PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN ACTION
Tamar McPherson, Math, CS and STEAM teacher at Plum Borough HS is actively engaged in ABC CREATE professional development. Tamar has shared a wealth of computer science and STEAM expertise as a regular presenter at the ABC CREATE STEAM Showcases. In 2019, Tamar shared how her STEAM Studio and Biology students collaborated to design a hydroponics system for the Life Skills students to grow healthy tomatoes and other vegetables for their teaching kitchen. At the 2018 STEAM Showcase, Tamar showed teachers how their students can use VR and CoSpace Edu to create museum-like showcases to display their work or create completely interactive environments with simple drag and drop coding. In 2017, Tamar taught teachers how to transform math using programs like Python, Bootstrap and Code.org.
Tamar is an ABC CREATE ambassador for Plum Borough School District, a member of the ABC CREATE learning pathways cohort, and a recipient of the 2020 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) Educator Award. Tamar also collaborated across districts to co-author the Solving Math Equations with Python learning pathway with Fox Chapel teacher, Stephanie Reilly.
"ABC CREATE recognizes the expertise and experience of its educators across all 14 participating school districts. Teachers are often called upon to provide advice on upcoming training sessions, opinions on technology acquisitions, and assistance with professional development and training.
Several more active ABC CREATE educators have even become part of a design team, working collaboratively with ABC CREATE to plan, develop and facilitate its annual Summer STEAM Retreats. These ‘thought leaders’ offer not only teaching knowledge and expertise but also invaluable insight from a teachers’ perspective. They’ve helped to build a model of what authentic and relevant professional development should look like.
ABC CREATE is a team of educators and angels who are ready to lend a helping hand to teachers to revise their teaching strategies during remote teaching. "
-- Maria Socorro Chona L Maderal, Jersey City HS Teacher in reference to the ABC CREATE Teachers' Summer (Virtual) STEAM Retreat 2020.
ABC CREATE STEAM SHOWCASES
ABC CREATE TEACHER SUMMER STEAM CAMPS
ABC CREATE COMMUNITY QUOTES
“This was the best, most authentic online retreat I've been to. No one has topped the organizers of the ABC CREATE retreat for authenticity, and for centering the entire experience on teachers' needs and reflections. Bravo to the entire team! ”
CEO and Co-Owner of CodeJoy LLC
2020 SUMMER STEAM TEACHERS' VIRTUAL RETREAT
ABC CREATE TRAININGS AND WORKSHOPS
Each summer, ABC CREATE educators co-design our Teachers’ Summer STEAM Camp. During this multi-day professional development, attending teachers share relevant and engaging STEAM integration ideas, explore hands-on lessons and resources, and connect with their peers. With support from collaborative partners like the Consortium for Public Education and Better Questions, educators have real conversations about their current teaching experiences and look forward to what the future of education may hold.
In 2021, our ABC CREATE teachers’ summer camp experience focused on supporting teachers as they reflected upon their experiences teaching through the challenges of the past year+, as they refreshed understandings of the changes in work, education, and society, and as they designed pathways for STEAM integration and the teaching of future ready skills.
Click HERE to learn more about our past summer STEAM camps.
ABC CREATE EQUITY INITIATIVES
ABC CREATE FALL CONVENINGS
ABC CREATE aims to center equitable access in all its professional development and continues to work with thought partners and regional resources to guide ongoing exploration and learning of various forms of equitable access ranging from economic, gender, and racial disparities.
With support from Bortz Consulting and Erika Gold Kestenberg, a dozen white teachers and administrators came together to form a racial equity learning group. Focusing on discussing White Fragility by Robin Diangelo and on applying learnings to their school contexts, educators developed action plans including steps such as auditing the curriculum, initiating conversations that “break the silence,” and hosting similar book studies for staff and families.
Throughout the school year, ABC CREATE invites educators to both in-person and virtual trainings and workshops. Educational partners, such as BirdBrain Technologies and CodeJoy, teach educators how to integrate STEAM into their classroom instruction using Hummingbird Kits, Finch Robots and Micro:bits.
In 2020, ABC CREATE helped teachers improve virtual learning by offering workshops on teaching hands-on learning in virtual/hybrid learning environments, teaching with Hummingbird robots in the virtual/hybrid learning age and using the split screen, share screen, and seamless video integration features of OBS Studio to improve their virtual/hybrid teaching.
ABC CREATE helps teachers re-imagine their classrooms, revitalize their teaching practice and reconnect with their peers through a host of professional development experiences.
ABC CREATE hosts professional development events to bring educators together with their peers in education, the workforce, and the community to collectively examine shifting paradigms in education, the workplace, and society. Educators, then, re-imagine approaches to teaching and learning, reboot mindsets, and gain new skills that foster classroom environments rich with opportunities for meaningful, joyful learning aligning curricular elements with the development of future-ready skills.
Each spring, ABC CREATE educators and other educational partners convene to share the STEAM activities and relevant pedagogy they've successfully implemented during the school year at the ABC CREATE STEAM Showcase.
In 2021, the ABC CREATE STEAM Showcase took the form of a Show & Tell – converted to online in an extended series of casual STEAM sessions led by teachers and/or our education partners. Sharing tech tools and pedagogical approaches that helped them to resolve challenges that arose while teaching through a global pandemic, educators were inspired and re-invigorated.
Learn more about each session at our ABC CREATE STEAM Showcase 2021 Show & Tell webpage or view recordings of all Show & Tell sessions HERE.
Every fall, ABC CREATE draws educators together along with supportive partners for full day work sessions designed to address issues pertinent to the implementation of ABC CREATE’s mission.
In 2021, ABC CREATE educators focused on advancing two key areas of STEAM integration: computational thinking at the elementary level and shaping the future for K-12 education at the Digital Foundry at New Kensington for middle and high school educators and students. Dr. Tom Lauwers, co-founder and CEO of BirdBrain Technologies, led and participated in the elementary work sessions creating a vision for practicing computational thinking in elementary classrooms.
Middle and high school educators worked with Sherri McCleary, Executive Director and Steve Leonard, Operations and Program Manager of the Digital Foundry at New Kensington to learn about current and upcoming opportunities and to prioritize potential offerings for teacher professional development and student field trips to the Digital Foundry.