Reflection: High Expectations Molecular Bonding - Section 6: Application, Part 2


Who sets the pace in my classroom? We all do. I create for every lesson what I consider to be a reasonable set of learning objectives and learning activities to help realize them. My students respond to these lessons in a variety of ways. Some students are always on task, always focused, and always trying to master everything I have taught. Other students are less inclined or less able to meet these demands.

This creates quite a challenge for the teacher. How do you meet the needs of all students? In this unit I have reflected about this differentiation challenge. Here is what I have come to know. First, I need to give some students additional challenge. So, while some students struggled with balancing the charge of monatomic ions, others met this challenge rather quickly, and so I introduced this subgroup to polyatomic ions and the use of parentheses to balance the charge. I also met with the group struggling with monatomic ions on a number of occasions to reteach material and analyze their work.

Still, there are times when I am forced by the constraint of time to move on before every student has met the learning objective. I must say that I got so bogged down in the ionic compound portion of this unit that I did not have as much time as I would have liked for molecular compounds. In retrospect, I believe, based on homework data an attendance at help sessions outside of class, that students did not put enough time and effort into the ionic compounds portion of the unit. Because I did not keep to the pace that I had created, with the hope of bringing more of those students along with extra class time, I shortchanged the molecular compounds portion of the unit.

When I realized this, I had to make a difficult decision. I decided to assess the unit sticking to compounds containing monatomic ions, and single bonds. However, I also made it clear that students who were striving to get the highest grade would have to show success with double and triple bonds as well as polyatomic ions.

This has always been a tricky balancing act for me. On the one hand, I want to make sure that I do not leave students behind because I am being driven by the need of covering a set amount of material, regardless of what they have learned. On the other hand, I know I am doing no one a service by letting students who are not putting forth effort and hard work set the pace of the learning environment. This is especially challenging when one lesson depends on the student mastery of a previous lesson. Ultimately, we all set the pace of the learning environment. However, I try to be the primary driver. Otherwise, I am rewarding the students who are not invested, at the expense of the students who are. 

  Who Sets the Pace?
  High Expectations: Who Sets the Pace?
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Molecular Bonding

Unit 4: Compounds
Lesson 5 of 8

Objective: Students will be able to model single, double, and triple bonds.

Big Idea: Covalent bonds involves sharing 1, 2, or 3 pairs of electrons to satisfy the octet (or duet) rule.

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4 teachers like this lesson
Science, Chemistry, ionic bonds, bond formation, NGSS, periodic table, compound
  55 minutes
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