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Mr. G

Alfonso (Al) González
EducatorAl (Twitter @educatoral)

Middle School Science Teacher
National Board Certified Teacher - Early Adolescent Generalist (2004 & 2014)
Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
ISTE Capstone I & II Certified

Chimacum Middle School
91 West Valley Road
P. O. Box 278
Chimacum, WA 98325
Phone: (360) 302-5960

Fax: (360) 732-6859
e-mail: Al_Gonzalez@csd49.org

Alfonso, Al, González is a National Board Certified Teacher (2004 and renewed 2014) as an Early Adolescent Generalist and has been teaching for 26 years, 20 of those in the Chimacum School District. Al has a Masters in Teaching and has completed both the ISTE Capstone I and II showing fluency in the ISTE Student and Teacher standards. Al has been integrating technology into his classes since 1991 when he brought his Tandy laptop into his 4th and 5th grade class in South Central Los Angeles for students to use as a learning center. Using his AOL account Al connected his inner city students with students in Vassalboro, Maine. They traded videos on VHS, sent through snail mail, back and forth, sharing their similar yet uniquely different experiences.

Now Al teaches Science and Technology to 6th and 8th graders in a 1:1 student to laptop environment. Al has enhanced his school program by getting grants for 21 of the 26 years he's been teaching and 19 of the those 21 years were consecutive! Yeah, that's 19 straight years of getting at least one grant a year! Al has received Learn and Serve America service learning grants, Best Buy grants, CenturyLink grants, foundation grants, WEA Innovative Educator, ING Unsung Hero, HP Technology for Teaching, WA STEM Entrepreneurial, Ocean Guardian Schools, and other grants to integrate technology through great projects into his Science classes.

1990 - Graduated UCLA with a major in Psychology
1991 - Began teaching 4th and 5th grade at Main Street Elementary in South Central Los Angeles
1991 - Began the L.A. Unified School District Intern Program
1992 - Received a Los Angeles Educational Partnership Grant for $500 (1st grant ever)
1993 - Received a Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation, Inc. Grant for $3,000
1994 - Completed L.A. Unified School District Intern Program
1994 - Earned California Elementary Teaching Credential along with Bilingual Certificate of Competency in Spanish
1996 - One year contract at Blue Heron Middle School in WA teaching 7th grade Language Arts and Social Studies
1997 to present - Teaching at Chimacum Middle School (currently 25th year teaching)
1998 - Earned Certificate from UW for Teaching, Learning, and Technology
1999 - Received two major Technology Equipment and Training Grants!
2000 - Started Chimacum Middle School's Water Quality program with three grants!
2001 - Earned a Masters of Teaching Degree
2003 - Attended a National Science Foundation (NSF) Patterns Exploration Training in Florida!
2004 - Earned a National Board Teaching Certification as an Early Adolescent Generalist
2004 - Began a three year NSF funded North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership (NCOSP) training program.
2006 - Best Buy Teacher Award grant for $2,500 (1,300 grants were awarded to teachers all over the U.S.) and a Target Field Trip grant for $1,000 (800 grants were awarded from over 16,000 applicants!) on top of the Learn & Serve America grant for my 6th grade Water Quality Project $4,000! That's $7,500 this year so far.
2006 - Best Buy School Award grant for $15,000!! (out of the 1,300 teachers who won the $2,500, 250 were asked to apply for this $15,000 school grant and my application was one of the 50 chosen! We can now apply for a $250,000 district grant from Best Buy!) See the article in the Kitsap Sun! We applied for the district grant but it was given to the San Diego school district. You win some, you lose some. At least we tried.
2007 - HP's Technology for Teaching Grant! Mr. Gonzalez, Mr. Thomsen, Mr. DiPrete, Mr. Olafson, and Ms. Langston teamed up to write a proposal for a 6, 7, 8 Math and Science project. The team of five received equipment and will get training totalling more than $31,000! See the 06-07 grant items!
2007 - OSPI's Learn and Serve America Mini-grant year two funds were increased from $4,000 to $7,046! There was more money for service learning so Chimacum students get access to more field trips and more equipment to study our creek's water quality and the Hood Canal.
2007 - One of six schools chosen to receive the 2007 Hooked on Hydroponics Award (the M-1 package worth $900) from the National Gardening Association!
2008 - OSPI's Learn and Serve America Mini-grant year three funds were increased, again, from $4,000 to $9,000!
2008 - Now that the NCOSP grant has ended the Science partnership expanded and we here on the peninsula have our own Olympic Math and Science Partnership (OMSP). I am now working with OMSP to form a team of middle school and high school Math and Science teachers here at Chimacum. We call our team Math Science PLC (short for Professional Learning Community) and we meet several times a year to work on improving Math and Science instruction here at the Chimacum Schools!
2008 - As part of the HP Tech for Teaching grant Al completed a nInternational Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) certification course. Al received his ISTE Capstone I certification. Teachers who complete the Capstone courses showcase exhibits of projects they create and conduct with students to show proficiency in all the National Education Technolgy Standards (NETS) for students (NETS S) and for teachers (NETS T).
2009 - Thanks to Math and Science funds from WA state Al was able to take the second ISTE Capstone course and receive his ISTE Capstone II certification.

