Meet the Fellows

Terry Messmer

How can I, as an eighth grade teacher, solve the problem of disengagement of Hispanic boys, and find a way to attain successful and meaningful learning by all members of our student community?

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My Capstone Project was to create and implement, with the 8th grade Language Arts teacher, a project that fit in with the Napa Reads book of 2015-2016, The Circuit, by Francisco Jimenez. We followed the model of Challenge Based Learning, which was developed by Apple and chose our topic to be Immigration. We broke our 90+ students into teams per History class and had them choose topics for research related to Immigration and ones which could be applied to making change of some kind within our community, state, country, or world. The students did an fantastic job.

The problem I sought to solve was the one of non-engagement by so many of our students, especially Latino males. The results were great. Students love the opportunity to work in situations in which they have some control over the process and the outcome. Even students, who started the two month project being very low energy, were participating in and expressing regret that they did not work harder to make their project excellent from the beginning.

Current School You Work At: RLS Middle School
Teaches: 8th grade Social Studies
Email: tmessmer74@gmail.com

Therese Messmer

Relevant Teaching Through Challenge-Based Learning

Abigail Gongora

How can we actively engage students in the assessment process and use that data to inform lesson and assessment design?

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Students should be able to demonstrate mastery in a way that makes sense to them. For this to become a reality there needs to be a shift in the way teachers teach and students learn.

Current School You Work At: Browns Valley Elementary School
Teaches: Professional Development
Email: mrsgongora@gmail.com

Therese Messmer

Voice and Choice in Assessment

Andrea Harris

Can PBL impact student engagement among African American and Latino Middle School males?

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Do you have underrepresented students who are disengaged? How do you get them excited about learning in the classroom? Join us as we embark on “Engaging Minds with Tech Infused PBL”.

Current School You Work At: American Canyon Middle School
Teaches: 6th grade Mathematics
Email: andrea.harris97@gmail.com

Therese Messmer

Impacting the World with Tech Infused PBL

Kimberly Hughes

Can social media be used to support students to write in a foreign language while simultaneously keeping student engagement high and providing opportunities to develop 21st century technology skills?

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Foreign language teachers are constantly trying to figure out new and creative ways to encourage students to produce the target language orally and in writing. The question of, how can technology aid teachers in eliciting student language production, drove the design of this study. More specifically, how can the social media site, Twitter, improve student learning and serve as a platform for students to demonstrate target language knowledge?

In any language, we have a desire to be social and communicate with others which in part requires some sort of output or language production. The challenge for a TPRS teacher is that of, encouraging more student output despite the CI requirement which asks the teacher to provide comprehensible input from themselves, while also helping students gain 21st century technology skills. With a teaching style that could be considered traditional, how can technology be effectively incorporated into classroom practices so students produce Spanish output while practicing 21st century skills?

Current School You Work At: St. Helena High School
Teaches: 9th-11th grade Spanish
Email: kim.b.hughes@gmail.com

Therese Messmer

Social Media in the Foreign Language Classroom

Debra Carnes

Debra-Carnes (2)

The purpose of this project was to create a guide for how to set up a mastery-driven, differentiated classroom through the use of technology.

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The guide, a website, discusses in great detail how to begin setting up a yearly plan, grading, and a workflow of how students will progress through various activities to achieve greater depth of mathematical understanding while developing self-directed, confident learners.

Current School You Work At: RLS Middle School
Teaches: 8th grade Mathematics
Email: dcarnesrls@gmail.com

Debra-Carnes-Presentation

Leveraging Technology for Teaching Common Core Math in a 1:1 Environment

Amye Billings Scott

To encourage and promote teacher-to-teacher leadership, a new network– Transformative Teacher Leadership Network (TTLN)– was established with the support of the Napa County Office of Education.

