I am honored for the invitation to write for ChemEd X and am looking forward to being part of this collaborative chemistry teaching community! I’m Shelly Belleau, a Chemistry and Physics teacher in Colorado. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado where I learned about my passion for teaching when serving as an undergraduate teaching assistant (through the Colorado Learning Assistant program). I began teaching high school Chemistry and Physics in 2008 and received my master’s degree in Urban Education from the University of Denver in 2010.
My mission is to engage all students in scientific inductive reasoning, and I believe this pedagogical approach can be the very mechanism that empowers students who are underrepresented in the field of science. I dedicate my career to empowering teachers and students to make data-driven decisions about teaching, learning, and scientific principles. I believe that teachers and students alike learn from inducing principles from observations and collaborating with colleagues and peers. For teachers, this data ranges from formative assessment results to the nature of student discourse in small groups or as a whole class. For students, this data involves carefully sequenced observations of matter and its interactions. I’ve observed that this teaching and learning approach can be extraordinarily rewarding and engaging!
Currently I work in a dual role through CU-Boulder and a neighboring school district. I teach two sections of high school general physics and I collaborate with faculty and graduate students on a research and curriculum revision project at the university. One of the goals of this dual role is to bridge the gap between the university and in-service teachers. Additionally, the position serves to help increase teacher voice and provide teachers with access to the university professional development and research programs. I am fortunate to collaborate with an outstanding group of in-service and pre-service teachers, university faculty, and graduate students.
I am also very active with the American Chemical Society – I serve as the chair of the board for ChemMatters and am involved with the process of forming the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT). I love seeing how the resources and networks from the ACS support teachers and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities for teachers that will come from the AACT. What resources do you find most helpful when planning lessons and collaborating with colleagues? Do you use ChemMatters in your classrooms? How do you envision you would benefit from joining the AACT?