2009 - OSPI's Learn and Serve America Sustainable Design grant Year 1 for $5,620 for my Water Quality Project!
2010 - OSPI's Learn and Serve America Sustainable Design grant Year 2 for $10,000 for my Water Quality Project!
2010 - Chimacum School District to use Solo 6 as part of our Water Quality Project. $2,000!
2010 - WA STEM Entrepenuerial Award for $10,300!
2010 - Friends of Chimacum Schools Education Foundation for $595 to replace a broken Water Quality Vernier LabQuest!
2012 - The Washington Foundation for the Environment (WFFE) as part of their Nonprofit Environmental Ed $1,000 for the Water Quality Project!
2012 - The ING Unsung Heroes awards program$2,000 for the Water Quality Project!

2012 - Worked on renewing my Early Adolescent Generalist National Board Certification! (I renewed!)
2012 - Worked on the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching! (I didn't make it.)
2013 - Got a $250 grant from WISE to teach students about invasive species!
2013 - Got a $5,000 Technology Grant from CenturyLink!
2014 - Got a WA STEM Professional Development Grant for our school totalling over $13,000!
2014 - I was chosen as one of the five finalists in WA State for the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest! I only made it to the first round, but at least I got two Samsung Galaxy Tablets!
2015 - Got to participate in the Olympic STEM Pathways Partnership representing Chimacum!
2015 - Got to co-present with two fabulous presenters at a WEA Innovation conference for four days!
2015 - Got to co-present a WEA TPEP Formative Assessment session with another fabulous teacher at the West Sound Summer Institute!
2015 - Got a Friends of Chimacum Schools Foundation grant for $300 to purchase two Sphero Robotic Balls for a Newton's Law project!
2015 - Year 2 of our WA STEM Professional Development grant!
2015 - Awarded an NEEF grant for $750 for our Environmental Stewardship Project!
2015 - Received $245 in donations via an Indiegogo Campaign, that raised awareness and our very WeAct Club raised $350, the WA State Trooper's Association donated $900 and the Friends of Chimacum Schools donated $1,000 to start a Student Tech Support Group at Chimacum Middle School in the hopes of getting more computers into the hands of students! (That's a total of $2,495!)
2016 - Received a CenturyLink Teachers and Technology grant to enhance and expand the Student Tech Support Group (ChimTech) for $5,000!
2016 - Received a Peninsula Credit Union grant for $500 for the Environmental Stewardship Project!
2017 - Receoived a grant from, and became an, Ocean Guardian School for the Environmental Stewardship Project for $4,000!

Grant successes: grant writing leading to over $353,000 in grants in 42 grants and 19 straight years of getting at least one grant per year! (See grant history.)

Different Class Websites:
Al's first class website
Al's second class website
Al's third class website
An idea for the 06-07 website
Another Class Intro
Then Class Intro after the previous one
The next Class Intro
Mr. G's Class Blog

and finally, the last Class Intro page

     Al majored in Psychology and minored in history at UCLA with visions of becoming a veterinarian. Since his freshman year at UCLA, Al studied a Korean Martial Art, Hwa Rang Do. He began teaching new students after about three years and found that he loved to teach. That was the career for Al, so upon graduating from UCLA he attended the California State University at Northridge to work towards earning his teaching credential. Dissatisfied with Northridge's lack of support in their graduate program, he learned about the Los Angeles Unified School District's intern program that led to a California Clear Credential and signed up. The program targeted Spanish-speaking teachers to help the large population of Spanish-speaking students in the Los Angeles district. He was accepted.

     The LAUSD's intern program proved to be more valuable than the Cal State Northridge graduate program. The classes were taught by veteran teachers with the emphasis on what works in the classroom with only enough theory as necessary to become a better teacher - one who can teach and not just talk about teaching. Using the latest Whole Language and Thematic approaches, lessons were created in each and every intern class and Al used all those lessons every week in with his elementary students (the Intern classes were taken at the same time Al began his first year of teaching - quite a memorable experience considering the only work he'd done with kids up to that point was teaching martial arts in an after school program in an elementary school in Culver City!). While interning, Al taught 4th and 5th grade modified and full bilingual classes at Main Street Elementary School in the heart of South Central Los Angeles. Al taught Science, Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, ESL, P.E., Music (okay, music appreciation) and Art. The intern program provided Al with training in all these fields. Training included using Thematic and Whole Language Approaches using Core Literature, in a hands-on, naturalistic approach, with authentic assessment techniques. It was an awesome program! Having been born in Miami, Florida, to Cuban parents and speaking only Spanish at home helped Al when he had to relearn how to spell and put accent marks in his native language! He picked English up while very young watching Sesame Street and that has been his dominant language ever since, but luckily his mother kept his Spanish fluent. Al earned his California Clear Credential and his Bilingual Certificate of Competency during his time at Main Street Elementary.

     At Main Street Al joined the Local School Leadership Council and the School Site Council, participated in putting on multicultural assemblies, chaired the technology committee, was part of the mathematics and science committees and was responsible for bringing the internet to Main Street and purchasing the new computer lab. In a position of leadership, he participated in the state's evaluation of the school's improvement program and helped rewrite the school's improvement plan. In five years he amassed as much experience as he could in all areas of the elementary school curriculum and attended several workshops and inservices in all the subject areas. While at Main Street Elementary, Al received two grants. Al received a $500 grant from the Los Angeles Educational Partnership (LAEP) to bring the Internet to his classroom and a $3,000 grant from the Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation, Inc. to keep his school newspaper going. Both were huge successes. During his first year at Main Street, Al brought his Tandy laptop so his students could word process. His second year at Main Street, Al began to use a single Mac LC 520 with CD-ROM drive with his students. The LAEP grant bought a modem and phone line which Al used with his own AOL account to connect his class. His South Central Latino kids were keypals with kids in Vassalboro, Maine! His fourth and fifth graders began a school newspaper with that one computer until Al got the $3,000 to purchase a second computer, this time a Pentium 120 HP with a scanner and a small camera. This improved the newspaper greatly and more classes in the school participated. The newspaper also helped Al's class share what they were learning through the interactive, online experience of MayaQuest. Al worked in South Central Los Angeles, at Main Street Elementary, from 1991 to 1996.

