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Future Teacher

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Krystal Rodriguez Krystal Rodriguez 4060 Points

I joined NSTA for a college course that is required at the college of education at my university. As the course has gone along I have learned new strategies of how to teach science in an elementary school setting. I have always found science to be my weakest subject and find myself worried about not being prepared to teach the subject due to, perhaps, lack of knowledge. I was wondering, what are suggestions what anyone can give me that might help me prepare myself for the future when it is my turn to step into the classroom and teach science?

Kevin Wu Kevin Wu 1220 Points

Even as a science teacher I find myself needing to refresh on certain concepts prior to teaching them to my students. The NSTA Learning Center offers many refreshers under the "Learning Resources & Opportunities" tab. If you go to science objects or the scipacks, they offer the content you need to know prior to teaching the topic. If it is planning activities that you are worried about, there are plenty of resources/labs/activities that you can use if you do a simple search online.

Amanda Tufts Amanda Tufts 2525 Points

Science in an elementary setting can be easy to find inspiration for even if you are tentative about teaching science. Look outside. Lots of what is going on can be science related (weather, seasons, ecology, growing plants, etc.). Students can read a variety of books that relate to science (The giving tree, magic school bus series, rainforest themed books) and then write about what the story meant to them. If you are looking for activities, visit a local state or national park. Their naturalists and interpretive rangers are great sources for science related topics and how to connect them to the local setting. Lots of their activities will have kids up and moving to use their bodies as they learn. Many parks have programs that will bring the park specialist to you so that you can have the expert there and not have to travel to the park. Try goggling "(your state) state parks" and go from there. I kind of think of science as the great unifier. It can relate math, art, reading, writing, history, and just about anything else. Best of luck!

Hazel Pichardo Hazel Pichardo 3200 Points

It is a great thing to know that NSTA can be a great tool for new teachers to refresh their memory before teaching a concept. I joined NSTA through a science college course and did not know how helpful this learning center is. I am glad that my professor introduced us to this website. I hope to find another resource like this one for other content areas once I go in the field.

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10255 Points

Hi Krystal -- Even experienced science teachers have content areas they need to brush up on. For example, my high school and undergrad coursework did not include much in the realm of earth science (I was a chem major). But the middle school science curriculum had a strong ES component. So I made it my "hobby" to learn as much as I could--by reading, visiting museums and parks, photographing landforms, and taking courses, focusing on the earth sciences. With the Internet today, this becomes much easier! A colleague in this forum mentioned NSTA's Science objects in the Learning Center: http://tinyurl.com/d3lwqew as free content area "courses." Check out museum websites, too. I really like the activities (and background information) on the Exploratorium site http://www.exploratorium.edu

Ashley Garcia Ashley Garcia 3290 Points

Hi, I also learned about the NSTA Learning Center through my college professor. I was impressed to learn how many wonderful resources are available on this website. Not only does this website provide teachers with valuable tools such as, journal articles, web seminars, book chapters, etc. but you can also communicate with colleagues and experienced teachers from all around the country! I think that websites such as NSTA serve as great tools for new teachers. Another great way to get through your first year of teaching is to work collaboratively with a team of teachers. You can also seek mentorship through a veteran teacher. Veteran teachers can provide new teachers with helpful tips and strategies. Good luck!

Susanne Hokkanen Susanne Hokkanen 79370 Points

I was hired to teach science, as a dedicated 7th grade teacher my very first full year of teaching. I had 14 credit hours in science, and I was secondary certified in social studies, history. I was LOST. I can't tell you how glad I am to have "discovered" the Learning Center within the NSTA. My "first love" was the webseminars - it was great to interact with professionals within their content area, to gain insight into teaching through the interactive chat feature, and to gain additional content and pedagogical knowledge on a topic throughout the presentation. I also used the PD Indexer, in relation to the content I was required to teach, so I could brush up on my content knowledge prior to teaching it. And now, prior to beginning a unit, I always check to see what new ideas or activities my students can complete by searching the journal articles. My message is to hang in there, believe in yourself and enjoy the many resources the NSTA provides - many of them free! :-) I am committed to science education, and I could not imagine myself teaching anything else now.

Estephany Javier Estephany Javier 5340 Points

Hello, I am also a future elementary school teacher and can sympathize with your concerns about not being prepared to teach science. Nonetheless, I feel that preparing children to understand their world better is definitely an inspiring drive to learn the content. I also joined the NSTA site because it was required for my Science class in the COE; but honestly I am so grateful for this opportunity because now I feel empowered to teach science. For example, I recently completed a SciPack on Force and Motion; initially I had very little confidence in this topic and did not feel prepared to teach it. However, now that I have finished the SciPack, I feel that I have a grasp of the Big Idea of force and motion and think I am prepared to teach it. What I am trying to say is that if you already have pedagogical awareness and a passion for instilling knowledge upon your students, then the content knowledge is simply a matter of dedication and time you invest in this endeavor. Also, the SciPacks provide many hands on activity ideas that you can try yourself or introduce to your students to help them learn. Many teachers claim that they don’t have enough time to teach science, but I think that if you incorporate it with other subjects, science lessons and activities can be very authentic and all around relevant. Finally, remember that science is not a distant abstract topic, instead it’s something that we deal with on a daily basic and it’s the explanation of how things work, enjoy and explore it!

