Science and Teaching for Field Instructors

Paige Marley, Jamee Puccio, Camp Tyler Outdoor School

Tale from the Field: After a Leadership Institute

When Jamee Puccio and Paige Marley returned to their organization after participating in the BEETLES August 2017 Leadership Institute, they got right to work using some of the resources they’d been introduced to. Jamee wrote to us to share her experience and we thought she so perfectly articulated the combination of excitement for improvement and the challenge of actually changing instructional practices that we had to share more widely.

From Jamee Puccio:

We just wrapped up our week and a half of staff training and are halfway through our first bunch of residential 5th graders. I wanted to take a second to tell you just how much our staff ADORES the BEETLES ideas we brought back. We led them through the Making Observations and Questioning Strategies sessions and heard things like “This is going to make everything we do so much more effective”, “I wanted to be teaching like this the whole time but couldn’t figure out how”, “I wish somebody taught me these things thirty years ago when I began teaching,” and “This is by far the best training we’ve ever had.”
I look forward to seeing how our instructional time changes now that we actually have kids on the ground–I’m sure that will be a wake-up call for how hard changing actually can be–but in the meantime, I want to thank you guys again for such a transformational experience. Our staff just can’t get over it and they want more and more. Plus, as young and relatively inexperienced program leaders, it’s a big confidence boost to hear things like I shared above 🙂

After our instructors had a chance to get used to BEETLES activities and approaches, we asked them: “How have you incorporated BEETLES? How has it impacted your teaching approach?” Here are some of their responses:

  • “BEETLES has helped me slow down and focus on every kids’ answer, such as building on some “wrong” answers instead of just looking for right answers.”
  • “I try in every exercise to start with Walk & Talk, Sensory activities, or I Notice, I Wonder, It Reminds Me Of. I think it really gets them focused on what we are really trying to teach–to observe, wonder, look at the world around them. I’ve definitely used this approach to slow down and give the kids a chance to enjoy their time while learning.”
  • “I love me some BEETLES! I have incorporated I notice, I wonder, It reminds me of, sensory activities, and Walk & Talk. I think it has impacted my teaching in an extremely positive way. I love seeing kids investigate and ask questions and start to figure out answers for themselves. Field journaling has been a good addition to weekly teaching as well.”
  • “I really like the greater emphasis on student-to-student communication. I think it helps more students focus on the questions and participate. I think there is less “dead” time and less pressure on the kids to find the right answers.”
  • “The I Notice I Wonder, It reminds me of activity has helped focus the students’ discussion. I like to tell them that this is how they get to be scientists, that scientists aren’t the ones with all the answers. Instead, they are the ones who ask the questions and pay attention to the information their senses are telling them. I think it helps make science less imposing and more approachable.”

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