Category Archives: Ms. Mentor

Get advice, and discuss the advice given! Click on a headline to read the entire post.
Have a question for Ms. Mentor? E-mail her: msmentor@nsta.org.

folder icon  Also posted in Conferences

Should I present at a conference?






My colleagues and I recently attended an NSTA conference. On the way home as we discussed what we learned, they suggested I share some of the successful activities I do in the classroom, but I’m not sure that others would be interested. Plus, I’d be really nervous doing a presentation, and I’m not sure how […]

Also posted in Conferences | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The last days of the school year






I’m looking for suggestions for what to do during the last week of school, after final exams are over. I teach high school chemistry.  —T., Maryland It’s hard to justify students (and parents) why students should come to school on the last days of the year, if all they do is watch videos, do busywork, […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged | 4 Responses

Meaningful class discussions






I’m looking for suggestions on how to have class discussions that are meaningful and help students with our learning goals, especially discussing current events or the results of our investigations. Sometimes it goes off-topic or students don’t listen to one another. —C., Virginia Being able to discuss issues and ideas in a productive manner is […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged | 1 Response
folder icon  Also posted in Conferences

Attending a conference?






We are excited about attending an NSTA conference next year (it would be our first conference). The school has professional development funds to cover some of the expenses, but we have to write a proposal describing what we hope to learn from it. Any suggestions on what to include? We’ve never been to an event […]

Also posted in Conferences | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Apprehensive about teaching science






I’m nervous about teaching science. It was not my favorite subject in high school and I took only the required courses in college (mostly lecture). My elementary math-science methods course included science inquiry, but I had very few opportunities to do science activities during student teaching. Now that I’m on my own in a first […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Girls and science






I teach middle school, and I’m looking for ways to interest girls in science. I seem to get a lot of “It’s too hard” and “I don’t like science.” What strategies could I use to overcome these attitudes? —C., Texas It’s hard to believe we’re still having this conversation in 2016! And yet the NSTA […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Leave a comment

Advice for a new principal?






Our new principal, who used to be a language arts teacher, doesn’t seem to understand what it’s like to be a science teacher. He’s a good guy, but what can we do to “educate” him on what we do?  –L., Massachusetts I posed your question to a colleague who is a middle school principal. He […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Leave a comment
folder icon  Also posted in Conferences

First Time at an NSTA Conference? Up Your Game With These Insider Tips






Are you attending the 2016 NSTA National Conference on Science Education  in Nashville in March 31-April 3? If this is the first time you’ve attended the national conference, it can be overwhelming! Here are some suggestions to consider before you go, updated from last year: At this point, you should be registering, making arrangements for […]

Also posted in Conferences | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Teaching on the record






My mentor wants to video my middle school science class. I’m not having specific problems with students and I think my lessons are good, but this still makes me nervous. Why would she want to do this?  —G., Minnesota Actually, your mentor may be doing you a favor by introducing you to a meaningful professional […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged | Leave a comment

Addressing misconceptions






My upper elementary students have had very little formal science instruction. I’m finding that they have a lot of “knowledge” that consists of misconceptions, half-truths, and opinions. I’m looking for suggestions on how to deal with these misconceptions.  –P., Minnesota Along with their notebooks and pencils, students often bring misconceptions to science class. It’s hard […]

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged | Leave a comment