Mary Brown Mary Brown 2925 Points

I too am a future teacher and was asked to use this website for my course. Before I became familiar with this website I admit I was a bit nervous about teaching science. Lingering thoughts such as where to get help or resources made science a challenging subject to me. Now I feel much more confident with all the information available here and even other teachers who I can communicate ideas with and share resources with. As a future teacher AND current teacher I'm sure everyone will find this database very helpful. God bless, and best of luck everyone!

Angela Cho Angela Cho 1350 Points

I believe science is a very hands on subject and the more you incorporate this in the classroom, I feel like the more the students can take back from it. I really love the informal teaching because it finds ways to teach in a more active and fun approach. I would find ways to incorporate the environment around you and utilize as much as you need such as creating a garden or making a science center inside the classroom. I wish you good luck!!! I am a future teacher, as well, and I'm looking forward to it!

Luis Hernandez Luis Hernandez 3645 Points

Like you, I am also studying to become an Elementary school teacher and have feared that perhaps I may not be fully prepared to instruct a class one certain topic. In order to get over that feeling, I made it appoint to review the SciPack(s) that pertained to my topic. I also found it very useful to discuss the topic with my field co-teacher in order to get a sense of understanding about what I needed to get across to the students. I would also like to suggest doing some research on the internet. There are so many resources available to us as educators to aid us with lesson planning and activities that engage the students and make them active learners.

Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67945 Points

Luis, I am so glad that you mentioned the SciPacks! They contain so much great information, and the interactive presentation is so helpful in understanding the concepts. Many of the interactive elements are also available for classroom use. There are 25 SciPacks, each with a focused area, so you can greatly increase your understanding in just a few hours, unlike taking a lengthy college class. If you don't need the credit, and just want to increase your knowledge, I would suggest looking at the Sci Guides in the Learning Center. Containing virtually identical information, they actually comprise a large portion of the SciPacks' content. Look at one or all of the Sci Guides that are included in the SciPack. Brush up on a single, focused concept. Also, don't forget to use that advanced search function in the NSTA library to find all kinds of published articles to not only support your learning of key scientific content, but lots of great ideas for helping your students learn it as well. And remember, if you are like most of us, the whole world is like a giant lab - just begin to hone some of those observation skills, make predictions and informal hypotheses. You will soon come to realize that science is less about learning specific content than it is about learning how to be an everyday scientist.

Jennie Price Jennie Price 5220 Points

I am also a future teacher, but I am enrolled in a Career-Switcher Program. I stumbled on this website while looking up information for one of our class assignments. This was a wonderful discovery. I have been using the SciPacks and Science Objects to help me brush up on different topics. Even though I worked in an environmental testing laboratory and used science every day, there are so many topics I haven't seen since high school and college. I also find it very helpful that the SciPacks contain sections that break down what different grade levels should be learning on the various topics. I feel that helps me understand the level and type of material appropriate for the grades I hope to teach.

Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67945 Points

Nice to hear from you Jennie! I was also on the career switcher track. I think it is interesting how people shifting careers are able to learn so much in such a short time - perhaps it is because every day we work we were taking on new responsibilities, and have had a lot of practice. Most of the time, I think the important thing is being able to anticipate the questions, then developing the response before we actually need to answer the questions!

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43145 Points

Welcome Jennie, the NSTA website is full of wonderful resources and ideas. I too am a Career Switcher and am so glad I made the switch. I am now in my 22nd year and have never regretted leaving law enforcement. If you haven’t had a chance to look through both the live and archived webseminars, you are in for a treat. There are so many seminars that meet the needs of incorporating real world Science with students. My favorites are the seminars from NASA Explorer Schools because the activities can be implemented immediately in my middle school STEM classroom. The materials they use for the activities are commonly found so that makes it even easier for me as a public school teacher to use. Live Seminars can be found at http://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/webseminars.aspx and are listed by date the seminar is offered. Archived seminars can be found at http://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/web_seminar_archive_sponsor.aspx . The archived seminars are arranged by sponsor.

Monica Holloway Monica Holloway 2990 Points

What tremendous responses!!! I agree with them all. One point I would like to add is you aren't required to know every answer to a question a scholar may ask. We are teaching them to ask questions and to be curious about content and beyond. A habit that I started is to write down the question and complete the research at a later time. I then add the question and answer in a class discussion the following day. This results in meaningful dialogue.

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

It is also good to challenge students to look up the answers to questions themselves when they get home. I offered extra credit to students who came back to school the next day with answers. This way a lot of the students got there families involved and everyone learned!

Alexis Kunde Alexis Kunde 1150 Points

I am also a future elementary teacher and have the same concerns. These tips and tricks are great advice for the future. Thanks :)

Stephanie Fox Stephanie Fox 2550 Points

I am a current grad student/future elementary teacher. This has been a very helpful forum. Thanks so much to all of you for your advice, links and ideas. The NSTA is such a great resource for teachers/students.

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