Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Physical Science: Session 8

Linda Block, Castro Valley, CA

Linda Block“I think that the process skills of making observations, asking questions, comparing things, coming up with hypotheses, designing experiments, reasoning from data and making generalizations, all need to happen in a context where the kids have real and rich content to work with.”

School at a Glance:
Independent Elementary School
Castro Valley, CA

  • Grades: K-5
  • Enrollment: 495
  • Students per Teacher: 23
  • Ethnicity:
    6% African American
    40% Asian
    5% Filipino
    7% Hispanic
    1% Native American
    2% Pacific Islander
    39% White
  • Percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch: 3% versus a state average of 56%

The Independent Elementary School is located in suburban Castro Valley Unified School District, about 30 miles east of San Francisco. It is an ethnically diverse school whose Academic Performance Index (API) rank has been 10 out of a possible 10 for the past three years.

Linda Block has been teaching for seventeen years, the past seven in Castro Valley and the first ten in the San Francisco Unified School District. She has taught second through eighth grades, but most of her teaching experience has been with fourth and fifth graders. For two years she left the classroom to become a teacher in residence at the Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry, where she worked with teachers in classrooms and provided professional development.

Linda describes her philosophy of teaching this way: “I try to teach, whether it's writing or science or art or history, in a way that allows my students to ask their own questions, find their own answers, and come to their own understandings. So I would say I teach in a more constructivist way, if I had to apply a label to it.”

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