Student Centered, Engineering Design, STEM, Makerspace, Coding, Google Apps for Ed, Minecraft Math

Welcome to Rickard Learning!

I am a middle school math and science teacher and STEM elective designer on the beautiful Central Coast of California.

It is an exciting time to be an educator. The Common Core State Standards and Next Gen Science Standards are shifting the focus from knowledge acquisition to learning practices. To meet this challenge, I develop practices and methodologies to create learner-centered classrooms.

I have initiated and designed in-school STEM elective courses that introduce students to computer programming, engineering design, computational thinking, applied mathematics and science, and Making. In-school electives provide an opportunity where teachers can take the learning deeper without the typical time constraints of a pacing calendar. I collaborate with computer science and engineering professors at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and University of California Santa Barbara to develop curriculum for these disciplines.

I have developed a constructivist approach in my math and science classrooms. Students come into the classroom with a framework of belief they have developed by observing the natural world. Students connect new learning to this framework. Problems arise when students try to build on incorrect foundational ideas. I use formative assessment to stir curiosity and uncover misconceptions. I design learning challenges in response to formative assessment. I use the practices of problem solving and modeling as described in the Science Framework. These models are not static representations such as a model of a plant cell. They are dynamic representations of systems and are meant to be revised as student learning progresses. I use an inquiry approach that I call evidence-based learning.

One of the technologies I’ve enjoyed is Google Apps for Education. With Google Apps, my students create ePortfolio websites where they showcase their learning. These ePortfolios and Engineering eNotebooks can follow students through high school and can be used to demonstrate experience and skills for college and business applications.

I have a strong professional learning network within the Ed Tech community. I collaborate with lead educators worldwide through Twitter, Google Hangouts, and Facebook. I am a member of CUE (Computer Using Educators) and support the Open Source Learning community. Find me on Twitter @RickardBiology!

Professional Development & Consulting

July 2013 - Presenter: Cycle Students Through The Engineering Design Process and Learn Coding with, CUE Rockstar Teacher Summer Camp USS Hornet, San Francisco, CA

July 2013 - Lab Instructor – Middle School Level, Cal Poly EPIC Summer Camp (EPIC = Engineering Possibilities in College) 
Focus Sessions:  Scratch & Arduino

June 2013 - Workshop Facilitator – Google Apps for Ed Boot Camp, Santa Maria Bonita School District, Contracted by Santa Barbara County Ed Office

May 2013 - STEM Teacher Discussion Panel, Maker Faire, San Mateo, CA

2013 - Science Literacy Leadership Initiative, Santa Barbara County Schools

2012 – 2013 - Coach: Formative Assessment & Tech to Reach CCSS, SBCEO Instructional Strategy Team: Special Designation, Lompoc & Santa Maria Team 

March 2013 - Presenter: Design Thinking to Reach CCSS Workshop, Annual CUE Conference Palm Springs, CA, (Computer Using Educators)

March 2013 - Distinguished School Validation Team for Templeton HS, San Luis Obispo County Office of Education

October 2012 - Presenter: Formative Assessment & Tech to Reach CCSS, CUE Connects Teacher Professional Development, New Tech High School, Nipomo, CA

October 2012 - Planning Committee Member, Building Bridges in STEM-CCSTEM Annual Forum 2012, University of California Santa Barbara, CA

July 2012 - Presenter: Design Thinking to Reach CCSS, CUE Rockstar Teacher Summer Camp Santa Ynez

Professional Organizations Board Member

SLO Mini Maker Faire Board Member

SLOCUE Advisory Committee

SBCUE Advisory Committee

Society of Women Engineers

Computer Science Teacher Association

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

National Science Teacher Association

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

California Science Teachers Association

California League of Middle Schools

GLOBE Science Network

 LUSD Science Curriculum Task Force

 LUSD Math Curriculum Task Force


Lead Producer, Board Member – SLO Mini Maker Faire, May 2013, San Luis Obispo, CA This event, which was held May 11, 2013, is a celebration of the Do-It-Yourself spirit and innovation.  Our team hopes these annual events will promote the development of a strong local Maker community. 

In 2012, Ms. Rickard was interview by Santa Barbara County Superintendent Bill Cirone for his TV program Talking With Teachers for Ed Tech innovations I am developing for the classroom.

Ms. Rickard's classroom was chosen to pilot Google Apps for Education for the Lompoc Unified School District!

Professional Development and Grant Opportunity. Ms. Rickard led an Instructional Strategy Team to investigate Constructing Explanations and The Use of Argumentation in Science Writing. Teachers who took part in this study group obtained a $300 grant for participation. Applications are closed but you can view Instructional Team Flyer HERE.  

I served on the Board of Central Coast STEM Collaborative (CCSTEM) which is a group of community leaders interested in promoting STEM education in the Central Coast region.

I am the only middle school teacher invited to facilitate classes at Cal Poly's EPIC Engineering Summer Camp. I teach classes on Game Design using Scratch coding program and Arduino.  Cal Poly's EPIC Camp  

Ms. Rickard was honored to speak on the Panel: Making in the Classroom at the 8th Annual Maker Faire Bay Area, May 18th & 19th, 2013

Ms. Rickard presented at two CUE events:
-The Annual CUE Conference 2013 in Palm Springs where she teamed up with Rockstar teacher Chris Scott to teach a Design Thinking workshop.  Schedule here.
-CUE Rockstar USS Hornet July 31, & August 1, 2013.  She also attended the CUE Leadership Development Institute in San Jose which was an awesome experience!

Ms. Rickard is a 
Globe Certified Teacher

Ms. Rickard's classroom is NASA Explorer School!

Ms. Rickard has served as an Executive Board Member for the Central Coast STEM Collaborative

She is on the Advisory Committees for SB County CUESLO County CUE.

Click on the robot to see a fun website.