Teachers teach teachers while students teach younger students
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 11:41 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 11:41 a.m.
Petaluma students are not the only ones learning new skills to make our schools stronger. Grant Elementary School teachers Denise Reyes and Patti Kowta hosted a training class for colleagues on Thinking Maps using interactive white boards. These two Grant Elementary School teachers were trained as Teacher Trainers last school year. Thinking Maps are eight organizers (visuals) that support students in organizing their thinking across all subject areas. All kinds of thinking can be applied: cause and effect, description, series of events, part to whole, etc. According to Grant principal Catina Haugen, the team offered their expertise to other Petaluma school sites that needed full training or a refresher course on the successful program. Penngrove and Valley Vista schoolteachers teamed up and took these two peer trainers up on their offer. It is a perfect illustration of a renewed commitment to building up experts and trainers among the campus staff and to sharing that knowledge around the district so students can benefit from the latest teaching strategies.
And the peer-to-peer training continued over at Kenilworth Junior High School. Teachers were trained for three days last week on how to use iPads as a learning tool. Math, Science and Physical Education staff attended the on-site official Apple training for iPads where they learned how to use different apps and explore new ways to incorporate iPads and iPods into the curriculum to enhance student engagement and enrich classroom learning. The plan for the future is to give the teachers another day to work together to develop lessons around what new programs they identified as appropriate for their curriculum.
Teachers weren’t the only ones learning from each other. Students mentored students when Casa Grande High School welcomed McDowell Elementary School students to campus last Friday as part of a collaborative program to create a hands-on, practical learning experience about Sonoma County’s water system. Casa Grande’s Dr. John Shribbs, environmental science teacher and leader of the Native Plant Nursery at Casa, instigated the field trip as part of his lesson plan for the Petaluma Watershed Curriculum Project. Over 30 of his AP Environmental Science students and members of the Casa Grande United Anglers program acted as mentor guides, pairing up with two or three younger students in each grouping. Students spent the morning rotating between four stations: Fish Scales in the school’s hatchery; Nature Walk through the campus’ Native Gardens; Planting at the Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE); and a Science Lab conducting water testing for salinity and turbidity. Both the elementary students and the high school students seemed to take a lot away from the day — an enthusiasm for science, the environment and our water system, as well as a chance to have the younger children see the various opportunities for involvement on campus at the high school level. The Petaluma Chamber of Commerce Business & Education Committee coordinated transportation and community members participated in each activity, bringing together representatives from the local Rotary clubs, CDFW, the City of Petaluma, and nonprofit groups like the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance and Friends of the Petaluma River.
The 12th annual Petaluma Youth Ag Day also took place last Friday at the Marin-Sonoma Fairgrounds. A total of 600 students from 11 local elementary schools were in attendance including Cinnabar, Grant, Harvest Christian, Liberty, Live Oak Charter School, Loma Vista, McDowell, Meadow, Old Adobe, Union and Valley Vista schools. Students participated in five different stations were they learned about a veterinarian’s role in agriculture, how a cow is milked, watched sheep dogs in action, visited a petting zoo hosted by Petaluma FFA and enjoyed offerings from 17 other agricultural partners including a special visit from Clover Stornetta’s Clo the Cow. The day included snack time with a sheep shearing demo by Johnny Sanchez of Redwood Hill Creamery with a grand finale of the Banana Slug String Band who entertained the students with songs about agriculture. The students learned hands-on about the regional agricultural environment.
Over at Sonoma Mountain Elementary School volunteers are helping orchestrate the school’s Walk and Roll to School event on Wednesday, Oct. 9. For those of you who are not familiar with this event, school children and their families are encouraged to walk or ride their bikes, scooters, or skateboards to school to promote bicycle safety and a healthy, active lifestyle.
You can find more information about this upcoming and very special international event at http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/.
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