Archive for the ‘Teaching Biology’ Category


     Class periods at my school are either 44 minutes long on a regular day or 38 minutes on a short day – every Wednesday.    I feel so time crunched!   7th-grade students can barely settle down in 4-minutes to do a bellwork assignment.   I want the learning to be as hands-on as possible but to accomplish an activity involving equipment, they need to process it, set-up, explore, and clean-up in approximately 34 minutes with time allowed for closure.   In addition to the short time we spend together daily, we started the curriculum in one of my classes two months late and the other classes were a month behind their pacing chart.  

     Students pick up on a teacher’s mood, actions, habits, etc. almost immediately.   I need to find a way to be more relaxed about the time pressure so that I can better help them to relax and enjoy science.   

     Next semester, we will start new new units, new topics, and even new science concentration areas.   Have I mentioned that I will be happy to move on from Biology to the more familiar terrain of Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics?   In the words of one of my colleagues, “Biology is the coolest use of Chemistry on the planet.”   On the other hand, a few chemistry-heavy topics – such as protein synthesis, energy conversion,  and macromolecules such as the porphyrins in hemoglobin and chlorophyll – intrigue me;  the rest of it, not so much.   I am definitely squeamish about the blood and guts part of it – give me my fire and clean glassware anyday.



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© Megan Bedford – flickr.com

     I am the Queen of Procrastination.   My friend Lisa – another first-year teacher who does not blog and is therefore not linked here – claimed this title on Facebook but I dispute her claim.   I have had two weeks off from school and have successfully avoided almost all contact with my job since before the Solstice.  I did go to work one day last week to grade notebooks, update my bulletin boards, and otherwise get ready for the return in this new year.   However, I have not accomplished any of the other projects on my list and have even skipped checking my calendar (this practice caused me to miss a reunion with old friends – big disappointment for me).  

     The break has been good.  I reacquainted myself with my good friend Sleep and have discovered and resolved to continue the benefits that come from being well rested.  I’ve been reading a book – gasp! – by Barbara Kingsolver;  this endeavour has been proceeding at a snail’s pace due to the number of other activities with which I have filled my vacation.   It started with Christmas preparation, included a trip to visit family in New England, and incorporated various other celebrations including Solstice and New Year – the former much preferred to the latter but sometimes you have to go with the flow.

      Anyway, my time of procrastination is over and today, I dove right back in – knowing full well that my wonderful, exciting responsibility to teach my students would again consume every waking moment.   Have I mentioned that I do my best thinking in the shower?    We will dive back in to reproduction/genetics/differentiation/selection/evolution/human body systems….    I love it!    My “To Do” lists however are stretching from here to way over there.  

     Bracing for blast off!


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A Blur

© IllustratorSam - flickr.com (Creative Commons)

     The last month or so has been a blur.   When choosing between blogging and sleeping – sleep has won.     My new job is wonderful, exciting, and exhausting.   I barely notice the not sleeping or eating part because I am having so much fun but it has not been without challenges.   I’m teaching in an art room with no science supplies.   I had to bring my own computer because I was only given an overhead  – there isn’t even a functional blackboard or whiteboard.   On top of that, starting in mid-November meant another big adjustment for the students as I was their third teacher since the start of the year.   

     As if that isn’t enough, the curriculum at this point is mostly biology which is interesting but not my forte.     After midterm examinations at the end of next month, we will move onto Earth Science, Physics, and even a bit of Chemistry – all of which are more comfortable for me and areas where I have both practical experience and depth knowledge.   I am extremely good at scrounging and have not only brought a computer discarded by a relative but I also knew where to find a digital projector so I can show pictures and videos.  Friends have donated National Geographic magazines, medical posters, and hand-painted human body parts.    The last two items will be extremely useful when I return for the last big Biology unit on Human Body systems.

     Among my many New Year’s resolutions is more regular blogging.   Stay tuned.   

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