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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.


Jordan Hammerand

STEM as a "special"?? | Posted in STEM

[size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Beth and everyone,[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]You might also post this question on the STEM, earlychildhood and elementary [url=http://www.nsta.org/membership/listserver.aspx]email lists/listservs run by NSTA[/url]. You will add to the conversation and reach even more experienced NSTA members. The responses come to email instead of being archived on a platform but the conversations are just as helpful.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]My experience is with children ages 2.5-5 years old--also a wide developmental range : ) I haven't taught in your situation but over the years I've heard from others who have.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]They say that organizing the materials for 5 classes a day of children in grades K-8 will make your teaching time more productive. [/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Think about what materials can be left out for subsequent classes. For example, having high shelves where I can quickly move trays of materials used by the 4/5s when the Twos come into the room is essential. [/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Think about projects that can involve multiple ages at different levels, such as gardening. While middle school students are examining cell structure using microscopes, Kindergarten students can be planting seeds. The [url=Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards]NGSS Appendix E[/url]-Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards can help us make decisions about what to teach when.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]In keeping with research that shows children learn over time, plan to teach a concept over weeks and months, not just one week, especially the K-2 students.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]I hope your colleagues in the grade level classrooms can meet with you to see how you all can collaborate so science-technology-engineering-math doesn't become isolated from the rest of the children's learning.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Best wishes for a successful program![/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Peggy Ashbrook[/font][/size]


Margaret Ashbrook

Teaching a Topic against one's belief | Posted in General Science and Teaching

Our courses all have curriculum maps (required) that are posted to the district website for parent review. So, there is no further burden on the teacher to inform parents of any "troubling" topics. Science provides the framework and model for understanding our world is not about anyone's beliefs. If a parent does complain, they can be informed that the curriculum maps - which reflect the curriculum as approved by the local school,board - are available for their review.


Cris DeWolf

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