NAGT > Professional Development > Traveling Workshops Program > Earth science in K-8 teacher preparation programs > Example Programs

Example Programs

2-Day Workshop Program

Homework: Individuals consider an "ideal teacher" description; groups assemble relevant science standards, endorsements, and required competencies for K-8 teachers.

Day 1

Opening Session: Envisioning Your Program

8:00-9:00 AM - Introduction to the role of Earth science in preparing future teachers with a discussion of what different individuals and departments contribute.

9:00-10:30 AM - Identifying knowledge, skills, and dispositions of the Ideal Teacher : What do you picture when you walk into a K-8 science classroom where students are learning Earth science? Participants will develop a list of characteristics, first individually and then collectively.

  • Activity: Participants spend 5-10 minutes individually writing out characteristics of the Ideal Teacher on post-it notes. Then everyone puts their notes onto a board and the group organizes the whole set into clumps of knowledge, skills, and dispositions.
  • Activity: Participants consider and identify entry points for their role into preparing the ideal teacher. Discussion about roles, support, and beneficial collaborations.
10:30-11:30 AM - Planning for Change: The facilitators lead the group through a Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) analysis in the context of current challenges and the ideal envisioned in the previous activity. Do current program goals match characteristics of the ideal teacher?

11:30 AM-12:30 PM - Strategic Foci for Action Planning: A primary outcome of the workshop will be action plans for the program developed by the group through the workshop activities. The first section of this plan presents the strategic foci for the plan. Reflect on the opening envisioning activities as well as the reasons for requesting this workshop, then convert the list of key ideas into a final list of strategic foci for individual and programmatic action and record in the first section of the Action Plan.

12:30-1:30 PM Lunch

Session: Aligning courses within your program to outcomes

1:30-3:00 PM - Earth Literacy Competency Alignment: How well do science content and methods courses meet the needs of future K-8 teachers? Aligning courses to competencies can help the department visualize where students are or could be building their knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will help them strengthen their Earth literacy.

  • Activity: In cross-disciplinary groups, participants share with each other the Earth science competencies and course syllabi and make note of where they are aligned and where they diverge. Together, they determine where relevant science standards and expected core competencies are covered in coursework, where there are gaps, and where there are redundancies.

3:00-4:30 PM - Highlighting relevant resources: Curricular resources that address the competencies will be presented, with opportunities to explore the materials.

4:30-5:30 PM - Tasks for action planning: What did you learn from the alignment activity that can guide your actions in the future? What curricular resources might you be able to use?

Closing thoughts: Reflect on your role in teacher preparation as a whole. What have you learned about the connections to other course learning outcomes? Are there additional ideas that need to be recorded? Actions for the action plan?

Evening activities

Day 2

Session: Cultivating a growth mindset in future teachers

Recap of Day 1 and plan for Day 2

8:00-9:00 - Diagnosing the challenges: The Affective Domain Many future K-8 teachers have science anxiety and/or lack confidence in their ability to learn. This is particularly critical in Earth science, where we look to teachers in the early grades to generate early excitement in children to encourage their continued engagement in science. How can faculty help future teachers overcome their phobias and open themselves to learning? In this session, participants will engage in activities that assess confidence and mindset, and provide strategies for building confidence and cultivating a growth mindset.

  • Activity: Where and how are your students struggling? Individuals will create a list of student challenges that are apparently unrelated to content knowledge. In sharing these lists, aspects of the affective domain will be introduced, along with the concept of a growth mindset.

9:00-10:30 - Mapping Out Solutions: Resources will be presented with time to explore how to build metacognitive skills and a growth mindset in future teachers.

10:30-12:00 - Action Plan: Work in teams to consider where to implement affective domain strategies throughout the program.

12:00-1:00 PM - Lunch

Session: Action planning for maintaining momentum and getting feedback

1:00-2:00 - Building community and getting feedback: Maintaining momentum for change can be a challenge, but it becomes easier if you are working as part of a community.

  • Activity: Explore opportunities for getting and receiving feedback, including classroom observation protocols and more useful course evaluations.

2:00-3:00 PM - Complete Action Plan: prioritize action items, assign a point person or team, describe how you will get feedback and recognize progress, and determine a schedule for completion.

3:00-3:30 PM - Reflect on process and its outcomes: What lessons have you learned for working across disciplines to support K-8 teacher preparation?
  • Individual reflection on process and its outcomes: What did you learn?
  • Voluntary sharing and discussion

3:30-4:00 PM - Workshop Wrap-Up