Especially JCE: November 2016

What surprised you most about class last week? What do you think was the muddiest point in class last week? These two questions are part of an article that caught my eye in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education—Surprises in the Muddy Waters of High-Enrollment Courses.


What is on your mind? This is your opportunity to post a chemistry question, ask a pedagogy question, begin a discussion or make a suggestion for other chemistry teachers. 

Student Recommendation Tips

Every year, high school teachers across the country are asked to write college recommendations for their current and former students. With today’s competitive college culture, and an ever-growing list of teacher responsibilities—how can we be expected to write 10, sometimes more, original college recommendations each year for our students? As a teacher who was just introduced to all of this two years ago, I’ve spoken with college recruiters, researched how and what to include within a recommendation letter, consulted with guidance counselors (who see the range of recommendations, confidentially), and, most importantly, spoken with veteran teachers who write recommendation letters. After putting together the results of everything that I have learned, I have developed the following set of tips and advice. So, whether you are a pro at writing recommendation letters and are just looking to keep your letters fresh or you are a complete novice, as I was not too long ago, I hope that my advice will be helpful to you.

ACS James Bryant Conant Awards

The national ACS James Bryant Conant award was established in 1965 to encourage and recognize outstanding high school chemistry teachers.  Candidates are chosen based upon evidence of high quality teaching, ability to challenge and inspire, extracurricular activities that support their work and pursuit of continued improvement of their role as an educator. The award will be sponsored by the Journal of Chemical Education and ChemEd X with a permanent endowment beginning in 2017. Find out more about the Conant Award at

Suggestion Box

This is your opportunity to voice your opinion about ChemEd X, ask a general question, suggest a topic of discussion or just send a note to our ChemEd X community.

Contribution Guidelines

The Chemical Education Xchange platform provides a space for discussion, exchange of ideas and valuable resources, and collaboration among chemistry educators. By creating a free account, users may download resources, participate in discussions, and contribute unique content. Manuscript types include Events, Picks, Polls, Blogs, Articles, Laboratory Experiments, Activities and Conceptual/Data Based Questions. Policies for Submission are discussed.