24 March 2013

Drawn to Science

Shhh… Let me share a secret with you—one I don’t announce loudly, often, or really at all in my regular work with certified science teachers.
When I started teaching in the fall of 1998, I spent one semester in a tiny private school as a 5th-8th grade English and science teacher.  Those kids were so young compared to the high school students I taught during student teaching, and I was inexperienced and worried about how I could possibly teach science, since I was only certified to teach English.  I learned alongside my students.  We hiked, collected leaves, and conducted rudimentary experiments without a lab.  At the end of the semester I was offered a high school English teaching position and promptly left the tiny school and my young students, but not before realizing what mattered to me most was teaching.  While I longed to read and discuss literature with high school students, I was even more interested in seeing students have aha! moments, no matter the topic. 
Since that semester I have been driven to learning more about science, and it’s been very nourishing. I read science blogs, articles, books, and I help my sons with various science projects.  A scientist would probably tell me reading about science doesn’t really compare to doing science, so that’s why I tend to keep my semester of teaching science a secret. 
At age 8, my oldest son begged us to buy him a solar panel kit. 
As it turned out, we had to solder tiny panels together,
so I learned more than I ever anticipated with this fun adventure--thanks to Ethan.
 Not to be kept a secret is this growing list of science blogs I read.
Oliver Sacks, M.D. I’ve been reading books by Oliver Sacks since 1994 when an English professor in college knew I was interested in the study of human behavior and the mind.  This professor handed me the book—The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and my long time reading interest in the works of Oliver Sacks began.  How cool is that?—an English professor didn’t try to convince me to only read what interested him—he handed me a book he knew might interest me.
Endless Forms Most Beautiful   Several of the blogs I read now have come to me via Twitter, including this one by Kimberly Moynahan.  Last fall I wrote a post about a moth we saw while at a professional development training.  Shortly thereafter, Kimberly was following me on Twitter, so I don’t know if she saw my blog or not, but I’ve been reading her blog since then.  Endless Forms Most Beautiful is captivating with beautiful and interesting photographs and great information for someone like me who keeps trying to learn about the world in which I live.  Another note--Kimberly started a list of all the bloggers in Canada, so check out this document for an ongoing list.
Scijourner The Kentucky Writing Project director told me about this blog when I saw her at the Kentucky Council for Teachers of English Annual Conference.  This blog is written by teens—a great example of science writing we might use in our classrooms.
Erin C. McKiernan  I have a hidden interest in neuroscience and found this blog through random google searches I was conducting because of stories I follow about individuals with long term brain damage.  This site has been up only a few months, but already I enjoy the postings on a regular basis.
Patrick Goff A blog about teaching middle school science.  I enjoy learning about science and the teaching of science from an National Board Certified Teacher who's inspiring and dedicated.

Tricia Shelton A blog by a high school science teacher who I met via Twitter. She's kept me motivated to dig deeper into instructional design for science as she leads work around the Next Generation Science Standards.
Feel free to share additional science resources and blogs you think will help me continue learning.