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Students start believing in themselves when they actually start teaching previously taught material to each other.
Christopher P. Chavarria | High School Science Teacher | Camden Camelot High School
Chris Chavarria is a new teacher in the Camden Camelot High School and a participant in the PSI physics teacher certification program. He currently teaches PSI algebra-based physics, PSI chemistry and PSI biology.
How did you learn about PSI?
I enrolled in the PSI Physics teacher endorsement program, and began learning physics last summer. My cohort now meets every Wednesday, and every 3rd Saturday of the month. I now that PSI has made me a better science teacher. Using PSI materials has also been a positive experience for my students.
How are teachers using the many resources provided by PSI?
I am very grateful for the NJEA’s extremely generous donation of Physics lab equipment and I use the lab materials to enhance the students learning experience in PSI. I follow the PSI unit plans very closely. The students are very grateful also.
How have things progressed this year?
I have had a phenomenal year teaching using PSI content. I have had a total of 12 observations between the Camden school District, Camelot Education, and NJCTL, and all of the observations have ranged between effective and highly effective.
Describe a typical day in your classroom.
My class starts with students completing a 5 to 7 minute “due now” involving SAT, Accuplacer, PARCC, NJBCT, or ASVAB questions. Students then participate in a guided round robin reading questioning and note taking on a particular PSI unit using Smart Response. Student also have the opportunity to do independent practice and to teach each other via the Smart Board. Students enjoy PSI and Smart Response because it gives them the opportunity to become interactive with the subject material, thus gaining confidence with abstract subject matter.
What is the most positive outcome you have seen with your implementation of PSI?
The most positive outcome I have seen is the students teaching each other and competing against other classes to get even better data results via Smart Response. Students start believing in themselves when they actually start teaching previously taught material to each other. The second positive outcome using PSI was survival, because so many science teachers left our school for one reason or another, yet PSI enabled me to obtain great observation scores during all 12 of my observations.
Share one thing that you have learned this year, that you will do differently next year.
I will start the year off by using a PSI test to determine student growth objectives (SGO’s) for all of my science classes.
What’s the difference between PSI and other curricula?
Students have access to PSI materials, because every student has a cell phone or a home computer or a library with computers. I have worked in schools where there were not enough books for every student to take home. With PSI, all students have access to course materials.
What advice do you have for teachers adopting PSI-PMI now?
I would advise teachers to embrace the change because it will make you a better teacher and the students become more interactive in your classroom.