Getting to know my middle schoolers...

Discussion in 'Sixth Grade' started by Bri120, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. Bri120

    Bri120 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 7, 2008

    I'm going to be a first year teacher ( I just graduated college in May.) I originally wanted k-2 however, I landed a 6th grade science position. I'm extremely nervous about the position because not only do I feel unprepared about the age, but I don't know a ton about science.

    I know I went to school to be a teacher and therefore as long as I'm willing to learn, I can do 6th grade science, but it's still very scary. So any tips you want to send my way I'd be very grateful!

    I was wondering...my 6th grade situation is a middle school one (6th 7th and 8th grade.) I am teaching 4 classes of science a day.. and I was wondering are the first couple days of school supposed to jump right inton science or can I do some rules and getting to know you activities?

    thankss :confused:
     
  2.  
  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,815
    Likes Received:
    1,637

    Aug 8, 2008

    Congratulations on you job, Bri120! You certainly need to spend some time going over your expectations and doing some getting to know you activities, but the quicker you can start into your lessons, the better--it will help to set the tone for your classroom ("you will be working here") and will also help you to get to know your students academically.
     
  4. snap2blaam

    snap2blaam Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 9, 2008

    I have been teaching 7 years for An urban district and your worries are the same as everyone elses. Any one who tells you thier not nervous the first day may not be being honest with you or theirselves. Meeting new people is tough. Especially, 120 12-14 year olds who already have a sizable chip on thier sholders. As for start of year, I' ll relate an event I witnessed in my district. THree years ago my superintendent was visiting the classrooms of different elementarys and middle schools. SHe stopped in to a building and watched a teacher, a veteran teacher do a beginning of the year warm up, you know warm and fuzzy, get to know you, THey news covered that particular classroom and I saw it on the news. THe next day I got an email from my superintendent informing the entire district that we were in the business of educating the nations youth and we had better get to it! the superintedent had called that teacher into the office after school and informed her that there was no time for fun and games and that she would be well advised to plan a real lesson for the next day.
    I can't tell you what your district will say but I would definetly have curriuclum going day one, along with homework, don't let people tell you to not smile because you and the kids are nervous and i hear smiling will curb the gag reflex in the back of your throat. (ps I spent 20 minutes the first morning of teaching hurling because I was so nervous)

    I m a science specialist this year for sixth grade if you need any help!!!!!!!!!!
     
  5. trina

    trina Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 9, 2008

    I teach MS science, and after the preliminaries- handing out books, going over the rules (I recommend Power Teaching btw) I have several activities. Once I passed out art supplies and gave them the assignment "draw a scientist." You will be surprised at what kind of pictures you will get. I then turn these into a bulletin board with a mirror that says "THIS is what a scientist looks like." I feel this empowers them from the beginning to dive right into learning like a scientist instead of memorizing facts.

    I have also led them through the scientific method (without telling them) using a simple in-class experiment using sugar free and regular lifesavers (which one melts fastest?).

    My goal is to grab their attention and light the fire of enthusiasm for science on the first day.
     
  6. michelleann27

    michelleann27 Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Messages:
    595
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 9, 2008

    Congratulations. I teach 8th grade science i placed all my notes centered on MCT practice test questions and placed them into power points so far the kids are loving it. All tests are MCT formatted. I taught day one this friday was the second day. Don't give them no down time at least or district doesnt go for that. I am a tested subject test is March the 4th 2009 it will come very quick. I also start in jan and give three practice test by the time we have the real one. I also start the MCT practice book about mid Jan. Any more questions email me...
     
  7. forchange

    forchange Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 15, 2008

    This is an awesome idea!
     
  8. Teach0831

    Teach0831 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 20, 2008

    Bri120, I am sure you will do a great job! This is going to be my second year teaching science. I teach at a private school, and because they are more lax about credentials, even though I was an American History major, I was allowed to teach science. (The year before I taught a self-contained first grade class.) I teach 4 sessions of science to 5th and 6th graders. Last year, I was so scared and worried about teaching science. What I discovered is that kids LOVE science - as long as you make it interesting. Plus, at the 6th grade level, everything you need to know is in the book. Last year, I spent the first two days going over my rules, policies, and expectations. At the end of each session, I allowed the kids to help me with hands on experiments that I knew would be interesting. The kids loved it. My advice is to make the subject really fun. I found that the kids wanted to come to my class because they knew there would be something interesting happening each day. It does take a bit of prep on my part, but the behavior is so much better when they enjoy being in the class.
     
  9. Bri120

    Bri120 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 20, 2008

    Thank you so much for all the responses.

    Trina,
    I love the idea of drawing a scientist with the mirror. Did your students think that was babyish?
     
  10. MS teacher

    MS teacher New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 30, 2008

    your idea


    Would you kindly share the specifics of this activity?:

    "I have also led them through the scientific method (without telling them) using a simple in-class experiment using sugar free and regular lifesavers (which one melts fastest?)."

    Thanks!
     
