LSI Will Host Nearly 300 Florida Teachers In Tallahassee For June Professional Developments
Tallahassee, FL – June is a busy month for the staff at the Learning Systems Institute (LSI) at Florida State University. The Institute's CPALMS team is leading two significant events in Tallahassee for Florida teachers with more than 280 educators in the capital city for Integrated Civics Professional Development workshops.
The Integrated Civics PD will take place over two weeks in June. The first took place June 5-10 and the second is scheduled for June 26-30. More than 120 Florida teachers were in Tallahassee to start the month and another 160 are expected to be in town for the second session. The workshops were planned and are being run by LSI staff working on the CPALMS project.
CPALMS is an online toolbox of information, vetted resources and interactive tools that helps educators effectively implement teaching standards. It is the State of Florida's official source for standards information and course descriptions. CPALMS was created at LSI and more than 250,000 educators have an active account, there have been more than 750,000,000 resource downloads from the site and there are more than 12,000 free lessons. CPALMS is one of the most used educational tools by Florida’s schools and districts.
"The PDs we are hosting were developed to help K-12 teachers in Florida learn how to integrate the new civics standards with other content areas like English Language Arts (ELA), math, science and coding," said LSI's Carrie Meyers. “They are structured to increase the educator’s own civics content knowledge and to take that knowledge and write curriculum to be shared freely on CPALMS.org for all of Florida’s amazing public-school teachers.”
An essential part of the PD is having the teachers in Tallahassee to take part in immersive experiences. During the first session, participants visited the Florida Supreme Court, the historic Capitol building, the Florida House of Representatives and the Senate. The teachers also took a walking tour of Cascades Park and Wakulla Springs to learn about water management and civic duty.
"Providing teachers with immersive experiences to increase their civics content knowledge is an important part of why we wanted to host these PDs in Tallahassee," said Meyers. "Tallahassee is the State's capital, so what better location to immerse teachers in civics and government than in the Capital City."
"I felt really empowered as an educator to get to see these beautiful, natural areas," said Shanna Lillis, a teacher from North Palm Beach. "We went to Wakulla Springs and learned about conservation efforts. It was really empowering that I could combine civics and coding in my lessons and address environmental conservation issues."
The teachers stayed in the heart of the city, just minutes from Cascades Park and the Capitol building. On top of receiving instruction and focusing on curriculum writing that will be utilized throughout the state's educational system, the educators had a chance to explore Tallahassee.
"Teachers from across the state noted how beautiful the Capital City is, from the beautiful parks like Cascades to the governmental building architecture," added Meyers. "They realized our city's unique educational experiences with the many museums. Teachers spent the week here visiting many local restaurants and shops, noting how special the area is.
The Integrated Civics PDs provided a unique way for Florida's teachers to acquire first-hand knowledge of civics and government. Increasing teacher content knowledge is critical to creating engaging curriculum and providing life-long learning to teachers is essential. The excursions were meant to inspire teachers to see how they could connect their own content areas to civics for the lessons they would be creating.
"Overall, the experience was wonderful," said St. Augustine teacher Adam Bagby. "The training is exceptional. The integration and the technology use are phenomenal. The help provided is wonderful."
"Seeing hundreds of teachers in one location, all ready to grow professionally and want to write and share ideas with other colleagues, was a highlight," said Meyers recapping the first PD. "Watching the teachers immerse themselves in the experiences like students absorbing information in a class was special. Each room was filled with learning from writing ELA and civics units based on K-12 books to other teachers learning to code for the first time so they could teach their students later how we can merge coding and civics was wonderful to observe."
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