Elementary Science

Questions for a first year teacher

Hi, my name is Amanda and I am currently working on a maste's degree in education with initial licensure. My undergrad is in nursing so with that being said, teaching is completely new to me. Science is a subject that I feel will be the most difficult for me to teach. We have been learning a lot about how to incorporate hands on learning experiences in the classroom. My fear is that I will struggle with classroom management while trying to incorportate a lot of hands on student activities into our learning segments. I also hear that one of the biggest struggles is not having enough time to cover all of the material. So, my question is what advice do you have for a new first year teacher to incorporate hands on science lessons while making the most of classroom time and achieving effective classroom managment. 

Amanda Cauley
Amanda Cauley
1090 Activity Points

Hey Amanda! I am a senior elementary education major, and right now I am in a classroom management class, as well as a science methods class. I am not an expert at classroom management, but I have learned several helpful tips. First, it is okay to let your students learn through a concept called play. This is especially beneficial when working to teach science, because allowing your students to play means they are focusing on inquiry based learning. If this is something you choose to use, then your classroom will be loud, and as a teacher you will have to be okay with that! Another tip from my classroom management class is to remember that it is okay to tell your students to stop - whether that be stopping an activity, stopping a conversation, or stopping a poor decision. You are the teacher, and it is okay to put your foot down if you need to move on in order to get through material. However, often times students will move along at a natural pace if you let them learn through play and inquiry. Another management tip, and possibly one of the most important, would be to make sure that you have established a classroom community that functions off of mutual respect and relationships. By establishing this early on, students will be interacting in a much more mature atmosphere, which will make your play and inquiry sessions much more successful! I hope this helps you out a bit, and good luck!

Danielle Norton
Danielle Norton
2745 Activity Points

Hi Amanda,

I am not a teacher yet but I am going to school to be one. I am in s classroom managment course and also a science methods course so I have learned some helpful tips. First off letting kids expore and or play is okay they learn quite well through the concept of play as long as you have the correct toys for them. Some good examples of toys that you could have are blocks and long straight pieces of wood to encourage building and then provide marbals or other items to go down the track they create. If you let them explore build and create on their own they are going to learn more than you just telling them what to do. There are lots of options as a teacher to do hands on activities and kids enjoy them. If a behavior occurs you should address it so that way they know what they are doing is wrong and cant happen.

 

I hope this helps a little

Stephanie Sterbenz
Stephanie Sterbenz
1485 Activity Points

Hi Amanda, I am currently a student at the Universtiy of Northern Iowa studying elementary and middle level education. Today, in my science metods class, we learned about ways to make science engaging and did an engaging science lesson ourselves. One very important aspect of a science classroom is the structure. Through our discussion today, we learned about ways to keep the management of the classroom while still doing intriguing activities; this would be through setting ground rules and being sure to never point out the student rather than point out their ideas. So when having a science discussion, you shouldn't "what do you think of Sally's idea" rather you should say, "what do you think of the idea about...." 

There are so many different ideas out there, but I believe that these are two very important aspects of a science or any classroom in general!

Kaylynne Bratton
Kaylynne Bratton
1985 Activity Points

Hi Amanda, 

Doing hands-on interactive activities can create some classroom management issues. You have to understand that they may get excited and loud at time. In the classroom I am in, we have a 5-point sound scale that lights up. If I feel it is too loud, I tap on the light and notify the students that while I love all the collaboration going on, we need to bring down our voices to a 2-3 level so others can hear their group. Before ever starting hands-on activities, make sure you have set some ground rules. These should be done at the beginning of the year but can also be added to with different types of acitvities. Model how you expect the students to behave so they know what you are expecting from them. I had a teacher tell me before that she gives students two chances to behave right before they are taken from the activity. The way she does this is hold each student accountable for the class. If one student ruins it for others, then she ends the lesson and watches a video or discussion. I have mixed feelings on this, but if I was to do it I would not mention names, just simply say we have gotten to a level where we are not being active learners and we need a break. Sometimes this is a few minutes where they return to their desks, or sit down, and then they realize how much they want to do the activity and how they need to behave.  For discussion; I agree with Kaylynne with those questions. Those questions should not call out a student but still open the idea for discussion. You don't point them out individually as that is cold-calling and can be traumatic for some students. Instead, just like Kaylynne said, refer to their ideas. Best of luck! Rely on your other teachers in the school for help, they want to see you strive as well. 

Hannah Clark
Hannah Clark
1805 Activity Points

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