This week, and next week, I have two Physical Science classes and my Physics class…my other three classes are Biology tutorials. State tests are approaching (May 5th is less than two weeks away!?!) and once again I find myself teaching Biology. I thought this summer was the end of it, but when our students are not meeting the goals and scores they need to pass this state test, we all must pitch in.
side note: 100 West, the SCIENCE Hall, is a great team. : ) Just sayin’.
We are doing rotations between all the teachers on the science hall. The Biology students are split into five groups and rotating among five science teachers. Each teacher reviews a different section or objective of the Biology content. So, luckily for the students, I actually don’t have to teach actual Biology content, because I am the “Scientific Inquiry” specialist in the hall. So in my classroom, we are reviewing Scientific Method, Experiment Design, Control/Variable, and reading Graphs. Basically any “Objective 1″. We are also doing study skills. Because, here is the bottom line I keep trying to tell my students:
It DOES NOT MATTER what your teacher does in class or how many tutorial sessions you go to or how many practice assessments you take, if you do not go home and STUDY, you will probably NOT PASS.
There are obviously a few exceptions to this. There are students who can sit in class and hear and see the information and it will forever be cemented in their brain (or at least long enough to take the test), but the vast majority of students need repetition and constant exposure to information in order to remember it. (Trust me, I’m one of those.) And you just cannot get that for just 90 minutes every other day in a classroom. It takes some time and effort on your own and outside of class to go over the information so you can better understand and remember it.
So I have 8 stacks of index cards and a list of Biology vocab words and a little plastic baggie for each students and next week: STUDY STUDY STUDY SKILLS! Because our students do not know how to study. They tell me this when I ask them why they did not study. “I don’t really know how” or “I fall asleep when I just read over my notes” or any number of excuses. So as their teacher, I must TEACH them how to study, because without that skills they will likely not succeed and high school and absolutely not succeed in college.
This is one of many missions I have taken on at Lanier: Teaching my students to study. And now, teaching Biology students how to study.
Also, if you are a science teacher, check out this great prezi on control and variable that I found: http://prezi.com/z5rl2in42ct7/variables/ and a nice little quiz: http://www.quia.com/quiz/162310.html