1991 to 1992 at Main Street Elementary (5th Bilingual and English Only)
1992 to 1993 at Main Street Elementary (4/5 Bilingual and English Only)
1993 to 1994 at Main Street Elementary (4/5 Full Bilingual)
1994 to 1995 at Main Street Elementary (4/5 Full Bilingual)
1995 to 1996 at Main Street Elementary (4/5 Full Bilingual)
5 years at Main Street Elementary


1996 to 1997 at Blue Heron MS (7th Language Arts/Social Studies)
1 year at Blue Heron


1997 to 1998 at Chimacum MS (6th Social Studies, Math, 2 Sci with Missig, and one 7/8 Adv Tech - HTML)
1998 to 1999 at Chimacum MS (6th Social Studies, Math, 2 Sci with Missig, and one 8th Adv Tech)
1999 to 2000 at Chimacum MS (6th Social Studies, Math, 2 Sci with Langston, and one 8th Comp II)
2000 to 2001 at Chimacum MS (6th Social Studies, Math, 2 Sci with Langston, and one 8th Comp II)
2001 to 2002 at Chimacum MS (6th 4 Sci - Blocks, and 8th Comp 2)
2002 to 2003 at Chimacum MS (6th 4 Sci - Periods, and 8th Comp 2)
2003 to 2004 at Chimacum MS (6th 4 Sci - Mixed Block, Student Tech Corps, and 8th Comp 2)
2004 to 2005 at Chimacum MS (6th LA, SS, Sci, Math, Student Tech Corps, and 8th Comp 2)
2005 to 2006 at Chimacum MS (6th 2 SS, 2 Sci, and 8th Comp 2)
2006 to 2007 at Chimacum MS (6th 3 Sci, 7th 1 Sci, and 8th Comp 2 - 2 tri's, 7/8 Latin - 1 tri)
2007 to 2008 at Chimacum MS (6th 3 Sci, 7th 2 Sci, first year with no exploratory class)
2008 to 2009 at Chimacum MS (6th 2 Sci, 8th 3 Sci, second year with no exploratory class)
2009 to 2010 at Chimacum MS (6th 3 Sci, 7/8 2 Sci, third year with no exploratory class)
2010 to 2011 at Chimacum MS (6th 3 Sci, 8th 2 Sci)
2011 to 2012 at Chimacum MS (6th 3 Sci, 8th 2 Sci)
2012 to 2013 at Chimacum MS (6th 3 Sci, 8th 2 Sci)
2013 to 2014 at Chimacum MS (6th 3 Sci, 8th 2 Sci)
2014 to 2105 at Chimacum MS (6th 3 Sci, 6th 2 Exploratory)
2015 to 2016 at Chimacum MS (6th 3 Sci, 6th 1 Exploratory)
2016 to 2017 at Chimacum MS (6th 3 Sci, 6th 1 Exploratory)
2017 to 2018 at Chimacum MS (6th 3 Sci, 6th 1 Exploratory, 8th 1 Sci)
2017-18 = 21st year at Chimacum Middle School!
2017-18 = 27th year teaching!

     In Washington, Al worked his first year in a replacement contract at Blue Heron Middle school teaching 7th grade Language Arts and Social Studies. In that one year at Blue Heron, Al worked closely with the 7th grade team to create integrative units for the kids and he and his classes participated in two online collaborative projects. Al brought the MayaQuest experience to his 7th graders as he and his kids learned to create websites with HTML (see their 1996 Election papers). Al remained with Blue Heron only for the 1996-1997 school year.

     Once his replacement contract was over, Al found the perfect position at Chimacum Middle School. Sixth grade is a great balance between fifth and seventh. Al has been at Chimacum since the fall of 1997. CMS is a great place to work and a pretty fantastic district that puts kids first and respects its teachers. The middle school is a perfect fit for Al where he enjoys working side-by-side with extraordinary and wonderful people. At Chimacum, Al joined the middle school's building council as 6th grade representative from 1997 to 2001 and he is part of his school's technology team as well as the district's technology team. He was also hired as part-time, assistant district technician to help the district's tech guy, Chris Martin, especially as the Chimacum Schools were growing. Towards the end of his first year at Chimacum (summer of 1998), Al taught two classes, one on using CD-ROMs in the computer lab with your class, and one on using Easy Grade Pro 3.06 grading program, and two Beginning Internet classes. The classes were attended by Chimacum Middle School teachers, Chimacum School district teachers and by teachers from Jefferson County at Chimacum's summer institute. Al has also taught classes to the Chimacum staff on making websites with Claris Homepage (summer of 2000), on using Grade Machine 6.0 (summer of 2001) and on creating PowerPoint presentations (summer of 2002).

