Ingomar teacher chosen as fellow in New Science Teacher Academy
Students in the Life Science classes of Heath Gamache don't just learn in the classroom but all over the school property.
That enthusiasm is one reason Gamache, a seventh-grade teacher at Ingomar Middle School, was chosen as a fellow in the 2012-13 New Science Teacher Academy.
“I'm always looking for ways to make a real-world connection to some of the more theoretical-based content in our textbook,” said Gamache, 41, of McCandless.
A professional-development initiative by the National Science Teachers Association, each fellow receives a membership package, online mentoring and opportunities to participate in Web-based professional-development activities.
“It's something to apply in the classroom and helps evaluate your own teaching,” Gamache said.
In his five years at Ingomar Middle School, Gamache has established a school garden and compost pile. He also taps the maple trees on school property to make maple sugar and teach students how trees and plants change during the seasons.
Gamache even served vegetables from the school garden to parents during an open house a few years ago, Ingomar Middle School Principal Heidi Stark said.
“He (Gamache) keeps pushing us all in different ways and challenges everyone to think about authentic ways to learn science,” said Stark, of Bradford Woods.
Enthusiasm for teaching science is the biggest quality the NSTA looks for when choosing fellows, said Damaries Blondonville, assistant executive director of professional development the organization in Arlington, Va.
More than 700 applications nationwide were received for the 2012-13 academy, and only 251 teachers were chosen, Blondonville said.
“This is a really dynamic group,” Blondonville said. “Technology is becoming the norm for all levels of learning, so this group is more apt to engage with high-tech models of communication.”
Gamache previously worked for the Lutherlyn Environmental Education Program in Prospect, Butler County, for 10 years as assistant director of environmental education. Many students visit Lutherlyn on field trips, so Gamache worked with as many as 6,000 students each year. He said he then decided he wanted to teach students on a more long-term basis.
Since Gamache found out he was named a fellow, he has learned more about inquiry-based learning and the formative assessment of student knowledge in his web-based exploration groups.
“I think more about the structure of my day-to-day lessons and what activities are being included,” Gamache said, “and if what I'm doing in the classroom is more student-focused or student-led.”
Since the program started in 2007, academy participants have gone on to become mentors at their schools, but more than anything, the program helps build confidence, Blondonville said.
“You get an opportunity to grow with ... other teachers who are all at the same phase in their careers,” Blondonville said. “You get to talk about classroom issues with other teachers and really become a leader in science education.”
Melanie Donahoo is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Natural playground in Ross fits Montessori model of education
- Effort ignited to save landmark Wexford deli
- Storytelling festival planned for Winchester Thurston North Campus in Hampton
- Richland school bus driver accused of DUI