The Big Idea From AACT: Teacher Learning

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I am very excited to introduce “The Big Idea From AACT” to the ChemEdX website. AACT has been invited to share news of current events and visions in order to bring our two communities together and support each other. I thank Deanna Cullen for initiating this important communication.

Many members of ChemEdX are also members of AACT. However, there is still a population of teachers who do not know about AACT. For this first post, I would like to start with a brief description of our organization and highlight one of our offerings.

The American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) formally began in August 2014. In just four years, the organization has grown to a membership of over 5,500. While the majority of members are high school chemistry teachers, the organization also includes K-8 teachers of chemistry, pre-service teachers, and affiliate members who work or have an interest in education. AACT has members from around the world.

The large, diverse memberships of AACT and ChemEd X are closely linked through formal educational systems. For most teachers, this time of year corresponds to a new school year starting. The beginning of the school year means that it’s time to spice up your lesson plans. In addition to a large selection of lesson plans, AACT provides excellent learning opportunities to help you find new ideas and refine old ones. The top three sources for teacher learning shared in this post are: webinars, Chemistry Solutions, and the AACT newsletter (AACTconnect). AACT delivers learning opportunities to teachers through a series of webinars throughout the year. These exciting webinars are available to members and nonmembers, so you can sign up now at www.teachchemistry.org/webinars. If you are a member and can’t attend a webinar, they are available to you in the archives.

 

This is just the beginning of planned webinars for the year: 

  • Lessons Learned from the 2018 AP Chemistry Exam ~ September 6, 2018

During this webinar, Paul Bonvallet, Chief Reader, will outline the logistics and scoring process for the 2018 AP Chemistry exam and discuss practices for consistent, fair, and accurate grading of the free-response section. • AACT Resources and Website Open House September 12, 2018 Join AACT President, Sherri Rukes, Immediate Past-President, Jenelle Ball, and President-Elect, Heather Weck, as they guide participants on a virtual tour of the AACT website. All resources will be unlocked for a 24-hour period so that attendees can see all of the valuable classroom materials available to AACT members. • Designing Effective Multiple-Choice Items for Chemistry September 25, 2018.

 

  • AACT Resources and Website Open House ~ September 12, 2018

Join AACT President, Sherri Rukes, Immediate Past-President, Jenelle Ball, and President-Elect, Heather Weck, as they guide participants on a virtual tour of the AACT website. All resources will be unlocked for a 24-hour period so that attendees can see all of the valuable classroom materials available to AACT members.

 

  • Designing Effective Multiple-Choice Items for Chemistry ~ September 25, 2018

AP chemistry teachers face the challenge of finding multiple-choice items that are similar in style and format to those that appear on the AP exam. The theme of this webinar is the process of writing items that emphasize conceptual understanding and higher-order cognitive skills.

 

  • Using NGSS Practices to Explore Chemistry Concepts: Phenomenon, Modeling, and Arguing from Evidence ~ October 17, 2018

If you are a high school teacher, this is a great opportunity to invite your middle school colleague to a joint professional development experience. Join Jessica C. Levine and Emilie Mosko, middle school physical science teachers, to see how existing chemistry curriculum can be easily modified towards an NGSS storyline. Presenters will highlight their lesson design of a groovy phenomenon to engage students in chemistry concepts such as density, heat transfer, particle motion, and phases of matter.

 

In addition to webinars, Chemistry Solutions (the online AACT periodical), always has articles that describe what teachers are actually doing in classes. These articles give teachers an opportunity to learn from the experience of others. The most recent edition included the following:

 

  • Reflections of an AP Chemistry Exam Reader

This article describes a chemistry teacher’s experience as a Reader for the AP chemistry exam. She shares some reflections, pointers, and insights to help guide other AP Chemistry teachers in hopes of helping them prepare their students to achieve mastery on the exam.

  • Instant Feedback on Quizzes

In a preview of his September 25 webinar, a high school teacher describes his successful implementation of a system for providing students with instant feedback on their chemistry quizzes. This idea can be easily implemented in your classroom too!

  • Setting the Tone for Safety with Younger Students

This article outlines the basic considerations for lab safety in the elementary science classroom. Sample student safety contracts are provided by the author for teacher use.

 

Through the newsletter, AACTconnect, we share a plethora of learning opportunities for teachers. For example, we often highlight an article of interest for K-12 teachers from the Journal of Chemical Education (JCE). Members of AACT may download up to 50 ACS Pubs articles (including JCE articles without a fee.)  You can sign up to receive the newsletter anytime.

Throughout the year, I will be sharing more resources and networking opportunities from AACT. I hope you will check out our website or connect with us through social media. As a professional community by and for K–12 teachers of chemistry, I enthusiastically invite you to get involved.

Thank you for the opportunity to share information about AACT with the ChemEdX community. I wish everyone a terrific beginning to your school year!

Jenelle Ball
AACT Immediate Past President
www.teachchemistry.org