     Al began teaching 6th grade science, math, and social studies along with 7/8 Beginning HTML or Advanced Technology as they called it, and a Computers 2 class teaching web design with html editors and skills such as spreadsheets, databases and graphic design. Al spent the 2000-2001 school year working on the District's science subject area committee and for the 2001-2002 school year Al taught 6th grade science to all 6th graders along with the 8th grade Computers 2 on web design. His student's works are published on the WWW, go to his classroom website to see it as well as get information on what Al is teaching.

     During the summer of 1998, Al was accepted into the University of Washington's Teaching, Learning, and Technology program where he received a certificate in Teaching, Learning and Technology. Go to his TLT web page to see lesson plans created for the courses as well as literary work. During the Summer of 1999-2000, he was accepted into the Grand Canyon University's Master of Arts in Teaching program. Al earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree.

     The years 1999 and 2001 proved to be good years for Al González. Al enjoys writing grants to gain money for equipment to fund the addition of more technology into his classroom or to fund exciting science projects. During the summer of '99 he wrote and applied for three separate grants. It was quite frustrating when one after another of those three grants didn't come through. Al did not let that discourage him though as he found out about two more grants, two big ones that seemed to go very well together. So Al applied for one of the OSPI's Technology Literacy Challenge Fund (TLCF) grants, the Learning Space: Right in Class project as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Library Foundation's Teacher Leadership Project (TLP) grant. Al wished and prayed and drove his Principal (Kathy Wales) crazy, but finally heard that he was awarded the Right in Class grant. The Learning Space's Right in Class grant placed equipment in Al's classroom and provided some quality training with other great teachers from WA State. Altogether, the entire grant totaled over $10,000! If that wasn't enough, Al also got the TLP grant! That grant awarded Al $9,000 and for equipment, plus a laptop and tons of training to teach his students and address the Washington State EALR's using highly accessible technology easily totalling over $10,000!. Two dreams come true as Al was able to provide one computer for every three to four kids in his classroom!

     Al spent the 2000-2001 school year writing other grants to improve his program. He wrote seven grants, but that paid off when he heard that the Toshiba America Foundation awarded him a $4,800 grant to fund Chimacum Middle School's Water Quality Project! If that wasn't enough, EDS awarded Al $1,500 to buy more equipment for the water quality project and the Friends of Chimacum Foundation awarded Al $250 to help purchase even more equipment! 2001-2002 was very good indeed for 6th grade science!

      If getting those grants weren't enough, Chimacum Middle School was awarded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Model Schools Grant! Al wrote a proposal to the foundation during the 1999-2000 school year but that proposal was not accepted. The foundation needed proof that the entire staff was willing to accept the grant guidelines. Al asked for help and with a group of Chimacum teachers, rewrote the grant proposal for the 2000-2001 school year. The grant seemingly failed being accepted for the 2000-2001 round. Then, out of the blue, a foundation representative visited Chimacum Middle School! Chimacum Middle School's principal at the time, David Leinweber, informed Al that they had made it to the next stage. After the visitation, Chimacum Middle School was informed that the foundation would indeed award them the grant! They had made it!! The grant gave the school $400 per student, which totaled $136,000 for Chimacum Middle School. Way to go staff. The money was used to purchase equipment for the school and to train teachers on how to best use that equipment. They also used the money for staff development and to improve their school by developing a School Improvement Plan (SIP).

     For the remainder of 2001-02, Al sought more grant opportunities to make Chimacum's Water Quality study more exciting and real for his students. None of the those proved successful, but Al continued to write more grant proposals toward the end of the school year. Al figures that the more he tries, the more likely that a grant will pay off. As part of the Gates Grant, Al works with a small group of teachers and their principal to help plan the staff development and purchase of equipment. Al attended a Gates Grant conference where he learned a lot about education reform. Al also attended the 2001-2002 NCCE conference which was held in Seattle along with the entire staff of Chimacum Middle School. It was an exciting event where the staff was able to learn what is possible with the latest technology and at the same time network with other teachers.

      At first, year 2001-2002 seemed to be a year where Al would get no grants. With his new principal's help, Al rewrote his Water Quality grant and submitted it to Toyota's Tapestry grant, to the Coca Cola Foundation, and to the AOL Time Warner Foundation. Al requested from $10,000 to $25,000 from each of those grants and was very disappointed to get none of them. The competition was fierce and this just wasn't his year for new equipment. What Al did get was an OSPI scholarship to apply and work towards his National Board for Professional Teaching Standards teaching certificate as an Early Adolescent (ages 11-15) Generalist. That would be quite an honor if Al could get it. Al was not alone in his endeavor as the other two middle school science teachers got the same scholarship and went for their certificates in Science and Early Adolescent Generalist as well. Al sees himself as an integrationist, which is why he went for the generalist certificate.

      Another great honor for Al was having been selected along with one of the 7th grade math teachers to attend the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Pattern Exploration Institute. Al and the 7th grade math teacher spent two weeks in Boca Raton, Florida learning how to integrate math and science through patterns explorations using Fractal geometry! The courses were geared towards middle school students and it was led by top mathematicians and Physicists. Dr. Heinz Otto Peitgin, a leader in the field of fractal geometry and chaos math was one of the teachers! It was awesome. See the picts here. All expenses were paid for the two teachers to learn and bring back some amazing math and science! So in the end, 2001-2002 was not a total loss after all. Quite the opposite! The following year, Al was invited to return to Florida to be a lead teacher! It was an incredible honor for Al, but unfortunately and to Al's dismay, he had to turn it down, but for the best of reasons. Al had a new baby girl!

