Our KDSL Global Fellow at FLIBS

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The International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme is a VERY rigorous programme for scholars at select primary and secondary schools. This programme’s international component is unique, but in a way that can be beneficial for today’s learners. This program has intentionally modeled the standard college experience. After the completion of this program, scholars earn advanced college credits and have the potential for scholarships. After receiving an invitation to be sent to training with the Florida Association of IB World Schools (FLIBS), there was no way I could decline. In this blog post I will share with you my recent experience.

The first day of training was the most beneficial for me. This day was used for opening the floor for questions from my group. Our instructor would address each of our main concerns about the curriculum of IB. I have to make one small disclaimer as to why this worked for my group. The biology group was a small one, consisting of seven educators. This was the best part for me! It allowed the instructor to be more personal with our questions, comments, and concerns, which made it a more engaging and valuable. I’m sure that most people who love their content felt eager to expand their professional development making day one the most exciting. Day two was spent breaking down the three core elements that every scholar has to show mastery on in order to obtain the diploma. The three core elements are Theory of knowledge (TOK), extended essay (EE), and creativity, activity, and service, which is often referred to as CAS. The three core elements are similar to what you would see in college. For example, when I was a biology major during university the only “papers” I had to write were in my general education classes. My life was creating a schedule for myself to finish labs and the reports that went with them. Congruently, this is what an IB scholar would experience in their science content course. If you are immersed in the world of IB, then time management and organization is imperative. As per my instructor, not often does IB request certain material from you, but if you are audited, it is best to keep documentation on what is happening in your class. Day three was a half day to recap on anything that may have been unclear and to tie everything we had learned together in a way we can feel confident to implement IB practices in our classroom this fall.

Overall, I had a great experience at training! My instructor did a phenomenal job of pacing, integrating hands-on tasks, and clarity of explaining which really made me want to be invited into his classroom. In the future I hope to return to FLIBS for level 2-3 training.

 

Tiffany Johnson
9th Grade Biology Teacher
KDSL Global Fellow
Website: www.kdslglobal.com
Twitter: @KDSL07 and @sayscienceTEM

Teachers Supporting Teachers

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At Teachers Supporting Teachers they believe that the students of Chicago deserve an excellent education, and that begins with our teachers.

 

Our KDSL Global Fellow Tiffany Johnson recently attended the TST Spring Elite Teacher Leader Networking Session in Chicago.  One aspect of the fellowship includes attending and creating leadership opportunities in your local context. Below is her reflection.

I’m writing this because the past event put together by Teachers Supporting Teachers (TST) was an opportunity that no Chicago educator should not have missed. I left feeling inspired from spending a day networking with some of the top educators in the city. But, I want to assure you that the founders of Teachers Supporting Teachers will be hosting more events that I recommend you attend. The location of the event was in the Willis (Sears to the old school Chicagoans) Tower where about 60 people in the field of education congregated. There were three breakout sessions that everyone had the opportunity to attend. All of these sessions were interactive and most importantly all focused on leadership. At the end of the event, TST mentioned that they are available for 1:1 mentoring with schools, which is something that many people, including myself, showed interest in. In the future, I recommend you attend any event TST puts together, because you will meet a variety of resource rich people.

 

To learn more about Teachers Supporting Teachers visit http://tstnfp.org/

 

 

Closing the STEM Gap

A new study called “Closing the STEM Gap” published in March 2018 by Microsoft surveyed more than 6,000 girls and young women on their interests and perceptions of science, technology, engineering and math. They found that girls lose interest in STEM careers as they get older. What can be done? The study cited recommendations to change this narrative. This included: role models and mentors, exposure to real-world examples of STEM, hands-on experience through participation in STEM-related clubs and activities, and encouragement from parents and educators could.

Our KDSL Global Fellow Tiffany Johnson recently interviewed one of her students to find out her perception about STEM after attending Interactive STEM Development Seminar for Underrepresented Students hosted by the Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation in Chicago. This was an additional program Johnson, who is implementing the recommendations in the study, suggested to her students.

