Tom Tancin graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in Biology. He spent 11 years teaching at East Hills Middle School, where he taught 7th grade life science. During his time at East Hills, he spent 6 of those years in the role of Science Content Leader and a few years as the coordinator for the school's annual Science Fun Night. He also served as a Science Olympiad Coach and Advisor for a few years and was the coadvisor of the school newspaper. He served on a variety of task forces, including the school improvement task force, middle school to high school transition committee, literacy task force, and the Schoolgy task force.
In the 2018-2019 school year, he transferred to Liberty High School where he teaches 9th-grade biology. Tom also attended the Keystone Technology Innovators (KTI) summit as a STAR in 2016. In the summer of 2018, he returned as a lead learner and has been on staff since. He is also working on his Master's of Education in Educational Leadership with principal and supervisor of curriculum certifications at Lehigh University.
Tom loves designing engaging lessons/curriculum to promote critical thinking and inquiry. He uses Understanding by Design (UbD). One of his goals is to help students become more advanced thinkers and independent learners and to help them find an appreciation for science. The emphasis of UbD is on "backward design", the practice of looking at the outcomes in order to design curriculum units, performance assessments, and classroom instruction. In backward design, the teacher starts with classroom outcomes and then plans the lessons, choosing activities and materials that help determine student ability and foster student learning. Teachers should tell students about big ideas and essential questions, performance requirements, and evaluative criteria at the beginning of the unit or course. Students should be able to describe the goals (big ideas and essential questions) and performance requirements of the unit or course. The classroom learning environment should have high expectations for all students to come to understand the big ideas and answer the essential questions. Tom incorporates UbD and SBG in my science classes because they increase expectations, put responsibility on the student to be reflective in terms of their learning, and allow the learners and myself to direct learning based on the outcome of assessments.
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