Posts Tagged ‘Partner School’

First Trash Free Schools In Charles County, MD!

January 24th, 2013

By Sara Campbell, Outreach Coordinator 

We would like to welcome Gale Bailey Elementary and Indian Head Elementary,  the first Trash Free Schools in Charles County, MD!  They have signed the Trash Free Schools Pledge and are working to reduce waste at their schools.  Both schools have very active school communities and are also involved in our Schoolyards as Classrooms Project.

Indian Head Elementary is a Maryland Green School and will use the Trash Free Schools Project to help maintain their Maryland Green School status.  Actions completed through the Trash Free Schools Project will be documented (as described in the Trash Free Schools Project’s Eight Steps Table) and used for Maryland Green school re-certification.  Future actions include weighing the trash from each classroom as a competition to increase school recycling and reduce waste sent to the landfill.  Students will help with the effort by monitoring bins and collecting the trash weight data.  Teachers will be able to incorporate data into their lessons by having students create graphs and calculate the change in waste over time for each classroom to determine the winner.

Gale-Bailey Elementary is also a Maryland Green School and has a thriving Green Club that conducted a roadside cleanup last Fall with students, staff, families, and community members. They have also conducted schoolyard cleanups and completed other service projects at their school. The Green Club does weekly announcements to the school and has taught their peers how to properly recycle in the lunchroom as well as helped the school eliminate polystyrene lunch trays from the cafeteria.  Gale Bailey Elementary will use the Trash Free Schools Project to provide resources and suggestions to further involve students in reducing waste at the school.

Congratulations to Indian Head Elementary and Gale Bailey Elementary schools on their commitment to take action and reduce waste!

Outdoor lessons at Accokeek Academy

January 16th, 2013

By Sara Campbell, Outreach Coordinator

Through our Schoolyards as Classrooms Project, the Alice Ferguson Foundation partners with local schools to use their schoolyards as outside classrooms.  As the coordinator for this project, I work with teachers at several local schools to get students outside and engage them in the topics they are currently learning in the classroom.  The activities and lessons are tailored to fit a school’s needs, interests, and goals while utilizing resources available at the school and meeting each teacher’s standards and curriculum needs.  The big goal is to get kids engaged and learning outside.

In December, I was a part of several great outdoor lessons at Accokeek Academy! One of the lessons was with the 3rd grade students in which we used compasses and anemometers to investigate wind speed and wind direction outside in the schoolyard.  I was very impressed with how engaged and excited the students were with the lessons.  As the students became more familiar with how to use the compass, they began expanding the lesson to investigate the direction of the sun, the school building, and other nearby objects.  Even though there wasn’t much wind that day, the students found creative ways to test the anemometer, like running down the hill to take wind speed readings.

The students also made connections between our outside lesson and their classroom lessons on weather.  We discussed the types of clouds, making weather predictions based on the types of clouds observed, how clouds form, and how a compass works.  They were able to use what they learned in the classroom and apply it to our outside lesson (with a real world application), which provided their teacher with a way to informally assess the progress of each student.  After the lesson, their teacher remarked on how engaged the students were during our outside lesson and that it sparked an interest in the students to learn more about weather, the tools that meteorologists use, and how these tools are made.

It was a very fun day and I look forward to our next lessons outside using the schoolyard as our classroom!

One of Our Partner Teachers Earns Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching

May 31st, 2011

One of our amazing partner teachers from Watkins Elementary School in DCPS, Lauren Tate, has been honored with this Presidential Award! She has attended our Teacher Institute and participates in our long-term partnership program as well. She gives us a shout-out in her bio for the award.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The 85 winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level.

Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Administration.

Lauren Tate

Washington, DC – Science

Teaching is not only my profession, but my chosen vocation. I am a firm believer that fundamental concepts and skills are developed from infancy through the primary years. This award will recognize and support my continued efforts to supply my students with active, hands-on, student-centered inquiry, which is the core of good science education. I am also thrilled about the Presidential Award program events, which will expose me to even more innovative and effective teaching strategies.

Lauren Tate has enjoyed being an educator for 19 years. She teaches at the Capitol Hill Cluster School (CHCS), Watkins Elementary Campus. She has taught first and second grade and is presently thrilled to specialize in mathematics and science for second grade.

