The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Workshop Exceeds Teachers' Expectations

Posted by | July 31, 2017 | Filed under: Program Reports

Earlier this month, fifteen educators participated in the Wells Reserve's seventh Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) workshop. They hailed from ME, NH, MA, RI, NY, NJ, and PA, and work throughout the year with primarily middle and high school students in private schools, public schools, and environmental organizations focused on science education.

TOTE 2017 Marsh
TOTE teachers conducting research on the marsh

During the three-day TOTE workshop, participants learned about estuaries, with a focus on climate change. They were exposed to NOAA's System-wide Monitoring Program, Digital Coast website, and online estuary education resources. The teachers also experienced the estuary firsthand during a kayak paddle on the Little River. Teachers visited the Reserve's research marsh as well, gaining experience conducting salt marsh vegetation studies and learning how this data collection is an important component in studying change over time, especially in relation to sea level rise.

Over the coming school year, TOTE teachers will implement projects with their students. These projects will aim to instill a sense of stewardship in students, and will focus on monitoring change over time.

Workshop evaluations revealed a highly satisfied group of teachers! Among the comments received:

  • A rare workshop where I am taking multiple resources, instruction, and stewardship ideas back to my classroom to improve my instruction.
  • So many ideas and resources to utilize that match my desire to do "real science" with my students in a real, meaningful, impactful classroom.
  • Tremendous flow between activities. The days passed incredibly quickly, which speaks to the great pacing and changing of activities.
  • Awesome...just awesome.
  • The TOTE program offers useful, research-based experience to keep teachers motivated to continue teaching.
  • What an incredibly informative experience. We learned so much in three days! The resources provided are going to be terrific for the classroom.
  • The TOTE workshop has given me a new appreciation for estuaries.
  • All staff and presenters were friendly and extremely knowledgeable.
  • Wells Reserve puts on a highly engaging and experience-rich workshop. Definitely worth the trip to Maine.
  • What an inspiring, educational, and rejuvenating workshop. I am so thankful for the opportunity to cohort with colleagues about such important issues.

Following is a Wordle created using the teachers' answers to the question, "If you were asked to use one word to describe your (TOTE) experience, what would it be?"

The size of the words in the Wordle are proportional to the number of teachers who had that answer. As you can see, teachers overwhelmingly described the workshop as either "inspiring" or "inspirational." We are thrilled to think that the TOTE teachers will now use this sense of inspiration to inspire their students during the upcoming school year. As Parker Palmer states in Courage to Teach, "Our great calling, opportunity, and power as educators is to shed light in dark places."

Many thanks to the tremendous educators who participated in the workshop, to the talented presenters who shared their expertise, and to the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative for providing the funding to make it possible.

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