Public Discussion

  • Icon for: Carolina Milesi

    Carolina Milesi

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 03:16 p.m.

    I am interested in knowing how you have recruited teachers to post lesson plans and also become users of the site: what has worked and what challenges you have faced.

  • Icon for: CHARLES MATTHEWS

    CHARLES MATTHEWS

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 08:19 p.m.

    Thanks, Carolina, for your question. We have used a variety of incentives, but it appears that some teachers are happy (even eager) to share in an unlimited way and others are reluctant to share outside their local system. Our funding included teacher stipends (pay for non-contract time devoted to preparation, discussion, and review of lessons). We also offered graduate credit for creating an acceptable science inquiry lesson adapted to teach “more than science (usually reading, writing, or mathematics). Via PolyCom and Email, we met with teachers prior to and during their lesson planning as well as after the lesson was recorded. We also recorded lessons from our PolyCom-equipped office via a PolyCom unit in the classroom. We edited lessons and embedded teacher commentaries in the lesson video. With the teacher’s approval, we posted the lesson video with the teacher’s adaptation notes for the lesson. So, these incentives worked for teachers in the former group and did not work for teachers in the latter group. Regardless of our encouragement, teachers tended not to change groups. We continue to seek ways to bring more teachers into the group that is willing/eager to share.

    I hope this is useful information.
    Charles

  • Icon for: CHARLES MATTHEWS

    CHARLES MATTHEWS

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 08:29 p.m.

    Sorry, Carolina. I neglected to respond to the question of how teachers become users. We send a monthly newsletter to K-6 educators who may be interested in our resources. We usually highlight a particular lesson or pair of lessons and raise questions for discussion relevant to the lesson(s). We provide information on how to access the shared resources and encourage educators to share with others. You can see the most recent newsletter at http://justaskateacher.com/joomla/charles/ASKne... or at http://justaskateacher.com.
    Charles

  • Icon for: Tamara Moore

    Tamara Moore

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 01:32 a.m.

    This seems like it is really ready for a scalable and sustainable plan. What have you thought about in this regard?

  • Icon for: CHARLES MATTHEWS

    CHARLES MATTHEWS

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 11:00 a.m.

    Since September 2013 we have shared science inquiry lessons adapted to teach more than science. Each lesson included a 12-minute lesson video and the teacher’s two-page lesson adaptation notes. Based on the success of the existing website offerings (1159 active users), we are proposing to add 200 videos to our collection and to expand what we provide for each lesson. For each of the 200 lessons, we will post the following on our website.

    (1) a full-length (30 to 60 minutes) video of the entire lesson (recorded at no cost by an ASK videographer)
    (2) a 30-minute video featuring a discussion between the teacher and a volunteer science expert who specializes in the science content of the lesson (recorded after the scientist and teacher have viewed the lesson recording),
    (3) a 20-minute video of the teacher’s analysis of the lesson, including recommendations on how to improve the lesson (recorded after the discussion with the scientist), and
    (4) the teacher’s “finalized” ASK lesson plan, written to reflect the teacher’s (a) experience of adapting and teaching the lesson, (b) interpretation of the discussion with the scientist about the lesson’s science content, and © thoughts about how the lesson reflects applicable local, state, and/or national standards (including NGSS).

    If you go to http://justaskateacher.com/joomla/charles/ASKne... , you can see a prototype (“Sound” lesson for grade 4 students) by downloading the “teacher’s lesson adaptation notes” and following the links to see the videos.

  • Icon for: Tamara Moore

    Tamara Moore

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2015 | 10:58 p.m.

    Have you considered applying for an I-Corps L grant?

  • Icon for: Brian Belland

    Brian Belland

    Associate Professor
    May 12, 2015 | 11:35 a.m.

    have you seen teachers interact with each other beyond your ask a teacher web site? One thing I have always seen is that if a teacher sees that another teacher has been successful doing something, that enhances self-efficacy, but the first teacher usually feels better if he/she has some sort of synchronous interaction with the experienced teacher.

  • Icon for: CHARLES MATTHEWS

    CHARLES MATTHEWS

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 02:55 p.m.

    Total agreement from me. We have observed the same. During 2007 to 2013, our sharing was within the project’s initial target school teachers. When one teacher from a particular school shared, other teachers from that school joined. Becoming confident that we (the staff, videographer, etc.) would assist and support was an important factor for teachers.

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    Barbara Berns

    Guest
    May 12, 2015 | 12:13 p.m.

    What struck me is that this video represents a body of work developed over decades. It’s really important for new researchers and developers to see how each of his/her projects can build upon the one before. Thanks for sharing this message as well as describing your most recent work.

  • Icon for: CHARLES MATTHEWS

    CHARLES MATTHEWS

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 03:00 p.m.

    Thanks, Barbara. We appreciate the encouragement and hope to continue. Teachers have always told us that they get the best help when teachers help teachers. For K-6, adding another area of the curiculum to inquiry science facilitates more science teaching. The K-6 curriculum is crowded and science frequently is not top priority.

