Author Archives: Deb Porcarelli

Yosemite Learning

Deb Porcarelli at Yosemite FallsMy first visit to Yosemite National Park happened last weekend. I was absolutely wowed by the park as I marveled at the landscapes. Somewhat surprisingly, I also came away professionally inspired and energized. As I thought about the history of Yosemite, and the awesome natural environment I was in, I found myself making comparisons. I compared the environment of the park to that of being an educator. We enter education at a certain time in its history, and we work in an educational environment during just a short bit of its history.

Walking through giant sequoia trees was the catalyst for my realization. As I stared at their sheer size in wonder, Yosemite RedwoodI imagined who else had seen them during the hundreds of years they had been standing. What had those people thought when they stood where I had? Had they perceived nature and the snippet of time in history just as I had? Education, like nature, may not appear to change, but if we turn to the history of it, we find differently.

At AIMS, professional learning is about helping teachers help their students to better understand math and science. AIMS hands-on tasks and investigations are the vehicle through which we help teachers change their practice. We facilitate workshops for teachers so they may have better-engaged and active classrooms built around mathematics and science. Our mission is to help them improve their teaching quality and student learning outcomes. Our participants go back to their classrooms after we share time with them, take the reins in those classrooms, and lead the effort with their students with skill, sensitivity, and a clear sense of purpose.

It is the nature of education and the place in its history that we work on improving for today. My inspiration and energy was reset by national treasures. AIMS is working on helping educators change and improve their classroom practices. There is no better time than summer to ponder that, and how lucky was I to have those thoughts while walking in Yosemite National Park. I’m glad to be an inspired educator. I work in the profession today, and I work in its environment now to preserve it for the future. Future educators might just be in awe of what history we start today in education.


Three Days In New York

Do you think of summer as a time to grow and learn? Being an educator, I have always filled my summers with adult learning opportunities. Summer is my time to refresh and reboot and learn new and and exciting approaches to every new school year. This week I have the opportunity to be with three… Continue Reading

Science in Three Dimensions

One of my goals when I started teaching was to create an inquiry-based science classroom for my students. To do that I used hands on science activities through which students could develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists studied the natural world. Much of the time, I… Continue Reading

What Will You Read?

Children ran from school buses with shrieks of excitement and expectations of what the next two and a half months might bring, the telltale sign that school is out for the summer in my town. Teachers have left their classrooms for a well-deserved break. Over the next two and half months they will imagine, think… Continue Reading

Success is Collaboration

I just read a good article about teaching students to collaborate, and just last week I shared some thoughts about students and collaboration. For three decades or more we have been working on being better at teaching students to collaborate, as well as working to be better at it ourselves. Regardless of where we are… Continue Reading

Learning Together

I facilitated an AIMS math/science workshop last week in North Dakota. During the day, one of our participants realized that she needed to spend more time helping her students find ways to learn together, rather than in isolation. Midway through our morning she said, “I need to get better at being collaborative, and now I… Continue Reading