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Kaleidoscope Past Issues

Welcome to the Fall 2016/Winter 2017 Issue of Kaleidoscope

I took a class to develop strategies to better teach literacy in my science classes.

paper plate containing many colored post-it-notes

Over the course of a year, I engaged in strengths-based observations of my colleagues.

The great teacher myth cover photo

It’s a simple question that started from a place of exhaustion: “What is good teaching?”

Experiencing a shooting at my school changed the way I view fellow teachers and collaboration.

Cover photo for article

Most professional development for teachers is terrible, but it doesn’t have to be.

Retirement planning written on a notepad. Savings concept.

What are the characteristics of a 403b retirement account? What factors may be important in considering whether or not to invest in one?

We each traveled to Guatemala to learn Spanish, and our experiences have directly impacted our respective teaching practices.

From the Editors’ Desk

Welcome to the new issue of Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives. We’ve spent the past few months newly at the helm of this incredible venture, steadied by KSTF’s shared vision to make public the work of teaching and learning that happens in our nation’s educational institutions every day.

Our new editorial staff has worked relentlessly to encourage teachers to write. Members of the staff shared our own reflections on the importance of teacher voice on the KSTF blog. We revisited the Kaleidoscope mission of giving teachers’ voices a megaphone and opened the journal to more varied and colorful stories, ideas, reflections, and information.

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Kate Blaske

Kirstin Milks

Introduction to the Spring 2016 Issue of Kaleidoscope

We are humbled by, and grateful to, the writers in our community whose work we feature in the fourth issue, primarily because we know that the work of developing as an education professional can be messy, turbulent, or downright stormy. Uncertainty, in particular, can be disquieting. A common theme woven through the stories you’ll read here is how we develop self-awareness through uncertainty, whether that uncertainty is the task of documenting and sharing educational practices for a broader audience, learning to navigate a thorny classroom management situation, developing leadership identities, or discovering a jarring truth about one’s own beliefs in the system. It is often the challenges we face as educators, and our reflection on those challenges, that push us to grow as individuals for the benefit of our students and/or colleagues.

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Without further ado, welcome to the Spring 2016 issue of Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives. We proudly encourage readers to share this issue with teachers, students, and anyone else who is interested in education. If you have any comments or questions, please contact us at kstf.journal@kstf.org.

The fundamental issue I encountered during my first year of teaching revolved around classroom management. During this time, I quickly came to discover being autonomous as a teacher can be both a blessing and a curse.

I am about to walk away from two students in need. I am about to turn a blind eye to their needs because of my own frustrations about their situation. I need a reprieve from the constant strain and effort.

How do teachers offer insights into their practices, successes and struggles while simultaneously elevating their voices? #teach180

The Power to Effect Change

This story chronicles the experiences of three teachers—in three different schools, with three different levels of authority—who were working to improve student outcomes outside their individual classrooms.

two weeks in tibet (3)

Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. —Carl Sagan

Introduction to the Fall 2015 Issue of Kaleidoscope

As teachers, we ask our students to take risks, to admit to uncertainty, to expose themselves as vulnerable in front of their peers—all in the pursuit of improving their understanding of the world around them. In writing the four articles presented in this issue, our authors make themselves vulnerable to our readers, through their stories of challenges accepted, mistakes made, and lessons learned. Through their writing, they open their classrooms and invite us all to share in their new understandings of our profoundly influential role as educators.

Read more about this issue

Without further ado, welcome to the Fall 2015 issue of Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives. We proudly encourage readers to share this issue with teachers, students, and anyone else who is interested in education. If you have any comments or questions, please contact us at kstf.journal@kstf.org.


I committed malpractice while teaching Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science and only realized it the following year.

Making the Most of Winter Weather

As any teacher of 12th grade students will tell you, February is when the symptoms start to appear. Cold and flu season may be winding down with the promise of longer days and warmer temperatures, but senioritis is just beginning and it only gets worse from here.

college building

“Maybe you think you’re better than us because you went to college.” These twelve words will always stick with me. Although they were said out of emotion and never meant to hurt me, they cut deep and made me question my identity.

Expanding PD

This article explains how we developed our understanding and shared our knowledge of 5P with other teachers, both locally and nationally, and how this process gave us a deeper understanding of 5P itself.

Introduction to the Spring 2015 Issue of Kaleidoscope

The Spring 2015 issue of Kaleidoscope offers a diverse array of passionate teacher voices. In this issue, teachers’ experiences and values take center stage; each author captures his/her beliefs around an aspect of being an educator.

