We have been at school now for a little over a month and although I’m managing to keep my head above water, I’m in a perpetual state of near drowning most of the time. This year I’ve been working so hard on modifying my lessons to make them more inquiry based and real-world relevant that I haven’t had time to do any grading, calling parents, or the myriad of other teacher-tasks I need to accomplish. This is my fifth year of teaching so I do have backup plans from last year – pretty good ones, if I do say so myself – but I just don’t want to use them anymore because I’ve been loving the new ones too much (and I think my students have too).
I’ve spent my career thus far working towards the goal of inquiry based instruction. My first year I thought I did a pretty good job, but looking back I realize that a lot of my activities weren’t true inquiry. Just because it’s a lab doesn’t mean it’s inquiry. I’ve been working in subsequent years – and this year in particular – to get my students generating more of their own questions to start our investigations. For example, I put the finishing touches on my macromolecule PBL lesson. I generated a small inquiry investigation for enzymes. I also have been using padlet to spark class discussions and as a formative assessment tool. I’ve been surveying my students to collect their perception data and have been using it to inform my instruction.
All of these things have made me more excited about teaching and my students excited about learning. And based on the perception surveys as well as my formative/summative assessment data, my students have been growing in their scientific skills (microscope skills, graphing, problem solving) and learning what I intended them to learn.
Although I may be as organized, accomplished or prepared so far this year as I would like, I’m loving my job and I know I’m improving as an educator everyday. Here’s to gearing up to implement my internship lesson plans!