Seminars meet once a week for two hours throughout the spring semester, with time off for both UH and HISD spring breaks. This year our session will kick off with our Opening Convocation on January 19th, followed by a brief "get-acquainted" meeting. Seminars will continue to run through April 27th, meeting on either a Monday or Tuesday, depending on the seminar, from 5:30-7:30 pm, in The Honors College at the University of Houston. Completed curriculum units will be due on June 4th.
The Seminar Model
Our model--friends, food, and lively discussion--facilitates both teacher camaraderie and independent research. Small and selective to allow for collaboration, each of our seminars is limited to about twelve schoolteachers, or Fellows. During the first seminar, the seminar leader, an outstanding member of the University's faculty, distributes a syllabus with a tentative timeline and proposed readings. By the second meeting Fellows will make final decisions on the reading list and create a schedule of common readings for the semester. In subsequent meetings Fellows will discuss the readings as well as their own independent research into a particular facet of the general topic and the development of their curriculum units. By studying together a topic of mutual interest, leaders and Fellows support each other in their independent projects.
The Role of the Seminar Leader
In addition to providing a suggested bibliography or reading list from which the Fellows may begin to compile their sources, the seminar leader will guide Fellows in selecting a specific topic to pursue independently and in depth. Fellows will meet individually with their seminar leaders three times: once while drafting a prospectus announcing the topic of their curriculum units, once midway through the term, on completion of the first draft, and finally in late May, after the second draft has been turned in to the seminar leader and returned with his or her comments. This valuable one-on-one time with professors provides a nurturing learning experience often enjoyed only by those pursuing graduate studies.
The Role of the Fellow
Fellows will be responsible for keeping up with the readings in order to maintain a high level of engagement in the seminar. In addition to reading extensively on the seminar subject, participants should be reading intensively on the topic of the curriculum unit being developed. Fellows should plan to begin research into their curriculum unit early in the period to ensure that they will remain on schedule for completing the final unit, which will be between 15-25 pages, including lesson plans.
Writing the Curriculum Unit
The Houston Teachers Institute is happy to assist in the completion of the curriculum unit. We will schedule three Saturday writing workshops over the course of the semester so that Fellows may come to a computer lab and work on their rough drafts with the supervision of our trained writing mentors. Writing mentors--returning Fellows who have already written and published excellent curriculum units--will also be available by appointment or e-mail at any time during the semester. Whether the problem is with formatting the curriculum unit or a general writing question, the writing mentors will be prepared to help.
For additional support, our Handbook includes written guidelines and examples for all stages of a curriculum unit, from prospectus to final draft, as well as formatting tips. Through their Cougar IDs Fellows will have full access to the services of the M.D. Anderson Library as well as its online research database; Fellows should not hesitate to contact the HTI offices should problems with using these facilities arise.
Distinct from the writing mentors, seminar coordinators will be assigned to each seminar to provide leadership and collegial rapport within the group. Coordinators, who are experienced HTI Fellows, will handle any scheduling or administrative problems and familiarize the Fellows with HTI guidelines, freeing the seminar leader to focus on planning the seminar.