The estimated reading time for this post is 3 minutes
Recently, Team 21C added writers for freshman Biology courses beginning next year at Century High School. If you’ve been following the blog or the department Facebook page (which, if you’re not a follower, you should check out!) you may have seen the exciting changes and progress that the team has made as a whole as we move forward in developing an entire suite of 9th grade-level courses. For the three of us on the Bio team, Laurette Setlich, Joshua Gagnier, and I, this task frequently takes unforeseen twists as we are given objectives that are outside of our comfort zones and challenge our understanding of what our roles as educators are. Things aren’t always smooth, easy, or familiar but we believe in the ethos of showing our work. This process allows for us to learn from failures as well as successes. Here is your look behind the scenes of the pilot episode of “Science Kitchen.”
Initially, the three of us on the Bio team were brought together to get Biology course content written. We were tasked with creating something transferable, replicable, but new and unique. The course we are developing is designed to be used in the Century Flex model to be established next year as well as the other hybrid models currently in development (9th grade at Advanced Learning Academy) and other innovative learning environments in the planning stages. We were happily plugging along, finding content and sources, developing student products that we would like to see, deciding on assessment strategies, and, in Josh’s case, finding a way to turn an online course management system into a student learning quest. But Wes, being Wes, decided to push us all into something new. This took the form of a science version of the Team 21C Live Show. If you’ve seen the show, you know what I’m talking about. The Live Show has become an opportunity to discuss and share progress, reflect on new ideas in education and and explore strategies to improve our practices as teachers. These are communication opportunities to share discoveries made during the course of the week with teachers looking for innovative ideas. This show however, soon became an entirely new animal that centered around an interest that I had mentioned, a joy of cooking.
“Science Kitchen” was born. Using a cooking show template, and filming on location at 4th Street Market, the show aims to showcase what we’ve been doing and provide insight into the process of creation. Embedded in this show are teachers giving their voice to the hybrid classes. These segments are often on Biology Questions of the Week that allow the teachers to bring their own personalities and distinctiveness to the courses that they are developing. Someone mentioned this entire process, and the activities of Team 21C as a whole, as “Project-Based Learning for teachers.” That is the most accurate description that I have heard. In this case, the final product is the course itself, but our public product is showcasing the good and the bad that goes into the development of it. We are putting it out there for everyone to see and hopefully you will see something you like and can use to innovate and explore new options in your classes. It may be a new model of grading, a unit based around PBL, diving deeper into using Canvas or Google Apps, or even a new recipe to try out at home. If you are watching and following you already demonstrate an appetite for learning. This, like most meals, is always best when it’s shared. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time in the “Science Kitchen”.