Cassie in her classroom

Featured ADI Teacher: Cassie Weilmuenster

Our featured teacher for December 2019 is Cassie Weilmuenster. Cassie is a 4th-grade teacher in Magnolia ISD, and you can find lots of great pictures of her students doing ADI on Twitter at @teachscrabble!

Q: How and when did you learn about ADI?

I learned about ADI last year before school began. This is a district decision to have 3-6th grade implement ADI. We had a big workshop in August 2018 and actually went through all of the stages of ADI.

Q: What made you decide to seek training in ADI?

Our Science Coordinator asked if I could come with her to be a trainer and I was excited because I really wanted to learn more about ADI. I wanted to be a better teacher for my students and a better point of reference to help others in my school/district.

Q: How many ADI do you do in a year?

In 4th grade, we are required to complete 4 ADI labs in a year, which we did this last year and will continue this year. I would like to do more in the future.

Q: What do you like most about ADI?

  • How engaging the ADI labs themselves are.
  • Getting to watch students and help them as they come up with their own plans.
  • Stage 5 – Vic once said make it a game and just ask questions and that resonated with me. It’s always neat to hear what the kids say in this stage, for instance once when we were talking about insulators and conductors we got to talk about “What would happen if pizza boxes were made out of metal?” and that lead to some really cool conversations.

Q: What positive shifts have you seen in your own practice and in your kids?

I know how to better my students and when to guide them and let them explore. My shift for writing in science class has changed since I now know why it is important. (Writing solidifies learning.)

Q: What is your favorite ADI investigation and why?

My favorite investigation is conductors and insulators because the students are exploring on their own and making the connections without me having to show them how to perform the experiment.

Q: What did you find challenging when using ADI at first and how were you able to overcome that challenge?

At first, I didn't understand all of the steps of ADI but I learned just to roll with it and believe in the order of the steps that learning will happen and take place. I did notice that ADI is just like our district adopted curriculum with and engage, reading, exploration, questioning and assessment/writing piece. This helped me overcome the challenge by comparing ADI to what I have done for many years and it was the same, just more in-depth and deeper.

Q: What advice do you have for other teachers as they are starting out?

  • If they don’t write about it they’re not learning about it, especially on the paper.
  • Understand the full process - why we do the engage activity, then the reading, then the explore, and then the paper and how everything ties together.
  • Be patient.