This past week was a very exciting week for me. I took my teaching certification exam on Wednesday and I passed all sections! I am so happy to accomplish this because it has been a very important long term goal for me. In Science this week, my students took their Midterm Science Exam and I am eager to see how they did. I continued to teach about the land of Earth. Next week, I will continue this theme and we will begin to discuss the water of Earth as well and that all living organisms need water. By planning out my lessons in advance, I am able to sequence my lessons so that they are cohesive and continue to follow the same ideas and theme to match the needs of my students. This allows me to meet FEAP 1B, “Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge.” I will be continuing to meet the science standard, “SC.1.E.6.1: Recognize that water, rocks, soil, and living organisms are found on Earth’s surface.” This helps me meet FEAP 1A, “Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor.”
This week seemed as if it was a shorter week (especially in the area of science) due to the science midterm and my absence on Wednesday to take my certification exam. I still; however, wanted to make sure to have strong and engaging science plans so I explicitly outlined my plans for the day that I would be absent so my collaborating teacher had an outline to follow so my students continued to stay on track in science.
One lesson that I was really proud of this week was my exploration, guided inquiry lesson that I taught on Friday. For this lesson, I provided each group of students with three plates—one plate of sand, one plate of rocks and sand, and another plate with dirt from outside. The students were given the opportunity to not only look but to touch the samples. I did not give a name to any of the samples and simply told the students to draw and write down their observations and what they think each sample was called and possibly where it came from. I was amazed at their responses. The students were completely engaged because they could freely touch and explore the materials and I was glad that my explicit instructions helped me make sure that there were no messes or spills.
I incorporated my science goal into this lesson by asking prompting questions to my students. This allows me to meet the professional FEAP 1A: “Designs purposeful professional goals to strengthen the effectiveness of instruction based on students’ needs” and FEAP 1D: “Engages in targeted professional growth opportunities and reflective practices both independently and in collaboration with colleagues.” I was completely astounded at their responses, which can be found in the attachment above labeled transcription. One of my favorite interactions with the students occurred when one group was examining the rocks and, completely on their own, realized that the sand is “little rocks” that come when “you bang [the rocks] a little bit.” I was so excited to see that there were many great responses, which I believe occurred because my students were so excited and engaged by the activity. At the end of the lesson, I had my students write down what they observed and learned in addition to their notes. Below are some student responses.
I will continue to work on my science goal for the rest of science content coaching. I am so glad to see this progress in my students and in my own teaching methods. I hope to continue to grow as an educator by giving myself professional goals to meet that help me increase student engagement and elicit their understanding.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, my students won the STEM Fair for their grade level at my school. We will be competing with other students in the school district next week. We worked on creating a poster board and we did our best to make sure that student work was at the front and center of the post. In the end, the only aspect that was not student made was the heading made from pre-cut letters. [In the pictures below, there are typed up headings but my collaborating teacher and I decided it would be best to have the students write the headings so we replaced that with student work.] My students and I are very excited about this project and are glad to have the opportunity to compete and display their work.
Another important event that occurred this week was Conference Night. Since the second 9 weeks are over, teachers have been meeting with parents and guardians to discuss the progress of students. My collaborating teacher and I met with many parents on conference night, which helped me meet FEAP 4E: “Shares the importance and outcomes of student assessment data with the students and the students’ parent/caregiver(s)” and professional improvement FEAP 1C: “Collaborates with the home, school and larger communities to foster communication and to support student learning and continuous improvement.” I was so happy to attend and to be able to talk to parents directly about their students in the areas that I take the lead on teaching and planning.
Next week is the final week of science content coaching and then I will begin reading content coaching in the following week. I will be volunteering as a judge in the district STEM Fair competition as well. I am excited for this opportunity to participate in my community. I posted a link to download my lesson plans for this week and as you may notice, it contains my lesson plans from the previous week and this week. The old plans from last week are in black and the new plans for this week are in blue. Most of the content remained in black because it was relevant to both last week and this week, for example, standards, misconceptions, and background knowledge are all areas that remained the same so I decided to keep the color the same. For the next week, I will be adding in my new lesson plans to this template in a different color to work on planning and creating a cohesive unit.