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A FOSS Success Story in Texas

Dee Mock
March 12, 2004 | FOSS in Schools

Top image: Dee Mock works with teachers during a Solids and Liquids workshop.

This article was developed through an e-mail sent to Verne Isbell, FOSS Sales Manager in Texas. The article highlights the important impact of well-planned and thoughtful professional development in the implementation of the FOSS curriculum.

Dear Verne,

TRSI (Texas Rural Systemic Initiative) is all about documentation so I thought you might like another success story for your records.

I became aware of FOSS three years ago when I was still a teacher partner with TRSI and I taught K–1. TRSI loaned me the FOSS Balance and Motion Module (which is an awesome module!) and I was "hooked" I persuaded my principal to order four modules for our campus. The other teachers on my campus slowly began to try them, and the excitement spread.

When I became a specialist for TRSI last year, FOSS was the first thing I looked for when I went into each district. Vickie Gearheart at Trinity Elementary had ordered almost ALL of the kits for her K–5 teachers! The modules were just sitting in the library. None of the teachers were even attempting to open them. Ms. Gearheart and I decided it would benefit their campus if I would come in and demonstrate one module per grade level.

Trinity is part of a STRANDS project which is very focused on environmental education, so we chose Insects, Structures of Life, and Environments. The first day I worked with first and second grade, the next day with thirdthrough fifth-grade teachers. The teachers were very reluctant at first, but by the end of the day they were excited! I think the snail races were the clincher for them. We had so much fun! (I had to sneak in some activities from Balance and Motion and Levers and Pulleys just because they are my favorites.)

On August 13 Vickie scheduled me to work with the kindergarten and firstgrade teachers again. They were thrilled to gain more experience with FOSS. We worked with Animals Two by Two and Solids and Liquids. They then prepared the Solids and Liquids kit for their use throughout the year. They also discussed how best to divide up the modules so grade one would experience three modules and grade two would experience the other three.

The teachers are so into science now because of FOSS and an administrator who was willing to support FOSS implementation. The teachers were asking when I would be back to work with them. Two of them even hugged me saying this was the best workshop they had been to in a long time. FOSS makes it easy to keep teachers interested. And if they are excited, their students will have better opportunities to learn.

Thanks for putting together excellent science modules for teachers and for allowing me to borrow the Measurement Module to share with other educators.

Dee Mock
Regional Specialist
Elementary Math and Science
Texas Rural Systemic Initiative