We’re 80% of the way through year two of AMSTI.  We’ve finished Math, made it through Earth Materials, filled in the science “holes,” and have just Human Body to go.  It’s been a little bit like the old “drinking from a fire hydrant” experience that you hear about, but it’s not nearly as overwhelming as last year.  Good thing.

I suppose the biggest difference from last year has been the materials.  Last year we went home with a disparate collection of books and materials.  The math materials in particular were not inspiring.  I’m not holding it against her, but last year’s math teacher wasn’t supposed to let us know we were a “transition” (sometimes I really don’t like that word) group.  Last year’s materials: black and white with an overwhelming amount of text on each page.  This year’s materials: color with plenty of relavent illustrations (pictures! and not line sketches of apparently eager students) and a logical progression.  Who’da thunk it?  Those Scott Foresman folks are on the ball (not to mention making a pretty penny from the ol’ yellowhammer state).

Science has had different materials as well.  Last year’s material was by Carolina; this years is FOSS.  Neither are bad, but I like this year’s layout a lot more.

I suppose that having a year of experience under the belt has made this year a bit easier as well.  Instead of wondering how this will work in our classroom, I’m able to think about how I’ll be able to fit this into the master plan.  Big difference.

Two stars and a wish:

  • Star: I like the materials a lot.  The array cards ($185.50!) that we were given seem a bit much (since we already have set from last year), but everything else looks great.
  • Star: Overall organization of the session has been nearly flawless.  It’s obvious that the AMSTI/UAHuntsville folks have done this before. 
  • Wish: By my conservative estimate, the group of teachers I’m with has over 200 years of combined classroom experience and nearly 80 years of college under their belts.  It’s probably not necessary to spend so much time on generic classroom management and teambuilding.  Not a lick on our teacher; it’s a question about the program.

Like I said, it’s been a good time so far.  I’m looking forward to seeing how it all works out in the real world!