ICHIP Symposium Focuses on New Ways to Teach

Symposium Was All About "How We Teach, Not What We Teach"

Photos by Alyssa Moore & Rebecca Coffman, SCPS

More than seventy Shenandoah County Public School teachers and administrators participated in the school division’s first Instructional Challenge and Innovation Projects Symposium, which was held on June 17-18 at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School (Woodstock, VA).   


Approved by the Shenandoah County School Board last September,  the ICHIP Program provides funding for SCPS educators to try “emerging (new) and engaging”  teaching and learning methods that  have the potential to improve instruction and thus impact learning. ICHIP  projects have to also include skills considered essential for the 21st Century—skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.   

Dr. Raley,Superintendent of Schools,   described the Symposium as an “education lab” and said to teachers , “You are the inventors.”   The focus of the symposium, he emphasized, was on “how we teach” not “what we teach.”  

  Dr. Raley
Dr. Raley  (center) participated in the Symposium.  He observed presentations, talked to many teachers ,  tweeted pictures from the Symposium to SCPS, and let attendees know for sure that the "SOL is a test, not THE test."

Ebbie Linaburg

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​“We are here,” said Ebbie Linaburg (left), Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, “because education is changing.  Workplace, jobs and skill demands are changing.  We owe it to our students to prepare them for their changing future.”    
Ebbie Linaburg and Dave Hinegardner, Director of Middle and Secondary Education,  created  the ICHIP Symposium.

Dr. David Hinegardner
Dr. David Hinegardner, Director of Middle and Secondary Education, explained that the ICHIP program will help identify teaching strategies that are successful

The follow-up plan is to “share and promote” these teaching techniques throughout the County.    “Raw talent in our schools is huge,” Dr. Hinegarder stated.   “No one person can cause systems’ change, but ‘we are in this together.’ “

The Symposium included ten ICHIP Grant presentations.  Presentations came from elementary, middle, and secondary educators.   And, while some projects included the effective use of technology, others did not because as Shelby Kline, principal of North Fork Middle School, pointed out in her presentation, “Technology is not always available” for teachers and students to use.

Meredith Bauserman & Barbara Derflinger
Barbara Derfinger and Meredith Bauserman  presented “Flipped Out in Science.”   These Central High School teachers “flipped“  their chemistry classroom.   What had been class work-- taking notes on the teacher’s lecture-- became homework.   What had been homework--– solving practice problems-- became classwork.    Barbara and Meredith accomplished the “flip,” by videotaping their lectures for students to view at home prior to the class meeting.   The result was that class time previously devoted to teacher presentations was now free for students to work on labs and solve problems.  With the flip, teachers became available to help struggling students and to enrich the learning of those students who were ready to move ahead.

Chanda Greco
Chanda Greco, Instructional Technology and Resource Coach, presented “Imagination Station:  A Place Where Students’ Ideas Become Reality.”    Chanda is creating a Maker Space at Signal Knob Middle School where students will, of course,  “make things.”     The Maker Space already has a 3-D Printer,  Little Bit electronic kits,  art and craft supplies, Lego kits, and broken electronics for the “take apart" space.   The SKMS Maker Spacer will provide students opportunities to practice 21st Century skills including problem solving, collaboration, and creativity.

Valerie Fawley
Valerie Fawley, computer teacher at W.W. Robinson presented “Developing Critical Thinking through Computer Coding.”     Writing code is “about breaking down problems,” said Valerie.  While all of her students began learning aspects of programming, her third–fifth graders used a visual programming web site to create actual online programs for games, stories, dances, etc.   Next fall, WWR students will have Yana and Bo, programmable robots, to play with and learn from at school! 

Other presenters were
   Kathleen happ        Kathleen Happ
"Voice Recognition Technology for Students
with Disabilities”

The use of Voice Recognition software allows students to concentrate on what they are writing, not on spelling of words--software helps students say what they need to say.

Shelby Kline

Shelby Kline, Principal North Fork Middle School
"21st Century Skills for Teachers" 

NFMS teachers became students as Shelby modeled problem solving and project based learning  using the Marshmallow Project and the children's book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Teachers experienced flipped faculty meetings, screen cast o matic, and opened Twitter accounts.

 Joan Rempfer

Signal Knob Middle School
"Hook, Line, and Sinker"

Joan reeled in reluctant readers with her hands-on approach to the novel, My Side of the Mountain. Students whittled sticks, built campfires, caught a few fish, got muddy, and loved it!  And, they read the book and kept a journal.

 Kim Dorman

Kim Dorman
Ashby-Lee Elementary School
"Teaching Kindergarten with SIOP" 

This software helps English Language Learners learn English while learning content.  SIOP allows teachers to integrate CRISS and the 4 C's.  Kim shared  poignant story of disadvantaged Hispanic child  who used what he learned at Ashby-Lee to teach his parents English.  We never "realize full impact" of our teaching, she said
 Rebecca Cooper


Peter Muhlenberg Middle School
"Developing the Independent Musician"

 Rebecca Cooper and her choral students from Peter Muhlenberg Middle School demonstrated music literacy methods taught by Dr. Carol Krueger of Emporia State University, Kansas, in her course entitled "Developing the Independent Musician.".     

 Sara Voigt and Tara Brinkley

Sara Voigt and Tara Brinkley
North Fork Middle School
"A Cross-Curricular Approach to English and Science Equals Student Sucess"

During 2014-15, Tara and Sara will use the young adult book "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" to teach both English and Science. 

 Jennifer Burner and Teresa Martilik

 Jennifer Burner and Teresa Martilik
Central High School
"I Love Fitness"

Jennifer and Teresa used heart moniters with students to encourage fitness now and for a life-time. Studies have proven a direct relationship between physical activity and academic achievement.  The moniters will be fully implemented in 2014-15. 

Afternoon sessions focused on discussions about essential skills for the 21st Century, adaptations of methods/strategies to other classes, best ideas (including strategies, skills, goals, assessments) that could be taken away from the symposium, and implementation plans for these idea. 

All of the work from the ICHIP Symposium will be posted on the School Division’s website and forwarded to administrators.   The ideas and the strategies will influence the development of the Instructional Framework for the division.   


How long have you been teaching
Some presenters included activities for participants. 
Here the question was:  How many years  have you
been teaching?
     Karen Whetzel, SBO member  
Karen Whetzel (second from right), District 1 School Board member, listens to ICHIP presenter.     

 WWR/PMMS music students 
Rebecca Cooper's music students are becoming
"independent musicians."  They also helped her present the ICHIP program.


 Dr. Raley sent out multiple tweets about the event.
Dr. Raley Tweets photos from the Symposium.
What do we 
The BIG question is challenging to answer! 
 4 c's