Oct 02-Nov 17, 2017
Credit: 0 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $250.00
Instructor(s): Bob Marstall and Kristie Miner

Course Description

See a video from the instructors here.

This course is designed to introduce educators to a unique methodology for teaching organized observation as a pathway to nonfiction writing in the science classroom.

Our methodology - a series of expository drawings and writings, readings and discussions – is based on the data-backed premise that teaching students the key skills involved in organized observation will improve their ability to build accuracy and detail in their drawing, which will lead to improved expository writing and scientific thinking skills.

Students in the course will:
  • Learn the key skills of organized observation
  • Learn about the anatomy, care, and life cycle of a flowering plant through a series of hands-on science modules
  • Build on new knowledge of organized observation to research and investigate an additional plant species
  • Communicate results of research and investigation through expository drawing and writing

Meeting Place and Times

This course will meet online.


Bob Marstall, MA. Bob is a landscape painter and an award-winning nonfiction children’s book illustrator with a passion for painting, a deep interest in nature and many years as a K-12 art teacher. In addition, Bob has extensive experience with online teaching, curriculum development, creating and conducting professional development workshops for teachers, public speaking (nationally and internationally) and making connections between art, science, observation and picture books.

Bob has illustrated nine nonfiction picture books for children and his very first fiction picture book, On Bird Hill, was published in May 2016. Awards include: a National Science Foundation Artists and Writers grant for travel to Antarctica to research Weddell seals for a picture book; the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award; a Reading Rainbow book selection (selling over 250,000 copies); an ALA Notable book; an IRA Teachers’ Choice; a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children selection; and three John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers selections. In addition, he has two books included in “1001 best books of the 20th Century” in the NY Times Parents Guide to the Best Books for Children (1st & 3rd ed.). For more information, please visit

Kristie Miner, MSEd. Kristie is the Literacy Coordinator for the Whitney Point Central School District in Whitney Point, New York. She completed her MSEd at Binghamton University and received a certificate of advanced study in Literacy Coach Training for the Literacy Collaborative at Lesley University. Kristie has 23 years of elementary-level teaching experience in both general and special education, and she is currently enrolled in the doctoral program in Educational Theory and Practice at Binghamton University. Her research interests include developing quality-writing practices using a cross-curricular model of instruction and her dissertation will further explore the relationship between observation, drawing and writing in the elementary-level classroom.

Target Audience

This non-credit enrichment course is for K-8 teachers, community educators, homeschool educators, or anyone interested in walking away with the latest methodology to strengthen their students’ research, investigation and communication skills. No application. No grades. Just practical knowledge and relevant skills to help you be an even better teacher.

Time Commitment:

5-7 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees


Required Books/Materials

  • Stork, K., & J. (2008). You Can Grow African Violets. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse. Available at Amazon: $18.95 (pbk) ISBN: 978-0595443444

Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

Kelly Boyce

How to Register

Register Online