Featured #MSUrbanSTEM Sustainability Fellow: Elena Concepcion

Sustainability Fellow: Elena Concepcion

Bio:  Elena Concepcion has been a CPS teacher for 13 years and is currently a 6th grade science teacher at Evergreen Academy Middle School. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from St. Xavier University and she also has a Master’s degree in Teaching Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Elena enjoys teaching middle school and loves spending time with her family.

Giving Students Opportunities to Express Themselves

As a middle school science teacher, I find it at times challenging to keep my students focused on the concepts behind the hands-on curriculum that I teach.  Finding the meaning within the science is something I know my students can achieve. However, they can get caught up in the “doing” and not the explanation of the learning.  I have to sometimes take a step back and think about what this all means to me as an educator. So much has evolved from the basic textbook teaching that I have experienced as both student and teacher. Today, we must think about the standards,  the concepts and the thinking-as well as the learning.

One of my focuses this year is to help guide my students to thinking more critically about their learning.  In my class, I structure a lot of what we do on the discussion at the end, whether it be a quick exit slip or a turn and talk.  I have found that my students are now more confident and comfortable talking about what they are experiencing in science class. I believe that we need to give students the opportunity to express themselves while learning.  

Being a part of the #MSUrbanSTEM Teacher Leadership Program has allowed me to become more flexible and creative in the way that I teach and present the concepts to my students daily.