Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Earth & Space Science: Session 2

Laurie Wicks; Middletown, DE

Laurie Wicks"Children are natural scientists, and they ask a lot of great questions. They’re not intimidated. I think as we grow older, we become intimidated, and we’re afraid what people will think of us if we ask certain questions, or if we give certain answers. Children are not afraid of that.”


School at a Glance:
Silver Lake Elementary School

  • Location: Middletown, Delaware
  • Grades: K-4
  • Enrollment: 735
  • Students per Teacher: 16
  • Ethnicity:
    80% White
    16% African American
    4% Hispanic
  • Percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch:
    18% versus a state average of 40%

In college, Laurie Wicks abandoned her pursuit of a degree in elementary education for one in business economics, which is how she started her first career at one of the major banks in Wilmington, Delaware working with, as she puts it, “adults.” “Even when I was majoring in economics, I took all my electives in education — there was just a love there,” explains Wicks. And so, while engaged in her “second career” — staying at home with her children for a few years — she worked to become certified for her third. Laurie is now in her eighth year in the classroom, and fifth year teaching third grade.

Laurie shares two homerooms with a partner, and the two of them have developed what she calls a theme-based instruction program. The two select a theme, and then center all math, science, English, and social studies instruction around it. “We’ve invented the particular schedule and method,” explains Laurie, “and as far we know, there ’s nobody across the country doing exactly what we do.”

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