CIERA Congratulates Fe MacLean: A teacher who turns research into practice and practice into research
Fe MacLean is being honored with a National Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She is attending award ceremonies in Washington, D. C. where Congress and educators from around the country will acknowledge her success in teaching young children.
CIERA values the contributions of teachers like Fe MacLean who collaborate with researchers to strengthen the connection between research and classroom practice.
Fe MacLean teaches at Paddock Elementary in Milan, Michigan where she loops with first and second graders. She has been participating in the GIsML (Guided Inquiry Supporting Multiple Literacies) project for five years with CIERA researchers Annemarie Palincsar and Shirley Magnusson. The goal of GIsMI is to support the use of text in first hand scientific inquiry instruction in the early elementary grades. During this project, she has taught programs of study for motion, sound and light. These programs of study include using innovative notebook texts to enhance knowledge students explore during hands-on investigations. The notebook texts engage children with scientific concepts by using illustrations that are within their common experiences such as children sledding. In Fes classroom children read about three children who have two sleds. The children make predictions about who will get to the bottom of the hill first if one child is on one sled and two children are on the other. This text parallels a first hand investigation children have conducted with balls and ramps. Children connect what they have learned about mass and motion during their experiments with the balls and ramps to their predictions about the sledding problems in their notebook texts.
Fe is helping CIERA researchers discover how teachers can use text to support science learning, instead of depending solely on hands-on experiments. GIsML creates an instructional strategy that involves tacking between students experiences during first hand investigations and the ideas presented in the texts. This allows student thinking to remain at the forefront of the learning experience and helps them build strong conceptual models about science topics.
Fe is a National Board Certified Teacher. She earned this certification through rigorous evaluation of her teaching methods and intensive testing of her knowledge of educational methods and theory. Fé completed her teacher preparation in the Philippines followed by graduate work at the University of Hawaii and the University of Michigan.
Fe MacLean has been enlightening the hearts and minds of young children for over thirty years. In addition to her vast experience in elementary education, Fe also worked as a Language Instructor for the United States Peace Corps Volunteers in her native Philippines.
For more information about GIsML consult CIERA Technical Report 2-007: The Interplay of Firsthand and Text-Based Investigations in Science Education.