Episode 040: How to Begin the School Year with NGSS with Nicole Bolduc


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Back in Episode 037 with Victoria Schilling, she told us how her 8th graders came in with solid routines and classroom culture norms conducive to the NGSS style of teaching because her 7th grade teacher colleague taught  and practiced those routines and norms in the previous school year. So, I just had to get that teacher, Nicole Bolduc, on the show to tell us how she does that! And she sure does deliver. Get your notebook out for notes and be prepared to listen a few times. She has everything you need to know to get your school year off on the right track! Thank you Nicole!

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And remember, you’re phenomenal!


Show Highlights

  • 08:30 - 14:00    Introduction to Nicole & how she starts the year with NGSS
  • 14:00 - 21:00    Small group modelling & large group discussions
  • 21:00 - 29:00    Question-asking routines & the QFT process
  • 29:00 - 32:45    Creating NGSS storylines & planning for student-led investigations
  • 33:00 - 35:30    Troubleshooting issues with classroom culture
  • 36:00 - 44:00    Nicole's process for working through each storyline and setting expectations for students

 Show Quotes 

"We're going to start with the anchoring phenomenon routine...I definitely want to emphasize to students or have them experience that first routine of observing and writing down noticings and their initial wonderings, just so that we get in that routine of writing things that we see as scientists. Then things really start to pick up once students get to draw their initial models as that next step. And again I feel like doing these routines right away within the first couple of days of school just sets those expectations that when we come into science we're going to be scientists." [12:15 - 13:05] Nicole Bolduc

"In large groups students often feel unsafe. What I do to get them to feel more comfortable and positive in a large group is I actually videotape students from the year before having a discussion, mainly a successful one. It works really well for students to model after other students." [16:35 - 16:55] Nicole Bolduc

"I think that it makes them [students] feel very empowered that they're the ones that are leading this discussion, and it's not just their teacher talking at them. And I feel like that helps build our positive community and that they trust me to let them guide their learning." [20:55 - 21:00] Nicole Bolduc

"I do this routine every single time: First I launch the phenomena, then we make our observations and wonderings. Then students draw their initial models and share those models in small groups. [Next] we come to our discussion circle and share our initial thinking. We actually make our consensus model together, and at that point we also come up with related phenomena. Then we launch into our question-asking, and then we launch into investigations ideas. We decide what we want to do first, and then we launch into that. And we do that every time."  [35:50 - 36:35] Nicole Bolduc

Links from Nicole

QFT guidelines (I call it "Ask Away" with my students) 

Discussion Norms

Effort Reflection (PRIDE High 5!) for on the way out of room 

Classroom Norms

Image of students in a discussion circle

Image of outside of my doorway

Image of student doing the "Ask Away" (QFT) - generating questions about a phenomenon

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