Institute of Human Origins - March 2024


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Elementary Science

Student Teaching

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Annie Ackley Annie Ackley 670 Points

I will be doing my student teaching this coming fall in a 3rd grade class. Does anyone have any helpful tips, resources, or advice for a first time classroom teacher? Thank you!

Kathy Renfrew Kathleen Renfrew 37148 Points

Annie, I know that force and motion is a 3rd grade topic in NGSS. There are two performance expectations around force and motion. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. 3-PS2-1 Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion. 3-PS2-2 If you take a look at these, think about what type of instruction would have to happen for students to be successful with these two outcomes? Maybe coming up a question students would need to answer by doing an investigation?? My favorite book to use with force and motion is Sheep in a Jeep. Although it is a very simple book,it could be used with older students to introduce the concept. You might have students stand up each time they hear something about a pull,clap hands when they hear about a push. Lots of ideas :-) i also have some other favorite books that might be used with 3rd graders. We could talk for ever...what are others thinking?? Kathy

Maureen Stover Maureen Stover 41070 Points

Hi Annie,

Congratulations on starting your student teaching, and welcome to the teaching profession! Kathy gave you some excellent ideas for finding resources with the NGSS forums. NSTA has a wide variety of resources available that I'm sure you will find useful. The Learning Center has an Advanced Search tool that enables you to search the NSTA resources by keyword, resources type, grade level, and/or price point. It's a very useful tool to help you locate some of the fantastic resources in the Learning Center.

Once you find out which topics you'll be covering, you can also post in the Community Forums to ask for resource, activities, and lesson plan ideas.

Best of luck to you on your first few days as a teacher! :)


Yagaira Gonzalez Yagaira Gonzalez 1635 Points

During my first semester of student teaching I learned a lot about relationships with students. I was in a 4th grade classroom. When you meet the students be sure that they take you serious. You can't be too friendly with them or they will run all over you. Have your limits and make sure that they know that so that they will not give you a hard time while you are teaching or working with them in any other way.

Ana C Rodarte Ana C Rodarte 2020 Points

I am currently in my student teaching and know exactly how you feel. I am sure you have gain some experience. One thing to always keep in mind is that we were once their age. As adults we may forget what it is to be a kid and may want to set strict ruling, but it is important to allow some freedom. From personal experience, connecting with my students has truly helped in pushing to complete their work. I always reinforce that there is a time and a place for everything. Students need to know you they can trust you, and that you care for them. Keep improving, hope you semester is going well.

Neville Beckford Neville Beckford 2155 Points

I am doing practice teaching presently in a high school, it is very important that your cooperating teacher introduces you as a teacher and not a student teacher. Your cooperating teacher hopefully has a good management plan, you should follow the rules of that plan. In your observations be careful to look at how the different behavior patters are handled, i have noticed that in every class there are students with the potential to produce the same range of problems. I know a good management plan should prevent or difuse most, but be prepared.

Neville Beckford Neville Beckford 2155 Points

I am a first semester student teacher at a high school and my advice to you is to observe your cooperating teacher closely. They have been around the block so to speak and possess some skills that took years to perfect. I have noticed more than anything else how my cooperating analyses class situations quickly and diffuses possible disruptive situations. It might not be so serious in your 3rd grade class but being able to recognize situations early is a skill worth emulating.

Evelyn Truong Evelyn Truong 4180 Points

Here is a good website to find different experiments to try out. They also have a YouTube channel as well. Some experiments can be for more of the higher grades, but there are definitely experiments that elementary school students can do and learn from as well. Take a look, there is a lot of information and experiments to look at!

Amy Yee Amy Yee 2205 Points

I am currently finishing up my last semester of student teaching in a kindergarten classroom. But, even though I am in a kindergarten classroom and not a third grade classroom, I have found that certain websites, resources, suggestions, strategies, and etc. can really be applied in any grade level with some modification. I would recommend that you stay in constant communication with your cooperating teacher. Your cooperating teacher probably volunteered to have you as his or her student teacher, so hopefully, they would be more than willing to help guide you and lead you to success. Take the time to observe your cooperating teacher for effective teaching styles, classroom and behavior management strategies, engaging lesson plans and activities, and etc. Ask the teacher if he or she can give you additional copies of any lessons, activities, or strategies that you liked and would like to incorporate in your own classroom one day. Don't be afraid to ask the teacher questions and get feedback from him or her. After some time, make sure that you take the initiative and show that you are willing to learn and take on more responsibilities. With more time, practice, and experience, you (and other people) will definitely begin to notice the significant improvements that you have made. Be confident, and don't be afraid to take risks!

Deondra Seamon Deondra Seamon 1875 Points

Dear Annie, Hello. If you haven't already contact your cooperating teacher. He/ she should be able to give you the agenda/timeline for the curriculum. Look up your state's standards for 3rd grade, if you are unable to contact the teacher. Good luck!

Brandi Salinas Brandi Salinas 1335 Points

My suggestion is to talk to your cooperating teacher as much as possible. Ask a lot of questions. Make sure you stay on your game. The principal, assistant principal, counselor, and other teachers all notice. Join as many teaching websites as possible. Soak it all in!

