Chemistry SAR Update - June 2018

It's June and this is my stack of books. 

I love NSTA press books and all books associated with the possibility of doing something different in my classroom. I collect them, and these books look very pretty on my shelf. Yet have I really sat down and read any of them? Thought deeply about how they would influence my practice and my personal implementation of the New York State Science Standards?

No. But they look great on my shelf.

I currently teach Regents Chemistry and AP Chemistry. I have used POGIL, CER (claim evidence reasoning) and QFT (question formulation technique) in these classes. Not with any continuity or thought about a specific story line. Yet when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped hard to the possibility that I could do something in my classroom that was more in line with NYSSLS practices. Teaching these classes and trying to implement new teaching strategies walks a fine line between process skills and content. I have the eight science and engineering practices (SEPs) hanging on my wall along with the seven cross cutting concepts (CCCs). Every day these signs glare down at me in an accusing sort of way and ask, why aren't you having students think about us as you teach? I do realize that this sort of self -induced stress is not productive but it keeps me thinking about what is next and how I can evolve.

So now I have an opportunity. A sandbox one might say. This coming fall I am also going to be teaching a general chemistry class. It is a single period, no lab class associated with it experience. Sure, content has been shared with me. I could very easily use worksheets and notes that others have provided to me. Yet do I want that? Or is it finally time to crack open one of these pretty books and put them into action?

Of course, the temptation is always to go to the web and start searching for curriculum. Certainly, people have shared resources. Just yesterday I was on the NGSS Chemistry Teachers Facebook group and members were sharing google folders filled with content. It is just so tempting to dive straight into the content and build units. Yet I try to channel Paul Anderson's comment that to really implement well you need to understand how the SEPs, CCCs and DCIs (disciplinary core ideas) all come together to make a lesson three-dimensional.

So, this is my journey and it starts in this blog. Just recently I went to see Brett Moulding in Rochester. Always inspiring as usual. His new book Teaching Science is Phenomenal: Phenomena to Engage Students has been recently published. That is where I am going to start. I will let you know how it goes. If you have any comments, please feel free to send a tweet to my twitter feed at @SHChemistry.