The start of the school year. But not really.

This is the first year I don’t have a “big” thing to do. The last few years have been overshadowed by earning a degree, completing Ohio’s RESA (I passed!) and just getting used to being a working mom. That’s why I’ve been a little absent from my blog.

Tomorrow is the start of my school year. Kinda. It’s not really.  Like many teachers, summer break is a time when I don’t have to go to the school building (thankfully – it’s not air conditioned!), but there’s plenty of work to do.  I took a graduate course in Physics that was offered through Ohio State and affiliated with the American Modeling Teachers Association.

But, work with my students really began months ago – in May.  That’s when we get a “heads up” from the guidance counselors, and when we get to assign… summer work.

I’ve written before about science fair, and I will do that more this year. For my honors track science students (sophomers), their summer work was to choose a question they may want to investigate, identify a half-dozen peer reviewed articles, and write an annotated bibliography.

Yes, this is challenging for students.  So I created several ways I could work with them through this process. Yes, in the summer. I kept working.

Here are some ways I’ve communicated with students this summer:

  1. Email. A classic.
  2. Facebook messenger.  I created a page for students from my school interested in science, and invited the students, STEM teachers, and a few other staff (including our media relations person). Students can the. Ask questions to the group (students and teachers) or get to me directly without me “friending” them.
  3. Another thing I sorted out with a student waste could communicate through Google Drive. Google drive is not really natural to me, so I was delighted to discover I could share files with my students from my iPad – which I pay far more attention to in the summer than I do my laptop.

The point is, long term projects require students to have accessibility to a mentor. Some get that other places (a parent or a professional they have a working relationship with) and that’s fine. Some have that, and want to talk to me anyway. Some don’t, they have my assignment, and that’s all they need.

So, the “start” of the school year is really when I get to see the product of the first three months of their efforts. I’m really excited for that.

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