Here are some of the ideas that came out of our group discussions as well as quiz comments.


(from Wiggins & McTighe, Chapters 3 and 4)

*Setting Goals- As a teacher it is important to establish goals before instruction. We need to keep our goals in mind when designing lessons and making assessments. We must make sure instruction and assessment align with our goals.


*What makes a Good Goal- Good goals are the key to good teaching. A good goal is one that promotes student understanding. When developing goals we need to ask: What do we want our students to know? What can they do to develop understanding? How are we going to know what they know?


*Goals and Understanding- When we are developing our goals we need to keep in mind the six facets of understanding. These six facets help teachers to see that there are various forms of understanding, each with different depths of knowledge or possible misconceptions that can be addressed. 


*In order to understand, students must show that they can transfer their understanding to new tasks.  The six facets, such as exploration and narrative, all involve showing such transfer ability.  Our goals then need to revolve around our students demonstrating transfer such ability, for example, having students apply a concept to a new situation.


*Questioning brings out more questions, which helps expand learning.  


*Teaching students to critically examine information is the most important thing we can do.  This includes not only evaluation but also synthesis steps of Bloom’s Taxonomy. 


*Acquiring/learning skills can lead to understanding.  Explicitly differentiating between skills and understanding, for example when asking questions (see Heather’s examples of this), is a way to encourage students to transfer their knowledge when answering open-ended questions.


(from Szent-Gyorgyi)

*The role of schools should be about getting students excited about


*By helping students learn how to learn, they can seek out information on their own and branch out from the rigid curriculum and use the tools they learn in school to explore new ideas. 


*We must live science rather than just reading about them from books.  All of these things we study are real, vital, living things and school does a disservice to students by making them “dry bones”.


*You cannot teach a student everything.  Students need to know how to learn.  If interest and confidence are generated it should flow from there.


So when we design our unit:

Teaching to learn and understand

Students should no how to approach and solve problems

Make teaching alive, relevance


Branch across the seven themes

Scientific bias





Learn from prior mistakes.

“all of the above” options

Strong content depth



Should include phrases like “Feel free to chose more than one answer”

Have 1-2 question that ask use to use what we have learned

Need fewer questions (definitely no more than 10)

Allow students to skip a question of their choice (e.g. “Pick nine out of the ten to answer”)




We also talked about rubric construction for our concept maps. A good concept map for our discipline should:


– Help us to explain nature of science

– Help us focus on our discipline

– More generalization than details

– Make connections with arrows that are labeled.

– Helps us to help students


Here are our discipline concept maps so far:

To see the pics go here:





When researching concept maps, you may come across the term “mind maps”.  These differ slightly from concept maps in that they tend to have one central idea from which the related concepts radiate.  In general they tend to use more graphic illustrations also. For example:



Remember we need to get feedback on our concept maps and then make our OWN.



Here are some examples as discussed in class


From Suzanne’s paper:

I subscribe to a constructivist theory of learning.  This theory says that people cannot be ‘given’ knowledge.  Instead, they must (and always do) work together to socially construct their understanding of a particular topic or phenomenon.  In addition, this theory emphasizes the social nature of learning.  Students must be given an opportunity to work together, talk, and bounce ideas off of each other within a community of learners in order to explore the topics they are studying.  All members of the community must have a similar orientation and desire to engage in critical thinking, argumentation, and to advance each other’s learning.  Through this, and through explaining and defending their reasoning to one another, students are building neural connections and strengthening their understanding of a topic as they socially negotiate the finer details with their peers.  This is also representative of the way that authentic science is practiced, giving students a better feel for the types of argumentation that scientists engage in and the importance of defensible evidence in science.  More knowledgeable others can assist in this process if they challenge students to think outside of their comfort zone and to engage in thinking that fits within what Vygotsky called the “zone of proximal development”.  Expert others must be careful, however, not to overwhelm students and challenge them too much, because engaging in thinking that is too difficult or not appropriately scaffolded can shut students down, frustrate them, and make them resistant to engaging in the kinds of deep and critical thinking that educators would like to encourage.


From Donna’s paper


            Chemistry is a vibrant field in which people of all walks of life contribute.  Like other sciences, chemistry involves diverse people collaborating in order to explain, analyze and predict the behavior of the world around us.  Chemists use evidence as a means of supporting or falsifying theories, and continually add to a collective body of knowledge and understanding. 





As we prepare for the inevitable interview process, it will serve us well to have an “elevator speech” prepared.  This week your assignment is to find an empty elevator (or shower or while your driving around) and verbalize.  What is it about your practice that sets you apart?




– There is an opportunity for 5% of grade as a party planner.


– April’s Challenge: Find good professional Development (PD), and if you’re stuck in a bad PD try to gain something from it.




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