The National Math + Science Initiative's (NMSI) Laying the Foundation Program provides teachers of grades 3-12 with content-based, pedagogy-driven, teacher-to-teacher training. The training offers educators a variety of opportunities to strengthen their content knowledge and practice teaching strategies-all aligned with state standards. NMSI offers elementary school teacher training for grades 3-5 in math, science, English, and social studies. Teachers work through model lessons and discuss strategies for engaging students with interesting content while building conceptual understanding. The content includes interdisciplinary connections and fine arts enhancements. NMSI's secondary training for grades 6-12 is broken down by math, science, and English. Each discipline is a unique 12-module program with its own structure. In mathematics training, teachers use graphing calculators, manipulatives, and collaborative activities to deepen their knowledge of mathematics, the vertical connections across grade levels, and the integration of math standards and practices. Science training is laboratory based with a focus on building conceptual understanding. It includes strategies for building student skills in science literacy and applying mathematics in science. Training for English teachers includes hands-on collaborative activities that model how to engage students with texts. Strategies for developing critical reading, writing, and thinking in students are modeled in training and applied by teachers.
Super skills, twenty-first century skills, best practices—whatever you want to call the 4C’s (creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication), they are an integral part of the student experience in our classroom. Even so, sometimes a pathway to incorporate the 4C’s may seem evasive or like it takes too much time. Adding the following tools and ideas to an instructional toolbox can support a seamless incorporation of the 4C’s into our teaching and learning for all students.
Each time you and your students embark on a new story,
your characters undergo a transformation. If you lead your students through the
elements we’ve discussed (creating an epic classroom, uncovering a conflict, and traversing the rising action to solve the conflict) then the transformation will happen by itself. A critical part of
epic learning is helping students to realize that metamorphosis and use what
they’ve learned. Here are a few activities to facilitate reflection and wrap up
your epic learning experience.
FOOD Ed. is a national standards-aligned course that brings STEAM to life by exploring the complexities of the nation’s food system. The semester-long interdisciplinary course explores connections between food and culture, food and environment, and food and power.