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The goal of teacher leadership is to create and sustain highly functioning PLCs which allow all members to learn continuously from one another. Through skilled facilitation and understanding of group development, teacher leaders engage professionally in deeply reflective practice with student learning at the center. These same skills reflect the shift in pedagogy required for performance in highly collaborative environments like a Project-Based Learning (PBL). Network teachers are models of strong facilitation both in and out of their classrooms.

Current School You Work At: NVUSD Instructional Coach
Teaches: K-6th, multiple subjects
Email: ascott@nvusd.org

Transformative Teacher Leadership

Bobby Ruth

This Masters Project focused on the normalization of testing opportunities in the classroom environment. More specifically, using a Project Based Learning unit in a Read 180 structure to address factors that are overlooked before and during testing situations.

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Research was conducted in the areas of Constructivism, Cognitive development and Conditioning. Teaching strategies around differentiated instruction and covering the issues of anxiety, External Locus of Control, and the student-classroom relationship were also examined. The findings conclude that intentional use of teaching minutes can reduce anxiety thereby raising test scores for many students.

Current School You Work At: American Canyon Middle School
Teaches: 6th grade ELA (Read 180)
Email: rruth@nvusd.k12.ca.us

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Normalization of Assessment Opportunities in the Classroom Setting

 

Kendal Shomura

Transitioning into a PBL model required a significantly more structured group work model. Although students were working in groups, they were still being assessed individually.

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I kept running into the same issue of how to assess student’s individually from a group produced project. Along with that need came the need for increased student accountability. I developed my Task Log as an attempt to quantify group work and make it transparent to group members and the instructor. Through the Masters program I refined the tool and found ways to make it more effective for teachers in all different subjects.

Current School You Work At: American Canyon Middle School
Teaches: Academic Specialist
Email: kshomura@nvusd.org

Using a Professional Development Website to Introduce Group Management Tools and Increase Accountability Through Formative Assessments

Samara Abrams

The focus of my research was to determine the effectiveness of the Khan Academy with students who lacked basic math skills in a public middle school Special Education classroom.

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Current School You Work At: Harvest Middle School
Teaches: 7/8: Read 180 and co-teach 8th grade social studies, math, science and language arts
Email: sabrams@nvusd.org

Pam Rubel

The focus of my Master’s Research was vocabulary development for English Language Learner Students. I wanted to know if students would participate more if their vocabulary included knowledge of more verbs.

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Technology provided a new avenue for instruction. I used technology to curate video and curriculum resources. Students used technology to construct models and produce multi-media presentations for the target vocabulary. The results were inconclusive on the point of rates of participation, but there was a clear indicator of improvement in the quality of responses. That is to say, students didn’t participate more often, but when they did, their answers were more sophisticated. Since my research indicated a direct relationship between vocabulary knowledge and school success, I continue to experiment with vocabulary instruction using technology and student constructed models in a vocabulary rich environment. My purpose is simple, to engage my students in vocabulary activities that give them their best opportunity to succeed in school.

Current School You Work At: Calistoga Elementary School
Teaches: Kindergarten
Email: prubel@calistoga.k12.ca.us

Why Should We Use Technology to Teach Vocabulary?

Kirsten Gerhardt

The twenty-first century brings many changes to education and the world. The demands of our future students in the workplace will require students to think critically, collaborate with others, communicate their thoughts and ideas, and solve problems creatively.

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The role of teacher and student are changing. Students are now expected to pay an active part in their own learning. “Work, learning, and citizenship in the twenty-first century demand that we all know how to think-to reason, analyze, weigh evidence, problem-solve-and to communicate effectively” (Wagner 2008).

Traditional lecture and paper and pencil work does not lend itself to problem solving and critical thinking or communicating. Students need opportunities to discuss problems, share strategies, and work together to solve real world problems. My moral imperative is to make sure that ALL students have access to high quality critical thinking questioning, collaborative experiences, and communication and creativity opportunities in the mathematics classroom. Teachers need to see and hear what this looks like in a real math classroom!

