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I never start thinking of school or start planning during the summer...said no teacher ever.The end of the school year is quickly approaching and I’ve got to say, I’m kind of freaking out. Not that the school year is done – I’m good with that, but I’m “concerned” about next year.

MA Science Standards for grades 6-8 have changed drastically to a spiraling format and we are re-aligning our curriculum to meet the guidelines required by the state. That means I’m switching from mainly Life Science to a lot of EARTH science – which I haven’t done since … ever!

What does that mean? Summer School.

I’ve already signed up for a week-long July course (“Movers and Shakers: Exploring Earth Science in the Coastal & Marine Environment” at Mass Maritime) and a 3 day seminar in August (“Keeping Up With the Standards” at Harvard Museum of Natural History). My beach time will be seriously impacted by these advanced studies.

I’m optimistic though, since we’re all in the same boat. Most of the teachers in our 7/8 school and a few from the 5/6 school will be taking these courses too – so that means collegial learning and a little fun as a bonus. Both schools have Chromebooks for every student and use Google Apps for Education, so it’s really easy to create, share, and edit together – while apart! I’ve already created a “Spiral Science” Google Site for the 7th grade teachers – it has a page for each strand that we will be responsible to cover. As we come across interesting tidbits of information, we post to the appropriate standards page (from anywhere!) to use and/or edit later; any one of us can edit the document, and see other edits being made and who is making them. No more multiple copies with red pen edits, re-printing, re-editing, yadayadayada. The teachers who are not in our building can also collaborate – they can add/share materials they’ve found useful in the past since we’re pretty much flip-flopping units within the grades. (That reminds me, I must share my Life Science Site with them ASAP).

I can use more help though. Taking courses will deepen my understanding of the topics and provide some resources, but is it enough? People on Facebook and Twitter often post cool tidbits, but are they reliable? Teachers and Educators out there, I can trust You! Do you have any good Earth Science “stuff”, ideas, or advice to share? Drop me an email with a link or an attachment (I’ll share if you do). After all, #SharingIsCaring.

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Celeste Cruse is a Marine Biologist according to the University of New England and a Master of Education says Fitchburg State U. But I am a 7th grade science teacher with 16 years of experience at the Lawrence Junior High School in Falmouth, MA.

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