During the two week class, Sister Schaffer was able to network with the faculty and staff in The University of Toledo department of science education. She experienced core science and engineering content, discussed strategies and skills for best teaching ideas and concepts and looked at ways of integrating items into the design of lessons for classroom.
“I have gained content knowledge and skills to design and implement my own science and engineering inquiry lessons with confidence. During the coming year I will receive additional professional development through professional learning communities and personalized coaching in using these components to focus on application of NURTURES in the classroom,” Sister Schaffer said.
NURTURES is a partnership between the University of Toledo, Northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan public schools, working to create a complementary, integrated system of science education for preschool through third grade. NURTURES offers teacher professional development, classroom extension activities and family learning opportunities. For more information go to nurtures.utoledo.edu.
Research in past NURTURES participants has shown a gain in teacher knowledge and a significant increase in the scores of early literacy, reading and mathematics. This means that while the focus is on inquiry in science, growth is shown in many other areas because students are being taught to think.
Each participant received an iPad, two college credits, a stipend, supplies and continued support.
Sister Schaffer reflected on the experience.
“I cannot say enough about the awesome opportunity this was for me,” she said. “I feel blessed to be able to put this into practice in the coming year. Besides gaining all this for my classroom, I cannot wait to encourage other teachers to be engaged in this process at The University of Toledo.”