Aligning "Virtual Vacationland" with the Maine Learning Results: An example from Jim Skiff, Boothbay Region CSD

At every level educators see the need to qualify what they teach. What students will know as well as what students will do must now have a link to what actually happens in our society. Every field offers support in answering, "What is it we want students to know and do?" The creation of standards that consider both academics and the characteristics of the developing learner is the clearest path to reaching our objectives. Though scientists and educators speak different languages, communication between them is rapidly improving. These professionals working together are now increasing the learning potential and overall success of all students.

The Maine State Learning Results has forced educators to reshape the curriculum. Rapport between grade levels improved so that a broad range of knowledge and skills are developed over a K-12 continuum. For years educators did not consider that the nature of content and skills taught in the classroom should change as our world changes. It was people outside the field of educatio n who began identifying , "What smart people do." Private and government funds granted to scientific institutions germinated quality resources available to educators. Armed with a clear set of learning objectives (Maine State Learning Results), teachers may now utilize material available from the experts to satisfy curriculum goals.

The Boothbay Region CSD and Southport are gifted geographically. The Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and the Maine Department of Marine Resources are situated in the front yard. Annette deCharon, the Community Education Coordinator at Bigelow, has developed a web page available to educators and students which highlights the knowledge and skills associated with her scientific community. This is an interactive resource which satisfies portions of the Maine Learning Results for Science and Technology, Mathematics, Social Studies and English Language Arts. I have taken a section of Annettešs work and put it into the form of a Unit Plan or Design Template acknowledging where learning results and indicators have been achieved. I have chosen a middle level unit ( Grades 5-8 ), which utilizes the topics: "Maine Topography" & "Gulf of Maine Bathymetry."

Click here to see the "Unit Design Plan" for "Maine Topography" & "Gulf of Maine Bathymetry"