Reflection, Week 5

October 8th, 2010 | Uncategorized |

Another week down. This week was a little different, since my CT was out all week. I went in on Wednesday and Thursday and subbed for her, and it was much better this time because she left content for me to teach rather than just make them do worksheets. So, I got to run a powerpoint on enzymes and chemical reactions. It was fun, but I ran into the same problem I had when I was doing my microteaching: assuming the students have more background knowledge than they do.

My teacher always gives the students a “Do Now” questions that’s on the board when they walk in, and the question she left for me to put up was for them to copy down the chemical equation for photosynthesis, and then have the students circle the reactants and underline the products. Many of the students did not know the answer, and got them backwards. I remember learning this material in middle school life science, so I was quite shocked that they had trouble with it. Next, I had them run a lego activity. I had one student come up and take 2 legos and snap them together, over and over again. Separate, the legos signify the reactants, together they are a product. I had the student put together as many “2 lego products” as he could for 1 minute. Then, I had a second student come and assist the first student (representing an enzyme). Then, I took away the helper and taped the first student’s hands together and had him do it again, representing a temperature or pH change.

In my Anatomy sections, we did a lesson on Stem Cells. We started with a debate activity, in which I would read a statement and the students would move to one side of the room if they agreed with me or the other side if they disagreed, and then we discussed it. To my surprise, only a few students thought getting stem cells from embryos was morally wrong, and just about everybody was all for stem cell research. Then, they read an article dealing with stem cells, and then we redid our debate. There were a few changes in stances, but the second debate was much better because they knew more about it. Then, they wrote a RAFT paper (Role, Audience, Format, Topic). They all had to write some sort of paper in which they chose their role, audience, format, and topic, as long as it dealt with stem cells. The example I gave them, and then most of them used, was a citizen writing a letter to their congressmen advocating stem cell research.

On another note, I felt proud of myself for disciplining a student yesterday (I’m such a pushover!). On his way out of the class, one student jumped up on the table to get by others so he could get out faster. I saw him out of the corner of my eye and made him come talk to me in the back of the room. I told him since he tried to get out 30 seconds faster, I was going to make him wait 30 seconds before he could leave. I felt like a real teacher!!

3 Responses to “Reflection, Week 5”

  1. You have made the insight that student baseline knowledge is important because it affects student understanding of your lesson. When I was the teacher, I needed to assess my students preexisting knowledge. I often used online pretests that students did outside of class, or before the day of the lesson. I also had students answer questions that were interspersed in muy PowerPoint where all students had to respond, either using a class response system or by holding up a card. There are many other ways to do assess baseline knowledge. In a situation like substitute teaching, you can ask some questions to the class – maybe with the thumbs up, thumbs down response – to get a quick assessment of prior knowledge. The “Making Sense of Secondary Science” book points out a lot of areas of student misconception. What other ways can you think of that might help to assess baseline knowledge?

  2. I’m so impressed with you for disciplining a student already! My teacher keeps telling me that I can write referrals/detention slips if I feel they are necessary, but I’m still not really comfortable doing that yet! Also, it sounds like you did a great job explaining chemical reactions/ enzyme activity using the Legos. My CT mentioned that her students didn’t do so well on the enzyme section of the SOL Benchmark exam, and I wanted to say to her, “That’s because you only used Powerpoints to explain it!”

  3. One thing Jonathan’s story about the kid walking on the table illustrates is that referrals and detention slips are not the only forms of discipline. What Jonathan did was a cause and effect disciplinary action… he related the cause (the misbehavior) to the discipline (30 seconds longer). That’s something I used with disciplining my own child… Just remember you don’t have to refer everything. And, also, one on one talking to students can be very very effective in dealing with issues. Hmmmm, think I’ll mention that to some of the others….

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