The Problem:Students hate taking notes because it requires more work on their part or they haven't been taught.In our slide drenched classrooms where we post our PowerPoints and Prezis to our Google classrooms, students always have access to our notes. So, students think that they do not need to take notes since they have constant access to information. Some of my students have even said they have teachers that say not to take notes because they can get it online later. I haven't investigated, but I hope that isn't the case. I was helping a student this week and I said, "Let me see your notes and I'll show you..." What I was saw was a bunch of scattered words on a piece of paper with no cohesion and thought process behind them. We harp about taking good notes, but let me ask you, have you ever taught a class how to take notes? I haven't until now. Do you want to know what I learned? Explain to your students that in order for your brain to store more information, you must process it as many times as you can. Read it or listened to itprocessed information once Then, wrote it down as notesprocessed information twice Used notes to answer homework questionsprocessed information three times! Notice there is no access it via Google Drive. :) When we teach off a PowerPoint, they need to write down what is on the slide, along with your explanations. They can write it down during or after class, but they need to write it. Here is the most important part for math and science classes especially. Teach the students to draw arrows from step to step. Why did you divide in that step? What is produced in this step that is necessary for the next step? What does this scientific cycle need this step? Where does that stuff come from? Teach them to draw arrows. Teach them to write down their questions. Last, here is how I structure a 50 minute lesson around this idea.
Now, you can officially hold them accountable for their crappy notes!
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The Problem: Students can't tell the difference in superscripts and subscripts when they learn to balance equations. My solution is to teach this topic visually! When I first started teaching, I'd look at the book that I was teaching out of and cut out several examples. My thought was that I would save time because once I had shown them the concept they should be fine, right? Not so right. Each of the examples in a book or lesson plan is usually teaching a different nuance of the topic. Once I realized that, I tried to accentuate that to my student by saying, "This example is an example of when you have this situation." So, when I teach balancing chemical equations, I start by showing them a simple balanced equation. Then, we go though and count each atom type. Then I show them an unbalanced equation. We go through and count up each type of atom and they see that it is not balanced. Then I ask them how would we go about fixing this. Usually a student suggests changing the subscript and at that point I draw this out to the side. I explain how the 2 subscript is explaining that the hydrogens come as a pair. Next I ask what would happen if we had two of the NH3 Molecules instead of 1. First, I draw it. THEN I write it. They usually see that the Nitrogens are now balanced and the hydrogens are not. I ask them how we could use math to turn 2 hydrogens into 6. We usually get to an answer of 3 sets of 2 pairs of hydrogens. At this point I have them count on their papers and tell me if it is balanced.
The last thing I do is I write out the equation again with subscripts one color and superscripts another color. This leads us into the point that superscripts and subscripts are different and you can't just change superscripts into whatever you want. Superscripts do not have Superpowers! 
AuthorHi! I'm CoScine Creative. I have developed and run a tutoring center at a small college. I also teach some of their algebra and chemistry courses. And I will neither confirm nor deny pranking my students by pretending to be one. Archives
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