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A Different Approach to Grade 12 Chemistry Lessons

I’m trying a slightly different approach to some of the lessons I teach in my grade 12 Chemistry class.

Some of the concepts are quite detailed, and I find (I know, perhaps antiquated, but it’s me) a somewhat traditional ‘lecture’ style lesson, along with lots of examples, helps to get the point across.  I also write down ‘notes’ on the board that I suggest students copy or paraphrase into their notebooks. However, my classes are only 38 minutes long each day (full year class, not semestered, I see them every day, not every other day).  A lesson can eat up most of that time, leaving little time for examples.  Examples are often pushed to the next day.

What I’m trying different is to post ‘formal notes’ about the lesson to our course webpage (look at the ‘Handout’ section) prior to the lesson (sometimes the morning of, sometimes the day before).  These note are usually a lot more ‘wordy’ and ‘verbose’ than what I would usually write on the board in class.  I encourage students to not simply copy them (or worse, just print them and place them in their notebooks for later reference) but to read and paraphrase them into their own words.  This gives me much more time in class to do lots of examples, as well as provide them in-class practice and be a ‘circulating resource’ while they work on the practice questions.

Many students (not all, which is why I don’t use this technique for all lessons) have told me they like this approach.   Most of them state it helps to minimize the amount of homework they have to do at home, as some of it they complete in class (while I’m there to serve as a resource for them while they work).

I plan on polling the students later in the year to see what they really think of this approach and ask for suggestions on how I can improve it.

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