Woodrow Wilson News & Publications
WW NEWSLETTER EXTRA: Fall 2011
WW Teaching Fellows Receive Early Accolades
As the 2009 Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows wrapped up their first year of teaching this summer, three received local and national honors.
- David Johnson WWTF '09, a pre-algebra teacher at Lynhurst 7th and 8th Grade Center in Indianapolis, was selected for the weeklong Siemens STEM Academy, held in Washington, D.C. in early August. The institute admitted just 50 of the 4,000 middle- and high-school science teachers who applied to the program, which focused on bringing technology into math and science curricula.
"It was a whirlwind," Mr. Johnson says. "We were on the go from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. every day. And it was amazing how cutting-edge the information was." Among other activities, participants met with Carl Wieman, Nobel Laureate in Physics and White House science education advisor; got a behind-the-scenes tour at the Smithsonian Institution; visited Discovery Education's headquarters; and talked with Geoff Colvin, author of Talent Is Overrated, who argues that motivation matters more than innate ability. "That's empowering for students who have a preconceived idea about what they can accomplish, who feel like they can only reach a certain level," Mr. Johnson comments. "It really touched me; I could see my students in that approach, and how my mindset affects them."
Mr. Johnson was excited by the Academy's ongoing opportunities. "To go from being a mortgage broker and math tutor in 2009 to sitting there with individuals working on doctorates in educational technology and be able to make some valuable contributions, to bring some cultural awareness—the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and the University of Indianapolis prepared me for all that."
- The National Council for Geography Education chose Amanda Miracle WWTF '09, who teaches science at the Hammond Science and Technology Academy in Hammond, Indiana, as a co-presenter for its annual national conference. Ms. Miracle and staff from the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant program had jointly developed a project on aquatic invasive species, which was selected for presentation from among 40 submissions.
In the project, Ms. Miracle's ninth-grade classes conducted research on local aquatic invaders (such as zebra mussels), as well as on how to design interactive lessons, and then created educational stations for the seventh graders. Both grades created informative materials for local marinas to distribute, and also critiqued each other's work. The subject areas covered included environmental science as well as geography.
"The ninth graders were really excited," Ms. Miracle reports. "I saw them take a lot of ownership in their work that they hadn't taken before. They were excited to share what they know, and some of them learned how to use their time better. It was also good for the school community—there were actual friendships formed between the seventh and ninth graders."
Not only will the project be repeated this year, it will be expanded to include land-based invasive species, and the cross-grade approach will be used in other subjects. "It opened some doors here," says Ms. Miracle, who will present the project again at the national conference of the National Science Teachers Association in spring 2012.
- Hwa Tsu WWTF '09 was recognized as North Central High School's 2010-2011 First-Year Teacher of the Year. "I know there are so many things I could have done better, but it's nice to be recognized," says Mr. Tsu, who teaches physics at the Washington Township (IN) school.
Before entering teaching, Mr. Tsu did doctoral work in biomedical engineering at Purdue University. Interviewed for a July 2011 Education Week article on the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, Mr. Tsu reflected on his Fellowship: "The part that prepared me the most was just the actual experience of being in the classroom and being mentored by classroom teachers. I have seen how the classroom gets set up, how they deal with establishing culture, establishing expectations, rather than student-teaching, where I drop in for six weeks and then I drop out."
Photo: Courtesy of Discovery Education/Siemens STEM Academy.
Photo: D. Todd Moore/University of Indianapolis.
Photo: Courtesy of the University of Indianapolis.