Lauren serves on the Executive Board of the CHCS Parent Teacher Association as a teacher representative. She was elected to serve on a Community Advisory Panel charged with identifying a new principal for her school.

Her commitment to educating all goes beyond her students. Every year, Lauren hosts a Parent Night to explain the curriculum. She teaches parents mathematics and science games to play with their children at home in order to help them understand that these subjects are a part of everyday life.

Last summer, Lauren attended the Alice Fergusen Foundation’s (AFF) Teacher Institute. She learned innovative activities to make outdoor science accessible to her students in an exciting way. Students will use the school’s Living Classroom in all content areas. She has continued her relationship with AFF on the Outdoor Classroom Committee, which helps teachers go beyond the four walls of their classroom.

Lauren has a B.S. in psychology with minors in education and chemistry from Howard University. She has early childhood certification.

For more on the ceremony, see the blog on NSF’s website.

Project WET Workshop at Cesar Chavez Elementary

April 29th, 2011

We had a great time at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Prince George’s County learning all about properties of water, water cycle, importance of water, water conservation, and human impacts on water. Project WET is a wonderful compilation of fantastic hands-on activities for kids to learn all about water.

The best part about professional development is having a turn being a student!

My favorite part of the workshop was the perspective that this all Latina group of teachers brought to conversations about water issues – both from their own countries of origin and from immigrant cultures. Thanks to the teachers for taking the time to learn with me, and if you want to see more pictures, check out the album on the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Facebook page.



Quiet creative writing time in an outdoor classroom

Giving the teachers a chance to teach Aqua Bodies - a Project WET activity

Project WILD Workshop

April 20th, 2011

We had a great time exploring the Project WILD curriculum with teachers at Indian Head Elementary School in Charles County, Maryland. We learned activities we can use to teach our students about topics such as habitats, wildlife, adaptations, and the human impacts on these natural systems. Check out Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Facebook page for more pictures!

Keep your ear to the ground for future Project workshops coming your way! They are well worth your time!

Learning Outside is Fun!!

Outdoor learning opportunity for solitary journaling and reflection

Foggy Creek or Big Lake Creek?

April 1st, 2011

It's a great day at school when you go home with mud on your shoes!

At Accokeek Academy, the first graders explored the creek flowing in front of their school. No one knew the name of it, so the first group called it Foggy Creek, the second group called it Big Lake Creek. What great names!

Students had learned about states of matter, so we predicted that the creek would be a liquid and explained why. We were right!

Students had also learned about what happens when things dissolve in water. We looked at the water and decided it looked just like tap water. But who knows what might be dissolved in it? Best to stick to drinking our tap water instead of our creek water.

Finally, students completed an indoor lab to investigate what kinds of things would float or sink in water. By the creek, students selected natural objects from the environment to test in the creek for sinking and floating. One leaf started out floating and then sunk! How fascinating!

The best part? Getting down and actually touching the crisp, cool water. Priceless!

The Mane Event

March 26th, 2011

Gale-Bailey Elementary Schools (mascot: Lion) hosts a Mane Event each quarter with a different theme. This month’s theme was the environment. The event was hosted by the Green Club, and Sharon Rabie and I were invited to present activities from the Hard Bargain Farm curriculum as well as from Project WET. We were delighted to be invited, and I hope you enjoy this quick video showcasing our evening!

Outdoor Classroom at Anne Beers Elementary School

March 18th, 2011

I visited Anne Beers Elementary School last week and received a tour of their outdoor classroom and gardens from Ms. Harris, STEM Coordinator. I love their blackboard space painted onto the side of the building. I also love all the student-made signs to identify plants and garden spaces. To see more pictures of their gardens, visit the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Facebook page!

Kid-designed sign

Wonderful outdoor blackboard, artwork by City Blossoms

Door Decorations

March 4th, 2011

I love this door decoration at Gale-Bailey Elementary School. Check out what the teacher used for her example of Styrofoam!

Probability for Fourth Graders at Gale-Bailey

February 23rd, 2011

Check out this outdoor lesson Mrs. Good and I did with her fourth graders! The activity comes out of Project WET. We tweaked it to teach probability, and brought the kids outside. There is no lesson plan to go with it – it was one of those impromptu lessons, but watch the video to see what we did!