us, but we all know that September will quickly follow. Now’s the time to prepare for next year’s science inquiry investigations and projects. Consider adding First Hand Learning® FIELD JOURNALS to your list. These 44-page, bound notebooks are formatted to encourage students to make detailed observations and drawings, to ask questions and to seek answers.

Journal purchases help to support this eNewsletter and other aspects of First Hand Learning’s work as a nonprofit organization.

Visit our online catalog at www.firsthandlearning.org/catalog/catalog_frameset6.html for details. You can order single copies, packs of 10, classroom sets of 30, or cases of 125.

Order a classroom set of 30 First Hand Learning®
FIELD JOURNALS, or more, by August 15, 2006 and
receive a free poster! Choose yours at

www.fristhandlearning.org/journal_promotion.

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We hope you found this edition of the FIRSTHAND E-NEWSLETTER useful. Please contact us with any comments, suggestions, or questions you may have by emailing us at: inquiries@firsthandlearning.org.

First Hand Learning is interested in teachers’ accounts of learning and teaching from direct experience. Share your thoughts and stories with us, and we’ll feature them in a future e-letter highlighting real-world inquiry in, and out of, the classroom.

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