Author Archives: Gabe Kraljevic

Differentiating for an “Out of This World” Student

I have one student whose knowledge of Earth and space exceeds the other students in class. I feel like I just keep giving him more work, more extension activities, and I think he is getting frustrated. Do you have any suggestions for how to deal with this? How do I grade this kind of assignment? […]

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

Presentation Props

My middle school students are creating organism presentations. How much scaffolding should I give them? — P., New York Students take more interest and greater ownership when they come up with project ideas themselves and teachers provide, as you realize, a scaffold. I have found this guidance results in higher quality presentations and a better […]

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

What did you learn today, teacher?

I’m teaching a science methods class. I’d like to know: What was the most important thing you learned in your undergrad science methods classes? What do you wish you had known about science teaching that you didn’t learn in undergrad? – L., Illinois   This post to an NSTA e-mail list produced excellent responses and […]

Posted in Ask a Mentor | Tagged , , | 4 Responses

Quick Lab and Activity Assessments

I would like to include a rubric when students are completing various labs and activities in science. Could you share any examples? – A., Iowa I have found that checklists, in particular, are good assessment tools during a lab. The objective is to quickly assess and record student performance while still monitoring the lab as you […]

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

Sub Plans for Physics

This is my first year of teaching physics and I can’t think of generic substitute plans for this class. Can you suggest some generic/emergency plans that could help me?  – E., Michigan One of the hardest things is to wake up knowing you can’t make it to work and you’re now scrambling to provide something […]

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

Cool/Hot Tech

I have been thinking about getting a thermal imaging camera. Specifically, an attachment for an iPhone that allows it to do thermal imaging. If you had one in your classroom, what would you use it for?  – R., Alaska This is a great idea! Having a hands-on device to explore phenomena beyond our senses is an […]

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

Mass Marking

We are incorporating more writing opportunities in our middle school and high school science classes, both “formal” and ”informal” writings. How can one teacher grade more than 180 pieces of writing in a timely fashion with feedback that allows students to learn and grow?  – L., California   Here are some things I have tried […]

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

Value Your Support Staff

I hope that everyone has learned who the most important adults in the school are: the support staff! Custodians, administrative assistants, teachers’ assistants (TAs)— these people are invaluable and can make your life much easier. Many of these people have been working with young people for a long time and will often have insights and […]

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

Overwhelmed

I’m a new teacher and I can’t believe how ragged I feel—I seem to be just barely ahead of the class. I have lessons that are not going to plan and I feel like I’m just running around non-stop. Please help! —W., Virginia This is probably no surprise to anyone in the first months of teaching: […]

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

Starting a Club

I would like to contribute to the extra-curricular activities in my school, but I’m not sure what I can do. Do you have any suggestions? —T., Pennsylvania Some of my most rewarding teaching experiences often centered around extra-curricular science clubs. The appeal of a club (for the teacher and students) is that it is not a formal […]

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