Thursday, January 14, 2010

Meet the Far Western Section Outstanding Earth Science Teacher of the Year!

Laura Hollister teaches the earth sciences at Pitman High School in Turlock, California. She attended Modesto Junior College and California State University, Stanislaus, where she earned a BS in Geology. She worked several years in the geological consulting business before deciding to pursue a teaching career.

Laura is a very engaging teacher and strives to bring her philosophies to fruition by designing lessons with applicable, real-world experiences. She has created many multimedia presentations that include personal trip photos that demonstrate concepts in a vivid, virtual-type setting. She assures that the information presented within them is understood by all students with the creation of scaffolded notes. The notes allow students to fill-in important information to the pre-made lecture outline so that the kids can spend more time concentrating on the visuals, while at the same time teaching the students how to outline useful notes when they get into college. Laura also incorporates labs that encourage a hands-on approach to exploring and discovering the intricacies of the geosciences. At the completion of the day's exercises, students are required to write a song or poem, draw a picture, or create some other form of art to help them process and thoroughly remember what they learned in class.

Laura participates in Wildlink, which is run through the Yosemite Institute, whose goal is to provide access to and education about the greater Yosemite National Park Region. Students who are chosen for the program spend a week in Yosemite learning about wilderness ethics and the ecology and geology of the park. Laura is a co-advisor for the Pitman High Science Bowl and Science Olympiad teams. She also volunteers in the geology field studies program at the local community college, and has led trips for conferences of the Far West Section of NAGT.

See other current information in the NAGT Newsletter

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