Author Archives: Gabe Kraljevic

Good Times!

How can I teach science when my school only allots 15-20 minutes per day to teach it? This usually comes at the end of the day when students are worn out. —N., Louisiana It can be very frustrating to have only tiny chunks of time to teach. One thing you can try is to block […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged , , | 1 Response

Summertime, and the livin’ is…

I am looking for recommendations on how to spend my summer preparing to implement the science program our school district adopted. —C., Illinois Without knowing the specifics of your district’s program I can’t say precisely what to do, but I have some general advice. First, this is your summer break—take some time to unwind and […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A lecture about lecturing

How can you check for understanding during a lecture to make sure it is engaging? —S. Ohio Although I hated lecturing, I often felt the need to do so, particularly in advanced grades. My advice is to keep direct instruction short and avoid mindless note-taking. Some things I can suggest: Have students complete anticipation guides, […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tech Talk

I was wondering how other teachers implement technology in the classroom? I think that simulations have the ability to encourage student inquiry, but often their presence seems to distract students from the learning. What are your thoughts? —K., Wisconsin There are many different kinds of technology in addition to laptops and tablets. Smartphone apps, sensors, […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let it go! Let it go!

  I’m a pre-service teacher who is a little scared about teaching inquiry-based science in the classroom! What are some things you wish you knew before teaching elementary school science? —K., New Mexico   I understand your anxieties about inquiry-based learning but think of it as the most natural thing a child does! Adults just tend […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Be My Guest!

I’ve read about inviting guests into the classrooms for a day. Would you recommend that for a new teacher or would it be best for students to see me as the expert initially? Also, how can we get experts into the classroom? —A., North Carolina     I loved bringing guests into my classrooms! I […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Vision and Leadership

I have applied to multiple teaching programs for my time after college, but I’m worried that I look too young to be taken seriously as a teacher. How do you gain the respect of students who may not be much younger than you? —D., California If you are thinking of teaching at the elementary or middle […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Out with the old, in with the new?

I am about to graduate and become a new teacher. Is it a good idea to use lesson plans that are handed to me and maybe need to be tweaked or is it better to write brand new lesson plans each year? —G., Florida Since I never had an entire class comprehend 100% of what […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How much to teach?

I am a student teacher in a kindergarten class and I have been struggling with focusing on laying the foundation for my students. But how much is too little? How much is too much for students at such an emergent level? —Y., Arizona   This is something teachers in all grades grapple with! The first person […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Professional Balance

What can we do to better support our teachers in ways such as development to help decrease the burnout rate? —I., Connecticut Teacher burnout is a world-wide phenomenon. My predecessor, Mary Bigelow, addressed this issue a couple of years ago (https://goo.gl/PS4HWJ) but it merits continued discussion. I’ve maintained that strategies for avoiding or mitigating burnout […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged , , | Leave a comment