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

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 have and continue to 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, applies 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 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.

I was a lead organizer for the first annual San Luis Obispo Mini Maker Faire on May 11, 2013. Our team hopes these annual events will promote the development of a strong local Maker community. 

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 taught classes on Game Design using Scratch coding program and Arduino.

I'm passionate about the direction education 
I am grateful to those who have shown me the way and I want to 

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


Ms. Rickard presented this summer 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 had a great time teaching Ardunio and Scratch labs at Cal Poly's EPIC Camp this summer 2013.  Quin was there helping out as well!  Thanks Quin!

Ms. Rickard is excited to be on the board for the San Luis Obispo Mini Maker Faire.  This event, which was held May 11, 2013, is a celebration of the Do-It-Yourself spirit and innovation.  

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 take part in this study group obtain the $300 grant for participation. Applications are closed but you can view Instructional Team Flyer HERE.  

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

Ms. Rickard is a member of these professional organizations

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.