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Michelle Brown  @MsBrownTeacher

Michelle Brown @MsBrownTeacher

Michelle has taught 6th-9th grade science in Texas and New York City for eight years. Following teaching, she became a math/science instructional coach and is in her second year coaching teachers. She currently lives in State College, PA with her husband and daughter. Michelle received a M.Ed. in Science Education from the University of Texas at Austin and loves to immerse herself in science--she worked in the GK12 program and will be taking her second trip to Antarctica to work alongside researchers as a PolarTREC teacher in November of 2015. Michelle's experience as a science teacher and coach has led her to blog about finding ways to help new science teachers navigate the profession.

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There are a lot of aspects of teaching that are learned best through experience, however many systems and approaches can be shared and can save new science teachers a lot of trouble.  Although I will never consider myself a “master” teacher, I do hope my insights can help you navigate the minefield of teaching science.

It’s already the end of September and you may feel as if you missed some key steps in getting prepared. Below are some first steps I recommend to get your year off to a good start. Ideally they are completed before the year begins, but it’s better late than never!

 b2ap3 thumbnail organized  Get Organized

  Here are some initial ways I get organized:

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

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To Consider During Your End of Holiday Grading

As the holiday break dwindles to a final few days, you may finally be thinking about grading all those papers you brought home. With a resolution to be a better teacher, I thought I would share one small way to help students improve their work, and perhaps instill some self-efficacy and a growth mindset.

Before you start marking up papers, consider the following: students who receive “wise” feedback, particularly African American students with low trust of their teachers, are more likely to edit drafts and work towards improving their work. (You can read the academic paper to learn more.) 

How to Give Wise Feedback

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

 What's in a Science Notebook?

There were a few moments as a new science teacher where I was stunned at how much thought I put into something that students didn't bat an eye at.  One such instance was arranging desks (we can tackle this in another post) and another was deciding on what system I should use for students' notes and papers. 

Although many students lose, forget, never bring, or rarely use their science notebook, for us teachers the notebook is very important. Some schools or departments require a specific system. If this is your school, be grateful--the decision of what to do can be paralyzing.

Many veteran science teachers, myself included, are adamant that our notebook system is the best. Although you may find you prefer a different method, below is my favorite way for students to take notes and stay organized for science class.

My Science Notebook System:

The Materials

I am a devout composition book user.  I require all students to bring in two composition books (college bound, 100 pages).  I do not accept any other type of notebook. (When a student brings in anything else, they trade their notebook in for a composition book!)  Why the composition book?  Because for some mysterious reason, students are less likely to rip out pages from a comp book than a notebook. 

Although the students just need to bring in two composition books, I purchase a few other items to make my system work. These include:

- File folders - one for each student

- Tape boxes and dispensers for each table

- A continuous supply of tape

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