I have experience teaching 9th grade physical science in a small rural high school in Ohio (2 years), 7th grade math and science in a suburban middle school in North Carolina (1 year), and 8th grade science in a suburban middle school in North Carolina and another in Ohio (8 years)...I also subbed one year after moving back from North Carolina. I am in my twelfth year of teaching and have worked at creating my own resources since day one.
First and foremost, I believe that strong relationships and a sense of community in the classroom is vital for learning and I work to develop a sense of that with students from the beginning with frequent reminders and making sure to take the time to get to know students. Academically, I start off with planning through backward design, using the principles from Understanding by Design. I look to the standards to consider what the objectives are, design assessments based on those standards, then work to create activities that help students explore, uncover, and explain scientific concepts while using and developing scientific habits and skills. I use the 5Es to develop units. Labs and activities are often a vehicle for learning content initially instead of after taking notes, because I believe that when students can experience a phenomenon they can then have a point of reference to start explaining it in the world and universe around us. Additionally, I like using simple examples of phenomena to help students to grow more complex ideas of scientific principles. Having students do simple experiments and then use them as analogies that further explain things that we talk about more in detail is something I do regularly in my curriculum. Students also practice scientific skills regularly instead of just in a "scientific method" unit. I infuse concepts of independent variables (IV), dependent variables (DV), constants, etc. into lab activities regularly. I work with students to think scientifically with claims, evidence, and reasoning activities. Even when explaining information, I believe students should be researchers and learn to pull information from valid, scientific resources. I also use a standards-based grading and learning approach so that students are working from a growth mindset and continually working to improve their understanding of material. I allow students to do redos and retakes with ample review and practice to help them with material they initially don't understand. This means that I use formative assessments regularly to guide my instruction and I also provide feedback on summative assignments that usually looks like a bunch of questions, to help students learn how to work through issues with a little bit of guidance. I use rubrics for everything and have created a general rubric for understanding as well as rubrics for specific standards and assignments to show students what they need to know and do and for me to be focused on the evaluation of assessments. I find that being balanced is very important in teaching so students have time for structured, teacher-directed conversations and work, with ample time for exploration and independent work in order to develop those skills. My room has many structures and routines in place to help students know with some predictability what to expect, but I also infuse a lot of silliness and humor and spontaneity to capture their attention and help them become more engaged with the learning. I use a lot of technology, somewhat because it helps me to be a more efficient and focused teacher, and also because I know that the world is technology-laden and students need to learn how to use technology appropriately and need someone coaching them through it. However, I also find value in paper-pencil and the tactile experience of writing and drawing and use interactive science notebooks.
I was the recipient of several undergraduate scholarships in college, including an undergraduate research scholarship. In my Master's program I was one of two recipients of a University Fellowship, earning me a full scholarship for my Master's of Education program, based on my academics and references.
I went to The Ohio State University from 2001-2005 to obtain my Bachelor's in Human Ecology, from my program in Human Development and Family Science (pre-education for 4-9 math/science). At the time, OSU did not offer undergraduate degrees in teaching and this program was focused on the development of children through adulthood and the focus on the family unit (versus the individual in psychology or society in sociology). This experience truly formed the best foundation for an educator, I believe. Because I spent so much time learning about people and how we develop and work together, I think it gives me a perspective that starts with students as people first and I am always considering this in my teaching. I went again to OSU for my master's program from 2005-2006 for a Master's degree in Middle Childhood Education (4-9) in math and science. I went further in college coursework to obtain a generalist endorsement in 4-6 language arts and social studies.
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