Questions or ideas for the community

Use this thread to post questions you may have for the Hancock County Regional Teacher Community. Are you struggling with an idea? Need some advice? Want to run an idea by the group and get some feedback? This is the place to go.

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If you are interested in getting some more training around identifying aquatic plants, there is a Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program Invasive Plant Patrol 101 Workshop open to Vital Signs teachers happening next week on August 23rd from 10 am - 4 pm. It will be held at the VLMP Center for Citizen Lake Science, 24 Maple Hill Road in Auburn. Sign up here if you want to join in - https://goo.gl/forms/0jPJhe4MmAmkcsz82

One more thing! Tanya was wondering about supplies...here is what I responded to her in an email..please add any of your own ideas/suggestions!

At this point, my kids use their own cellphones. They are older than yours (7th and 8th) and nearly ALL have phones. We also have mini I-pads that we borrow from the library (and sneak outside..as our librarian is really picky about those things). GMRI has had digital cameras to loan out in the past - so Molly would be the go to on that one. When I started, I had one camera per group (and each group was 3 to 4). Now -all the kids get in on the act, and they choose the best photo from their group.

As far as supplies - I have kits that include colored pencils and regular pencils, small rulers, hand lenses, Forest Trees of Maine field guide. For specific investigations, I generally make a folder with laminated ID cards of the species we are looking for AND any similar species (the Vital Signs cards tell you what similar species there are..so they make it easy to seem like an expert). In that folder, I staple a small checklist that looks like this:

Did You:
Take Field Notes?
Make a Sketch?
Take a Photo of the Study Site
Evidence Photo 1
Evidence Photo 2
Evidence Photo 3

For WATER Investigations I also bring along 2 nets (they are not the best..and when I work with the UMaine professor this fall, he is going to make suggestions for better ones..I'll pass that along when I know what they should be), a Dissolved Oxygen Kit (available from GMRI), a pH Meter (again..available from GMRI), a salinity meter (you might have to order if you want one of these), thermometers (just old fashioned ones..they do a good job of reading water temp..and I have a bunch..it gets lots of kids involved).

Good Morning, Hancock County!
I wanted to share a quick game GMRI used at an institute I attended last week. I'm planning on using it on my first day of school - as an icebreaker - though we used it to get people talking about data..and it was fun! I struggle to make data analysis fun..so this is a nice, simple, twist. If you download the directions, there are sample questions for data analysis as well as some simple icebreakers. If the directions don't make sense to you - let me know, and I'll try to make a video of me and my kiddos doing it.

http://vitalsignsme.org/boom-quiz-quiz-trade

Hope all is well in the community,

Rhonda

Discussing with my Island Institute Fellow my 2017-2108 situation (blended classrooms and looping with the same set of students) helped me to hit upon what I have NOT yet taught and therefore the theme for the next school year materialized: The Chemistry of Nature. Brainstorming with my Island Heritage Trust friend helped start a wonderful list of possible lesson topics. Beyond soil nitrate, phosphate, potassium and pH, there could be lessons and explorations on skunk cabbage and exothermic reactions; poison ivy - why it itches and how the “cures” work; the science of scent (skunk cabbage again, balsam, sweet fern); medicinal qualities of plants found on our Nature Trail; spruce gum and what makes sap sticky; maple trees, sap and syrup….the list is blossoming because I am not alone. Now I am thankful for my new GMRI network. Please brainstorm along with me, all your ideas are welcome and needed.

Good Afternoon! Today a small group of RTC members met in Deer Isle (thank you Mickie), to get caught up on what was missed in June. We looked for - and found! - Balsam Fir. In addition to going over the basics of the reflection journal, student surveys, and a quick overview of a Vital Signs investigation, we were able to browse Mickie's extensive collection of glassware and other lab supplies. Mickie has kindly offered these up for loan. The moral of the story? If you need a lab supply - just ask! Make a post to this forum, and between all of us - I have a feeling it will materialize. We were also joined by representatives from Blue Hill Heritage Trust, and the Island Land Trust. Forging partnerships with existing organizations in our area seems to be a theme that is materializing. If you are on the Blue Hill Peninsula - please reach out to Chrissy - she is wonderful!

As the year gets underway - remember to do your August reflection..and please, please, please, reach out to me, Molly, or the community in general with questions!

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I wanted to share a story of how the RTC is already working for some members. I think it's crazy important to share what works and what doesn't with each other as a way to continually refine what we do and what we can get out of this community. In that spirit, here is my first sharing! Earlier this week, Mickie Flores sent an email out to the community looking for help/ideas around the best methods to measure pH. Never have I been so excited to read an email about pH. I directed her to check with GMRI, as they often loan out the meters (which they did!). Problem solved. These simple issues are the things that can hold us back from innovating in our classroom and it's my goal that we can all reach out to the community often to help each other over the little and not so little hurdles.

I am so excited to have peers in science education who understand my goals and needs. I work on an island and I am geographically isolated; BUT I believe many of us work on an "island" and are similarly isolated where the school population and science educator population are limited. I'm celebrating this new network of people I can speak with and move forward with.

Excited about some of these investigations!

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