Three Cheers for Our Students!
By Brenda Mueller, CASE Middle School/Jr. High Director
Cheers! As we approach the winter break, many of us may be looking forward to celebrating with friends or perhaps a toast of cheers to ring in the New Year.
But before we spend a couple of well-deserved weeks out of the classroom, let’s take the opportunity to celebrate our students, especially our students’ courage to share their science ideas in our classrooms.
Prior to the pandemic, many of us were making progress in having our students feel comfortable sharing their initial and developing science ideas about phenomena. The phenomena-based storyline units that many of us developed or used allowed us to utilize our students' science ideas and wonderings to drive how the instruction unfolded in our classrooms. Classrooms were full of student discourse where students helped decide what to do next in order to construct an explanation of a phenomenon or design a solution for an engineering problem.
Then our world changed, and for many of us, our progress stalled as we adjusted to our new teaching and learning environments. Now, we are seeing our students’ science discourse return. The hard work we are putting in to rebuild classroom environments where students feel welcomed and comfortable is paying off. Our students are growing in their abilities to share their emerging science ideas as they work to “figure out” phenomena.
We may have goals beyond the current levels we are seeing in our classes but we are making progress. We are working hard to bring back all that wonderful student talk and our students are rising to the challenge. So before we head out for winter break, let’s celebrate our students' courage and progress as well as our own.
~Brenda Mueller has been teaching middle school in San Diego Unified since 1999 and is currently serving as the CASE Middle School Director for 2022-2023.