The Problem: All science teachers have a budget, and chemistry doesn't taste good.
Yup. I said it. We all have no money for labs. We often spend our own money for labs. But, what if we spent less and everyone got something out of it? So, even if you have to spend your own money you and the students get something tangible AND practical out of the lab. I'm talking about cooking with chemistry.
The Problem: Students can't see chemistry
I’ve been working with color memory techniques for seven years in the classroom and the question that I see come up over and over is, “What is color memory?" and "How do you use color effectively in your high school classroom?” I’m going to answer that question today.
When I got my first job out of college working as a lab tech I kept messing up the order of clear solvents that went into a process. I fixed my problem by color coding the labels on the solutions. Then, when I moved further into teaching and students would have a problem understanding a concept, I would use highlighters or color pencils to diagram concepts. I began to notice that I solved problems through color coding. I decided to further apply some of these techniques to my teaching, and it really helps students grasp concepts easier.
The Problem: Sometimes you get a class that will not behave.
If you are reading this, you have been there, or maybe you are right in the middle of it right now. If so, I'm sorry and I completely understand! At the beginning of my 3rd semester teaching, I was assigned this new curriculum that was going to change the world of math and solve all student problems with learning math. It was going to be a miracle.
It was a disaster.
But, it wasn't a total loss. I learned about the red folder trick.
There will be a lot of people who disagree with me-and that is okay. Different things work for different teachers. This is how I establish authority and style in my classroom. The number one way to catch and maintain authority in the classroom-is to prank the students on the first day of class.
Now, hear me out. I've tried it your way.
"Hi, I'm your teacher for Intermediate Algebra this semester. Please take a syllabus and pass the rest back. I expect you to read this in your own time. Lesson 1...."
Three minutes into it and they start asking if I really am the teacher.
"Are you old enough to teach this class?"
Nope. I'm not doing it that way again. I let 'em sit there.
It's 8:55 and the teacher isn't here yet.
It's 8:59 and the teacher isn't here yet.
When building a tutoring center from scratch you need to consider a lot of things. First, what population are you serving? Who is your audience? How will you market this tutoring center to students and teachers(yes, you need to market to teachers.)? What is your space? What records should be kept? What forms need to be created? What metrics should be tracked? What curriculum needs will the students need? What social activities should we promote? The list can go on and on...
I’ve been hired to develop a tutoring center for a two-year college. Two year colleges have much different needs than four year colleges and universities. In this post I'd like to discuss 5 things you need to consider when starting a tutoring center.
The Problem: You've never been to college so you don't know what to expect from orientation.
I'm one of the instructors at our college who helps students with their schedules at orientation. I'm always SO EXCITED when a student brings me a list of their classes. I'm like "Eeeeee! This one knows what they are doing!"
But, I've been thinking. These students who are getting ready for orientation don't know that we expect them to have looked over our plan of studies, our course catalogues, and the semester schedules to have already picked out their classes. and this is a problem.
So here is the ONE thing I want you to do before you go to college orientation. First go find the "plan of study", "major map", or your college's version of your roadmap to your 2 or 4 year degree. Go to the college's website and find the link that lays out the classes you must have to get a degree. This is what we call a plan of study.
There is an example of what this looks like here, here, and here.
Now that you know what you have to take, schedule out your next THREE semesters at the very least. This will help you fix any scheduling conflicts now. Pay close attention to courses that are ONLY OFFERED IN SPRING, FALL, ODD, or EVEN years.
That is a thing. I'm not making this up!
In doing that last step you might have needed to go through the course catalogue because you might have seen that you could take MATH 2245 or MATH 1200. Go into the course catalogue and see what you are qualified for or what level of torture you would like to take on. :)
The Problem:Students don't like learning 60% of the time
I've created this line of worksheets called "Color & Learn." I tried to take ideas in chemistry and a few in math and make them more simple by color coding topics in chemistry. All cations are yellow, anions are blue, metals are gray, nonmetals are red, polyatomic ions are also blue because they behave the same as anions...etc. Check out my ideas below.
#1 Color and Learn: Intro to Cations and Anions
Students understand the idea of cations and anions right away, but somehow the idea seeps out of their brains while they sleep and they've completely forgotten where we look to figure out where cations and anions are. (Hint: Is the element on the right or left side of the periodic table?)I like this worksheet because you can just look at it to grade it and you can spot an error really quickly. Who doesn't like easy to grade homework?
The Problem: First Time College Students Don't Know What They Need Because They've Never Been to College
If your son or daughter is going off to college for the first time, I have no doubt they will tell you all about the laptop, iPad, and smart phone that they absolutely need. While they do need some of those things, this is a list of smaller, very helpful, 100% academic things that help my students.
I am not affiliated with any of these companies or products. I just like what they do.
1. Wolfram Alpha
If your first time college student is going to be taking precalculus, calculus, or beyond, check out Wolfram Alpha. I would purchase their pro for students for $4.75 a month. What is great about it is that it breaks problems down step by step so they can get help even when the tutoring center is closed.
If you don't purchase the pro version, still go check it out because it can help you in Biology 1107K by helping you compute homozygote frequency using the Hardy-Weinburg equation.
Still not impressed? They can also help you write electron configurations for your Chemistry 1211. Yes! Seriously.
That is all in addition to the math help they can offer you. It's a really great tool to have in your back pocket!
The Problem:Students have trouble knowing what to do with trig. expressions and problems using identities
So many students know what they need to do to simplify or solve a trig identity, but they do not understand how to solve or simplify the problem. So, I've tried a few different solutions, and these work for most students.
The Problem: Students have trouble balancing charges in chemical compounds
The first MAJOR hurdle students come to in chemistry is when they have to start writing chemical formulas when given a chemical name. They seem to do better if you give them a chemical formula and have them write a name, but give them a name and they seem to have a harder time.
#1 Solution: Dive deep into subscripts and charges
I think it is because students are just really uncomfortable with subscripts at this point in their chemistry knowledge.
Draw it out for them using circles for the cations and anions. Explain that if you have to draw more than one circle for each cation or anion then you would use a subscript. Two cations would equal a 2 subscript, 3 cations would equal a 3 subscript etc.
When you start out explaining how to name compounds you probably use HCl or NaCl or something like that because they each have opposing charges of one and (1+) and (1-) equals zero, right?
The Problem: Students confuse subscripts and coefficients
In theory, I only help with the chemistry labs this semester. But, I or one of my tutors, teach a recitation for Gen. Chem 1 or Gen Chem 2 every other week. They have been learning how to balance chemical equations and it just wasn't clicking for them. So, at this week's recitation I explained the concept of having the same amount of each type of chemical on the left as you do on the right.
But, they kept making the same mistake. They were just slapping on 2's for coefficients where there should have been a subscript to balance the charge on the molecule.
Solution #1: Do they know how to properly balance charges on chemical compounds? If not, click here for the explanation and here for the worksheet on that topic.
Chemistry is hard. I mean really, it is one of those sciences you can't see without lots of expensive equipment. So, I began trying to make chemistry(and other sciences and math!) more real to my students.
Hi! I'm CoScine. I write chemistry worksheets for visual learners. They are fun, easy to follow, and most of them are quick to grade. Since I started my teaching career at the college level, these are just simple chemistry. These worksheets are hard core science.