      During the 2002-2003 school year Al heard from Salute to Educator's Stepping into the Future grants. He was awarded $150 to purchase a Tom Snyder Decisions, Decisions CD-ROM simulation! He went ahead and bought The Environment simulation. It was great and the kids loved it. Since Al was so busy with the National Board work, he only managed to write one grant for the 2002-2003 school year. He applied for the Washington Educators Association (WEA's) Innovative Educator Grant to purchase more equipment for his 6th grade water quality project. He got it! By the end of the 2002-2003 school year, he was awarded $1500 to purchase another palm pilot and sensor interface, and two more probes! Another good year!

      By the end of June 2003, Chimacum's science teachers were done with the first year of their National Board for Professional Teaching Standards process. They needed to work on their portfolios for one more year! They spent the entire 2002-2003 school year videotaping lessons and building their portfolios and ended the year by taking their National Board assessment tests at a testing center. While working on the National Board work, Al also managed to work with fellow teachers on the Gates Foundation grant staff development committee as part of the middle school's School Improvement Team (SIT). Al taught a class on enhancing instruction with best practices in teaching using long-term projects integrating different technologies such as PowerPoint. Al also taught a beginning Word class and web development with Studio MX, featuring Dreamweaver MX, class in the 2002-03 school year.

      The summer of 2003 might very well be best yet for Al. Al worked all of August preparing a proposal for OSPI's Learn and Serve America Washington grant. After working hard for a month and a half on the iGrants website, Al got a three year grant for about $14,000 a year for three full years totalling over $40,000!! These monies greatly enhanced Chimacum Middle School's water quality project! Read here to see the plan for the grant. See Al's grant history. Here is the Learn and Serve website. And here is a link to Chimacum's project description on Washington's OSPI site.

      Besides enhancing his Water Quality project with the first installment of his Learn & Serve Grant Al had another great school year. For the 2003-2004 school year, Al enhanced his Computers 2 curricula due to the purchase of a Studio MX site license for the entire middle school. Al taught Web Design with Dreamweaver (which incorporated Fireworks and Flash as well). Al was also trained to teach a one quarter class of Student TECH CORPS, a program designed to train students to do the tech work and troubleshooting that schools desperately need. Chimacum School District received a grant to train a teacher who could lead students through the 30 hour training they need to attain the certification. This was very exciting and Al was the one to go. So far, nine students received their Pre Professional Technology (PPT) certification in 2003. In 2004 while 16 students took the tests only one passed them all successfully. While only that one student was certified in 2004, Al hopes that the other 15 will retest in 2005 and pass to get their PPT certification. The original nine students began to help Chimacum Middle School teachers solve their many, everyday technology problems. By the 2004-05 school year, two of the nine PPT Student Associates moved on to high school.

      In August of 2004 Al had the opportunity to participate in the North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership (NCOSP) at Western Washington University. Al spent two weeks on the lovley university campus with science teachers from all over Washington state learning how to best teach science. Al was also exposed to a fantastic physcial science unit for teachers to help teachers improve their content knowledge to better teach students. It was a great learning experience and Al also has the opportunity to take some days off each month to meet with the other science teachers from the partnership to continue their learning. NCOSP is a, "National Science Foundation (NSP) funded project involving 26 school districts, two education service districts, four community colleges, Washington State LASER, the Naval Undersea Musem, Washington State MESA, and Western Washington University. The project involves close interaction of the partners to reform science education in grades 3-10 through teacher professional development, implementation of new curriculum materials, and development and support of learning communities in the schools. The partnership will also focus on increasing the diversity of new teachers and improving the science teacher preparation program in the higher education institutions. This will be done through innovative recruitment programs, the development and refinement of courses, and carefully planned interactions between the colleges and school districts."

      As of November 19, 2004 Al is a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) Early Adolescent (ages 11-15) Generalist! Al received his certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) after two years of hard work putting together portfolios, collecting student work, videotaping himself working with students, using student writing samples to better help students, reflecting on his practices and taking a battery of tests at a certified testing center for professionals. This school year, 2004-05, Al continues to be part of the middle school's School Improvement Team and also attends training as the middle school implements the Connected Mathematics Project. Al is relieved to finally reach his goal of National Board certification while continuing to be a contributing member of his school.

      The 2004-05 year has proven challenging on many fronts. Luckily, Al has finished the National Board process because that year he barely had any time to work on his professional development! He has fallen behind on his reading and spends a lot of time at school. His typical day finds him arriving at school anywhere from 6:45am to 7am and he doesn't get home until after 6pm on some days and after 5pm on most days! Having to learn and prepare the new CMP math program (visit the Math Section) takes a lot of time, but so is preparing language arts lessons and projects that help students improve their reading and writing. Even though he has taught only science to 6th graders for the last three years, preparing his science projects still takes time and on top of that he has to prepare social studies lessons and projects as well as coming up with topics for his exploratory after his class is done with Student Tech Corps! The 6th grade team is planning to try a different model for the 2005-06 school year to lessen their loads so they can do a better job and be more efficient.

