Its day 2 of final exams, so I took a few minutes to look back on the year so far.
One of my goals this year has been to continue improving the quality of student discussions and I feel like I’m getting some really good discussions this year, though I find myself talking a lot less in 2nd hour. I think part of it is I’ve got some more vocal personalities in my 2nd hour, so I need to work on helping students in my 4th hour who have great things to say speak up more. Next tri, I’m going to try talking to each group about their results as they prep their whiteboards and point out questions or observations they should bring up or try to build on during the whole-class discussion.
At the start of the year, I thought a lot about group dynamics and wanted to work really teaching students how to collaborate effectively. I did some good things in that area at the start of the year, but let a lot of that fall by the wayside as the year progressed. A new trimester is a good time to bring back some of that explicit focus on group skills.
This was my first time teaching earth science since 2008, so I mostly followed the curriculum of a very experienced earth science teacher. If I teach this course again, I need to plan on changing the sequence quite a bit. The teacher I followed is very good about getting the right kind of activity at the right time (for example, something easy at the start of a term or something active on a Friday), but the conceptual development often felt very disjointed to me. I need to spend some time this summer working on the storylines that I want to use in earth science, then rebuilding the curriculum to fit that.