The VISTA Voice

The Importance of Coaching & Support

Working as a VISTA coach has provided me the opportunity to continue in the field of education. I retired in 2011 and moved to Virginia with the hope of obtaining full time employment in a school. Unfortunately, circumstances arose preventing me from doing so, but thankfully, coaching teachers has allowed me to become familiar with Virginia schools and continue to share my years of experience with others!

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"A Whole New World of Friends"

When Kimberly Bender first applied to VISTA, she also signed up her fellow 5th grade team teacher Ashley Carneal. “I signed her up and told her later she had to come,” Bender said, laughing. “We’ve all heard the buzz about problem-based learning, and I was excited to find out what it was about. Get ahead of it a bit.”...

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School Science Coordinators Speak Out

A group of about 15 school division science coordinators from across Virginia just completed a week of professional development activities through VISTA at our George Mason University campus in Northern Virginia. Science coordinators play an important leadership role in determining the science curriculum taught in schools...

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Making Fun at the Maker Faire

“I’m going to be a mad scientist” the girl in a pink jacket skipping in front of her parents exclaimed as they entered the Maker Faire in Reston last month. She had certainly come to the right place! The Reston Maker Faire in Northern Virginia, one of many Maker Faires held in cities around the world...

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Scientists are Gritty

The term “grit” is getting a lot of attention in education circles these days. What does it mean exactly, and why would anyone want it? ...

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“Let Them Talk More”

Students in Brianne Gunn’s classroom became local television stars last month when they were featured on Richmond’s “Virginia Currents” magazine show.

Gunn, who attended the VISTA Elementary Science Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University last summer, led her students on a problem-based learning…

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Cosmos: Learning by Watching

Billions and billions of TV seasons ago, Carl Sagan brought science to the masses with his blockbuster series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.” One of the most popular series ever to air on public television, Sagan used the series as a digital classroom, sharing the wonder of science with over 500 million viewers in more than 60 countries.

We love the teaching motif, which is still evident…

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Ed Week Asked, We Answered

This week Liana Heitin with Education Week posed the question: Why does STEM learning have to be "real world"? Great question Liana and thanks for bringing attention to this important topic! Here at VISTA we talk about "inquiry-based learning" a lot. We've taught hundreds of K-12 teachers in Virginia on how to implement problem-based learning (or "real world learning"...

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I Couldn’t Picture Myself as a Scientist

Actress Mayim Bialik doesn’t just play a scientist on the hit TV series “The Big Bang Theory,” she actually holds a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA...

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Real World Applications

"The engagement level was huge! It was fascinating to hear from parents that dinnertime conversation was now about climate change.”

Laurie Goss of Taylor Elementary invited us into her classroom where her second grade students are learning about how they can protect plants and animals in their habitats from the effects of climate change. Students propose solutions like more solar energy…

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