Category Archives: Ms. Mentor

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Displaying Student Work

I inherited a classroom-lab from a retired teacher, and I want to replace some of the generic posters with displays of student work. One of my colleagues says this is not a good idea. She didn’t explain her reasons, but now I’m not sure what to do. —Therese, Charlotte, North Carolina I’ve worked on statewide [...]

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Students as peer-editors (p. 2)

A previous question from a teacher related to using the peer-editing process in science class. Jaime Gratton follows up with a summary of her experiences: I would love to share what I did. I also received some responses and helpful resources from members of the NSTA email lists. For example, Jani replied with “My favorite [...]

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Students as peer-editors

My students are working on research papers about inventions or chemical processes set mostly during the Industrial Revolution. I was wondering if you had any suggestions about peer editing. —Jaime, Goffstown, New Hampshire Examining and commenting on each other’s writing can be a meaningful learning experience for students. By looking at others’ writing, students can [...]

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New teacher “nightmare”

I am looking forward to my first teaching job, but I’m concerned about how parents will react to my being a “newbie” in the science department. Will this be an issue? What can I do to start off the year on a positive note? My nightmare is that all of the parents will request their [...]

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Scheduling make-ups

At the end of a unit, there are always students who haven’t completed some assignments. Coming in before or after school is not an option for most of my students. Rather than moving on to the next unit, knowing they’ll fall even further behind, I’d like to provide some class time for this make-up work. [...]

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Observing students as an assessment

As part of a science methods class, we’ve been assigned to create an observation tool to assess students. I’ve seen many articles and suggestions online for helping students become good observers and tools for administrators to use when observing teachers. But I haven’t seen much on teachers observing students. What can I assess by watching [...]

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Connecting with students

I’ve recently switched from a self-contained sixth-grade classroom to a middle school science position where I meet with five different classes each day. I find it challenging to connect with students the way I used to when I had the same students all day. —Jessie, Seattle, Washington I remember a time my principal called into [...]

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Lab management

My colleague and I are early–career science teachers at a middle school. Rather than our reinventing the wheel, do you have any suggestions how to make lab days run more smoothly, especially at the beginning and end of the class? –Sean, Oakland, California To ensure lab periods run smoothly (and safely), planning and preparation are [...]

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Getting a grip on grading

I feel overwhelmed by the grading process. It seems like I spend most of my waking hours grading homework, lab reports, tests, quizzes, notebooks, and projects. I teach two science courses at the high school and meet 150 students every day.  What can I do to use my time better and meet the deadlines? —Stacy, [...]

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From new teacher to colleague

I’m a new teacher fresh out of college, and I took a job as a chemistry teacher in a different state. I had a good student teaching experience, so I’m okay with the students and the curriculum and I love the area, but as a newbie I feel isolated from the other teachers who already [...]

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