4th Grade Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Staff Development
The 4th grade teachers took a day of their weekend to dedicate to learning more about the Chesapeake Bay. This allowed the teachers to know what to pre-teach some of the important issues that are going on with the bay today. Teachers were trained how to run all of the hands on stations for the field trip. The stations are teacher and parent run. The stations include: exploring the oyster reef community, using microscopes to explore plankton, learning about the Maryland blue crabs, learning about pollution in the bay, a nature walk exploring the local plant life, and closely examining fish that live in the bay. The teachers were well trained for the field trip and were able to learn more information about the bay themselves!
Ms. Monck, GT Resource Teacher, took part in a one-week Field Immersion Course taught by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The class started locally, at the Howard County Conservancy where instruction about land and stream health and their impact on the Bay were learned through hands-on activities, such as a stream survey. She learned about the organisms that live in our streams and brought this technique back to school in the fall. 5th Graders conducted a stream survey on the stream that abuts our schoolyard. A visit to the Philip Merrill Environmental Center in Annapolis provided a wealth of information about LEED Certification of buildings that enriched the "Green" Houses unit she teaches to 5th graders each year. A visit to the waterway adjacent to the environmental center included a canoe trip, where participants conducted experiments about water clarity and other physical features, and a view of a variety of shorelines that included rip rap, vegetative or living, and bulkheads. She took pictures to share with students. A visit to Kennard Elementary School in Centreville, MD provided a hands-on look at what one elementary school has done with its schoolyard habitat. This was the impetus for creating our Rain Garden this year. Three days were spent at the Karen E. Noonan Center at Bishop's Head on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Participants got a close look at life on the Eastern Shore, the history, the economy, oysters, crabs, fish, MUD, and what they called "island time." There was time spent brainstorming and sharing ideas with the other educators and each kept a journal of the activities and their ideas to bring back to school.
As part of professional development, Mrs. Harley, attended several environmental workshops sponsored by HCPSS’ Science Department and the Howard County Conservancy
September 26 – Monarch Tagging
October 31 – How Nature Prepares for Winter
November 18 & 21 – Project Wet
January 20 & 23 – Project Wild
During each workshop, participants were exposed to a variety of ideas and materials that could be used by teachers as part of their instruction. Participants were also given posters and wonderful resource books, which are housed in the reference section of TSES Media Center.
Webinars have played a huge role in our Green Schools professional development. The webinars give us a free and easy way to learn about new green ideas for school. The webinar for the field scope project was very informative, and we would not have been able to complete the application without it. We also used the website http://eeweek.org/webinars for most of our webinars. Eric Bishop took a number of webinars, but perhaps the most helpful was the one on how to properly complete the field scope information.
Sharing with our staff
Our Green Team has worked hard to share information with the staff. We have presented updates at faculty meetings, as well as developed a symbaloo for teachers to use for green resources. http://www.symbaloo.com/mix/greenschoolsresources.
We also had one of our own teachers present to some of the staff about gardening. We learned how to prepare and grow different vegetables using our school vegetable garden. We also learned how to clean and prepare the garden for the winter. We learned about composting and different invasive plants.
The Robinson Nature center is hosting a number of different workshops and clinics. Many of our teachers plan on attending the different events. We will then work to gather information and share it with the rest of the staff
Part of our future plans also include improving our recycling program in our cafeteria, specifically with our food waste. We have been using the following links to help develop this plan: