Many teachers will be ready to move onto the advanced workshops after completing the
basic ones. As you plan consider the following:
• Start with the first workshop, “Creating a Culture of Inquiry About Building Structures,”
which includes an individual needs assessment that will help you better understand how
the teachers perceive their needs and interests.
• Plan a sequence of workshops that best reflects the needs and interests identified by them
• Allow time in between workshops (at least one month) for teachers to implement the
• Use mentoring or guided discussions to support teachers’ efforts in between the workshops.
Stage 3: Provide Ongoing Support
as Teachers Refine Their Practice
If you have not used guided discussions and mentoring before completing the basic and
advanced workshops, now is the time. Regular opportunities to talk about science teaching and
learning will be key to sustaining and building on the gains you have made. Guided discussions
provide a vehicle for encouraging documentation and analysis of the teaching and learning
going on in your program. At the same time, you will be encouraging teacher collaboration and
providing a vehicle for analysis and refining science teaching. Mentoring is also an important
way to help teachers progress by addressing their interests and concerns directly in relation to
their classroom. Use the chapters on guided discussion and mentoring to plan this stage of your
professional development program.
The time you spend preparing will contribute to the success of your professional development
events. Here we describe the special things you can do to prepare for the workshops. Follow
these steps as you get ready:
1. Become familiar with the teacher’s and trainer’s guides.
2. Find a location for the workshops.
3. Prepare to be an instructor.
Step 1: Become Familiar with the
Teacher’s and Trainer’s Guides
A clear understanding of the curriculum and its science content will be essential if you are to
help others understand this approach to teaching and learning. Carefully read the teacher’s
guide, familiarizing yourself with its approach and structure. Consider what aspects of this ap-
proach will be familiar to teachers and which ones will be new. Identify the parts of the guide
that will be particularly helpful to teachers. Reading the guide more than once will help you
build your own understanding of this teaching method and the various ways the guide supports
Next, familiarize yourself with these professional development materials. Quickly reading
the whole package will give you the big picture—an overview of the structure and content of
the instructions and the supporting materials. In a more focused read, examine each aspect of
the instructional approach and anticipate how teachers might respond.
6 Building Structures with Young Children: Trainer’s Guide