Category Archives: Ms. Mentor

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Making the Most of Class Time






At the beginning of class, it takes my students a long time to settle down. We are wasting time as I try to get their attention. Any suggestions? –T., Maryland                                   To take advantage of the class time we have, it helps to have an established routine so students know what to do when they come […]

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Time for science?






When I was student teaching, I had some really good science lessons for second-graders that lasted about an hour. But now I have only a half-hour for science each day. I need suggestions for shorter lessons. – C., Colorado I’m glad to hear that your school schedules science daily. In many elementary schools, science and […]

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Working cooperatively






I’m frustrated by my sixth graders. When they’re supposed to be working cooperatively, they are unfocused—it seems more like a social event. By middle school, shouldn’t students know how to work cooperatively? Or are they too immature? – G., Virgina Immaturity is not an excuse. I’ve seen wonderful cooperative learning taking place in kindergarten classes, […]

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Figure-it-out time






I get frustrated when I give directions for an activity and students immediately have questions about what to do. How can I help them become more confident and self-sufficient?  —C., Michigan Students have us trained! We offer directions or suggestions, and students know we’ll go over them again (and again). Some students panic right away […]

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Integrating Science and Engineering






In my elementary schedule, I barely have time for science, and now I’m concerned about teaching engineering, too. I’ve never studied engineering. Can you suggest some resources? —T., New Jersey You might feel a little more confident after reading “The Next Generation Science Standards and Engineering for Young Learners: Beyond Bridges and Egg Drops”  from […]

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Navigating a New Role






This year, as a science supervisor, I will be observing teachers. I’m not sure whether I should interact with them during classroom visits if I see something that could be improved. How involved should I be? —J., Pennsylvania You have a wonderful opportunity to observe (and learn from) a variety of teachers and share your […]

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Feeling stressed






I’m a first-year middle school life science teacher. After a few weeks, I am really stressed with all of the planning and paperwork. Any resources or words of encouragement? —L., New York Welcome to science teaching! Every teacher has gone through what you’re experiencing, even if they had a great student teaching experience. Fortunately, there […]

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Ideas for a new mentor teacher






My principal asked me to be a mentor for a new science teacher. I received a checklist of high school policies to review, but how can I help him in other ways? – T., New Jersey In my experience, a good mentor can be a role model, a good listener, a source of suggestions and […]

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Surveying student perceptions






I want to study my middle school students’ perceptions of what and how they are learning in science. Do you have any suggestions other than a traditional survey? —R., Ohio I found some research on the topic at Drawn to Science: Studying Science Teaching and Learning Through Drawings.  The authors examined “how the science teaching […]

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Connecting with your students






I meet with more than 100 students per day in my Earth science classes. As a relatively new teacher, I need suggestions on how to get to know them better including learning their names and interests in a timely manner. – L., Connecticut Students like to know teachers care about and respect them. Knowing their […]

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