Well, I can now say I have taken my first high school science (CHEM 20 – Chemical Bonding) unit to completion! I have learned a lot!
One interesting thing about teaching a unit for the first time is that I get to see the students learning increase throughout the unit, but I’m right there with them learning each day. For me, I am definitely re-learning some of the chemistry involved in the material, but I’m also learning lots about teaching & learning and how connected they are. I think is so important as a teacher is to understand that we are forever learning, which is one of the things I love most about the job.
Key Learning (but not limited to):
- There are teaching strategies that are extremely effective for certain topics, and others that are not
- The gradual progression, scaffolding, of learning is so important to help students make connections to their learning
- Direct instruction is extremely important to help guide student learning – without it they are lost!
- Kinesthetic activities help bring abstract chemical bonding concepts to life, which help students make connections to their learning and expand their understanding!
- Through reflection and discussion with my TA, I have realized that student-student and student-teacher interaction is extremely important to me as a teacher. I am extremely comfortable when the students are engaged in activities and out of their seats doing so. Personally, I find that this fits my teaching style better than when they are seated for extended periods of time. Recognizing this – “To incorporate more kinesthetic activities that are meaningful to promote student learning”, will be a goal in my PSIII.
The students; this is why we are teachers, is it not? For me it certainly is. The relationships that I have formed with my students has definitely helped me to see where I can grow and improve, what I’ve done that has been successful and what I’ve done that wasn’t bad, but could be better. Authentic relationships with students are crucial when building a classroom community and have played a strong role when I’ve reflected on my own teaching practice.
Today, we begin the solutions unit. I will take my learning from the Bonding Unit and apply them here to this unit, even though they are very different. A goal for this unit is to incorporate kinesthetic learning activities to help my students make the connections to their learning. I also think that it is crucial for me to continue to ask more questions of my TA so that I can ensure I have the nitty gritty details of the topic being discussed under control.
I’ve attached two of my better lessons from the unit, I plan to attach additional lessons with reflection soon.
Until next time,