Teachers need to have opportunities, beyond school related PD, to access this information. We need to make this learning easy to access and relevant to what teachers are expected to do. I have struggled for hours looking through multiple websites for the information I need, or a quality relevant video that I can share with others. I want to have high quality math resources at teachers’ fingertips! They don’t have time to do the research! If we are going to move people in the 21st century direction, then we need to support them as much as possible through this change.

What better way that to “observe” real classrooms where this is already happening? We need to give teachers an idea of what it looks like and sounds like in a 21st century mathematics classroom! My capstone project brings all of these resources together in one place, so that teachers have access to quality instructional materials and videos to implement 21st century teaching and learning.

Current School You Work At: Phillips Elementary and Alta Heights Elementary School
Teaches: Teacher Coach and Assistant Principal
Email: Kgergardt@nvusd.org

Engagement in the 21st Century Mathematics Classroom

Laura Bell

My research centered around teaching 21st century learners using 21st century tools.

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My Focus for my masters was researching into classroom strategies and activities that help the 21st century learner engage in the classroom. For my project, I created a weebly site, which I learned how to create during my master program in one of the required class, and put together a tool kit

Current School You Work At: American Canyon High School
Teaches: 10th grade World History (Humanities), 12th grade Government/Economics
Email: Laura_Madison@comcast.net

Teaching 21st Century Learners Using 21st Century Tools

Dana Cope

How can we set all teachers up for success to learn new technologies and become facilitators of 21st century learning?

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The purpose of this project was to improve the existing program by creating a web site designed to provide project based learning resources and models that are based upon innovative best practices and technological applications. Every student and teacher that has a need for scaffolded Project Based Learning opportunities can access this resource through the power of sharing!

Current School You Work At: NVUSD Ed Center
Teaches: K-12
Email: dcope@nvusd.org

The ALPS Project Zone

Kevin Cope

I have been on a quest to transform my student learning environment into a 21st Century Classroom.

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My goal was to transform my AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) class into a project based learning environment so that it would be more relevant to the 21st century learner. The goal was to use AVID strategies infused with technology to enhance the lesson and engage the learner. I found through my master’s project that many computer applications work extremely well with specific AVID strategies.

Current School You Work At: Silverado Middle School
Teaches: 8th grade Social Studies and AVID
Email: kcope@nvusd.k12.ca.us

A 21st Century Classroom Cowboy

Brenda Collins

Teachers want to do whatever it takes to provide the best education for their students possible. They know that change can be difficult, but exciting.

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Teachers in NVUSD are hopeful for the changes to come, but they also know they need support for successful change. One of the wonderful tools available to 21st century teachers and learners is social media. This medium is making its way into modern education through the development of professional learning communities (PLC), called professional learning networks (PLN). Making sure that teachers know the power of being connected to a PLN and using it to their own and their student’s advantage is not only exciting but necessary for successful integration into today’s world outside the classroom walls.

Current School: American Canyon High School
Teaches: 6th grade Mathematics and Science
Email: bcollins@nvusd.org

Creating a Community of 21st Century Teacher Learners: Social Networking for Middle School Teachers of PBL

Ron Eick

This study was conducted to see the effects of blogs in the math classroom. Would the use of blogs improve procedural math or simply math reasoning.

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Are there other implications to the use of blogs? A convenience sample of approximately 72 students was drawn from the researcher’s teaching load. The sample was further divided into two classes of high school level Algebra 2.One class used blogging for 30 days and one class did not; thus serving as a control group. Each week an assessment consisting of 8 skill-related math problems and 2 word problems were given to the students. It was found that blogs do have a positive effect on both procedural math and reasoning math. The experimental group, showed an increase of 56 % in test scores while reasoning was shown to increase on average from 2 out of 4 to 3 out of 4. The control group also showed an increase in procedural math but at a much lower level (20 %). Their reasoning scores increased by the same amount. For further research, a new study should be done of a longer duration, possibly an entire semester.

Current School: American Canyon High School
Teaches: Mathematics
Email: reick@nvusd.org

Can blogs improve students’ ability to reason mathematically?