Special Issue: Creating a Classroom Culture

Dear ChemEd X Community,

Most chemistry teachers are making strides toward incorporating science practices into their curriulcum. Many of us are incorporating strategies that include particle level discussions, simulations, white-boarding and group work into our lesson plans. Some of us have been trained in using POGIL activities, Target Inquiry activities, Modeling Instruction, STEM and other practices. No matter what that looks like in your classroom, it is now more important than ever to create a classroom culture and garner buy-in from parents, colleagues, administration and most of all...students. Over the summer we received a variety of submissions for our. Even though we have published these contributions all summer, we have grouped them here in this special issue of our newsletter to highlight them all together. We hope that you find them valuable. 

You can find some posts related to classroom culture that were published before the Call if you look at the original  or searching "classroom culture" in the . We hope you will engage in the conversation by posting comments and/or questions on any of the posts concerning the topic. Of course, we will continue to accept submissions related to classroom culture and other topics related to chemistry education. If you would like to author a manuscript, please review the . We have provided a  that will help you organize your manuscript. You can upload your submission using the . You can also contact us through the .

Cheers to another year of teaching chemistry!

Deanna Cullen

     

By adjusting how your students talk about stoichiometry, you will adjust how they think about it; eventually, they’ll proportionally reason in a more effective manner. Language is key to learning and chemistry is often regarded as its own language; so, armed with the right choice of words at your disposal, you could easily create a culture of proportional thinking in your classroom. Best of all, it only requires trading one Latin preposition you already use – “per” – for its two-word English meaning: “for every.” The author, Gary Abud, suggests that teachers commit to adopting “for every” speak in their chemistry class. Then, he provides concrete examples that show teachers how to scaffold student thinking and guide those students to deeper conceptual understanding of stoichiometry problems.

     

When you incorporate non-traditional pedagogies and grading systems into your classroom like Modeling Instruction and standards-based grading, you need to be concerned about buy-in from students and parents. Implementation without buy-in leads to frustrated students, parents and most of all teachers. You can save yourself from this frustration by establishing a growth-mindset classroom culture from day one. The author shares a resource and tips for building a classroom where students feel comfortable to fail.

 

     

Over the past 30 years, numerous articles have been written about the importance of student teacher relationships. The National Education Association, NEA, offers advice for beginning teachers that includes establishing the classroom climate, conducting class efficiently, and reaching all students. When teachers effectively connect to their students, discipline problems decrease and student engagement increases. This author shares an innovative way to make connections and cultivate relationships.

 

     

Having used both flipped and blended strategies, the author shares his experience and discusses why he is now using a blended format rather than sticking with the flipped approach. He also considers roadblocks to creating a classroom culture for the blended classroom and invites discussion from our community.

     

The author, Tom Kuntzleman, has his students complete a small research project during three laboratory sessions. He meets with students individually to discuss project ideas. During this meeting he does not ask students what it is about chemistry that they find fascinating. Instead, he asks students to tell him about themselves. He asks questions such as: What do you like to do for fun? What do you want to do when you graduate from college? What movies do you like? What kinds of food and drink do you enjoy? What aspirations do you have? Once he has a feel for the kinds of things a student enjoys, he begins to research how chemistry is related to – or can be used to investigate – one or more of their interests. Read the article to find out how he uses this information to inform his students about the relavence of chemistry to their lives.

     

What is the very first impression that you want to make on students? Do you want to pass out a bunch of papers about the syllabus, rules and policies? Do you want kids to be thinking and acting like scientists? Chad Husting explains how he uses "Miracle Fortune Teller Fish" on his first day to engage his students and help create the classroom culture he hopes will continue the rest of the year. Chad also submitted a blog he titled, .

 

     

Michael Morgan shares how he has worked with colleagues and students to build a culture of “NErDy” at a school that will likely surprise other educators. He shares his inspiration for the path that he has undertaken along with some rewards. Of course, he has been successful because of his passion for education and his devotion to his students. His story is an inspiring read. You might also be interested in his 2015 blog post,  and his more recent activity, , published in August of 2017.

     

We hope you enjoy the content mentioned here and other content at ChemEd X. If you find ChemEd X content useful, please consider to help support ChemEd X using our online store. In addition to supporting the free content we make available, you will also get access to our complete and to help in teaching and learning chemistry. If you would like to contribute content, begin with the . For other questions or comments, please use our