Tulare County’s Office of Education educates teachers through the Educational Resource Services, helps keep students engaged
TULARE COUNTY – Local teachers recently visited real classrooms to learn how to keep students engaged with the help of the Educational Resource Services math and science departments.
The Educational Resource Services (ERS) taught educators how to engage students through a morning session, which gave real-time lessons on getting classrooms ready for learning. Curriculum specialists Kim Webb and Jared Marr visited fifth-grade classrooms in Farmersville to help teachers apply what they learned, as well. To facilitate the site-based training, ERS partnered with Farmersville Unified School District. Thirty-two teachers from Farmersville, Pixley, Woodlake and Delano came together for the session “Sensemaking and Student Engagement in Science and Math: the Five Practices.”
“What was unique is that we were able to immediately apply the learning in classrooms with students,” Webb said. “This unprecedented opportunity to apply new learnings in real time was valuable and greatly appreciated.”
The morning session was devoted to providing attendees with sensemaking and student engagement instruction. At first, the teachers got a preview of the five practices being discussed, and then they interacted with the practices through a math and a science lesson. This prepared them for the lessons they would soon see in a real classroom setting.
One of their main goals was to “elevate student voices, to make their thinking visible, and to help students make connections to each other’s ideas,” according to Webb. After the lesson, the teachers were divided into two groups and put in two fifth grade classrooms. Marr facilitated a science lesson in one classroom, and Webb taught a math lesson in the other. They then switched classrooms and repeated the same lessons.
“Kudos to the students from both classes. They were very inviting and were not phased by the incredible number of adults that were in their classrooms. Students were engaged and willing to share their thinking with both the adults and their peers,” Webb said.
Professional learning opportunities often deepen teachers with knowledge, but can lack application of learned materials, according to Webb. This session, however, gave educators the opportunity to work with students in real time, which helped to answer any questions they might have and allows for immediate feedback as well.
“Teachers, coaches and leaders appreciated the interactive component of the planning process and being able to see the application of their plans with students,” Webb said.
Another thing teachers were able to glean from in this lesson was the immediacy of seeing how the five practices can be facilitated. Webb said participants valued the power of teacher collaboration, as well as having multiple perspectives throughout the process of the five practices. They enjoyed being able to interact with students during the lesson and assisting in the monitoring, selecting and sequencing of student ideas and learnings, according to Webb.