What do teachers do during their summer break?
Sleeping-in, gardening, traveling, reading? Yes, of course, there is always some fun to be had. But what might surprise you is that teachers spend plenty of time as students themselves!
Professional growth is key to keeping teachers current on the latest understandings in child-development, classroom management, science, and technology. That is why all Seventh-day Adventist teachers continue their professional growth through required as well as self-driven learning opportunities.
The Oregon Conference made it possible for all teachers and several pastors to attended the Excellence in STEM Experiential Education (EXSEED) conference at Loma Linda University (LLU). The event has a reputation for helping teachers create compelling and self-driven learning environments for our schools.
The hands-on learning experience for K-12 educators is centered on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and is married with Mission-Focused Learning (MFL) at its core. It is taught by experts in the field of science, engineering, and medicine.
To start the seminar off, every attendee was gifted an iPad Pro with assignments to use the device to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a subject related to the conference. Our 3D Animation teacher, Frank Jin created the impressive video below for his final project. He demonstrated the learning that he gained about 3D scanning and printing during a project that he, Bob Johnson (Math), and Mark Kooy (Art) worked on together. The fruits of their labor were impressive and they came back home with plans to incorporate the technology through cross-curricula learning (3D Design, Art, and Math).
“We’re moving into an era where we are more-so asking our students ‘Why’ as they problem-solve and less ‘How-To,’” says Mechelle Peinado, PAA’s Vice Principal for Academics. “This conference helped us think differently about our curriculum. It’s helping us create projects that are more investigatory than demonstrative which is so important in STEM. It was all so fascinating and exciting.”
Here’s what our teachers said about EXSEED…
“I found it interesting how many of the presenters presented on things they themselves were curious about. The professor who worked with us on 3D scanning worked in the school of pharmacy where there is no actual use for scanning. He was just curious. I plan to model more curiosity and, along with Frank and his students, build a 3D scanner for my art students to scan stuff into the computer. Ceramic, paper, foam – they can scan it in and make plastic models and more.”
~Mark Kooy, Art
“The breakout sessions were inspiring! I especially enjoyed being a student in an Anatomy Lab. My sessions in neuroscience and brain MRI imaging were quite educational as well. I now better understand the connection to long term memory and emotions and why bringing joy and movement into our classrooms can deepen overall cognition and retention.
Oregon Conference teachers came together to learn as a group. This benefits students long-term and helps to unify them as a team.
I was also inspired to create some project based learning connections to curriculum. The idea is to incorporate teaching strategies which help to encourage students to use critical thinking skills to problem solve and strengthen their cognition. I took away so many ideas for the classroom.
I also made connections with our elementary teachers from Meadowglade and McMinnville. We are planning some team-teaching strategies which will allow my high school anatomy students to provide hands on instruction to their 4th-6th graders.
Pastor Stephen, Mrs. McCray, Mrs. Rosenquist, Mrs. Johson, and Mr. Kootsey had plenty of bonding time commutes.
One of my favorite breakouts was Wacky Science. It was tagged as an elementary level class for science teachers but the instructor’s enthusiasm was contagious and I came away with inspiration to make my teaching more fun. I also left the breakout sessions with some ideas to connect science based object lessons to my daily class devotions (see Mission Focused Learning, below).
Linda took fast notes at each of her breakout sessions.
My greatest takeaway was the connections I made through the long days, laughter, and learning with my colleagues. We had a full week together and I grew to love and appreciate them even more! It is a privilege to teach with my compadres!”
~Linda Johnson, Anatomy & Physiology, and Girls Health & P.E.
“Pardon the pun, but the EXSEED conference completely exceeded my expectations! It was so well organized from start to finish.
The morning music and devotions given by Tim Gillespie about ‘unity’ were quite thought provoking and inspiring along with the personal story and devotion given by Joe Galusha. Each of us receiving an iPad Pro to use for the week and to take home to use in our classrooms was scary, yet inspiring. Sharing our group projects, movie trailers, and short “how to” videos were both entertaining and inspiring. We came away with many functions and possibilities for using the iPad in the classroom.
Each night we returned to our own hotel to gather our thoughts, plan for the next day, and perhaps do a little work before retiring for the night. We returned each morning at 7:15, after a quick breakfast. (All of the food was great, by the way!)
But above all, it was the people who made this event great. I did not meet one person who was not excited to see us or help us in any way. From the bus drivers to the surgeons fitting us into their busy schedules, everyone shared freely of their time, knowledge, and vision for our students and teachers. The tours and lectures relating to research and training were informative, inspiring, and excellent.
Last, I would say the time spent together with Oregon and Washington educators was fantastic. I enjoyed the singing, praying, planning, laughing, listening, and basically everything from start to finish with this group, from administrators to new teachers, it was really a great experience. I found myself feeling energized and almost ready to start school on the following Monday.”
~Bob Johnson, Mathematics
“It was all so fascinating! We learned about the marriage of biology, engineering, and microbiology. We learned how to use tools like Garage Band and iMovie – programs our students are excited about. We spent a session in a simulation center where we experienced true-to-life emergencies. We attempted to revive a dummy that had a heart-beat, could breath, and even moaned in pain. We worked in a real ambulance and at one point they even simulated an earthquake. We were taken out to the San Andreas Fault to see geology first hand and it was absolutely fascinating.
We’re moving into an era where we are more-so asking our students “Why” as they problem-solve and less “How-To,” says Mechelle Peinado, PAA’s Vice Principal for Academics. “This conference helped us think differently about our curriculum. It’s helping us create projects that are more investigatory than demonstrative which is so important in STEM.”
~Mechelle Peinado, VP for Academics
Mission Focused Learning
Adventist schools are different. And PAA is no exception. We take the modern academic focus on STEM and marry it with Mission Focused Learning (MFL) so that education helps shape Christ-centered and character-driven lives.
…Fosters the highest commitment to analytical and critical thinking
…Advocates the highest ethical and professional standards of practices
…Values the creation of new knowledge, and the faithful transmission of best practices within professional and scientific disciplines
…Provides a learner-centered educational environment that facilitates the absorption of knowledge and perfection of skills while blending evidence-based decision-making with transformative learning events (“teachable moments”)
…Develops a culture of service, while encouraging the pursuit of wisdom through the example of Jesus Christ who lived to bring hope, healing, and happiness to mankind