Valerie is a Biology teacher at Woodstock Academy in Woodstock, CT. Valerie was the 2014 Woodstock Academy Teacher of the Year, the 2015 NABT Outstanding Biology Teacher for the state of Connecticut, and the 2016 Connecticut Science Teacher Association’s Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching award. Valerie is a member of the NABT/BSCS AP Biology Leadership Academy and an HHMI BioInteractive Ambassador and is a regular presenter at NABT and NSTA conferences. As part of her work for HHMI, Valerie spent ten days during the summer of 2016 in and around Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park leading a professional development course and learning about the park and its mission. Her teaching goal is to provide a supportive classroom where students struggle with biological concepts and grow as learners. Valerie’s essay on the role of struggle in the learning process was published in a Washington Post education blog in 2015. You can follow Valerie on twitter @valeriemay_may.
- At 18, Valerie realized she didn’t really understand what a Sports Medicine Degree was all about.
- The advice to “Just stay one chapter ahead of the kids” was not inspiring to Valerie.
- One year of grad school for biology inspired Valerie to get her Master’s in Education from UMass
- Aaron found that early Method’s courses like Saphier’s Research for Better Teaching were good on practice, but void of content.
- Art of teaching Is multifaceted (Subject Passion, Love of Kids, Quality Teaching Methods)
- Aaron was super inspired by Paul Andersen’s motto to “Don’t kill the Wonder!”
- Horizontal Transfer talked about Val & others trip to Gorongosa
- Before going to Gorongosa, Valerie had shown the HHMI Video “The Guide” featuring EO Wilson and Tonga Torcida (a young guide in the park)
- HHMI has a large collection of Gorongosa Resources
- Val and others used an Understanding by Design approach when presenting in Africa.
- Valerie saw first hand the fact that fewer high school age girls attend schools.
- Conservation and Economic Development do not have to be in conflict.
- There seems to be a groundswell of discussion amongst HS science teachers wanting to engage students on day 1 (Do not go over the syllabus on day 1)
- Val is going to use Breakout-EDU on Day 1
- We agree that we learn by doing (not by hearing)
- Aaron and colleagues use Model Organisms to teach AP Biology which creates lots of active learning opportunities.
- In Aaron’s AP classes, all labs have students complete a baseline lab then design a follow-up lab. The focus is on maximizing inquiry.
- Aaron is still undecided about Day 1 activities, but also intrigues by Bob Kuhn fast plants opener.
- Aaron & Valerie both started teaching with overhead projectors and then transitioned to PowerPoint (when it was all about content delivery).
- We are building a new system of teaching and learning (different from what we experienced as students)
- Valerie went to East-Conn NGSS phenomenon based curriculum learning.
- Both Aaron and Valerie have spent a lot of time this summer thinking about Homework.
Pick of the Week: (Share a resource or news story that has grabbed your attention recently)
Valerie – Freakonomics “Who Needs Handwriting?”
Aaron – How Wolves Change Rivers
Note: last week’s pick from Aaron was originally proposed by David Knuffke on Horizontal Transfer Episode 45. I want to give credit where credit is due.