Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Project MAST...

            As a first year teacher, my immediate focus has been attempting to master classroom management and lesson plans. I have had difficulty seeing the connection between a well-behaved class and well-planned instructional activities. As a participant in the Project MAST, I have been provided UBD lessons with student materials and equipment kits, allowing me to focus more on the true understanding of my students. The participating instructors have provided me with plenty of additional resources, ideas, and activities that can be implemented with ease in my classroom. This eliminates a lot of internal pressure because it ensures that the focus remains on the academic achievement of my students. I now have strong and meaningful support from fellow science teachers which makes a world of difference.
            At Project MAST, many of us middle school science teachers have transitioned from the teachers to the students. We have worked through several experiments that we can take back to our classrooms and use with our students. This hands-on approach allows us to try experiments ourselves in hopes of gaining true understanding to be able to teach it later in the classroom. (I can explain it more easily to my students if I've already done it!) In education, we are required to increase the rigor of the means by which we teach. This is a way to help us come up with great projects to get our students more involved in the classroom. The best thing is that these experiments involve simple materials that we use in our everyday life! We have been using common items to do science and make it applicable for our students. I believe that our number one goal is to give students more opportunities to problem solve and grow. Most participating professors emphasize the importance of post-lab discussions, which help students better understand what just happened. These discussions can cover elements the students didn't understand, reasons different groups got different results or why things happened as they did…Brilliant! So far, this program has been helpful in getting ideas for new experiments to use in class. Now with these new ideas, it helps us to be able to better use our time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012