Internship Lessons

The past month has gone by so fast. I am in shock that I am already done 25% of my internship.  I have learned an incredible amount in a very short time. Every time I teach I learn something more about making things work for my students. At the beginning of the year, I had a clear routine going in my classroom. Students would go home and watch a video on a concept that we would be learning about in class (similar to flipping, but not the same) and then we would talk about that concept over the following days. If you are curious, I am teaching thermodynamics right now, and we are using videos from the Youtube channel “Crash Course”. My students would come to class with an over arching idea of the concept and why it matters.  I then could break that concept down into manageable chunks by doing demonstrations, activities, labs and questions. Being able to refer back to the video always helped me show students that what we were doing connected to the main idea. Once we got into the last part of this unit, it became much harder to find quality videos for my students to watch, so I had to change my game plan. The first time I had to teach a concept without the crutch of a video I learned a lot about what not to do. Looking back I realize that my strategy had been to start with an overall concept and break it down. Now, because I didn’t have a video, I was beginning with the details of the concept (in this case it was heat of formation) and expecting them to understand and follow along until I reached the point of the concept in the end. After two days of building up details about heat of formation I finally go to the point of the lesson, and although there were a few ‘aha’ moments, most students had a hard time building connections. The details that I was building up were all forgotten because they couldn’t make connections or see how the pieces fit together.  I now try to introduce the big ideas first, so that everything that comes after is supporting evidence. I don’t know if this is how “good” teachers do it, but for my class, right now, with this content, it seems to be working. But things are always changing!

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