Catherine Lobrin Catherine Lobrin 1770 Points

I been student teaching for roughly a year now and the best thing I can suggest to you is having a open communication line with your cooperating teacher. Usually, your school will pair you with a cooperating teacher who has been teaching for a while to help assist you in anyway. If you have questions or concerns talk to him/her, try to be involved as much as you can. Bring a journal take down notes or write any questions you may have. Best of luck!

Jaclyn St. Armand Jaclyn St. Armand 2840 Points

Hi Annie, I am a pre service teacher myself and I have found that the most important thing a teacher can have is good classroom management skills. I find that responsive classroom works best. It allows you to create a healthy and respectful learning environment for all of your students. It takes time but it is something I try to practice every time I am in the classroom with the students. If you have good classroom management then you will be able to do all sorts of fun and creative activities without having to worry about your classroom getting out of hand. Depending on what grade you teach one strategy I use is a "Think About It Sheet". Whenever a student has really misbehaved I give them the sheet. It contains questions such as: Why do you think you received this sheet? Were you making wise decisions? Were your actions your fault? What could you have done differently to avoid this situation? Then a parent or guardian is to sign below. I find this tool to be very effective!! I only give it out when I feel a student really needs to think about what he/she has done. Hope this helps in some way. Best of luck. Jaclyn

Virginia Herbert Virginia Herbert 1505 Points

I completely agree. Classroom management can completely shape the way students learn and interact in lessons!

Cinthia Rodriguez Cinthia Rodriguez 4505 Points

I am in a first grade class and the importance of having classroom management is such an important asset to develop especially when the students are so young.

Sandra Lundy Sandra Lundy 1605 Points

Classroom management is a very important aspect of a classroom. The better you are able to manage the behavior and redirect it, the more you will be able to teach. Not only will you be able to teach more, you will be able to do more things that are fun and engaging. There are multiple different ways to redirect behavior and still hold students accountable. Even simply talking to them will get the job done.

Kandida Brooks Kandida Brooks 1225 Points

I was in third grade my first semester in student teaching. As long as you build a relationship with your students and your mentor, you should do just fine! I loved third grade. They are still young enough to love school but old enough to do things on their own. Good luck!

Teague Rab Teague Rab 1050 Points

Annie, Enjoy the time while you are in the classroom. It depends what time of the year you are going to be in the classroom on what you will be doing. When it gets closer to STAAR time the techers will be concenrsting on STAAR. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Good Luck! Teague Rab

Neville Beckford Neville Beckford 2155 Points

Building good healthy relationship with students is really the important part of the job, once that is done the ground work is set for a productive teaching and learning environment. I must say it is much easier with younger students, as a highschool student teacher I coppied my cooperating teacher greeting students at the door daily. It is amazing to see the impact that your first daily encounter can have. I have gotten to know aome of the students and i am able to get them in a better frame of mind before they cross the threshold into the classroom.

Jorge Ramos jorge ramos 2140 Points

Student teaching is an exciting journey there is so much you will learn through experience. Learn as much as you can from your cooperative teacher of things you might want to implement once you have your classroom. Gather as much resources that will be beneficial. My tip is to be positive and you will do most of your learning in the field.

Sandra Lundy Sandra Lundy 1605 Points

I completely agree with you Jorge. Most of your learning will take place in your assigned classroom! My advice would be to just be open and willing to try things. This is your time to practice and figure out what works and what does not work.

Tristana Guyote Tristana Guyote 850 Points

When I went into my third grade class as a first time student teacher, I wanted to be their friend more than their teacher because of how nervous I was. I learned over time that this is not the best approach because then when it comes time for your lessons, the kids want to have fun and play around. Be strict first, have fun later. Good luck!

Sandra Lundy Sandra Lundy 1605 Points

I like this advice. It is okay to be nice and friendly, but just not their friends. They will definitely take advantage of this when it comes to you having to discipline them and redirect them. Take this advice and set your rules and management expectations ahead of time and stick to them; you will appreciate this later in the year.

Alexandria Charles Alexandria Charles 1520 Points

I am student teaching in a second grade classroom this academic year. The most valuable tool I have found so far is my relationship with the students. Learning them as people and students has helped me plan lessons. I know what interest them and how they learn, I plan my lesson around them.

Mollie Cox Mollie Cox 1735 Points

Good afternoon, I am also in a third grade class for my Student Teaching Field placement. Before the school year started, I offered to help my Cooperative Teacher set up her classroom. This gave us one on one time to get to know each other and offer time for me to ask her any questions I had about student teaching and the students. Good advice that my CT told me is that many teachers forget what it was like to be in elementary school. So remember how you were in third grade and let it help guide you when you decide to decipline the student. I created interest surveys at the beginning of the school year so I could get to know each student better. I hope this helps you in your journey in student teaching. It has been a great experience for me and I hope it will be for you as well.

