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Hello there!
Welcome to our Biology and Life Sciences Teaching Community! My name is Sage O’Toole and I am so excited to work together with each one of you as your TFA Online Biology Coach. A lot has changed over the summer – in particular, we experienced the sunset of as the host for our online Teaching Community. Have no fear! We TFA coaches are still here to support you and are excited to share our new communities with you. The Biology and Life Sciences Teaching Community is now officially housed in Google+ and in my opinion is a lot more fun to navigate. Through our community, you will have access to online coaches as well as your fellow TFA science teachers so you will never be alone in this journey. We all have such unique perspectives and ideas and our community provides a unique outlet for you to take what you need and give what you can! Don’t forget to join the community so you can benefit from everything it has to offer.

Here are some highlights of what we have in store:
1. Q&A –Do you need help with unit planning? Implementing Inquiry? Finding great resources for science lessons? Ask questions and the community will respond! Get advice from your peers in a convenient location. I will also respond to any posts within 1 business day. 
2. Resource Reviews – Twice per month I will post resource reviews with some great teaching tips, activities, ideas for the classroom, etc. Don’t miss out! We have a lot of great stuff coming your way.
3. PD Opportunities – This year the online coaches will be providing you with two types of professional development teach month: self-paced modules and live virtual learning experience. All the info can be found on our community page under PD Opportunities and Events. You can also preview the upcoming PDs on our PD website here. 
4. Resource Bank – TFA approved resources organized by topic are available for your perusal and use.
5. One-on-One Coaching – request one-on-one support at any time. We can meet via Google Hangouts or Zoom to provide you with more individualized support. 

Once again, I am very excited to work with each of you this year. Don’t wait! Join our community and then post a brief introduction under our Quickshare tab. Then, keep an eye out because our first resource posts will be going up this week. Looking forward to meeting you!

Sage O'Toole
Biology Coach

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How do you envision using case studies in your own classroom?
What topics might you consider using it for?
Finally, what challenges do you anticipate having and how might you overcome them?

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The Jigsaw and Teach Back strategy can be a wonderful tool for promoting student ownership of their learning in science. How do you envision using this strategy in your own classroom? What topics might you consider using it for?
Finally, what challenges do you anticipate having and how might you overcome them?

The Socratic Discussion can be a powerful tool for student discourse if implemented purposefully. As you consider your classroom and your current or future students, think about how you might you use this strategy. In particular consider the following: How does the Socratic Discussion activity promote student discourse? How can you as a teacher ensure that all students participate and benefit from this strategy? What modifications could you make to this activity for use in your classroom?

Share your thoughts in the teaching community here!

Hi Everyone,
I am trying to organize a community effort through a non-profit to establish a student run testing laboratory in Georgetown Texas. It would be an analytical lab where students would, with supervision and training, establish assays for everything from water quality, mineral and bacterial content to biological tests for use in agriculture. Soil testing, farm animals. The testing would only anticipate donations and recipients of assay data would be referred to commercial testing labs for validation of confirmation of their result. The question to all is: Do any of you know of any student run testing labs. The idea is for the kids to learn assay development and entrepreneurialism and how they work together.
Mike Douglas 512-831-8271

Hi Group,
I am an old professor who retired to the city of Georgetown Texas ad run a Life Science Incubator with 10 companies in it. I have used this as a resource to engage the local independent school district to grow their STEM initiatives. I am focused on PBL and creating new educational approaches to bring life sciences into the class room. I am writing a grant to NSF to build such a program primarily in middle school and high schools. We have a "middle college" program with the local community college but I need to really get creative approached in fron of these middle schoolers. Your group looks like an interesting place for resources and approaches. We have a large Google presence here in the Austin area and I think the opportunity to use this as a vehicle to self and facilitated learning of STEM particularly in the life sciences could be the way to go. I am looking for contacts and individuals to consult with and possibly models out there where this approach has been implemented??

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Would you implement this framework in your classroom? What do you think are the benefits of this framework vs. a typical 5E or "I Do, We Do, You Do" Lesson plan? Post your response in the comments section below.

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Check out this student-created time-stop animation video modeling the process of mitosis. Have you tried using time-stop animation for scientific modeling in class? How do you think students would like this type of activity?

Hi everyone! I was working through The Science Inquiry Framework virtual learning module, but I was unable to access some of the content because Zaption has been shut down. Does anyone know if there is still a way I can access these resources?

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What form of inquiry do you use most often in your own classroom (structured, guided, or open)? Use the poll below to share your answer.

In the comments section, share your answer to this question: What could you do to begin shifting responsibility to your students to move from structured to open inquiry?
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Structured Inquiry
Guided Inquiry
Open Inquiry
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