Outliers: Students in ACTION Newsletter
Nov ember 2017

Outliers: Students in ACTION  is a monthly publication during the academic year highlighting students and events in the Science and Math Education in ACTION Choose Ohio First grant program at BGSU. 
Reflections from the ACTION Director
by Dr. Daniel Brahier
In October, I attended the annual conference of the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics (OCTM) in Columbus.  I co-presented a session entitled "When Are We Ever Going to Have to Use This?" with seven ACTION juniors reflecting on their second-year practicum internship experiences.  Several other current ACTION scholars and alumni also presented sessions on everything from fractal geometry to the results of their classroom research projects conducted in the senior year. At the conclusion of our presentation, a teacher approached me 
Dr. Brahier poses with the group of juniors after they present
and said, "I hope they realize that they just had their first job interviews." She proceeded to introduce me to a high school principal who had come to the conference specifically to identify potential mathematics teachers for his school, as he needs to hire two new teachers and will begin interviewing in February.  Of course, he was disappointed to find out that none of my co-presenters will be graduated in time to fill his positions for next year but congratulated them on their professional and engaging presentations.  He also asked me if I have any other ACTION scholars that will be graduating in May because (paraphrasing) "these are exactly the kinds of students I look to hire - their confidence level and poise are exceptional."  If any of our presenters had been seniors, he would have been inclined to hire them on the spot.
 
The story of the OCTM conference is more common than most people realize.  Every spring, I receive phone calls and emails from administrators who are familiar with ACTION to ask if we have graduates available.  Principals who have hired ACTION alumni frequently seek additional teachers from the program because of the successes of our graduates, and that is why we now have several schools in Ohio with multiple ACTION alumni teaching in them.  The differences are striking, and we continue to provide experiences and opportunities for our scholars that exceed any that they would receive at other institutions in Ohio and around the country.
 
At the ACTION website, we have added several short interviews to spotlight the impact the program is having on a variety of audiences.  If you go to  bgsu.edu/action and select the "Testimonial Videos" link from the menu, you will find five interviews, including discussions with a current student, one of our alumni who is teaching in the field, a principal who has hired two of our graduates, a university professor, and the director. Take a few minutes to watch what these individuals have to say, and I think you will agree that the impact of ACTION has been - and continues to be - very significant.  We are currently accepting applications for Cohort 10 for Fall 2018 and look forward to new adventures in the program.

Practicum Experiences
More than  half of the second-year Cohort 8 scholars have either finished or are nearing the conclusion of their practicum project. The practicum experience requires completion of multiple components while engaging in a hands-on science and/or mathematics project for a business or agency submitting the 
Marco Solis & Nicole Wainscott receive instruction from their practicum supervisor prior to testing soil
project results to a supervisor. Halfway through the project, scholars attend a Mid-Project Checkpoint meeting with Wendy, the ACTION Program Manager, to discuss how things are going, what they ar e learning and how this experience may benefit them as a future teacher.
 
Upon completion of the practicum, scholars present to their peers to enable others to benefit and learn from their experience. Lastly, a final refection paper is submitted which provides the opportunity for scholars to reflect upon the
Ally Rudolph presents details of her practicum
so others in ACTION can benefit from her project
experience while evaluating and expanding on what they have gleaned. S ome of the things ACTION scholars have learned from the practicum that will serve them as 
teachers include: time management skills, flexibility, problem solving, real world application of science and/or mathematics, communication skills, attention to detail, and experience with Excel and/or Google Sheets. 

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Fall Seminar
Each ACTION Seminar is unique in format and content, and the recent Fall Seminar on October 17 was no exception with three different breakout sessions offered.  After announcements and a group photo of all 115 current scholars, students could choose their topic of interest.
We love having the room packed with ACTION scholars

One breakout session was facilitated by two ACTION alumni, Larissa Van der Molen (Cohort 3) and Kayla Fackler Burg (Cohort 2). They shared their experiences with the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA) program and explained the process and requirements for teachers in  their first three years after graduation.
Larissa & Kayla give advice to  scholars about assessment requirements after graduation

In addition, Dr. Debra Gallagher, faculty member at BGSU, led a session to share the purposes and format of the edTPA which is an assessment conducted during student teaching for all BGSU students. ACTION graduates Molly Conroy (Cohort 4) and Cory Fischer (Cohort 5) assisted by sharing their experience and offered advice on how to approach the edTPA requirements.

"Start the Conversation" was the third session offered. This was a collaboration by the Counseling Center and the Humanities Troupe focusing on how to communicate effectively with others to contribute to a caring community, how to identify the warnin g signs of people who may be struggling, and how to help other people (including suicide prevention strategies).

The ACTION staff team appreciates our amazing alumni who assisted - Molly, Larissa, Kayla and Cory