Icon for: Alissa Lange

ALISSA LANGE

Rutgers University
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Gerald Kulm

    Gerald Kulm

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2016 | 10:31 a.m.

    Hi. Congratulations on progressing to the randomized trial phase. What are the key independent and dependent variables in the trial? Are you working with schools/teachers who have previously received workshops or new ones? Can you provide a specific example or two on how your approaches help DLL students?

  • Icon for: Alissa Lange

    Alissa Lange

    Presenter
    May 16, 2016 | 01:20 p.m.

    Thanks, Gerald! (1) Our primary independent variable is whether teachers participate in the professional development model with us (treatment) or not (comparison; business-as-usual). We measure the effects of participation in our PD on particular outcomes (or dependent variables) for educators, such as improved attitudes and beliefs towards teaching STEM, or improved classroom quality. We also measure effects for children, such as improvements in science, math, and language skills and knowledge. Treatment teachers work with us for two years and we collect data pre- and post-participation. Comparison teachers will participate in professional development in the final year of the study, following data collection. (2) This RCT is occurring in a district with which we had not previously worked. (3) Our model infuses supports for DLLs throughout, as well as including workshop modules that specifically focus on DLLs. For example, one module is focused on the process of English language acquisition and how to use this knowledge to effectively engage DLLs in STEM experiences. We provide workshop materials in English and Spanish (the primary second language of children in our district), including lesson plans to facilitate the delivery of learning experiences in both languages. We encourage teachers to support the home language whenever possible. Use of the home language can be especially important when teaching STEM, as the vocabulary can be abstract or very specialized. DLLs are already learning two languages, and the language of math or science can be thought of as a yet another language, with its own special terms – e.g., angle, rectangle, roots, or chrysalis. Using what children know in their home language can support their language learning as well as their STEM learning.

  • Icon for: Alissa Lange

    Alissa Lange

    Presenter
    May 16, 2016 | 02:15 p.m.

    I would like to thank the current and past contributors to the SciMath-DLL project for all they have done to make this work a success. They are Kimberly Brenneman (former PI), Ellen Frede, Judi Stevenson-García, Alex Figueras-Daniel, Jorie Quinn, Daryl Greenfield, Irena Nayfeld, Margaret “Peggy” Freedson, Jennifer Jacobs, Herb Ginsburg, Douglas Clements, Hebbah El-Moslimany, Hagit Mano, educators and children from Long Branch, Elizabeth, Union City, and Passaic Public Schools, and many excellent research assistants, data collectors, and support staff. THANK YOU!

  • Icon for: Jeanine Brownell

    Jeanine Brownell

    Assistant Director of Programming
    May 18, 2016 | 10:45 a.m.

    How do you think about the relationship between the S, the T, the E, and the M in STEM for young children? Is yours a project-based approach or do you have separate, but related science and math activities?

  • Icon for: Alissa Lange

    Alissa Lange

    Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 07:08 p.m.

    Thanks for your questions, Jeanine. Broadly, we support teachers’ understanding of the big ideas in STEM and how best to teach them to children. Our workshop modules highlight fundamental ideas in a particular area of STEM, such as a Numbers module that focuses on counting and subitizing in math. These fall under the category of our Foundational Experiences in STEM modules. We also have modules that illustrate the ways in which S.T.E., and M. are related to one another – and to other content areas. These are called STEM Across the Curriculum modules. For example, our Measurement in the Garden module aims to extend teachers’ thinking about how to meet learning objectives across content areas beyond planting and growing within a theme (the garden). Principals of engineering and discussions and examples of technology are intertwined throughout our supports. Our approach is curriculum-independent, and thus is designed to work with any curriculum or approach, including project-based. In fact, we worked with three districts during our design and development phase who used three separate curricula. We help educators connect our approach to what they are already doing in their classrooms or to the systems or expectations in place in their particular settings. Model lesson plans from each workshop module serve as examples of best practice within the focal STEM concept or concepts.

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Co-Principal Investigator
    May 18, 2016 | 03:02 p.m.

    Are there any classes in your study in which the students stay with the teacher for more than one year?
    Also, do you measure affective responses of the children, or changes in question asking or the development of problem-solving “pragmatic rituals” or habits?

  • Icon for: Alissa Lange

    Alissa Lange

    Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 07:35 p.m.

    Good questions, Brian. Some children in some of the classrooms will have been with the teacher for two years. We will focus on those children who are new to the classroom for our sample when we are at the stage of evaluating child effects. We do not have plans to measure individual children’s affective responses or changes in question asking specifically. However, one of our child assessments is the LENS, an early childhood science assessment, which includes items that require children to apply scientific practices when responding to some items. In addition, we hope to be able to capture effects on these types behaviors at a classroom level via other data sources (e.g., classroom quality observation scores on a science and math-focused tool).

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    Janna Kook

    Guest
    May 18, 2016 | 03:17 p.m.

    Hi Alissa, could you talk about the science content that you cover in the program? Do the topics build on one another or are they independent? How do you decided when to move on from one topic. Thanks so much!

  • Icon for: Alissa Lange

    Alissa Lange

    Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 10:47 a.m.

    Sure. Thanks for your interest in our work, Janna! Our workshop modules and related resources include content that falls under the major topic areas in science (e.g., life science, physical science). Our supports focus on selected examples of the big ideas in science (and math) out of necessity, but also so that we can explore a smaller number of ideas in more depth. We support teachers to take what they learn with us and apply them to other lessons. Topics are mostly independent, although we tend to focus on Foundational Experiences in STEM modules earlier in the year. We also work with teachers on how to promote in their children (and in themselves!) rich scientific inquiry and to engage in important scientific practices (e.g., communication, prediction). The structure of the model is four interactive workshops spaced throughout the year, followed by an individual reflective coaching cycle (RCC) based on each workshop. Teachers then get together after each RCC in small professional learning communities with one another to further explore what they have learned.

  • Icon for: Michelle Perry

    Michelle Perry

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2016 | 05:53 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your video! How many teachers participated? And how frequent were the 3 levels of PD?

  • Icon for: Alissa Lange

    Alissa Lange

    Presenter
    May 19, 2016 | 10:50 a.m.

    We have 50 teachers in our current RCT including 25 working with us now (treatment) and 25 who we will work with after data collection is complete (comparison). We also work with 6 Master Teachers from the district. Our model includes 4 spaced workshops, each followed by an RCC and a PLC. So, there are four of each type of PD support per year.

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    Barbara Sack

    Guest
    May 20, 2016 | 10:15 a.m.

    I have definitely seen a positive difference in the teachers with whom I work who are participating in this model. The confidence in their abilities coupled with their focus on the learning objectives has surely raised the bar!

  • Icon for: Alissa Lange

    Alissa Lange

    Presenter
    May 20, 2016 | 10:49 a.m.

    Thanks for chiming in! Barbara is one of our Master Teachers.

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