Two articles center on the vital importance of schooling where the authors explore different versions of student voice. Senior Fellow Lindsey Quinlisk describes the struggles and joys of going to school in rural Tanzania through the eyes of Asinta, a representative high school student, and reminds us of the opportunities of education at home and abroad. Senior Fellow Lindsay Wells reflects upon her role as a mentor and advocate through imagining and writing about the “future lives” of her students.

Four Senior Fellows on the KSTF Engineering Task Force (ETF) present a multi-faceted view of the ETF’s engineering design process through a discussion of the phases of engineering as related to science and math instruction. Casey O’Hara, Katey Shirey, Scott Murphy, and Kelsey Johnson take turns explaining and extolling the virtues of each design phase.

Two Senior Fellows discuss the importance of relationships and team communication to improve teaching and foster community. Carmen Davis reflects upon her move from a classroom teacher to a school-wide Director of Instruction and the epiphany that helped her transition. She challenges us to examine our collegial relationships as teachers intent upon equitable student experiences. Victor Chen shares the insights he gained from Critical Friends Group training and the impact of leading and participating in such a group on his local teacher community.

Four Phases

The KSTF Engineering Task Force (ETF) has been examining how to integrate engineering projects and processes into math and science classrooms.


For the remainder of the school year, I dreaded one specific moment above all others related to leaving my current teaching position.

going-to-school-lindsay-quinslick - stretched

If I weren’t going to school, I would be digging in the dirt. I would be a farmer, married and most likely pregnant by now. As a 19-yearold girl living in rural Tanzania in East Africa, that is the expected life story.

Jessica_Uy_Fremont_High_ _stepping-outside-four-walls-1200x

I recently made the transition from being a teacher to a school administrator. Many would call this move “leaving the classroom;” however, I like to think that I stepped out of my classroom long before I got this new role.


As I dreaded graduating from my five-year Fellowship with the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF), the question I found myself faced with most was “how can I bring the culture of KSTF to my school?”

Introduction to the Fall 2014 Issue of Kaleidoscope

This inaugural issue of Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives comprises five articles representing a range of experiences, viewpoints, and writing that demonstrates this journal’s intention of sharing a variety of voices and perspectives.

Two of the articles in this issue address science curriculum and curriculum in practice. Senior Fellow Zach Powers, along with former student leader Mimi Wilcox, writes about his physics class’s engineering project, Team Blend, an international service learning project. Senior Fellow Casey O’Hara explores the potential prospects of interdisciplinary, sustainability-focused, projectbased science learning.

Three Fellows—Senior Fellow Mark Hartman, 2010 Teaching Fellow Heather Hotchkiss, and 2012 Teaching Fellow Kate Miller—recount the development, trials, and triumphs of their cross-district International Baccalaureate (IB) Physics collaboration group.

Two authors probe the depths of their practice in self-critical reflection. 2013 Fellow Justine Myers considers the evolution of her beliefs about teacher-student relationships. Senior Fellow Kate Markiewicz shares the deep, practitioner-inquiry process that led her to uncover and acknowledge areas for personal growth as a teacher.

This issue is just our first opportunity to present the voices of current Fellows and experienced educators sharing their perspectives on their classrooms and practices. All of our Fellow contributors deserve our gratitude and respect for bringing their writing forward for us to read, reflect upon, and learn from. We want to thank them, and we are proud to showcase who they are.

Tale of Successful Collaboration -smaller

At a time when required teacher collaboration is weaving its way into professional responsibilities, we offer a story of a meaningful collaboration that has been maintained for the past three years.


Now in its fifth year, Team Blend has completed four successful trips to Nicaragua. This is the story of how these three organizations found each other and worked collaboratively to develop and implement STEM-focused international service learning projects.

Worms, Bunny-Huggers

Kai held out her hands at exactly the right distance to balance squeamishness and curiosity, peering cautiously into a squirming ball of earthworms.

When Relationship Building Fails -smaller

Those nagging thoughts kept me up all night; first just that one night, then the second, and now three nights in a row. Feelings of “I have done everything I could” wrestled in my mind...

Knowles Science Teaching Foundation photography at Sacred Heart

To be perfectly honest, during the fall of 2012, I wasn’t expecting Jamie (a pseudonym) to be a very good science student, and I didn’t know if Kylie (a pseudonym) could really learn chemistry despite the hours she spent working one-on-one with me. How was I going to teach them?