May 2015 ChemEd X Newsletter

Chemical Education Xchange


Dear Readers,

Spring has finally arrived to the Great Lakes area in which I live and I am in the final rush to finish up my curriculum as my school will close for summer break in just four weeks. There have been several retirements in my district that will begin at the end of this school year. We are busily trying to interview potential replacements. The good news is that we have several excellent candidates for the science opening that we have. I sat in on the first round of interviews. I know that any of the candidates we sent on to the next round will be a good fit, so I am happy to let our administrators make the call on who will fill the position. It is a good thing when the biggest problem is deciding WHICH great candidate gets the nod! 

I view sitting in on interviews as a form of professional development and it serves to remind me of why I teach. I enjoy hearing recent graduates and experienced teachers share their best strategies and resources to explain what their classroom will look like if we walked in on a lesson. I picked up a few tips and I took notes on some resources that I want to check out. As sad as I am to let go of some of the teachers that I have considered "family" for so many years, I am also excited to work with any of these young teachers that have fresh and innovated ideas. They all seem anxious and willing to take advice from veteran teachers on staff (like me), so I think this will be a valuable collaboration. As I get closer to my own retirement years (I am not counting down just yet!), I am still enjoying working with students, but I also find great satisfaction mentoring those that will carry the torch for the next generation of teachers in my district.

Deanna Cullen


Shelly Belleau suggests that teachers should collect data to make informed decisions about whether or not we adjust the curriculum in the courses we teach. 


Doug Ragan reflected on previous lessons and outcomes and revised his lessons for salts, dissolving and finding the molar mass of a hydrate. He walks us through the transition to using a pHet simulation and creating an activity with manipulatives. Links at the end of the article allow teachers to download the activity and teacher key.


Need a book suggestion? Erica Jacobsen read The Martian by Andy Weir recently. Read what she has to say about integrating novels into the curriculum. She offers suggestions for related articles about other books to use. Plus, she specifically provides ideas and supplemental science connections for using The Martian.


Do you need a sub plan or are you looking for an opportunity to engage in discussion or have your students write about history, ethics and chemistry? This 35 minute docudrama may be what you are looking for. Activities and resources are provided in the links.


Community outreach is a valuable, but time consuming endeavour. Read this article about an annual Halloween themed chemistry show and find some ideas for potential outreach opportunities in your own area. The authors provide supporting information that will be useful to anyone organizing their own community outreach activity.


 - The Relevance of Chemistry

The May issue has just been released. Explore manuscripts covering topics on drugs, health, scents, viscosity and more. The ChemEd X review of the May issue includes links of interest "from the archives". 


Making Plans for Summer PD? Check out these opportunities:



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