      The next year, 2005, brought many pleasant surprises. After four years of studying the water quality of Chimacum Creek and working with the North Olympic Salmon Coalition (NOSC) in their restoration work, Al finally found other teachers who are doing similar projects at their school! This was exciting because much of the $42,000 Learn & Serve grant that Al procured for the water quality project is for outreach so that, like real scientists, Chimacum students can share knowledge and data with other students! Al's class participated in the 2005 Hood Canal Youth Summit on June 2 where schools testing water quality along the Hood Canal got together at Fort Flagler to share what they did and what they learned. Al also had the opportunity to share his water quality research with science teachers who are participating in the NCOSP partnership. The science teachers met at least once a month to learn new things and share ideas. Al also participated in a lesson study with science teachers from his area where they visited each other's schools to watch each other conduct science lessons. They gave each other feedback to improve student learning in their classes. Because of this, Al piloted a Carolina Science and Technology Concepts for Middle Schools (STC/MS) science kit and conducted a lesson for his lesson study group.

      Al has attended an NCOSP class on using essential questioning strategies to best help students activate prior knowledge and get the most out of their learning experiences. Al also attended a class on using the science WASL to create small, WASL-like tests, called WASLitos, to best prepare his 6th graders for the 8th grade science WASL. Al took his water quality project and created a WASLito for his students! His WASLito was based on an earlier released WASL test item, the Buggle Gum Scenario. Al continues to attend the great NCOSP trainings to become a better science teacher. Al has been working with his district and building administrators to improve the 6th grade science program. The plan was to add the 6th grade to the district's Science FOSS kit cooperative. Al met with another group of science teachers who have been working diligently at seeing where the state science Grade Level Expectations (GLE's) align to the FOSS kits. After getting to work with two kits, Al learned from those teachers why FOSS probably wouldn't be the best fit for Chimacum. The NCOSP lesson study group Al is working with is studying their work with the Carolina STC/MS science kits and those kits seem a better fit for Chimacum, so Al piloted one kit and was hoping to get it purchased for the 6th grade for the 2005-06 school year. The school bought the kit so 6th graders are able to learn physical science using the Energy, Machines, and Motion.

      The 2004-05 school year has been a good year for fun field trips. Every year begins with the exciting week-long Camp Cispus experience. Al's class also got to visit Chimacum Creek on campus several times to test the water and set traps for fish. This year, for the first time, 6th graders got to help the creek by planting trees and learning about the native plants and fish. Students also got to experience the Ballard Locks ice skating field trip. Students also get to visit Canada each year as part of our study of that country. Finally, students got to participate in this year's Hood Canal Youth Summit. The Americorps person who is part of the team bringing us the Hood Canal Youth Summit also visited Al's classroom to teach a class on macroinvertebrates. What a fun year!

      So far the 2005-06 school year is looking like a great year. It has its challenges, but what year doesn't? This year Al was teaching science, social studies, and technology. This work load makes it easier for Al to feel that he is doing a good job of helping his students learn! During the 2005-06 school many fascinating things happened. Check out this pictorial summary of the 05-06 school year!

      For the 2006-07 school year Al will be teaching all the 6th grade science classes again, but this time there are only three classes due to declining enrollment. We don't have enough kids to continue to have four classes of 20 students (as ideal as that may be). Al will also teach one of the three 7th grade science classes. The 7th and 8th grade science curriculum will be earth science this year and Al will be attending his third and final NCOSP summer academy in August with Brett Thomsen where they will study earth science! Once they return from the academy they will get together with Mr. DiPrete to plan the 7th and 8th grade curriculum! Together the three science teachers created a good curriculum for the 7th and 8th grade students. Check out their Earth Science Website. During the school year the three science teachers got together with two of the 6th grade math teachers to put together a proposal for HP's Technology for Teaching grant and they found out in May of 2007 that they got it! They will implement their project during the 2007-08 school year.

      During the summer of 2007 Al and Brett attended a five day NCOSP summer planning session to prepare a 3-day professional development program for the five HP grant teachers. All five teachers attended the 3-day professional development program along with their Principal and a Blue Heron science teacher and some NCOSP TOSA's to plan their project and look at methods for how students learn best. This was very rewarding.

      For the 2007-08 school year Al will be teaching all the 6th grade science classes again and this time he will also be teaching two 7th grade science classes. This year the 7th and 8th graders will be learning life science and Brett is leading the science team in creating a great life science curriculum. The week before school started Chimacum staff were busy getting ready for the new school year. Al was fortunate enough to be able to help teach a Grant Writing course to staff, and Al also taught a Blogging course and Using iMovie in the Classroom course. During the grant writing course Al wrote a proposal for a hydroponics system and got the grant! This will help support the 7th and 8th grade Life Science program!

      For the 2008-09 school year Al taught two of the three 6th grade Science classes so that he could teach all three of the 8th grade Science classes. Most of his 8th graders have been with Al since 6th grade making for a great and smooth start to this school year. Al had a wonderful year working with all his 6th and 8th grade students as they all did great Science together. Al used the remaining funds from his Learn and Serve grant to improve his Water Quality project and all 6th graders participated in the project providing their yearly service to Chimacum and Hood Canal watersheds plus to the fishing industry by helping maintain a healthy creek. Eighth graders learned Earth Science as they participated in excellent projects and labs. By the summer of 2009 Al had applied for three more grants. A Qwest grant an Amgen grant and new Learn and Serve sustainable design grant. While Al did not receive neither the Qwest or the Amgen grants, he was fortunate enough to be awarded another Learn and Serve grant for the 2009-10 school year!

      For the 2009-10 school year Al will be able to provide even more improvements to his water quality project with another $5,620 from Learn and Serve! This year he taught all three 6th grade Science classes again and two 7/8 Earth Science classes. This school year marked a change in the way Al learns. He found the power of social networking. Al created a Twitter account to learn what kids were getting into and found a growing network on educators using Twitter and blogging to share information, resources and learning. From other teachers Al decided to completely restructure the way he ran his classroom. Al began blogging about his new learnings and wrote about his changes here. It was actually quite freeing to rethink traditional forms of teaching that he took for granted and really weren't in the best interest of his students.

