In my last post I lamented about assessment questions. I know there are probably scientists out there feeling that rock cleavage is the most important thing for a child to remember. For that I apologize.
Luckily I met Brian Reiser a professor at Northwestern University and the man made my teaching dreams come true. How many years have I said, “Why are we teaching 7th graders endoplasmic reticulum?” According to Brian, those silly days are over. Common Core Standards will help us teach science practices and incorporate the facts students can use as evidence for arguments. FINALLY, someone with authority saying what we have been thinking for years. When will the textbook companies get it?
Max MeGee, the president of IMSA and a former State Superintendent introduced interesting data and the successes of STEM education.
Kevin McLeod and Henry Kepner from University of Wisconsin gave us fantastic information about Common Core Math Standards. This was especially interesting because my STEM class will be fully integrated into Math next year.
In addition, I heard all about the new PARCC assessment, the challenges and the successes, from Susan Van Gundy, of Achieve, Inc.
The plenary session was amazing! Where else can you hear James Pelligrino, author of a favorite book, How People Learn? , discuss how to design assessments that worth teaching to?
Finally the very best part was running into old friends and meeting new contacts. I met up with the STEM gals of DuPage County Regional Office of Education and met the elementary STEM teacher from the STEM Academy in Chicago. We said our goodbyes with thousands of questions for one another.
My take aways? Common Core will be my friend. Assessment can be done well and give good results. STEM rocks.