Turtlelog No. 7, www.TheGreatStory.org

Teaching Teachers

Montessori teachers, with Michael Dowd,
performing "Pluto, the Adopted Planet."

Commentary by Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd

It is always a joy and a privilege to engage students in the ideas that motivate us to live our married life on the road. Because teaching teachers exponentially increases our reach, it is a special privilege to be invited to present programs at teachers conferences. That happened twice in our second year of travels.

In February 2004, we were keynote and workshop speakers at the Independent Schools Conference. Seventy teachers that taught in private or nonprofit primary and secondary schools attended this event held at an Episcopal school in Columbia, South Carolina. We were invited on the recommendation of Gailer School, a private high school in Burlington Vermont, where Connie taught a chemistry and a biology class, and Michael taught two humanities classes and a school-wide assembly.

In October 2003, Michael keynoted his second conference of Montessori teachers. (The first was in April of 2003 in Portland, Oregon.) This time the conference was held in Wilton Connecticut, attracting 350 Montessori teachers. Later that day, in a long workshop, Connie taught the scientific and interpretive details of the "We Are Stardust!" story (how atoms were formed inside stars that lived and died before our sun was born), calling upon the assistance of the teachers to suggest ways in which values teaching might be interwoven with different parts of the story. She suggested how teachers might relate the stardust story to one of the great uniting myths of our times: The Lion King. As well, she pointed to her large posters of Orion and Scorpio, to show where in these familiar constellations one might see the reddish stars ("red giants") that right now are creating carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen in their cores, perhaps for the benefit of life around future planets of stars not yet born. (To see these and other posters, visit Stardust Background Information on this website.

Connie applying "stardust" ceremonially to Julia Rinaldi-El Abd,
a Montessori school principal.

Both Michael's plenary talk (image below) and Connie's stardust workshop are available on the "We Are Stardust" videotape sold at their presentations and also through Lou Niznik at Earth Communications.

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