Author Archives: Mary Bigelow

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Student teaching frustration

Teaching is my second career. I used to work for an environmental agency, but I’m having second thoughts about this switch. I took over for my cooperating teacher at the beginning of this marking period. I have a very diverse group of kids. Some are willing to cooperate, others very willing to test or disrespect me. I do not […]

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NSTA journals: A goldmine for teachers

One of the perks of being an NSTA member is having access to all of the journals online. Regardless of the grade level you teach, the journals have ideas for authentic activities and investigations that can be used, adapted, or extended for different levels of student interest and experience. The articles in NSTA’s November K-12 […]

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Prepping for a pre-service teacher

I agreed to work with a student teacher next semester, and I’m looking forward to the experience. I teach three classes of biology and an AP class at the high school and two sections of middle school science. Should the student teacher take all of these preps, including the middle school one? In addition to […]

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Hesitate to Participate? Part 2

In a previous blog, a teacher posed a question about getting her students to participate in discussions. She shared her experiences in trying the strategies suggested by our colleagues and her reflections on the results: I have already implemented pair-share strategies, and students varied in their willingness to talk to each other. I found at […]

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Hesitate to participate?

I know this is a rare problem: quiet kids. But what suggestions do you have for a ninth-grade class that is made up predominately of students who seem to be unwilling (or unable) to share thoughts or ask questions during class discussion. They’re even hesitant to answer direct questions aloud. Add to that all the girls […]

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Crosscutting Concepts in NSTA Journals

The more I learn about NGSS, the more I’m intrigued by the crosscutting concepts. These concepts are the big ideas that transcend and connect the core ideas and processes within and in between traditional subject areas. This month’s Science & Children has a guest editorial on the topic that is a must-read for teachers of […]

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Any questions? Good.

I need suggestions on encouraging students to tell me when they don’t understand something. I ask my classes if they need any help, but no one seems to have any questions. The next day, it’s as if they never heard of the topic before! —A. from Nevada Questions are good, but sometimes people don’t have […]

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Play and exploration

I’ve been reading the literature on the value of play in learning. I do give my students unstructured activity time in science class, but I’m not sure they’re getting anything out of it. For example, I gave each group of students a board and several toy cars. They began playing with them, and when I […]

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“Time” on task

I’m a new high school teacher looking for suggestions on how to estimate the amount of time a lesson will take. My lessons look good when I plan them, but I find that often a lesson is either too short and we have extra time at the end of the class or I run out […]

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NGSS and 21st century tools and skills

One of the perks of being an NSTA member is having access to all of the journals online. Regardless of the grade level you teach, the journals have ideas for authentic activities and investigations that can be used, adapted, or extended for different levels of student interest and experience. In NSTA’s September K-12 journals, the […]

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