      For the 2010-11 school year Al's classes will be able to take advantage of a 1:1 ratio of student to computer with another $10,000 from Learn and Serve! Students will be able to choose from one of the ten iMacs, 1 Dell Desktop, 1 HP Tablet, 5 Dell Mini Netbooks, and/or 12 iPads. Quite exciting and will make research, writing and blogging much easier. This year he taught all three 6th grade Science classes again and two 8th grade Life Science classes. Chimacum's Science program also got a big boost this year as Al requested and got an Earth Science STC kit for the 7th grade and a Life Science Foss kit for the 8th grade. Al will also be working with the Math/Scienc team from the middle and high school on a WA STEM blogging and social networking project! This is really exciting work they will be doing and they got $10,300 to do it!

      For the 2011-12 school year Al is busy working on his OMSP work, WA STEM grant work, blogging and tweeting regularly, and providing a great Science learning experience for his students. To his dismay Learn & Serve took a big hit with our hurting economy. The National Service Learning Association cancelled Learn & Serve so we all lost our third year of funding! Yes, Al was going to get another $10,000 this year but it was taken away. Much of his equipment was slated for replacement this year but now they will have to make due. The good news was that there is a school group, the Friends of Chimacum Schools Education Foundation, awarded Al $595 for a proposal he wrote to replace a broken water quality Vernier LabQuest. So the project can continue as planned even with the loss of this year's funds!

      For the 2012-13 school year Al is going to be working on renewing his Early Adolescent Generalist National Board Certification! In a couple of years his certification will expire so he's starting the renewal process now. This year Al is continuing to make his Science classes a place for learning without worry of punishments in the form of failing grades as well as without the expectation of reward for doing well in the form of great grades or high scores or points. That way the focus will be on learning Science with no fear of failure. In Science failure is a part of the learning process so why would anyone punish kids for making mistakes by taking away points? It makes no sense. Also this year Al will try to structure the learning in his class like a computer game! Al read a book on gamification that gave him ideas on how to do this to motivate even more of his students.

      More exciting news for the 2012-13 school year comes from the grant front. Al wrote about six proposals for new grants to replace even more broken and some older equipment. Of the six grants two were approved! Al received $1,000 from the The Washington Foundation for the Environment (WFFE) and $2,000 from the ING Unsung Heroes! That will bring a few much needed replacements to keep the water quality project going strong. Al spent a great deal of time and effort working on renewing his National Board certification and while he was at it he also submitted an application for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Sciece Teaching! Al did not move on with regards to the Presidential Award but he did successfully renew his National Board Certification!

      To start the 2013-14 school year Al secured two more grants! Al got $250 from WISE to help his students learn about invasive species! The $250 was in addition to some great curriculum to choose from to help kids understand the issues facing our ecosystems. On top of that Al got a technology grant from CenturyLink for $5,000! This was a grant that Al had applied for twice before. Turns out they had so many good applications they did an extended round to award the next best applications. Both those grants will help extend his current projects and bring even more technology and Science equipment into his class to help students learn Science and maintain a 1:1 student to device ratio!

      To continue the work he started during the 2012-13 school year on gamification, Al has been working hard during the summer to prepare for an even better game-based learning experience for his students. Learning from what worked and what didn't work Al found a learning platform called 3D GameLab to turn his lessons, activities, and labs into quests! He also read a book called ROLE Reversal and together with his gaming approach Al will seek to create a fantastic learning experience for all his students to help them take charge of their own learning and thereby their education.

      In May of 2014 Al was asked to lead a session at a CSTP National Board Leadership Conference on Navigating the Systems of STEM! It was a great experience for Al.

      For the 2014-15 school year Al will continue to use 3D GameLab and a Results Only Learning Environment (ROLE) to meet the needs of all his students. Al is going to add a story element to his gamfied 6th grade Science course. This year Al will be teaching all three 6th grade Science classes and two other 6th grade classes, a Peace4Kids class for the first quarter and a literacy class using the WoW in Schools curriculum for the other three quarters to all 6th gradres. This is pretty exciting. Al will miss having his 6th graders come back to him for 8th grade Science but teaching 6th graders all day is pretty cool too.

      During the summer of 2014 Al attended a four-day Train the Trainer conference on Differentiation to Meet the CCSS with the 7th grade Math Teacher. They will both train their fellow CMS teachers by giving them great ideas from the conference on helping all CMS students learn and succeed in school. Al also worked with the District Tech Committee to provide training to Chimacum teachers so they can use technology to transform the education of all our students. The tech team is working to implement the tech plan they crafted last year.

      Another exciting thing happening this 2014-15 school year is that Al's school was chosen for the WA STEM Professional Development grant project. Al helped write a proposal for a PD plan for all the teachers in the middle school to use the protocols Al has been using with his Science PLC since working with NCOSP! Exciting indeed!

     In November of 2014 Al was able to lead his session of Navigating the Systems of STEM at another NBCT Leadership Conference! The 2014-15 school year was a great year and students got a lot farther in Science using 3D GameLab as part of a gamified classroom. Al also got to focus on literacy using the WoWinSchools curriculum where students got to play World of Warcraft to immerse themselves in a story rather than just read it. Attending sessions at the 2015 NCCE conference on Game-Based Learning and Gamification Al learned that gamification and gaming are fantastic ways to engage students in learning and that World of Warcraft, which encourages reading, writing and fan art, has high lexile levels of in-game reading! It was a blast and students enjoyed participating in a story through gameplay versus just reading about it.

