Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Physical Science: Session 1

Cindy Plunkett; Boxborough, MA

Cindy Plunkett

"My father was an elementary school biology teacher and a principal and my mother was a nursery school teacher, so I guess it was in the blood. And I’ve always loved children, so it’s a fun profession.”

School at a Glance:
Blanchard Memorial School,
Boxborough, MA

  • Grades: K-6
  • Enrollment: 630
  • Students per Teacher: 24
  • Ethnicity:
    • 82% White
    • 15% Asian
    • 3% Hispanic
    • 1% African American
  • Percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch: 2% versus a state average of 29%

Cindy Plunkett teaches first grade at the Blanchard Memorial School in Boxboro, Massachusetts. It is located in rural Middlesex County, about 30 miles west of Boston. Blanchard is a Title 1 school that identifies itself as a ”STARR Program School,” whose values are Support, Teamwork, Attitude, Responsibility and Respect.

Cindy remembers her early interest in science began as a result of growing up near a pond. “I’m naturally drawn to the outdoors and I enjoy hiking with my kids. We were identifying plants this week and observing their changes through the seasons. I guess that’s what keeps me interested in science.”

Cindy uses the National Science Resources Center “Science and Technology for Children” curriculum extensively. She particularly values the teacher’s guides, which she says, “pretty clearly spell out the concepts that I want to teach.” In addition, she says, “I study before I teach my lessons and use a number of different resources to gain my background knowledge — reference materials and the Internet — to find out more information.” Cindy also networks outside in the community, where she has taught for 20 years, inviting scientists and naturalists to come and speak to her students.

She says that she can’t over-emphasize the importance of taking into consideration children’s prior ideas: “I think that children come with a lot of background information. Helping them to sort it all out and listening as they construct and develop their knowledge about the world about around them is rewarding, and an important part of teaching science.

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