Meet Bethany Saunders Science Educator. Leader. Mentor

This portfolio includes: 1. Philosophy of Education 2. How I use learning styles 3. Videos, pictures, and examples of Hands-on lessons 4. Teaching Thinking (videos and examples) 5. Literacy in my Science Classroom 6. Technology in the classroom 7. Recommendations and Resume

1. Philosophy of Education: My joy is found in influencing the world's next generation of critical thinkers and problem solvers by utilizing individual learning styles to inspire curiosity and engage learners. I believe true learning happens when students to set goals and grow from ones mistakes, thoughtfully discuss concepts within the learning community, and demonstrate thinking .

2. Accessing Learning Styles: Because all people are different, I believe that we each learn differently. At the beginning of each year, I give my students a learning styles inventory, where students find out the top three strongest ways that they learn.

Survey given to students at the beginning of the year.

The 8 learning styles are: Verbal, Logical/Mathematic, Kinesthetic, Visual, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalistic. As I teach material, I make sure to teach it using at least 5 out of the 8 learning styles, so that I can make sure to engage all types of learners.

3. Hands-On Science: I believe science should be experienced through hands-on activities and labs that focus on applying concepts learned in the curriculum. By actually "doing science" students are really able to grasp how what they learn in the classroom can be applied to the real world, a struggle that most students often have.

Examples of hands-on science in my classroom: Includes videos, student responses, and pictures.

Inquiry lab: Students used water tanks to learn how temperature affects the density of water. This was later tied to the concepts of how convection causes air and water to move on Earth.

Students hunted prey (beans) in order to gain a better understanding of animal adaptations, natural selection, and population cycles.

Students "mutated" and hunted for food in order to experience how natural selection and adaptations are related.

Creating Models, Extracting DNA, Collecting Data, and More science fun!

4. Teaching Thinking: I believe that teaching students HOW to think, as well as teaching students to think about their thinking (metacognition) is key to students understanding concepts. Teaching thinking and problem solving strategies helps students move up Bloom's levels from basic understanding and recall to interpreting, analyzing, and creating. I truly believe that all levels of learners can benefit and grow when they can internalize information and become more meta cognitive. Ways that I teach thinking: Provide questions for students to ask themselves, using vocabulary definitions to guide thinking through a question or concept, creating graphic organizers that help analyze concepts, labeling when I see students thinking through a question.

Top Left : Thinking strategy to use when analyzing energy transformations Top Right: A strategy that utilizes vocabulary definitions to decode chemical formulas Bottom: Questions I teach students to ask themselves when analyzing data to predict the weather
Examples of students demonstrating and using thinking strategies in order to solve problems

5. Literacy and Science: I believe that exposing students to articles about science concepts they are learning in the classroom has a two-fold purpose. First, students are able to really see how what they are learning in the classroom applies to the real world- which also tends to inspire more curiosity about science concepts. I like to pull articles from because they are adapted in such a way that students at multiple learning levels can access the text, comprehend meaning, and draw conclusions. The articles also do a great job mixing content with out of classroom experiences. Secondly, I find that teaching through articles allows me to utilize strategies that help with overall literacy of my students. Making these cross-curricular connections shows students how they can use strategies that they learn in any classroom to help them decode meaning.

A sample article and student response sheet

6. Technology in the Classroom: I believe it is important to use technology to enhance student learning. I use technology both as an instructional teaching tool, as well as a way to supplement concepts that I have taught. I also utilize technology when students create projects that demonstrate their understanding of concepts. Technology as a teaching tool: Online websites such as, Study Island, BBC Bitesize Learning, etc. Technology as a supplement: Webquests, Interactive Websites. Technology and Projects: Adobe Spark, Google Classroom, Research projects.

Explore Learning Online "gizmo": This is an online simulation where students manipulate objects in order to gather information and draw conclusions about science concepts. In this example, students analyzed population graphs of moths during the Industrial Revolution to see how they adapted to their changing environment.

7. Recommendations and Resume: Resume includes teaching experience, leadership experience, and professional development experiences.

"Mrs. Saunders' shows genuine compassion and is consistently fair in dealing with her students."

"One of the wonderful things about Mrs. Saunders is her willingness to try new things and share successful strategies with colleagues."

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