Part of Teacher Enrichment Initiatives

Teacher Enrichment Initiatives (TEI) Published in the Journal of STEM Outreach!

Exciting news! The TEI staff and our wonderful support teachers have been published in the Journal of STEM Outreach. The paper is titled: “Engaging the Community through Science Nights: An Elementary School Case Study.” Abstract: Parental involvement increases K-12 student interest in STEM careers; however, when parents lack confidence in STEM content, or language and […]

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TEI Kicks Off its 2019 Summer of Science

Teacher Enrichment Initiatives (TEI) kicked off its 9th annual Summer Intensive (aka Summer of Science) on June 17th. The Summer of Science is host to the Teacher Enrichment Leadership Academy (TELA) leadership members. The TELA teacher leaders are selected through a rigorous application and interview process which allows the TEI staff to select the most qualified local educators to take part in the program. The TELA leadership also helps to facilitate yearly teacher professional development workshops, Science Nights, and the Annual Spring Conference. The Summer Intensive program allows the TELA leaders, with guidance from the TELA program director, Rosemary Riggs and TEI staff, to enhance TEI programs’ resources including but not limited to curriculum development and a wide variety of teacher professional development materials. Long story short, TEI has some of the most passionate educators in their TELA leadership!

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Speakers Series: Dr. Abigail Baird (The Teen Brain)

Dr. Abigail Baird

Parents and guardians know it is hard to watch your child be in a risky situation. Dr. Abigail Baird, who researches the brain and behavioral basis of adolescent development, gave an impassioned and humorous talk Tuesday, May 9th as part of the Mind Science Foundation Distinguished Speakers Series. In her talk, Dr. Baird explained that while it is difficult for parents to watch their kids struggle or even fail in attempting new skills, the struggle is instrumental for children to learn and ultimately succeed. This valuable lesson can also be applied in the classroom, as learned by the teachers who attended the Speaker Series event. Tickets for area teachers were generously donated to Teacher Enrichment Initiatives (TEI) by the Mind Science Foundation.

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Focus on the Now: The Benefits of Mindfulness in the Classroom

At some point, every school teacher has struggled to get a classroom full of rowdy students to settle down, calm their minds, and focus. Or has had to march a misbehaving student to the principal’s office. But is there an easier way to refocus a room full of students or a better alternative to sending a student to detention? There may be thanks to mindfulness meditation.

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7 Tips to Help Teachers Reduce Stress

We know that most teachers are overloaded with STAAR testing, grading, and other classroom related activities. So, we put together a go-to list of 7 helpful tips for reducing stress. Check them out below:

Quick Meditation
Meditation doesn’t have to take up long periods of time or require a special room. Just 2-5 minutes a day of deep breathing and closing your eyes can have a big impact on your stress level and health. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health.” So, on one your “breaks” or those 15 minutes you use to shove lunch in your face, try closing your classroom door, popping in some earplugs, and closing your eyes or perhaps use one of the many guided meditation apps now available on your smartphone.

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Speaker Series: Virtual Reality: Dawn of the New Everything

Jaron Lanier

On Tuesday, March 19th TELA teachers and guests attended the first installment of the 2019 Mind Science Foundation Speaker Series. Jaron Lanier, one of the fathers of Virtual Reality (VR), shared his experiences about the development of VR. He provided insight into the development of motion capture bodysuits, used in the ’80s and ’90s. These suits enabled coders to create avatars of all shapes and sizes that could then be input into VR worlds. Lanier shared the serendipitous discovery that allowed the scaling of avatars without losing the ability to interact with their environment. It is amazing the difference an incorrectly placed decimal can make when coding for an avatar! Lanier reminded us that some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs resulted from happy accidents.

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A Unique Way to get your Teaching Mojo Back!

Teaching Mojo

Ever feeling like it is the same old routine in your class or campus? Well, attending our TELA/VBTA supported Science Nights might be a way to get your teaching chops a shot in the arm.

Over the last year, I have attending and been a part of science nights at campuses all over the San Antonio area. It is a fresh aspect of what we do as teachers. We get stuck in a rut with our day in and day out routine at our own campus. But, going to these different campuses and seeing the excitement and wonder of the students that come by our booth is invigorating. I get to meet fellow teachers from that campus and a different set of students with such unique perspectives on science. There is a level of engagement that brings what we do to the greater community and you see firsthand parents and kids engaging together and it is in a positive light.

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Using Data to Track Student Progress in the Inclusive Classroom

It is no secret that teachers are pressured to consistently raise student test scores from year to year. Teachers may have previously identified students in their classroom that require special services, or specific accommodations in accordance with an individual education plan. In addition to these students, teachers may also have an at-risk student population that has been identified by past performance on standardized assessments. All of our special education students, at-risk students, and the remainder of the general education population in the classroom is held to the same accountability standards. Although teachers regularly formatively assess their students learning on a daily basis, there are special tools out there that allow for better documentation of student progress.

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EYE-ing ideas from our TEI web page when cooped in class during testing

It is an issue that comes up for some special education classes when your campus is locked down for testing and you need to keep your students engaged and quiet. Trying to find an activity that is engaging and relevant to my student was a little difficult. I had the opportunity to carry material from one of our science night activities that involved eye health. Using that as a stepping stone, I was able to create a short lesson that blossoms into a three-week activity for my special needs students.

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Seesaw: Not just a childhood memory!

If you’re like me, you are constantly trying to find new ways to use less paper in the classroom, and still be able to document student learning! I have accepted that technology advances every day and my students will forever be within arm’s length of a mobile device. I recently attended a session at our district’s Tech Camp and discovered Seesaw, and it can be used at any K-12 level.

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