The Get Real! Science Blog

Vet tech, not vet?

Context: The following conversation occurred at a rural public school in western New York, in a town with a relatively low average household income:

– “She wants to be a veterinary technician.”

– “Not a veterinarian?”

– “We have to be careful about encouraging students to pursue realistic goals.”

When a teacher and I had this conversation, I struggled to wrap my head around what he was trying to tell me. I thought to myself, “Shouldn’t we, as teachers, encourage all of our students to pursue ambitious career goals? Why would we encourage this student to become a vet tech, when she could be […]

By |March 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

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February 27th Class

This week in class we teamed up with another group of students to tackle the challenge of lesson planning for language learners. First, the science students were exposed to what it feels like to be completely out of our element even when talking about science because we had a lesson given to us in a different language. After we worked together as groups and tried to get through the questions and quick quiz we switched back to English and discussed the difficulties of what we had just done. Then with combined groups, science and TESOL candidates, we started to […]

By |March 3rd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Learning Outside of the Classroom

This past week, during the President’s Day break, I had the opportunity to travel to Ithaca, NY to visit the Museum of Earth. While in the museum, I explored each exhibit, traveling back in time, going through Earth’s geologic history starting with the Precambrian eon and ending with current day. Each exhibit inspired me with new ideas on how to teach fossils and evolution to my students, topics that we will be covering in the upcoming weeks. More importantly though, the day at the museum reminded me of the ability and significance of learning outside the classroom.

Although field trips are […]

By |February 24th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Uncovering Big Ideas and Finishing Up An Experiment

We had a very exciting class last Monday as we continued our work creating innovative science units for our placements this spring. We began class by brainstorming skills that a teacher will need in order to be successful as an educator in the 21st century. It was extensive, unfortunately the photo size exceeds what I am able to upload, perhaps a photo savvy reader might be able to help me resize it!

We spent last class looking at the big ideas of our unit and deciding on what the critical understandings we wanted our students to walk away from the unit were. […]

By |February 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Placing learners where they can best excel

Where you sit is an important decision that each and every learner makes each and every day. This week, while midterms and Regents exams were being given to learners, another teacher and I were discussing a seating chart for one of the classes that I will teach, starting next month. As a teacher, I want to ensure that each learner has the opportunity to learn, which maximizes instruction and a positive atmosphere, and I feel that a seating chart can help with that. While doing some research on not only classroom management, but how seating charts can be used […]

By |February 18th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Girls in science classrooms

A few weeks ago, I started student teaching at a rural public school in western New York. After my previous student teaching experiences in Rochester city and suburban schools, nearly everything about this rural setting seemed different. Surprisingly, the biggest change at this new placement wasn’t political climate, socioeconomic demographics, or student personality…it was gender.


From the moment I stepped into the classroom, I thought, “Wow, this is a difficult environment for girls.” The distribution and division of male and female students caught me off guard. Nearly all the students in the class were boys. Startled, I counted the number […]

By |February 17th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Who is your champion?

What does it mean to you to be an educator? Many teachers believe that the end all be all is to impart knowledge on the students in front of them. As Rita points out in this talk, in order for kids to learn they have to like you. The counter argument to this is quite obvious, ‘I don’t have to be a students friend in order to teach them’. While experts say the right balance is somewhere in between. Everyone has their own teaching style, and that style can fail and succeed in the same class in the same week. […]

By |February 17th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Unit Planning: Implementing UbD and Backward Design

This week in class, we spent a generous amount of time planning our slowly approaching unit bundle. The assignment entails preparing a minimum of a six-lesson unit to teach in our second placements. In previous weeks we began our initial planning process by exploring our topics, finding the corresponding standards (the current New York State Common Core Standards, the preliminary, new 2017-2018 New York State Standards, as well as the national standards captured in NGSS, the Next Generation Science Standards). During these earlier weeks we also followed the Understanding by Design (UbD) template developed by Wiggins and McTighe (2011) to guide […]

By |February 9th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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What a science classroom can look like

I have been asked before to share some of my experiences from working at Barrie Prep in Silver Spring, Maryland. As I have mentioned before I taught for four years there, prior to returning to Rochester to attend Warner. My time at Barrie exposed me to many of the more progressive and reform based science practices that I have been learning the theory behind; in particular constructivist education practices. My first year at Barrie we began to integrate Project Based Learning using the Buck Institute for Education model for PBL, which was really perfect timing for me as a first […]

By |February 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

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This Week in Review

This past week we had an exciting class! First we brainstormed some common science and teaching practices, and we wrote our initial thoughts on posted notes and placed them on the white board where we felt they belonged. From there we looked back at the NGSS standards and added more posted notes using those standards.

From there we did an inquiry activity on dissolving a solid, where each of us were allowed to select a Life Savor and explain what happens when we put it in our mouths. During this activity, we were not allowed to speak to one another, […]

By |February 3rd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Advocating for collaboration in schools

As a preservice teacher, scanning the horizon for first-time teaching positions, I always seem to be refining my interviewing talking points. I began noticing certain buzzwords flitting into my speech. As I say words like, “multi-modal,” “engagement,” “technology,” and “collaboration,” I imagine administrators checking off boxes in the handbook of education catch phrases. Of course, all of these words have value–that’s how they became buzzwords in the first place. However, I find myself wondering how many education professionals define these terms.

I’d like to focus particularly on the term “collaboration.” What does this mean to teachers, administrators, students, parents, and […]

By |February 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Tackling Groups and Achievement Gaps

Having a classroom of diverse learners – diverse in learning styles, socioeconomic status, cultural backgrounds, language, and accommodations – is often embraced and appreciated in the classroom. However, it also requires considerable scaffolding and differentiating to accommodate the needs of every student. What techniques could a teacher implement to fit the needs of all of his or her students?

Now at my second placement, I am seeing a seasoned teacher tackle this exact issue. Specifically, three levels of learning achievement in a mainstream science classroom are merging into two. How then, can a teacher strike a balance between those lagging […]

By |January 27th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

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