ALAHASP and The Private EyeIn the spring of 2002, ALAHASP Staff attended a National Science Teachers Association conference session called The Private Eye. It was conducted by Kerry Ruef and David Melody of Washington state. It knocked our socks off! The room was alive with flowers and rocks and bugs and all sorts of interesting things to look at. But the best was yet to come… Kerry explained that she became curious about whether successful people shared any characteristics of how they went about doing whatever it was they did. And she found that they did! They all used analogies to “look closely” at their field of interest. That’s where her grand adventure began. And we are the lucky recipients of her research and mental musings. She created The Private Eye Project, a “professional development” program that teaches us how to look closely at the world around us, think by analogy, change scale in our thinking and recordings, and using what we know about form and function to hypothesize about how similar elements may behave. Anyone can benefit from learning the habits of mind The Private Eye process develops … but as teachers, we see tremendous benefits to letting our students experience and incorporate the habits.
After attending the NSTA session, we returned determined to find funding to bring Kerry and David to Birmingham to work with our ALAHASP Teacher Leaders. Beginning April 2003, they came to Alabama at least once a year and trained 492 teachers. In March 2009, Joan and Beverly and Janelle Adams and Ann Bettis (Trussville City teachers) became Certified Alabama Private Eye trainers. Since then, we have trained an additional 151 teachers.
One of the many reasons we are avid fans of The Private Eye is because as powerful as it is, it is also very inexpensive. Once teachers have class sets of loupes and the teacher guide (which they receive after attending the 1-day Introduction), no additional materials are required (although there are plenty of nifty things in the Private Eye on-line store). And the only refurbishment needed is if a loupe walks away! (We have suggestions for how to control that, also.)
Check our Calendar page regularly for any upcoming training opportunities. And we will soon be including in this section of our web site testimonials and opportunities for teachers to share how they’ve used The Private Eye in their classrooms and how their students have reacted.
For additional information, see their very extensive web site, visit them on Facebook and Twitter, check Wikipedia, and view a video on YouTube as shown below.
The Private Eye Website: www.the-private-eye.com [Check out the November Newsletter…that’s our very own Keri Jones, Fairfield City!]
The Private Eye on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Private_Eye_Project
Follow The Private Eye on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThePrivateEyeProject
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-0qC44Og0Q. [Kerry talks about the Train-the-Trainers piece, but good footage on kids and teachers going through The Private Eye process.]