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July 18, 2011
by: Dollie Cromwell, Journalist

College of William and Mary Training

Three staff members from the Sheboygan Area School District’s new charter middle school, Mosaic School, attended curriculum training June 22-24 at the College of William and Mary’s Center for Gifted Education in Williamsburg, Va.

Rayna Rokicki will teach social studies and dance when Mosaic opens this fall. She attended the center’s social studies curriculum training, which was taught by Molly Sandling. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Sandling is a social studies teacher at Jamestown High School in Williamsburg and works with the center on curriculum development.

“There is a focus on examining large concepts in depth by becoming historical super-sleuths in social studies that I would like to incorporate into my classroom,” Rokicki said.

“For example, one can examine systems in social studies and how so many things from world government to local economies and religion can be examined as a system,” she explained. “By examining how these systems act independently and interdependently, one can come to a better understanding of how historical relationships have evolved and caused change throughout the world.“

“I look forward to having my students develop their reasoning and critical thinking skills by examining the systems that have affected the past and still affect us today,” Rokicki added.

Courtney Kooistra will teach math and science at Mosaic. She attended STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - training led by Thomas Kianga at William and Mary. Kianga received his doctoral degree from William and Mary and now teaches pre-service teachers at the College of Education at William and Mary.

“I look forward to completing many of the project-based learning scenarios that we completed in my section of the conference with my students,” Kooistra shared.  “One in particular required us to create a module that would travel across the moon in order to transport materials effectively. We were given limited materials and instructions on how to start, but then were left to collaborate with our group on how to make the most effective module. We realized after testing the model with the generic square wheels that we should make the wheels octagon shapes so the traction was still there but there was a shorter distance between corners. After several modifications, we were able to create an effective model that won the speed and distance contest.”

“I cannot wait to implement this activity with the students and have them graph the effect of their changes to the module on the distance that it travels,” Kooistra added. “I believe the students will become fully engaged in the activity – as we did – and be able to apply many mathematical and scientific concepts throughout.”   

Michelle Renzelmann-Ross will teach language arts at Mosaic and also at IDEAS Academy, the district’s new full-day charter high school. She attended sessions by Sherry Watts, an instructional specialist with the Division of Accelerated and Enriched Instruction for Montgomery County schools in Maryland.

“What I really enjoyed was all of the hands-on activities that we did,” Renzelmann-Ross aid. “We were actually the students, so we know what they have to go through. I also loved the networking. With so many teachers, I got numerous ideas for how to utilize this curriculum to another level.”

“The training was invaluable for me to understand how to really help my students be successful and push them to a level that they never thought they could reach!”  she concluded.

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