Final Wrap-up & Classroom Application

Submitted by Allie Floyd on Fri, 2017-07-14 00:00


Wow, this week has flown by!!! We have managed to fit SO much into so a short amount of time it feels like it has been at least two weeks and I have loved EVERY minute of this workshop!!! I can't believe it's already Friday and I'm writing my final blog post... I wish we could keep going for another week! That being said, here's a quick recap from our day: we started at Glen Edward's farm where I again learned so much new information I didn't know about such as classes/credits farmers are required to take to keep their license active, various types of chemicals used to spray crops before and after growth, and that if hay bails are cut too soon, they can spontaneously combust starting fires! Who knew!! From there, we went to Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge up by Lake Lowell, and went over to the Nampa Fish Hatchery which is something I've wanted to do since I was a little girl... what a day! 

The question I am answering today is, "how will you integrate your knowledge of socio-ecological systems and/or activities in your classroom?". The biggest over-arching connection that I will have to the workshop that I can apply to my classroom will be the water cycle. Sadly that is one of the few direct connections to the curriculum I will get from this workshop, but I have so many new ideas! First of all, our Nature of Science unit is all about the scientific method so my plan is to complete labs that all have a different themes relating to socio-ecological services so that my students can learn and have reinforced throughout the school year. For example, I could create (or find) a scientific method experiment to conduct out in our school garden that relates to the pollination process and how that might help our food supply and plant growth. When we get to the water cycle unit itself (typically in January-February), I plan to hopefully have some guest speakers come in to speak that we had throughout this workshop. The last connection I want to make and implement in my class is with our plant and animal cells unit. The birds of prey have always been fascinating for me, and that was one of my favorite parts of this workshop. It may be a stretch, but once students have a solid understanding of animal cells, I would love to have someone speak to my students about the birds of prey, maybe do a field-trip to the bird observatory, OR talk to my students and do some projects and activities about how animal cells (specifically birds) start out as those small cells and gradually progress over time until they are fully grown. If we have time and reach that point, I would love to go even a little further and talk about some of their nesting and migration patterns. We will see!!! Digi-learners, please give me some input with this too and let me know if you think it's too far fetched or if it would be a possibility.

Here's my question for you all today: based on what you have seen and read from our workshop, which areas can you directly apply to your classroom? If you are in a tough situation like me and only have one unit that DIRECTLY relates, how can you work around that challenge to still find a way to apply it?

Thank you all SO MUCH for your responses this week!!! I know I haven't had a chance to respond to everyone, but I have read every single comment and have been absolutely loving all of the feedback, suggestions, stories, contrasting opinions, and fun facts you have provided! This has been one of the best weeks I have had all summer and I could not have asked for a more rewarding and memorable experience!! :) :) :)


Darcy Hale's picture

Your ideas sound fantastic, Allie, and well within appropriate parameters.  What about hatching an egg/chick in your classroom to observe how cells grow and progress in birds?  Just last night on the local Pocatello news there were reports on swimmer's itch and mutliple cases of it being reported by swimmers who recreated in Jensen's Grove Lake in Blackfoot, ID.  I'll link the article.  I was thinking how the water cycle this season has affected recreation.  Due to so much snow and now runoff, bodies of water are more full and more stagnant which breeds more parasitic activity which results in less water quality for swimmers.  Ecoli is higher in the Portneuf this summer in our swimming holes and the river is swifter resulting in some serious accidents and deaths on the river as well.  Maybe tying the water cycle to quality of recreation might be a tie-in?

I teach PE and Photography so I'm getting very creative to introduce SESs to my students.  I'd love to hear more about your garden.  I am working with ISU and Pocatello Zoo to build a greenhouse/raised bed at our middle school to grow organic greens and veggies for some native critters at the zoo.  I am going to have my walking/trekking PE class help to care for the garden (gardening is exercise!).  I also asked my colleague who teaches an elective science course on mammals/insects/birds to have his students help me out with the care of the garden.  Tell me more about your garden!

Pam Gibba's picture

I have really truly enjoyed following along on the blog and getting a snapshot of the experiences you adventurers were having this week. I felt excited to read about and respond to the ideas, concepts, and lesson ideas that everyone was sharing. Every night I felt like there was a topic that I could immediately relate to my own life here in the Treasure Valley or to an experience that I have had prior to moving here in 2010. I felt like I could easily find or create lessons to connect to these topics if I taught science. However, I am a math teacher and often feel stifled by the curriculum we are required to adhere to. This is my challenge - How does a math teacher bogged down by the ever increasing demands of administration get a chance to make a connection to the real world? By this I don't mean having word problems that talk about cell phones, sports stats, or recipe conversions. How do I bring the outdoors in, or better yet get the students outside? I am one of those people/learners who need to simmer for a bit before I find my answer.  I will definitely simmer during these last precious weeks of summer and hopefully come up with a way to apply some of these awesome topics to 8th grade math. That being said, I think your ideas for your science class are great and I wish you the best on integrating all that you have experienced!

Monica Mattinson's picture

I can't wait to hear all the great things you learned when we get back to MMS!

Erin Tetreault's picture

Allie! First of all, thank you so much for all of the awesome blog posts this week. I always loved reading your recap and felt like I was one of the in-person learners instead of online because of them!

I have been feeling all week that integrating content from this week would be difficult, as I teach 8th grade ELA instead of Science or Elementary. After reading Pam's comment, however, I realized that Math might be even harder than ELA! The nice thing about teaching reading and writing is that you can teach those skills using almost any resource! For our argumentative writing unit, we read about food supply systems (mostly Omnivore's Dilemma, but that will have to change soon as it is getting outdated). The students learn about industrial farming, organic farming, local sustainable farming, and then hunting and gathering. They learn about all of the stakeholders in each supply chain and analyze the pros and cons of each. At the end of the unit, they choose which chain would be best to feed America with and make the argument for that. I would love to bring in more local resources for this unit. My school is located in Caldwell, so a trip to a farm would probably be really easy to set up! I would love to get my students out and experiencing the things we are reading. 

I am also going to focus more on making sure the students understand stakeholders in each of the supply chains. I want to pull in more information about the ecosystem and the important balances there. I feel that's something they only sort of grasp and would probably need someone from maybe the Idaho Conservation League to come discuss the finer details with them. I know my science teachers also do units on climate change and I want to look into planning some cross curricular units with them so that the students are getting some alignment. It'd be great if they could hear about similar things in different classes!

Overall, I think I want my students to experience more of what they read so that it has a more lasting impact on them. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in making sure we are reaching the standards that we forget how powerful real experience can be if we take time to have them. I will definitely keep that in mind this year.