Category Archives: Ms. Mentor

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Teacher reflections

When I was student teaching, we had to do a “reflection journal.” Now that I have my own teaching assignment, I’m wondering if teachers keep such a document. If so, what do they put in it? What format do they use and how do they find the time for journaling?   —L., Vermont Teachers are constantly […]

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Supplementing a budget decrease

Our principal just informed us that the science department budget will be decreased for next year. It’s already bare bones, so my colleagues and I are interested in finding other funding sources such as grants. What do we need to know to get started?   – G., Oregon In a perfect world, schools and teachers would […]

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Science “home”work for interested students

I have several students this year who are really into science. I’d like to provide or suggest some elementary-level projects or activities that parents can do with them at home to encourage this interest. Do you have any ideas beyond book lists and activity sheets?    —M. from Maryland Your desire to foster student interest in […]

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Student teamwork

I like to consider my classroom as a partnership with the students. So this year (my first year), the students were able to choose their own teams for cooperative learning and lab activities. This worked out in some cases, but there are teams that don’t seem to get much accomplished. They’re often off-task and unfocused. […]

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The way it’s supposed to be…

I have been trying to incorporate more inquiry-based investigations into my biology curriculum. But the students are upset. They want to stick with the cookbook labs where they follow the procedure and complete a data table that I give them. —T., Colorado It seems like you’ve noticed how high school students (and some of their […]

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Elementary science connections

Help! At my school, science is a special that my first graders go to once a week. I’m looking for integrated and engaging ideas for science that I could use during regular instruction. As most teachers know, time is precious, but I think it’s vital to pique students’ interests now while they are still curious […]

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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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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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