HSI STEM Sirviendo - October 2017 Newsletter

Teaching DST

by Robi Calderaro

I had the great honor and privilege to teach the Digital Story Telling class during summer semester 2017. It has been a great adventure, both for the students and myself. Students were asked to tell something about themselves, how they became who they are, what they want to be, and what they want to achieve. They chose to tell stories about personal events, family history and individual strengths. The stories they created were all powerful and a reminder of how multi-faceted and determined our students are. I learned that our students are motivated, resilient and excited to be here. Each and every story touched my heart and made me proud to serve such population. A must see (but bring tissues)!

HSI STEM Sirviendo Updates & Project Highlights

Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT)

by Lee Waldman

Last newsletter, I introduced you to a helpful resource developed by Brown University to support our work here at CCD around the topic of culturally responsive teaching. This month, I’d like to more carefully explore the first key element listed on the Brown University site. It is: Positive Perspectives on Parents & Families

What is it?

This may not seem like a critical element at the college level, but let’s revise the perspective and approach. At this level, it isn’t about making contact with or creating a relationship with our students’ parents. But it is critical that we understand the type of family structure that our students come from. It is, in reality, all about developing a relationship with our students. The more we know about them and their lives outside of our classrooms, the more they will trust us and as a consequence, the more successful they will be.

Why is it important? 

Our students need to feel that they are valued as individuals and that their culture is valued as well. This might be accomplished by having one-to-one conversations with them, asking them to write a letter to you explaining who they are and how they came to be the type of person they are. They are adults. We need to communicate directly with them. 


  • Seek to understand their hopes and concerns. 
  • Research the cultural backgrounds of your students.

I know, this seems to be nothing but common sense, but let’s be real here. We all find ourselves becoming slaves to the time pressures that teaching imposes and my goal here is simply to remind you of the things that I know you all do in your practice anyway.  Next month another piece of the puzzle of creating a culturally responsive classroom community.

Instructional Design Update


Photo of some instructional design participants
Instructional Design Participants

Is it difficult to get through all the content?

Work that started with Margo Guilott’s training session at Welcome Back Day continues with the Instructional Design team. Photo from brunch sponsored by STEM Sirviendo on September 1st (pictured Marta Brown, Jan Hickman, Chris Holcom, Allison Millmore, Donna Kapp, Anita Schervish, and Melissa Kitterman).

Example of Essential Questions for STEM

Instructor Residency Program (IRP)

by Joel Thompson


Photo of Joel Thompson
Joel Thompson

Dr. Terry Williams developed the IRP to provide faculty a forum for discussing various teaching issues, ranging from teaching philosophy to culturally responsive teaching.  It is designed to help new CMS faculty integrate learning theory and effective practices for engaging and serving a diverse student population in STEM fields. In collaboration with Dr. Joel Thompson, a mentoring agreement has been added to the IRP for participants and mentors. If you are involved in the IRP, you can view it on the IRP D2L shell.

Math Updates & Project Highlights


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Zina Stilman


by Zina Stilman

Are your students sleepy or quiet in courses right after lunch or early in the morning?  Retention rates increase from 5% with lecture to 90% when students teach one another and immediately use the content (Montambeau 2000). 

Zina Stilman utilized a Tactivity in her Statistics class where students worked in collaborative teams on Set Theory.  They were engaged in this active, low stakes practice activity, while she monitored and provided immediate feedback and prompting for understanding.  Early finishers on the project served as peer support to other teams.

Science Updates & Project Highlights


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Fleur Ferro

Nautilus Exploration Vessel

by Fleur Ferro

Hello everyone! Hope your semester is off to a great start, I am writing to all of you to see if you would be interested in doing a live ship-to-shore interaction with me while I am on the Nautilus Exploration Vessel November 8-19th. 

I was awarded a fellowship to participate in deep sea floor exploration in areas that have not been mapped or explored in the Revillagigedo Archipelago, which is located southwest of the Baja Peninsula in anywhere from 9,000 – 13,000-foot depths! Obviously, we can’t send humans down there, so we will have 2 ROV (Remote Operated Vehicles, or subs) that we will be sending down with cameras, and I will be giving the play by play when we are diving. In the off time, I will be doing ship-to-shore interactions with classes all around the world. I can have biologists, submarine engineers, internet techs, geologists, etc. that will be with me to do the interactions. If you are interested, please email me ASAP- the interactions will only be 20 minutes and can either just be a question and answer session, or we can give a talk from the ship as well. This can fit with so many parts of CMS, so I hope to hear from many of you. I will work with you on getting IT to come in and set everything up. Thank you so much and if you want more information, please either email me or you can check out www.nautiluslive.org.

AAA Updates & Project Highlights


Photo of Marta Brown
Marta Brown

Self-Regulated Learning

by Marta Brown

Do any of your students struggle with organization and time management that seems to interference with the learning process?  Students who learn to practice self-regulated learning can improve their academic performance and self-efficacy and continue to be effective learners once they enter the workforce. Learn more.

Faculty Favorites

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Photo of Kim Gottfredsen
Kim Gottfredsen

Study Groups

by Kim Gottfredsen

Students must be comfortable in their class, and in my classes we are almost always working on small group projects in an active learning environment.  Even if "active learning" means that they are using their technology to look up answers to a problem. I feel it is important for these student groups to rotate throughout the semester. This way, students get to meet new people and new connections in the class, which frequently leads to out-of-class meetings, such as student-driven study groups. It is really evident to me that students who form study groups amongst themselves outside of class do better in the course and seem to enjoy it more. Additionally, if a student misses some work in the class, they will have someone to help them get the notes and catch up if they make connections with other students in the course.

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

Reflective Practice Groups

by Steffanie Peterson

Communities of practice have very valuable benefits by enabling knowledge sharing and collaborative problem solving for planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction or professional responsibilities. 

All CCD faculty (full-time and part-time) are invited to attend one or more Reflective Practice Groups starting fall 2017. The meetings will consist of a structured conversation about teaching-related issues, solutions and resources. We will meet every other Friday in Confluence Building, Room 221 from 1 - 2:00 p.m. Adjunct Instructors will be paid for their time.

Here are the fall 2017 dates: September 15, 29, October 13, 27, & November 10

Persistence & Completion Mini-Grant Application

CCD Faculty & Instructors! Do you have an idea to impact persistence and/or completion at CCD? Submit a mini-grant application using the instructions and application.

Questions? Contact a member of the Persistence & Completion Committee.

HSI STEM Sirviendo Team

Brenda, Cassie, Isak, Lee & Melissa | CCD.edu/HSI-STEM