This purpose of the seminar was to introduce and expose students to STEM career options and provide hands on experience with real world topics and projects leading to the development of the students as future leaders in the STEM fields.

 

What are your feelings about STEM?

“I feel like STEM is great for all kinds of people.  It allows you to dive more in depth about the world, technology, etc.”

 

Do you see yourself as a person who would pursue a career in the STEM field? If so, which field and why?

“Yes, I see myself pursuing a career in sciences, specifically psychology or sociology, becaucareese I like to study the functions of the brain, the actions of humans, and why people do the things they do.”

 

What did you do at the STEM event you attended?

“At the event, I had to design a functional hand using cardboard, sticks, tape, and string.  I also made slime.  The instructors that were there were African American men who knew a GREAT deal about STEM.”

 

How would you describe your feeling about STEM? Are you intimidated? Do you feel like you would be supported as you pursue a career in this field?

“I am supported greatly by my family and different teachers who push me to join the STEM field.  My feelings towards the STEM field are that I think it offers different opportunities to different types of people to work in an advanced field.  Also, I feel like being a part of this field, I would be able to represent African-Americans in a positive way.”

 

To learn more about Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation visit https://www.weefchicago.org/

 

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Meet Janessa, a high school scholar interested in STEM and recent participant in the Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation in Chicago.

STEMCON 2018

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Our KDSL Global Fellow Tiffany Johnson recently attended the STEMCON conference in Chicago, Illinois. STEMCON is a platform for STEM educators and administrators from all around the nation to share their best practices. Below is a reflection on her experience as a first time participant.

Year after year, STEMCON is where all STEM educators want to be. Just to put things into perspective, STEMCON is like the Coachella for all things STEM. From the moment I walked in, I knew I was in the presence of greatness. Upon arrival, I noticed Dr. Carolyn Hayes, the former president of National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), sitting amongst several of her colleagues. I was instantly star-struck! After setting my obnoxiously large teacher bag down, I wasted no time to introduce myself to Dr. Hayes. Dr. Hayes has an energetic personality that is highly contagious and seeing a woman achieve the “Lifetime STEM Leadership” award was very inspirational. After breakfast & coffee, the stage was graced with the first female civilian Afghan-American pilot and the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft, Shaesta Waiz. Ms. Waiz has an amazing story, and a unique purpose that motivates her in the work that she does.

After breakfast, there were numerous breakout sessions that I attended throughout the day, such as Innovative Ways to Sustain STEM Interest and Career Paths for Girls, Bringing the Outside In: Making an Ecosystem in a Bottle, and last but not least, How Hip-Hop Music and Culture can Bridge the STEM Gap for Underrepresented Populations. There was not enough time for me to attend all the sessions, but I did make connections with the presenters of the sessions I did not attend.

Being a person of color in STEM, I am constantly questioning myself about how do I influence students that look like me, to be like me. At STEMCON I was exposed to many different versions of what STEM looks like for different people. One of the sessions I attended talked about connecting STEM to the culture of Hip-Hop and broke down the science behind the movement. After getting the opportunity to bounce ideas off of the presenters, Darlyne de Haan and Damiso Josey, we agreed to continue the conversation even after the event and beyond!

I departed STEMCON feeling inspired, educated, connected, and supported which are all the reasons why I would recommend this conference to anyone in STEM.

P.S. – Among the many lessons I learned at STEMCON, one of the top lessons I learned was don’t be afraid to ask people for a picture! This is the only picture I have of myself at STEMCON. Thanks to the photographer.

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Tiffany Johnson learning more about STEM.

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Dr. Carolyn Hayes receiving the Lifetime STEM Leadership Award.

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Shaesta Waiz, the first female civilian Afghan-American pilot and the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft

 

To learn more about Tiffany visit https://kdslglobal.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/kdsl-global-fellows-2/ and STEMCON visit www.stemcon.net.