Teacher Preparation > Supporting Practicing Teachers > Browse Professional Development Programs > Time to Learn

A part of the SERC Teacher Professional Development Program Collection

Page prepared for SERC by Heather Rissler

Karen Havholm Time to Learn

Program Type:
Professional development workshop

Program Size:
25 In-service and Pre-service teachers

Karen Havholm

Dr. Karen Havholm
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Department of Geology
Phillips 157
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
Tel: 715-836-2945
Fax: 715-836-5627

University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire

Program Summary

Time to Learn is a professional development program that supports teachers in developing and implementing new curricular materials and teaching strategies. During the 3-week workshop, participants work on projects related to areas of their curriculum they would like to further develop. Participants develop and work on projects independently or in teams within a supportive network including assistance from scientists, science educators, and experienced in-service teachers.

What was the impetus for the program?

The program was developed to provide support to local teachers in developing and implementing new curricular content and teaching strategies in their classroom.

How is the program structured?

Solicitation for participation from area teachers begins in the spring and an informational meeting is held for perspective participants, followed by a meeting for selected participants at which the layout of the model for the 3-week summer workshop is discussed further.

Teachers, either elementary or secondary teachers, come to the workshop with ideas in mind about what piece of their curriculum they want to work on. During the first three days of the workshop, workshop leaders discuss science content and pedagogical techniques that are of relevance to participants' interests. Teachers develop a work plan, either independently or in teams, by the end of the 3-day intro. The remaining 3-weeks of the workshop are devoted to completion of the participants' projects. On the last 2 days, teachers present their results to the whole group.

Who is involved?

In order to fully support the diverse needs of participants workshops are led by faculty from multiple disciplines, including Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Physical Geography, Science Education, and English education. During the first week faculty provide extensive guidance for participants by discussing available resources, teaching activities and strategies, scientific techniques, field trip options, lab space, and instruction in content area of interest to participants. During the remainder of the workshop, a contact person among leaders is assigned to each teacher or group to provide content and technical support and to monitor progress.

Teachers develop their work plan by the end of the first 3 days and put in 60 hours over the next 3 weeks developing their project. They set their own goals, defining what they plan to achieve and developing their final product. Though they work independently, they are supported by a workshop leader. At the end of the workshop participants present their achievements. Teachers receive 2 continuing education credits for participation in the workshop.

How is the program evaluated?

After completing the workshop, teachers implement their projects in their classrooms in the fall and report back the following spring. Teachers build an assessment component into their projects and report data on whether students made learning gains following implementation of the new piece they added to their curriculum. Teachers receive a third credit for completing this component.

The effectiveness of the workshop is also evaluated by examining teacher and staff perceptions of learning gains using pre- and post-workshop surveys.

How is the program maintained and funded?

The Time to Learn workshops have been funded by grants from the ESEA program.

Hints for starting a program like this:

Karen Havholm (personal communication)

References and Notes:

Hollon, R. E., Olson, D., Eierman, R., Havholm, K. G., Hendrickson, J. E. 2002 Time to learn: A successful staff development model in K-12 science education. In Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Association for the Education of Teachers in Science