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Secrets to Success for Science Teachers

Secrets to Success for Science Teachers

Edited by:

March 2009 | 296 pages | Corwin

"This book isn't just for new teachers! Even after years as a science teacher, this book gave me suggestions to use right away in my classroom."
—Regina Brinker, Science Teacher
Christensen Middle School, Livermore, CA

Create a science classroom that fosters a creative learning community and leads to success!

From successfully setting up a classroom to achieving meaningful instruction, science teachers face a variety of challenges unique to their practice every day. This easy-to-read guide provides new and seasoned teachers with practical ideas, strategies, and insights to help address essential topics in effective science teaching, including emphasizing inquiry, building literacy, implementing technology, using a wide variety of science resources, and maintaining student safety.

Aligned with current science standards, this guide helps teachers streamline their efforts, organize their work, and set the stage for outstanding instruction and enthusiastic student participation. Other features include:

  • Practical examples, snapshots of moments in the history of science, and Web references
  • A compilation of professional development activities
  • Checklists to rate curricula and textbooks
  • Guidance on networking with colleagues and establishing relationships with families

By leveraging this book's rich resources, science teachers will discover how to turn their classrooms into thriving environments for learning.

History of Science Topics
About the Authors
1. Design Your Classroom to Create Communities of Learners
Explore Your School and Classroom  
Meet Your Department and Team  
Investigate Your School's and Community's History and Customs  
Access Textbooks and Equipment  
Plan for Exploration and Experimentation  
Collect Materials and Resources  
Investigate Laboratory Space and Equipment  
Safely Use and Store Supplies and Equipment  
Establish Your Policies and Procedures  
Create a Shared Learning Environment  
Ensure Equity and Fairness  
Use Appropriate and Neutral Language  
Involve Parents and Families  
Begin Each Day Anew  
Establish a Sense of Place...  
2. Understand Standards to Develop Your Curriculum
Consider the History of Science Education  
Understand the Nature of Science  
Accomplish Project 2061 Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy  
Address National Science Education Standards for Students  
Meet National Science Education Teaching Standards for Teachers  
Draw From the Academic Disciplines  
Teach Skills in Experimentation and Investigation  
Reference Your State Standards  
Incorporate Your District's Expectations  
Feature Your School's Organization and Mission  
Link References to Develop Curriculum  
Plan Your Year With a Curriculum Blueprint  
Connect Science With Your Students...  
3. Emphasize Inquiry Science to Deepen Understanding
Use the Inquiry Continuum  
Involve Students in Doing Science  
Engage in Hypothesis Testing  
Promote the Use of the Scientific Method  
Integrate Scientific Process Skills Into All Activities  
Weave Inquiry-Based Laboratory Investigations Into Every Lesson  
Head for the Outdoors  
Support Scientific Investigations With Resources  
Use Demonstrations to Promote Learning  
Teach Through Discrepant Events  
Teach Safety to Students  
Equip Your Students to Understand Their World...  
4. Know Your Students to Support Science Achievement
Begin From the Perspective of the Learners  
See Students as Individuals  
Understand Changes in Today's Students  
Consider the Contexts of Students' Families and Peers  
Showcase Powerful Teaching and Learning  
Feature Actions and Verbs From Bloom's Taxonomy  
Form Habits of Minds  
Capitalize Upon the Multiple Intelligences  
Differentiate Instruction  
Support All Students  
Incorporate Instruction That Works  
Let Your Students Teach One Another...  
5. Design Assessments to Align With Objectives
Set Goals, Objectives, and Expectations  
Start With the End in Mind  
Feature All Three Types of Assessment  
Determine the Functions and Purposes  
Vary the Structures and Formats  
Use Selected Responses  
Include Constructed Essays  
Highlight Demonstrated Performances and Laboratory Skills  
Remember Personal Communications  
Offer Authentic and Alternative Assessments  
Incorporate Portfolios  
Prepare Rubrics and Scoring Guides  
Understand the Results of Standardized Testing  
Develop an Assessment Blueprint  
Make Sure the Process Makes Sense for Everyone...  
6. Connect the Learning to Reach Students' Lives
Create Constructivist Classrooms  
Clarify Misconceptions  
Select Questions Effectively  
Consider Various Approaches to Asking Questions  
Analyze Current Events to Prepare Informed Citizens  
Address Controversial Issues  
Draw on the Essential Questions of Science  
Make Linkages Among Science, Technology, and Society  
Advance Your Classroom Discussions  
Conduct a Benefit/Risk Analysis  
Involve Students in Project-Based Learning  
