MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Teacher Professional Development BLOSSOM-ing in the DC Public Schools

February 27, 2012

New BLOSSOMS modules in Biology and Math—taught by inspired Wash DC public high school teachers? Yes, you may see this by end of summer!  Here’s how:

During the 2011-12 school year, MIT BLOSSOMS is running a Teacher Professional Development course during the regularly scheduled “PD days” for the DC Public School teachers. BLOSSOMS staff (Dick Larson & Liz Murray) and lesson developers/instructors (Megan Rokop & Rhonda Jordan) have traveled to DC for the August, October, December, and February PD days. The final PD day, to be held March 23rd, will conclude the teacher training sessions that were combined to form a mini-course centered on the design of new lessons that teach math or science in a hands-on way. The new lessons are geared towards high school students and aim to encourage critical thinking skills. These training sessions were organized through a collaboration between BLOSSOMS, and James Rountree & Camsie McAdams from the DCPS central office.

BLOSSOMS workshop leaders kick-start each session by having the teachers try their hands at current BLOSSOMS video lessons. Then, participating teachers spend time in small groups, brainstorming which science & math topics they have traditionally found most difficult to teach. Once these lesson topics are pooled among the group, participants generate ideas on how to teach the topics in hands-on ways that encourage critical thinking. Finally, each teacher selects a topic and moves on to developing a new and engaging science or math lesson, with the ongoing support of the fellow teachers and the BLOSSOMS staff.

Participating teachers receive professional development points for completing the course, and are also eligible to submit their new lesson plan for the 2012 DCPS/MIT BLOSSOMS competition. Through this contest, one or more DCPS teachers will become the DCPS/MIT BLOSSOMS finalists for 2012, and will thereby win a 2-day trip to MIT to film his/her very own BLOSSOMS lesson. We look forward to having DCPS teachers as the instructors of the newest lessons in our BLOSSOMS video library!