  • Icon for: David Lustick

    David Lustick

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 08:43 a.m.

    What is the vetting process for evaluating the resources submitted to the website? What percentage of submitted resources are accepted, accepted with revisions, and rejected? Are all resources focused on improving literacy through inquiry activities? As a science teacher educators, I will definitely explore these resources as I am always in need of good videos that show teachers in classrooms.

  • Icon for: CHARLES MATTHEWS

    CHARLES MATTHEWS

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 12:05 p.m.

    Thanks, David, for the question. Our vetting is done by the project staff and is more “support and assist” than “vetting.” We receive a lesson idea from the teacher. We accept all ideas. Then we work (Email and Skype) with the teacher from the outset as they write and refine their ideas. We prefer not to start with restrictions or specific guidelines for the teacher. We like to use the teacher’s own concept of what constitutes “inquiry science” and what constitutes “adaptation to teach more than science.” (Adaptation is almost always toward literacy). We assist the teacher in expressing this in the “Teacher Lesson Adaptation Notes” (TLAN).
    The TLAN is a one-to-three page document (with additional attachments if appropriate) written by the teacher who creates and teaches the adapted lesson. Once it appears that the TLAN is a clear expression of the lesson planning, we proceed with recording the full lesson and selecting representative video clips from the lesson. After some further discussion with the teacher, we record the teacher’s video commentary for including in the final 12-minute video representation of the lesson. Finally, we work with the teacher to update the TLAN so that it includes the teacher’s reflections on the experience of teaching the lesson. Then we post the TLAN and its accompanying video on our website.
    At some early point in planning the lesson with the teacher, we bring out that the teacher is sharing the lesson for the purpose of stimulating discussion among teachers – discussion that leads to improved practice. Although the lesson may be exemplary or have exemplary aspects, it is not intended to represent a model. Rather, we invite teachers who view the lesson to examine the lesson in terms of its effectiveness in (1) promoting science inquiry, (2) facilitating instruction in another curricular area-i.e., “teaching more than science” and (3) addressing relevant local, state, or national standards.
    Please let me know if I need to clarify or elaborate.

  • Icon for: David Lustick

    David Lustick

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 02:25 p.m.

    Thanks! Very cool. It sounds like the process could be a very productive learning experrience for teachers.

  • Icon for: CHARLES MATTHEWS

    CHARLES MATTHEWS

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 02:42 p.m.

    Thanks. I hope you find the lessons useful. If you use them, we always appreciate feedback and information on how the lessons were used. Always happy to have more teachers contributing as well.

  • Icon for: CHARLES MATTHEWS

    CHARLES MATTHEWS

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2015 | 11:10 p.m.

    Tamara posted a question (received by Email) as to whether we have considered an NSF I Corp L grant. The question does not appear here. However, I’ll respond anyway. This is a great idea. Thanks. It is appropriate because all our current funding as well as the funding from all the projects that led to this one — all came from NSF. Thanks again for the question/suggestion.

  • Icon for: CHARLES MATTHEWS

    CHARLES MATTHEWS

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2015 | 11:12 p.m.

    Thanks, finally, for all the questions and suggestions posted here as well as the comments posted on http://justaskateacher.com. Thanks, too, to those who saw our video and opened a justaskateacher.com account. Watch for our newsletters.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.

  1. James Shymansky
  2. Project Director
  3. Teachers Helping Teachers Teach Inquiry Science: Just ASK
  4. http://justaskateacher.com
  5. University of Missouri St Louis
  1. CHARLES MATTHEWS
  2. Research Scientist
  3. Teachers Helping Teachers Teach Inquiry Science: Just ASK
  4. http://justaskateacher.com
  5. University of Missouri St Louis

A National Network of Teachers Helping Teachers Teach K-6 Inquiry Science: The ASK a Teacher Project
NSF Award #: 0733195

The ASK a Teacher project builds on 20+ years of four multi-year professional development projects that developed and researched a strategy to improve K-6 teachers¹ science content knowledge by showing teachers how to adapt science kit activities so that the science inquiries could also be used to enhance students¹ reading and writing skills. The outgrowth of the projects is a website (http://justaskateacher.com) that opened in 2013 and now contains 73 lesson plans and annotated videos of ASK lessons. The 73 lesson plans and videos were generated exclusively with distance technologies. The full lesson videos and the edited lesson vignettes with inserted teacher commentaries were all produced using remotely controlled video technologies that facilitate synchronous video and audio interactions. In its first 24 months of access, teachers from 575 schools and teacher educators from 192 colleges visited the website more than 18,000 times to view or download lesson plans and videos. The ASK a Teacher project is entering a new phase designed to (1) increase the number of teachers contributing lessons in order to capture a broader range of lessons and better represent a national perspective, (2) improve the value of the site as a professional development tool by incorporating commentary by science content experts, and (3) study the impact on the science content knowledge of teachers contributing ASK lessons, on teachers who visit the website, and on students of the teachers who visit the website. For more information go to http://justaskateacher.com or write to matthewscc@umsl.edu.