Tag Archives: Hands on Science Boot Camp

Boot Camp Update – Dedicated Teachers in Pittsburgh Area

We just wrapped up the final leg of our teacher boot camp tour with workshops in Pittsburgh and New York. While everyone on the team is exhausted, the one thing that keeps the energy high is meeting other teachers who are truly making a difference. I met teachers in both cities who paid to come to boot camp on their own – no funding from their schools or the district. I asked the same question you’re probably asking, “Why did you do it?” One self-funded teacher in the Pittsburgh workshop described answered with this…

I’m a professional who believes that training is important. I think that teachers who isolate themselves to their classroom never grow. I really enjoy teaching science and I came to the workshop to find new ways to get my kids fired up. Once my Principal sees the results, she’ll support more and more. I know it.

It’s tough to believe that we work in a profession where our leaders don’t believe in or support professional staff development, but I can’t help but be inspired by her dedication to teaching and to her students.

I also met these two amazing teachers… Penny Hampshire and Kim Carpenter, teachers at Clawson B.E.S.T. Pre-K. I’ve learned over the years to pay particular attention to the teachers who sit in the front row at my workshops. They either don’t know any better (and they’re going to get soaked in flying soda) or they’re extremely enthusiastic. Penny and Kim were both! Here are two teachers that do more solid science with their Pre-K children than some kids get during their entire elementary school experience. I could go on and on, but just check out the Claswson website – Science Thursdays and enjoy watching master teachers at work.

As always, I invite teachers who attend my workshops to share their comments and take-aways on the blog. Any thoughts from Pittsburgh?

When the tie dyed lab coat comes out, it’s time for science

You’re in for a treat today, because I’m posting my very first podcast interview.

Listen in on my discussion with Julie Gintzler, kindergarten teacher extraordinaire and instructor at the Hands-on Science Boot Camp as she shares one of her secrets to teaching science.

Julie doesn’t do diagrams on the board or long dissertations. Her secret is her lab coat. After 18 years of teaching, Julie has finally found something that sparks the kids’ imagination right off. The first time she introduces a science experiment, she wears her tie dyed lab coat. From it she pulls out a gem of the day. It might be a test tube. It might be a magnifying glass. It’s a great way to introduce the tools in a fun and exciting way. The kids know the minute her lab coat goes on, science is just around the corner.

Most lab coats are white. One of my teachers in high school had one with burns all over it. Julie tried a plain white one and the kids were frightened. They thought “doctor”? or “nurse”?. So Julie’s is tie dyed from head to toe in primary colors.

Not only is it a cue that it is time to talk about science, but the children get excited about science. Get them excited when they are young and while their minds are open.

Listen to my podcast interview of science teacher superstar Julie Gintzler

(File size is 1.2 MB) (Show length 5 minutes)

What’s your secret? Is there something you use like Julie’s lab coat to let your students know that they’re in for something special? Click on the comment button to share your ideas.