We recently asked Melissa McDonald, a 6th grade science teacher in Baraboo, WI, to tell us about her experience teaching with IQWST in the classroom.
I decided that the 2012-2013 school year would be my last year teaching science and health to my beloved middle schoolers. To understand why I left, though, it’s important to first understand why I became a teacher. I entered the profession to not only empower children to understand the world in a different (scientific) way, but to also challenge myself as an educator to think about the world differently – to challenge my assumptions and reflect upon my values in an effort to be a better teacher (and person).
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” This is one of my favorite quotes from Carl Sagan and perhaps one of the most important things I know to be true about science. As a former science teacher and student myself, it’s probably something I’ve experienced in the lowest capacity in a science classroom.
I just returned from a major educational technology entrepreneur’s conference at Arizona State University. Three thousand people attended from a variety of new and existing educational companies. I saw some amazing things and met some great people.
A smell wafts across the room as student after student raises their hand when they are able to smell the substance. They are then asked to draw a model to explain what happened in this scenario. Is the smell represented by waves?...by dots?...by squiggles? Through a series of activities and readings the model is revisited again and again throughout the unit, as students work to develop their understanding of the particulate nature of matter based on these new experiences.
I have been involved in marketing and selling research-based science curriculum materials for the past 20 years. In that time, I’ve seen some drastic changes in how schools and teachers review and pick materials to use in their classrooms. With email, social media, instant messaging and voice mail dominating communication channels, very rarely do salespeople call a school, get connected to a live person and give a pitch over the phone. Teachers and administrators are very selective about who they speak with and what information they choose to discuss over the telephone. One thing that hasn’t changed is the credibility of one of the most powerful sales and marketing resources any publisher has – testimonials from the teachers who use the product.
While conducting a recent NSTA webinar on NGSS and the Common Core for Literacy in Science, I posed the question: “As a science teacher, which of the literacy standards do you feel least confident to address in your own classroom—the reading, writing, or speaking & listening standards?" Audience members voted electronically; the system tallied responses.