Mrs. CJ – MS Science


Melissa Chouinard-Jahant (Mrs. CJ) is a junior high 7th grade science teacher in Katy Texas. She is the coach/mentor of the Future City competition, National Science Bowl, National Quiz Bowl Tournament and National Geography Bee. She is a writer of blogs and and also moderates two chats on Twitter and alternating Friday nights at 4:30PST/6:30CST/7:30EST. You can follow her on Twitter (collidingwithscience)

Melissa has been teaching for 16 years, having taught Social Studies, ELA and Science, for 5 years all three within the same school-day. The last six have been all science. She has taught GT, gifted/talented students for 15 years as well as Special Education for twelve years. She loves to coach/mentor science and geography competitions which she has done for her whole teaching career. This is the best way to build relationships, she believes, and to get students more involved in academic extra-curricular activities.

Melissa is an advocate for flexible seating, and she was the first in her district to win a grant for standing desks, which she used to implement them into her student-centered classroom. She is focused on differentiation, critical thinking and problem-solving in her classroom design basing her lessons on digits over digital with a makerspace and a lot of Argumentation Driven Inquiry (ADI). She also focuses her lessons on student-choice using podcasting, stop-motion video and graffiti walls as the center-piece to her student collaborative assessments.

Above all, Melissa is focused on bringing mindfulness into the classroom, in baby steps. Incorporating breathing techniques before exams, respond not react exercises and building a community of learners where comfortability and positivity steer the interactions and cooperative practices. It is all about the students and their needs and strengths. By using 1-minute check ins with every student, every week and creating enrichment and remediation circles run by students- every student finds their voice. By eliminating nightly homework and incorporating more mini-projects students have found more choice-based ways to demonstrate their learning.

“My belief is home-thinking rather than homework creates an atmosphere of self-advocacy and independence. My goal is never to teach my students science but rather provide my students with the tools and strategies to teach themselves science.” Her motto “Collisions are expected, turbulence welcomed, safe landings ahead.”

Mrs. CJ’s Posts on Blended Learning

Making the NGSS Cross-Cutting Concepts Meaningful

Home-Thinking Works Too: Giving Students Time to Think

10 Minutes or Less: Six Simple Strategies for Engagement and Collaboration in Any Classroom

Podcasting, Stop Motion, and Vlogging in Science

Science Useful Sites