Late last school year at a staff meeting, teachers were informed that we were going to be coached and encouraged to introduce more vocabulary instruction to
“So what corners of the periodic table do I have to memorize in order to get an A on the trends quiz?” This was a question that was asked by one of my students at the beginning of our periodicity unit. For countless educators we teach chemistry because we have a passion for trying to understand the world from an atomic level. However many of our students have extrinsic motivators which result in attempts to find shortcuts to recall the material. If we want to avoid responses like the one stated above we have to identify if we are asking thorough questions when assessing our students.
In an earlier post, I discuss some of my unit planning that (I hope!) further breaks down a few of these misconceptions - my students are not teaching themselves on google. They are weaving back and forth between learning content and the larger reason for learning the content.
However, every single one of these comments above are valid. It is really difficult work to ultimately balance individual accountability and group accountability. Every student needs to master basic stoichiometry before they leave my general chemistry course.
One challenge I have is knowing how to evaluate labs properly. In writing my new lab manual, I am setting up rubrics for each lab. The ultimate goal is for this manual to be used by all instructors across the chemistry department at our community college, so they need to have a consistent grading system. Writing these rubrics has been challenging.
Throughout my 21 previous years as a teacher, I have really struggled to provide meaningful (and timely!) feedback to my students on their lab reports. Teaching IB Chemistry has really forced me to get better - and I have. Yet I still feel like this is an area for more improvement.I've got a series of blog posts planned to share some ideas with you - and hopefully garner some discussion that will be helpful for me also! First I'd like to share the mechanics of how I provide feedback.
The June 2015 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers at http://pubs.acs.org/toc/jceda8/92/6. This issue includes articles on curriculum; assessment; inorganic chemistry; investigating galvanic cells & exploring LEDs; atomic structure; nanochemistry laboratories; physical chemistry in the lab; synthesis.
In a previous blog post, I shared my thoughts about the importance of science teachers (and all teachers, really) supporting their claims about lesson efficacy with evidence. While this doesn’t always need to be a formal research study, it can often be valuable to publish findings that will be helpful to other science teachers.
n teaching we regularly change our class structures and routines and we implement new “interventions” in hopes of changing classroom dynamics or reaching more students. I know that most of the time I make these decisions based upon anecdotal evidence, perhaps after glancing at a handful of exit tickets from my students or based upon how I “felt” the class went. Recently, though, I’m finding myself a little more hesitant when making a claim about my class. I require that my students support their claims with evidence, so why wouldn’t I also support mine with evidence?
During our “Periodic Table and Periodicity" unit, we take about 3 days to learn the content and another 3-4 days to practice the content (more for Chemistry 1, less for Honors). One way that I have my students review the content is by playing a board game that I recreated from an NSTA conference a few years ago.