I love going back-to-school.  I love the freshness of a new year.  I love buying school supplies and setting up stations for learning.  I love thinking about how I am going to create opportunities to shift thinking in my students.  Back-to-school is such a clean page, full of opportunity and enthusiasm.

Over the summer I read Teaching for Conceptual Understanding in Science by Richard Konicek-Moran and Page Keeley.  Let me start by saying, that if you have not yet read this book take 5 minutes, follow the link and get the book!  Go ahead…I’ll wait…  Ready?  This book is amazing.  It both reinforced good practice and science education theory I already had and taught me so many new things.  While I was reading, I kept a list of notes and ways I want to use what I was learning in my work this year.  I am so excited to add to my practice!

Think about:

“…students learn science best when content and practices are taught together so students can see how science generates new knowledge and ways of thinking about our world.” (p. 137)

” Activity is good and achieves motivation and interest in lessons, but activity itself is not sufficient….the learning comes in the discussion and argument after the activity – what many call the minds-on part.  This means that learning involves conceptual modification.  Thus the term that we advocate is hands-on, minds-on.” (p. 108)

“The purpose of teaching for conceptual change in science is not to force students to surrender their alternative concepts to the teacher’s or scientist’s conceptions but, rather, to help students both form the habit of challenging one idea with another and develop appropriate strategies for having alternative conceptions compete with one another for acceptance.” (p. 63)

Summer is great and I so appreciate the time to decompress and recharge.  However, i am so excited to be ramping up for back-to-school with the inspiration I found in my summer reading!

What exciting inspiration are your bringing from your summer into your school year?