November 2011 Archives

Pre-Service Technology Showcase December 8

By Pamela Van Halsema on November 22, 2011 4:54 PM

keyboard.jpgOn Thursday, December 8, the School of Education is holding a Pre-Service Teacher Technology Showcase in Schulz 3001 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. This new event is intended to provide pre-service and beginning teachers an opportunity to present how they have used or plan to use technology in the classroom to support students and student learning. The School of Education welcomes local teachers, SSU Students and community members to attend the Showcase, as a way to both support novice teachers and engage in dialogue with them about their work.

The Showcase will be run like a poster session at a conference, allowing students to share with attendees their unit plans, lessons, or activities that incorporate new media technologies. The goal of the Showcase is to highlight how our novice teachers are integrating technology in their work with students. The focus is not just on the technological tools the teachers are employing but also on the content objectives as well: how are they creating a rich learning environment for students through the integration of this technology.

The type of presentations you might see at the event include a middle school science teacher using Google Earth to map numerous elements on the periodic table; a high school history teacher employing a Flickr gallery to analyze Russian propaganda during the Cold War; and a middle school English teacher relying on blogs to stimulate student discussion about students' outside reading books.

All credential students in the SSU School of Education are welcome to present at the Showcase as long as they provide a brief description of their presentation that is approved by Dr. Jessica Parker.   Please e-mail Dr. Jessica Parker at if you are interested in presenting or attending the Showcase, along with a completed form by December 2. The Pre-Service Teacher Technology Showcase has been made possible in part by a gift to the School of Education from Google.

Master's Degree Cognate Fair November 29

By Pamela Van Halsema on November 18, 2011 2:24 PM

cognate-fair.jpgOn Tuesday, November 29, the School of Education will hold the second annual Cognate Fair in Schulz 1121 from 6:00-7:45 PM . The Cognate Fair is an informal way for students, faculty, teachers and Sonoma State community members informally interact with Master's Degree candidates about their research, through a poster session-style event. The open house event will include project presentations by Juhwan Kim, in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program concentration; Shawn Rosales and Jonathan Wright, in the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL) program concentration; and Jennifer Cantrell and Emily Walz in the Early Childhood Education program concentration.

postersession.jpgThe cognate is one of three pathways to completion of the Master's Degree in Education program in the School of Education. The cognate project (e.g., professional article, video, website, field-based product) is a significant undertaking through which students connect their cognate course of study with the program concentration, and/or work in the field. Projects arise out of candidates' goals and professional interests and may take virtually any form. The project may address, for example, implications of the cognate course of study for the classroom, or be reflections on teaching practices involving the use of new technologies, or the application of scholarly research and educational theory in a particular setting. A written reflection that includes the theoretical context for the project must be included, and students must present the completed project to their three-member committee in a public forum. The Cognate Fair provides the perfect setting for that public forum, which not only fulfills the degree requirement but also allows others not in the program to hear about the creative,and stimulating research with which our students are engaged.

Master's Degree Cognate Fair November 29

By Pamela Van Halsema on November 18, 2011 2:24 PM

Marine Mammal Lessons at Mary Collins School Weave a Story of Learning

By Pamela Van Halsema on November 10, 2011 5:11 PM

A memorable storyline brings learning to life in Gena Richman and Liza Eichert's classrooms at Mary Collins Elementary School in Petaluma. This semester mentor teachers Richman and Eichert have worked with SSU Multiple Subject Credential Program student teachers Kelly Simonis, Carlyn Kerney, Diana Long and Laurel Angeli as they encouraged their second and third grade children to use their imagination and employ problem solving skills while learning about marine mammals. The lessons were based on the Scottish Storyline method, which integrates curriculum in a narrative created by teacher and students in collaboration. The teacher poses questions that begin the process, and the kids create the setting, the characters, and investigate and solve problems that might occur. Through the context of the story, children learn lessons and develop skills in reading, writing, mathematics, social studies and science.

trixie.jpgThe learning unit included a field trip to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. In preparation for the field trip, Richman's students started by creating a freize, or classroom mural, depicting the Marin Coastline, teaming with ocean life, and the nearby Marine Mammal Center ready to help rescue injured or sick animals. Then the students each created their own imagined story character that would work at the facility, and researched and wrote a biographical narrative about why that person works there and what their duties entailed.  Characters included Trixie, who takes X-rays, Blossom, the veterinarian and John, the security guard. On the field trip the children got to meet the people that work there, see some of the animals, and learn about the need to protect wildlife and reduce pollution in our oceans.

otter.jpgAfter the field trip, Eichert's class was motivated to support the Center's work and raise money to "Adopt a Seal." The children decided to hold a bake sale to raise the funds, and student teachers helped facilitate the project. Kids needed to use math skills to determine how to set their pricing, figure out how much they needed to sell in order to raise enough to meet their goal. The children wrote letters to the other classes in the school to announce their project and advertise their sale. They made apple juice and zucchini muffins harvested from their school garden to sell. In the end they managed to raise enough money to adopt two seals, named Garnett and Calloway.

Another student teacher-collaborative project in Richman's classroom was a letter writing campaign for the Friends of the Otters, and another was a homework project inspired by the art project called Washed Ashore, in which children created sea creature sculptures out of trash and recycled materials, to bring awareness to the problem of trash destroying ocean life. Creations included assemblages that looked like sea turtles, lobsters, dolphins and more. One of the classes followed up by writing letters to the Mayor and City Council of Petaluma, urging them to take steps to reduce plastics pollution that can harm oceanlife.

In designing these lessons, teachers hope to not only offer kids the chance to master basic skills like reading and writing, but also to encourage creativity, problem solving, teamwork and civic responsibility through a lasting, memorable learning experience. For more information visit Multiple Subject Credential Program at Sonoma State University.