  11. trina

    trina Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 30, 2008

    OK- so here's my LONG step by step procedure. If you are a member of NTSA you can access the journals online and read it yourself. I read it in the actual journal at my college library. I went back a week later to make a copy, and doggone it if they hadn't sent it off to be bound into a book for permanent shelf placement. Thank goodness I have a good memory because I'm not a member of NTSA!

    Pose the question "What do you think will melt quicker- regular or sugar free Lifesavers?" I think the article used Certs as the candy, but I couldn't find Certs! You will get all kinds of answers. Ask them why they think one will melt faster than the others. A debate will start. Ask "How could we find out for sure?" A kid will invariably say "We can eat one!"

    Keep in mind that the power of this activity is to not discuss the SM as you are doing it. Act like this just randomly ran through your head and you honestly just were curious. Later you will close all the loops and show them how scientist use the same query method every day and design experiments to find out the answers. You let THEM meander their way through all the steps, and you just pose questions that get them back on track or lead them in the right path. They will remember the steps if you let them figure it out. Another key is to pose "false" questions or suggest scenarios that mess up the experiment and that will make them put in the constants to control the experiment.

    So you say "Ok, so I eat a regular one. How can I tell if it melted faster than a sugar free one?" They will answer "Buy some of both and then time yourself!" Respond "Ok, but what if you did it too and something different happened in your mouth, like you REALLY suck yours hard, and I just kind of let it sit there. Our results would not be the same." Eventually you should get someone to say "Let more than one person try it." From here you agree, and suggest that you would get a few people to try it and time them. Pose a false question like "Ok, so how about 5 people get regular and 3 people get the sugar free" to make sure they are thinking scientifically. (Plus they love telling the teacher what's wrong with her idea!) Be sure that a kid says that you should average the times in both groups.

    OK, so now you have had them figure out the control and experimental groups. Now it's time to have them define the variables and constants. Say "OK, so say I get 10 people to agree to help me figure this out, and 5 get the regular, and 5 get the sugar free. What if one guy really likes the cherry flavored one I gave him, so he just crunches it up as soon as I give it to him?" Typical responses that will result from the discussion and questions you continue to pose will include: make a rule that you can't chew it, make a rule that you can't park it in the side of your cheek either, make a rule everybody puts it in their mouth at the exact same time so it's fair, no talking or laughing, suck it in a normal fashion like if you were in a church service, etc. (See one more constant later in this explanation!)

    Once you are happy that they have put parameters in place, tell them what a great job they've done in designing the experiment, pause, and pull out the bags of candy and exclaim "So let's do it!"

    Break them up into 2 even groups. If you have an odd # of kids, you suck on 1 as well to make it even. Be sure you have a stopwatch. Give each group their respective candies. **Hint- be sure to give at least 1 kid a broken one or one that is missing a piece, even if you have to break it yourself. When the kid says "Mine is broken" (and he WILL because all the kids want their candy to be perfect) say, Oh... does that really matter? Hopefully they will catch on and realize that that's another rule to add- Everyone's candy must be the same for it to be fair.

    Be ready to say "Go" and time them. I had my kids raise their hands and stick out their tounges to show me that it was gone or just a sliver left. It depended on the rules the class had decided on to tell when the candy was officially "melted." One class said it had to be all the way gone, another said gone to just a crescent, and one didn't figure that part out in their constants, so I added it. It IS pretty hard to suck a sliver, you know!

    Write down the times in 2 columns as they raise their hands. At the end of the experiment, write all the data on the board. Here again is a PERFECT interdisciplinary moment to add math into the science class. Ask "Does anyone have a problem if I take my calculator and add all these numbers together and divide them by the number of students in that group?" This part is tricky because you are trying to motivate someone to say that time noted as 3:35 for 3 minutes and 35 seconds is NOT the same as 335. One class I had grabbed this right away, the other struggled with the concept. Again, don't give them the answer. Ask "What should we do?" Hopefully you'll get someone to say "Convert the times to all seconds." To test this idea I checked it by using the board and converting a time to seconds and then back to minutes and seconds. Now that they had seen me do it, I gave each kid a time to convert. Give them a minute. Have them call out the converted time. You can do this next part or ask them to do it. Average each column of time and convert back to minutes and seconds. You will get your answer. Be sure you help them correctly interpret the answer. The shortest time melted quicker.

    Follow up- Discuss the results. Why did the sugar free melt quicker, or why did the regular melt quicker? NOW......you can review the steps of the SM. Be sure to point out the observation stage, the data on the board, and the analysis. Be sure to ask what equipment was needed to carry out this experiment. You can even discuss what other constants or variables could be put into place if you did the experiment again. Be sure to show how only 1 variable was needed at a time- don't compare Jolly Ranchers and Blowpops with sugarfree and regular Lifesavers all in the same experiment.

    I hope that helps all of you, and that you have as much fun with it as we did!

    Trina
     
  12. kdw1913

    kdw1913 Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 30, 2008

    I absolutely love this idea. It could work for any subject. I think I will do that on one of my short days this year and ask them to draw what a mathematician looks like. Thanks for the idea, Trina!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Backroads,
  2. MissCeliaB,
  3. RainStorm
Total: 271 (members: 4, guests: 248, robots: 19)
test