     During the summer of 2015 Al kept himself busy with learning. He attended a Google Bootcamp training early in the summer, participated in two weeks of learning as part of an Olympic STEM Pathways Partnership (OSPP), was co-presenter at a WEA four-day training called Innovate! Passion and Bravery in Teaching, Rethinking STEM and Humanities, attended the Bremerton Summer Institute where he also co-presented a session on TPEP and Formative Assessment! Al shared innovative use of apps to engage all learners and strategies for gamification at the innovation training. While participating at the OSPP partnership Al learned about oceanography, specifically ocean acidification!

     The 2015-16 school year started off with Al ready to continue his gamified Science instruction. Al will continue to tweak his Star Trek narrative that he added as a story element to his gamified classroom last year to make it even better this year. The middle school will continue their WA STEM Professional Development grant work as a Year 2 school! In March Al also attended the NCCE 2016 conference to present a course on Using 3D GameLab to Gamify Your Course! It was a great experience. Al was also able to attend a bunch of great Science trainings with his school Science PLC thanks to the OSPP.

     For the 2016-17 school year Al started off with another busy summer! During the last week of June Al attended a week of learning put on by the Olympic STEM Pathways Partnership (OSPP), including a NASA training! Al was also able to co-present again this summer the great WEA four-day training called Innovate! Passion and Bravery in Teaching, Rethinking STEM and Humanities! Al also attended the Bremerton Summer Institute again and presented his Gamification 101 course on how to gamify using 3D GameLab. Al was also asked to re-submit his 3D GameLab proposal for the 2017 NCCE Conference in Portand so he did! Since he's been working this summer at becoming a Pear Deck Coach (Pear Deck is a great tool that works with Google Slides to make presentations truly interactive and engaging for students) so he submitted a proposal to present a session on using Pear Deck as well! The 2016-17 schol year is going to be another great year!

     The 2017-18 school year looks to be a most exciting year! Al started off with another busy summer, very busy! The week after school let out Al led a NASA funded summer camp sponsored by the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) right at his school in his room! The camp theme was robotics using the Lego Mindstorms EV3 and that was a perfect week for Al because in the fall he will be teaching new curriculum to his 6th grade students using the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot kits! From January to May 2017 Al worked with his districts Science Subject Area Committee (SAC) to recommend curriculum for adoption. The school board approved Al's recommendations in May for using the EV3 kits in 6th grade and Activate Learning's IQWST for 7th and 8th grade. Very exciting! And again during the last week of June, Al attended his third summer week of learning put on by the Olympic STEM Pathways Partnership (OSPP), including a NASA training! Al also voluteered to become a WEA National Board Renewal Jump Start Trainer! And this summer Al again attended the Bremerton Summer Institute and presented two sessions, one on grant writing, and the other on using Pear Deck since he became a Pear Deck coach! Al's Gamification presentation was accepted for the 2017 NCCE Conference in Portand so he did it there! It seemed like interest in that session was waning and very few actually used 3D GameLab so it seemed time to retire that one. 

      Why does Al do all this? To sum it up, Al sees himself as truly a side-by-side learner with his students. His approach is constructivist letting the students explore to learn and construct their own meaning out of the curriculum. Al is there to guide his students through the use of minds-on and hands-on activities, labs, and extended projects that end in the creation of meaningful products for real audiences. Al is a 21st century teacher embracing technology. Because of this, Al may begin a school year as rules and regulations teacher, but always gravitates to his comfort spot of confronting-contracting with aspects of the relationship-listening style. Al has learned that learning occurs best when students receive feedback in the form of information and NOT as rewards and punishments. Rewards and punishments may work short term but it doesn't help students in the long term and if life-long learning is our goal then we want what works best for the long haul.

Al's Mission Statement:

      My mission is to help my students become independent, self-directed learners and lifelong learners. I plan to facilitate this process by helping my students enjoy learning. I want my students to feel safe enough to take risks. My students will be involved in constructivist activities in the form of long-term, research projects where they will have access to the latest technologies. Students will learn how to effectively work in cooperative groups and will be taught strategies for problem solving and getting along. Students will learn to use technology to work on their performance tasks and students will be assessed often. Self and peer assessment as well as information by the teacher will help students progress. By using different forms of assessment and learning, all students, including special needs students and highly capable students will be able to learn and succeed. To help students in all these endeavors, parents will be included in all aspects of their child's education. Parent involvement is essential in helping students become self-directed and lifelong learners. I will help keep parents informed about all that we are doing.

      In order to keep myself up to date and effective to fulfill my mission, I will continue to read the current research and to conduct my own research to improve my program. I will collaborate with my colleagues and I will continue to write grants to keep my classroom equipped. I plan to participate in curriculum development in my building so that I can ensure that my classroom remains a 21st century classroom.

His hobbies include:

  • spending time with his wife, Elizabeth and daughter, Solana, and his dog and cats.
  • watching movies, at home, with his family,
  • using technology in class,
  • Playing games, computer or PS2, PS3, Wii,
  • working on his classroom website and blog,
  • Tweeting,
  • reading anything having to do with Education,
  • and writing grants!

Copyright © 2017 Mr. González.
This Page was created by Al González.