Integrate Twenty-First-Century Learning Skills  
Look for More Ideas  
Reinforce How Science Impacts Society and Our Personal Lives...  
7. Develop Literacy to Build Science Skills
Introduce Literacy Processes and Outcomes  
Develop Vocabulary and Concepts  
Develop Characteristics of Expert Readers  
Use the Textbook as a Tool  
Start With Reading Anticipation Activities  
Assign Reading  
Facilitate Reading Response Strategies  
Include All Kinds of Text  
Support Struggling Readers and English Language Learners  
Integrate Various Types of Writing  
Grant Your Students Writing P.O.W.E.R.  
Try the DRAFT Writing Process  
Develop Observation Skills  
Reference Current and Historical Events  
Equip Your Students to Communicate Science...  
8. Plan With Students in Mind to Prepare Your Teaching
Select Your Units of Learning  
Highlight Concepts  
Emphasize Significant Themes of Science  
Teach Societal Issues  
Envision Your Planning Schema  
Follow a Consistent Lesson Plan Format  
Understand Attention Span  
Captivate Students as You Open Lessons  
Begin the Learning Experience  
Start With Some Direct Teaching  
Feature Indirect Teaching  
Reinforce Learning During Closure  
Assign Homework  
Use Block Scheduling Wisely  
Make the Most of Your Time....  
9. Incorporate Resources to Make Science Real
Set the Stage  
Introduce Models and Specimens  
Bring in Plants and Animals  
Teach With Toys  
Feature Science Literature, Poetry, and Humor  
Draw From Science Fiction to Teach Science Facts  
Explore the Rich History of Science  
Incorporate Multimedia Selections  
Take Field Trips  
Follow Guidelines for Taking Field Trips  
Consider Virtual Field Trips  
Conduct Virtual Dissections and Experiments  
Become a Role Model of Resourcefulness...  
10. Integrate Technology to Enrich Learning
Take a Technology Inventory  
Plan for Computer Use  
Organize Your Resources  
Improve Administrativia  
Improve Teaching With Technology Tools  
Have Students Communicate Electronically  
Calculate and Probe Hands-On Science  
Position Your Students for Learning  
Investigate Critical Thinking Interactives  
Utilize Teacher Utilities  
Tap the Audience With a Response System  
Consider a Few More Web Resources  
Demonstrate the Cutting Edge of Science...  
11. Seek Powerful Activities to Engage Learners
Participate in Competitions and Programs  
Showcase Science Fair Projects  
Encourage Individual Competitions  
Team Up for Collaborative Competitions  
Connect to Careers  
Invite Guest Speakers  
Prepare Students to Be a Receptive Audience  
Develop Science Activities in Your School  
Celebrate Learning Through Science  
Offer Service-Learning Opportunities  
Sponsor a Club  
Check out Community Resources  
Start a School Resource Bank  
Have Fun With Science...  
12. Collaborate With Colleagues to Expand Opportunities
Contemplate the Collaborative Nature of Scientific Discovery  
Examine Collaborative Concepts and Practices  
Adopt the Secrets of Successful Collaborators  
Consider Various Teaming Configurations  
Weigh Pros and Cons of Team Teaching Carefully  
Understand School Organizational Patterns  
Make the Most of Departmentalization  
Integrate Science Across the Curriculum  
Talk to Technology Specialists  
Team Up With Instructional Aides to Support Students  
Contact Other Employees in the District  
See Science in Society and the World  
Integrate Science Naturally...  
13. Reflect on Your Practice to Fortify Your Future
Look Back to Look Ahead  
Reflect on Learning With Purpose  
Evaluate Your Curriculum  
Make a Difference at the School or District Level  
Join Professional Organizations  
Attend a Science Education Conference  
Find a Mentor  
Earn a Graduate Degree or Additional Credential  
Look at Science Literature  
Apply the Findings of Research in Science Education  
Engage in Scientific Research  
Consider National Board Certification  
Keep an Open and Active Mind  
Become the Teacher You Always Wanted to Be...  
A. Science Safety Checklist  
B. Science Textbook Evaluation Tool  
C. Detailed Lesson Plan Guide  
D. Abbreviated Lesson Plan Guide  
E. Curriculum Evaluation Guide for Science  
Readings and References

“This book is a phenomenal text for a preservice teacher. It has so many ideas that, as one gains experience, there might be others to explore as time goes on.”

Sally Koczan, Science Specialist
Meramec Elementary School, Clayton, MO

“This book is a valuable tool for the science teacher or administrator with the serious task of integrating all the forces required to provide solid science curriculum and teaching. The authors leave no stone unturned in the quest to provide a working map for science teachers of all levels.”

Darleen Horton, Science Lab Teacher
Chenoweth Elementary School, Louisville, KY

“This book isn’t just for new teachers! Even after years as a science teacher, this book gave me suggestions to use right away in my classroom and to keep on track with teaching and inspiring my students.”

Regina Brinker, Science Teacher
Christensen Middle School, Livermore, CA

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