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Different levels of understanding | Posted in Elementary Science
One thing I have done is leveled puzzles...not hand outs but actual puzzles. If a student finishes their work, they can go to a side table and work on a puzzle of their choice. I started with simple puzzles but over the course of the year, I increased their difficulty. I used jigsaw puzzles or tangrams...I found one kind of puzzle where all the pieces were square with four different pictures on each side and the pieces fit together in only one way--these were extremely challenging and students took many days/weeks to complete (sorry I don't remember what they were called). Puzzles are quiet, independent activities. With only five students, they could collaborate on more difficult puzzles. If they are old enough, you could have them design a puzzle for their peers and let them actually print/cut the puzzle to give to the other students. Great way to engage them in and teach about the design process.
Animals in the classroom? | Posted in Life Science
In preparation to have my own classroom, considering the pros and cons of having a class pet is important. While I agree with past posts that having a pet is a great way to help students take ownership of their classroom, practice responsibility by caring for the animal, and inspire curiosity and research, I also appreciate everyone's advice on precautions and even possible downfalls of taking animals out of their natural environment. Ideally, it would be fantastic for kids to take lots of field trips to partake in learning experiences in the 'real world'. Logistically and financially this is not an efficient option most of the time. So its important to bring a variety of real artifacts and specimen into the classroom to enrich learning experiences. The ethics concern in respect to having animals caged in your class is something important to consider. I think should be a topic of discussion among students before getting a class pet. If students decide having a pet is unethical, I really like the bird feeder option. Bird watching can be done almost anywhere. Catching bugs and then returning them to their natural habitat may also be a good compromise to having a pet. I think its important to demonstrate critical thinking for students and will continue weighing the pros and cons of having animals in the classroom.
Increasing Student Engagement in Science Lessons | Posted in General Science and Teaching
I am a first semester student teacher in Houston Texas. I have to say that I love using Kahoots. I remember using them in many of my college courses which made it fun and exciting. Recently, my cooperating teacher and I had a training where we learned about another program that is similar to Kahoots which I think you might like as well. It is called Quizziz. The difference that I found interesting was that when using Quizziz, the teacher could assign the students "homework." This would allow the students, if they can, practice for tests at home on their own time.
We tried it out just today in the classroom as a quick test and the students absolutely enjoyed it. At the end of each class, all the students had asked if we could use this more often for future tests.
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