Alexandra Turpin Alexandra Turpin 1375 Points

Introduce yourself to the teacher via e-mail prior to the first day of entering his or her classroom. Let him or her know about upcoming projects you will have to do when you find out about them do not wait until the day before. When you are not in the field keep in touch with your CT so you are up to date with what and how the students are doing. Not only must you build a good relationship with your CT but also with your students. Each morning my CT stands by the doorway and welcomes each student in and asks them how they are doing. This shows the students that their teacher cares and she is creating a welcoming and safe learning environment. Do not overuse rewards! The students in my classroom get rewards for bringing back papers that their parents had to sign because of the failing grade they made. From what I have seen the students can care less about the grade they got they are just going to bring it back in order to get their reward.

Sha' Antoinette Price Sha' Price 4615 Points

I am Student Teaching in a fourth grade classroom. I agree it is essential to create a relationship with students. By this point of the school year, I have learned my students' likes and dislikes. I have also determined how my students learn best, which helps me when planning lessons. Although it is important to have a relationship with students, you must establish a boundary. I've realized the importance of differentiating when to be friends with students and when to be strict.

Ashlea Creel Ashlea Creel 1215 Points

I complete my student teaching in 3 weeks! Woohoo! At the risk of being an echo, the best advice I can give you is to get to know your cooperating teacher as soon as possible. Remember that you are a guest in their classroom but do not be afraid to ask questions about curriculum. practices, and management. Those questions are best saved for times when students are not around but as long as they are asked humbly your cooperating teacher will be a great resource for you. Also, if you are allowed I would at some point ask to sit in on as many different classrooms as possible. Observing different teachers, grade levels and subjects will help you get a sense of what you would like to teach (it may change a lot over this year!), develop a teaching style and see different management systems in place. Good luck to you and congratulations on starting your student teaching!

Marisol Rios Marisol Rios 1280 Points

Congratulations, i bet you are excited and nervous at the same time, but don't worry time is going to fly by and you are going to learn so much and enjoy being in a third grade class. This is my second semester student teaching but i was actually placed in a third grade class for my first semester, just like you. i recommend working with small groups as much as possible, this grade is a huge transition for most kids and working in groups will definitely have an impact on kids. I was in a reading class, so my lesson plans were very engaging, my students would create foldables and i had them create an interactive notebook as well. Remember that you are their teacher and and not their friend, it was challenging for me because i came in towards the end of the school year. The students did not take me seriously at first, but towards then end, i was able to practice on my strategies and got better at it. Good luck, wish you the best.

Tasneem Khalil Tasneem Khalil 3870 Points

I am a student teacher as well, but in a 2nd grade and a 3rd grade classroom. I found it interesting working with different groups of children. I learned so much about their personality, their behavior, and their learning styles. Also, I think it is really important to build a good relationship with the students and also the parents. I recommend you to attend all meetings like Open House, parent conferences, and lesson planning meetings; all of these helps a lot and you will learn as you go. I student taught in both grades and they are quite different in the two grades. Make sure you have techniques for developing self-discipline so it can help get tasks done with managing the class. Pay close attention with what your cooperating teacher does in his/her classroom because you can learn from it as well. Don't hesitate to ask questions to your colleagues because I believe you can learn that way too. Good luck future educators!

Angela Vogt Angela Vogt 1490 Points

Hi everyone! I am currently doing my student teaching in a special education classroom and I would love to bring science into the classroom more as I don't think the children are exposed to it enough and some of my high functioning kids could actually benefit from it? Any materials and or books you would recommend for young children (5ish) that are also special needs? Thanks!

Kourtney Fyffe Kourtney Fyffe 1185 Points

You should check out this website; It is filled with great and useful information, especially for new teachers!

Victoria Robayna Victoria Robayna 600 Points

WOW! this is a great resource :) thanks for sharing this can be beneficial in the future it has a lot of informative video.

Dennishia Bailey Dennishia Bailey 1300 Points

One tip I can give about student teaching is to get know all of the teachers on your grade level team. Although you will spend most of your time with your CT, the other teachers on the team will be a great resource with more ideas than you can imagine.

Michaela Baca Michaela Baca 325 Points

I am currently a student teacher and will be graduating from my program this month. My advice is try and jump right in to teaching as soon as possible. The best way I learned what works and doesn't work for me is by actually doing it. Also, classroom management is key, so I would focus on that at first.

Sarah Lindsay Sarah Lindsay 350 Points

I am currently in my 3rd semester of student teaching. My advice would be to get involved as often as you can. When I began asking my mentor teacher for opportunities to teach a lesson that she had pre-planned I became more comfortable with all aspects of student teaching. "Wait-time" is a great classroom management tool. This is when you pause in the middle of teaching and wait to regain the students attention, the students will learn more and you will feel respected. I also suggest finding ways to contribute to the classroom or school such as painting signs for the fair, bringing in books for a subject they are covering, or noticing a supply the class is low on and bringing it in for them. This is a way to say thank-you to the school and also show the students you are a part of their classroom and appreciate them, children pick up on that. Good luck!

Kendyl Todd Kendyl Todd 626 Points

These are all such great ideas. I am really looking forward to trying out these tips in my classroom.

Rachel Stuckey Rachel Stuckey 60 Points

I will also be student teaching soon and these are wonderful resources and ideas. Thanks for sharing!

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