Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Physical Science: Session 4

Rebecca Cituk, Portsmouth, RI

Rebecca Cituk

"My interest in science started with my love of the outdoors and when I began wondering why things work the way they do. I feel that also from my students. Every time we do science experiments, they keep asking why, you know, and they want to know why is the sky blue, for example. I feel like teaching is a learning experience for everyone involved, including the teacher. I want my students to realize that I’m still learning, too, that it doesn’t stop here. And for them, that’s how it will be, and that this is just a stepping stone to the next adventure that is coming for them."

School at a Glance:
Portsmouth Middle School
Portsmouth, RI

  • Grades: 5-8
  • Enrollment: 924
  • Students per Teacher: 14.4
  • Ethnicity:
    96% White
    2% Asian
    1% Hispanic
    2% African American
  • Percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch: 6% versus a state average of 38%

Rebecca has been teaching for seven years — the last four at the Portsmouth Middle School. She is currently enrolled in a master’s in science education program at the University of Rhode Island, and also participates in a summer program in the engineering department at Brown University called "Research Experience for Teachers," where she has developed modules that integrate math and science.

Portsmouth Middle School is divided into “learning centers,” each with about 70 students. Each learning center is in a square that’s divided by walls that can open and close. In Rebecca’s center, there are three classrooms and one open classroom. The students rotate from one class to the other and see different teachers throughout the day. According to Rebecca, “The whole concept behind it is that it gives the teachers an opportunity to work as a team… We can open up the walls and do something as a whole group, or we can close them up if we need to. Most of all, it allows us to give the students an environment where they feel safe to ask us questions, and where they feel comfortable.”

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