As an elementary teacher for over 40 years, I developed a passion for science when I first began teaching third graders in the Midwest. My love of teaching continued when I was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching science and other subjects to preservice teachers in my host country and continued to help develop curricula while living in other countries around the world.
After moving back to the United States, I received a Master’s Degree in Bilingual Education, teaching Spanish at a public elementary school, and eventually created and taught a bilingual science lab and computer lab that featured both Spanish and science. At that elementary school, I held various leadership positions. As the science chairperson for many years, I initiated and organized school-wide science fairs that included guiding the teachers of the school to create science fair projects with their students and also promoted Science Parent Evenings. Local university professors were also invited to share their science knowledge and assisted in judging the science fair projects. I was chosen to represent our school as Science Teacher of the Year and then my colleagues nominated me as Teacher of the Year to compete with other teachers in the region.
During that period, I was appointed as an ambassador for the county to promote and improve the teaching of mathematics and science to all teachers. Supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Urban Systemic Initiative and later the Urban Systemic Program, I presented workshops to teachers within the county on methodology and science standards, visited them at their schools, modeled inquiry learning, and reached out to the community with presentations and hands-on activities on Saturdays in the public libraries.
While still teaching fulltime, I received my Ph. D. in science education and eventually worked for the District as a Curriculum Support Specialist. I assisted elementary and middle school teachers in various capacities to teach science effectively. I also provided support and teaching strategies that enhanced their science curricula. I presented K-6 integrated mathematics and science workshops to teachers, parents, and region and countywide administrators, always modeling inquiry learning. I coauthored a resource guide for teachers, K-5, and helped design science fair resources.
As an elementary school teacher myself, I understand the demands teachers face on a daily basis. I realize how little time they have to plan and prepare their science curriculum, which is why I was motivated to design lesson plans and assessment materials for my published book.
As a continuing part of my commitment for preparing teachers to meet the demands of today’s science curricula, I joined the adjunct faculty at a local college to teach science methods and integrating mathematics and science courses, which involved hands-on coaching and discussions about how to teach inquiry learning in a standards-based curriculum. Moreover, I supervised interns, guiding them through the final stages of learning how to teach. Presently, I prepare preservice teachers on the application of theories and principles of curriculum, methods and assessment in early childhood, with an infusion of science content and strategies.
In my role as a consultant, I have developed technical assistance to administrators and teachers in leadership development and modeled inquiry learning in low performing schools for the state's Department of Education and in the private sector. I have lent my expertise to several local and out of town “outdoor museums.”
In addition to this extensive hands-on work with teachers and the community, I am a manuscript reviewer for the Journal of College Science Teaching and creator of a Matching Grant in Science Education, which gives local teachers the opportunity to attend a prestigious science conference to learn about the newest trends in science teaching and meet fellow science teachers.
As a volunteer and conference organizer over a period of many years, I’ve co-hosted Mathematics’ Bowls, Mathematics’ conferences, and Science Olympiads. I annually co-host a science conference for teachers of all grade levels, with breakout sessions designed for participants to learn about best practices in science. Working with a team of science educators, we designate “science teachers of the year,” at a Teacher of the Year Banquet for elementary, middle, and senior high schools.
Over the last years, I’ve been the recipient of grants in science and technology and have enjoyed developing many programs. For example, I have developed an interactive computer science program for elementary students, and a technology grant I wrote provided computers for an entire school. An aerospace grant certified me to house and display moon rocks, and I developed a school-wide weather station that incorporated charting daily weather and forecasting in an in-house television station.
Through a joint effort between a local college and a national park, I recently co-created a curriculum to bridge the gap between formal and informal learning communities. Specifically, using inquiry learning in a standards-driven curriculum, we designed ways to improve teachers’ access to national parks and their educational resources.
I belong to numerous professional organizations and have been a conference presenter and leader. I have published articles on linking scientific patterns of life, gender differences in an elementary school learning environment, and teachers doing inquiry and teaching science. Just click the Publications tab to learn more.