Pronounced properly, MAEOE sounds like "mayo." MAEOE is the Maryland organization that grants schools with their "green" status. The conference theme this year is "Fulfilling Environmental Education's Promise: Authentic Learning and Real World Impact." MAEOE has a whole weekend filled with sessions integrating all sorts of eco-issues with other curricular content and the great outdoors.
Day One has been a full day so far, with 2 half-day sessions for me. Figuring that this is just two offerings out of a sea of many, a lot of neat things were happening, and the MAEOE joint was jumping!
Session one for me was "Engaging Youth in Ecology Through Arts and Nature." It was led by Desiree Shelley, the environmental educator from Baltimore's Parks and People Foundation. This foundation creates curriculum for after school programs for Baltimore City youngsters. Given it's after school, activities need to be very hands-on. What better way to do that than getting the kids outside or incorporating art and creative expression. It was a full morning, with a lot of take-aways (including make-and-take aways) as we learned about:
- And much more!
Kim Dixon of the Baltimore Zoo led my 2nd session entitled "Using Inquiry to Explore Nature." She gave us a brief description on how inquiry-based learning has a different dynamic than the more linear scientific method with it's ebb, flow, and "I wonder" approach, being more student-inspired and student-driven. Then Kim went on with a fun exposure to guided inquiry.
Ours: Do the sand ripples from the wind change as you get closer to the water? With a close measure using the uber-scientific "ripple to ruler" ratio, we discovered that... WAIT! I could tell you the answer, but that would counter the purpose of actual inquiry! This is the part of the program where I urge you to make your own hypothesis and investigation, and find your own beach to answer your own wondering!
Getting us out there, encountering not only what inquiry is but how it feels, is always good for us teachers (even those of us who sometimes might want to just sit in the back and just take notes--especially right after lunch!) And, it's the point of the MAEOE and the "Green" School movement: no child left inside. Clearly, that applies to teachers too!!
Snapshots from my camera; MAEOE logo from www.maeoe2012.wikispaces.com