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Kaleidoscope Past Issues

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.

Read more about this issue

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.

Connection Circles: How to Establish a Restorative Circle Practice By KSTF Teaching Fellow Eric Rasmussen Teaching is hard. I still remember standing alone in my classroom the day before school …Read More

A False Sense of Student Success By KSTF Senior Fellow London Jenks I am about to walk away from two students in need. I am about to turn a blind …Read More

#TEACH180: A Window into our Classrooms By KSTF Teaching Fellows Nicholas Chan, Sarah DiMaria, Brenda Minjares, Sheila Orr, Dwaina Screen, Allison Stafford, Sophie State, and Michelle Vanhala How do teachers …Read More

The Power to Effect Change

The Power to Effect Change By KSTF Senior Fellows Heather Hotchkiss, Catherine Steinmetz, and David Streib INTRODUCTION This story chronicles the experiences of three teachers—in three different schools, with three …Read More

two weeks in tibet (3)

Two Weeks in Tibet (sort of): The Value of a Cultural Exchange Between Science and Spirituality By KSTF Senior Fellow Scott Stambach Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it …Read More

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.


Our Future Should Be Bright: Advancing a Gratitude Mindset By KSTF Senior Fellow Kelsey Johnson June 8, 2015. I committed malpractice while teaching Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science and only …Read More

Making the Most of Winter Weather

Making the Most Out of Winter Weather to Teach Engineering Design By KSTF Senior Fellow Heather Buskirk Originally published on the KSTF blog on April 20, 2015 As any teacher …Read More

college building

Do I Belong Here?: The Struggles of our First Generation Students By KSTF Teaching Fellow Tanya LaMar “Maybe you think you’re better than us because you went to college.” These …Read More

Expanding PD

In order to design instruction that fosters the development of scientific practices in students, teachers study and inquire into student learning.

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.


Last winter, my husband and I realized that we would need to move out of Maine in order for him to find a job. For the remainder of the school year, I dreaded one specific moment...

going-to-school-lindsay-quinslick - stretched

I spent ten months in the rural village of Lyapona in Tanzania, East Africa. I was teaching English and mathematics to Forms one, two and three (9th, 10th and 11th grade). I wanted to share my experience...

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

The Tale of a Successful Collaboration By KSTF Senior Fellow Mark Hartman, and KSTF Teaching Fellows Heather Hotchkiss and Kate Miller At a time when required teacher collaboration is weaving …Read More


Team Blend: Critical Partnerships in STEM-Focused International Service Learning By KSTF Senior Fellow Zach Powers and Mimi Wilcox BACKGROUND Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and …Read More

Worms, Bunny-Huggers

Worms, Bunny-Huggers, and the Triple Bottom Line: Multidisciplinary Projects for Environmental Education By KSTF Senior Fellow Casey O’Hara You will die but the carbon will not; its career does not …Read More

When Relationship Building Fails -smaller

When Relationship Building Fails By KSTF Teaching Fellow Justine Myers Those nagging thoughts kept me up all night; first just that one night, then the second, and now three nights …Read More

Knowles Science Teaching Foundation photography at Sacred Heart

Being Open to Surprise: Confronting Assumptions Through a Puzzling Moment By Senior Fellow Kate Markiewicz To be perfectly honest, during the fall of 2012, I wasn’t expecting Jamie (a pseudonym) …Read More