Every year, high school teachers across the country are asked to write college recommendations for their current and former students. With today’s competitive college culture, and an ever-growing list of teacher responsibilities—how can we be expected to write 10, sometimes more, original college recommendations each year for our students? As a teacher who was just introduced to all of this two years ago, I’ve spoken with college recruiters, researched how and what to include within a recommendation letter, consulted with guidance counselors (who see the range of recommendations, confidentially), and, most importantly, spoken with veteran teachers who write recommendation letters. After putting together the results of everything that I have learned, I have developed the following set of tips and advice. So, whether you are a pro at writing recommendation letters and are just looking to keep your letters fresh or you are a complete novice, as I was not too long ago, I hope that my advice will be helpful to you.
This past summer, I took part in an online teaching training offered by Beyond Benign. According to the Web site, “Beyond Benign was created by Dr. John Warner, a founder of the field of Green Chemistry, to provide an approach and means for scientists, particularly those involved in green chemistry and sustainable science, to reach out to the public.” I learned a great deal from the training. I was exposed to many resources that I did not know existed. I found lessons that I can easily incorporate into my curriculum that make a connection between the student and the chemistry content. Nothing is more powerful in a chemistry classroom than when a student can identify how the course content affects their everyday life and their future.
We are encouraged to use modelling these days and I have some activities to share along with some videos that might help you in the process.
NGSS and the new AP chemistry curriculum have included modelling in the chemistry curriculum, so it is imperative that we have access to good conceptual questions surrounding modelling. I am in the midst of researching the best sources of these types of questions and resources that will help teachers to design their own. If you have any suggestions, please post them here.
I used JCE Classroom Activity #111 in my chemistry classes today. (Subscription to JCE required.) What a great way to help students make the connection between number of ions present, the charges of the ions and the neutral compound formula.
Halloween is a great time of year to do experiments with fluorescence. Check out the video in which we experiment with some fluorescent yarn.
We are all crazy busy as chemistry teachers. Many of us teach other science courses that take significant preparation time as well. We are working to add content that is useful to YOU. We plan to add activities with links to Next Generation Science Standards, roll out our Facebook page soon, highlight ACS Conant Awardees, and much more.
Here is a pic from the 2009 award including board members of the National Mole Day Foundation and past Moles of the Year.