September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

A Year in the Life of Two First Year Teachers: Part Five

Posted: Saturday, January 1st, 2011

by Rick Pomeroy, with Sara and Ellen

As the first semester was drawing to a close, I thought it would be interesting to ask Sara and Ellen what changes they would like to make for the coming semester and a little bit about how they felt they did.  As you can see from their responses, the crush of finishing before the winter break has not dampened their abilities to reflect on their first semesters of teaching.

Rick: Sara and Ellen, now that you have completed your first semester of teaching, what have you learned and what changes are you planning for the coming semester?

Sara: I feel that my first semester went fairly well.  I had to adjust to the two-hour classes every day, which was a bit of a struggle because sometimes I would plan things that moved much quicker or slower than expected.  I also found that it is much more difficult to keep students engaged because many of them mentally check out halfway through.  However, now that I feel like I have a handle on the timing, I think I need to tackle the issue of continuing engagement.  As a first-year teacher, I also had to get myself situated as far as deciding on different policies.  Some of the policies I made on first day of school have not held up, while others have emerged.  I think next semester will be a good time to strengthen those policies so that I have a solid set of policies next year.  Overall, I believe that second semester will allow me to focus more on my teaching rather than deal with all of the adjusting that I was forced to do this semester.

Ellen: Now that the first semester is complete, there are two main things that I will change.  First, I will spend less time covering introductory topics, such as review of mathematics skills and name-games, and start by diving right into chemistry content.  Rather than covering mathematics skills first, I will be implementing them throughout the chemistry curriculum where they apply in the standards.  The second change is I will be making sure my daily warm-up activities incorporate previous curriculum covered.  I have decided to make sure I review material more so that students are more comfortable bridging concepts throughout the entire curriculum.

(NOTE: Ellen teaches in on a 4×4 block schedule. She will be teaching an entire year of chemistry to a new group of students starting in mid-January—RP)

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis, and is CSTA’s president-elect.

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Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis and is a past-president of CSTA.

One Response

  1. Great to hear the stories of two first year teachers. Tough job and its great to see they are already learning so much

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Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.

Is This a First: Young Female Teens Propose California Water Conservation Legislation?

Posted: Monday, August 28th, 2017

Meet the La Habra Water Guardians from the Optics of their Teacher Moderator, Dr. P.

by Susan M. Pritchard, Ph.D.

You have just won the 2016 Lexus Eco Challenge as one of four First Place Winners in the Middle School Category across the nation! Now, what are you going to do … go to Disneyland? No, not for four of the six La Habra Water Guardians, Disneyland is not in their future at this time. Although I think they would love a trip to Disneyland, (are you listening Mickey Mouse?), at this moment they are focused big time on one major thing … celebrating the passage of their proposed legislation: Assembly Bill 1343 Go Low Flow Water Conservation Partnership Bill and now promoting the enactment of this legislation. Learn More…

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From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.