Science, Education, and Science Education

classroom applications
March 24th, 2009 by Luann

So you are now a National Board Candidate?

As we wrap up one portfolio submission cycle and are deluged with masses of new candidates (especially here in Washington State where bonuses are, for the present, possibly somewhat secure) I am compelled to make a list of hints for candidates, from a facilitator’s point of view.

I have to say that most candidates I’ve worked with are eager and work very hard to do exactly what is asked of them. They work well with others and do their best to be helpful to their colleagues, even when stressed.  They share the joy of a great video or the defeat of a video recording inadvertently made with no sound. This list of tips is intended to help candidates who want to be part of the group everyone is glad to see show up at a cohort meeting, the candidate for whom everyone is glad to read entries, the candidate whom NBCT’s everywhere will be honored to call a colleague.

Getting Started

  • Play in the standards for your cert area. Read them and imagine what each looks like as it happens in your practice. What can you do to grow the standards in your practice?  Make notes.
  • Play in your portfolio directions.  Imagine lessons that you teach and picture how each lesson could fit, or more importantly be modified to fit, a particular entry. Make notes.
  • Modification is important in that this process is professional development and will help you to be a better teacher if you are willing to allow it to do so.  Make modifications with the goal in mind of improving your teaching, and it will show in your portfolio.  Make modifications for the sole purpose of impressing an assessor and that too will most likely show in your portfolio.
  • Set up a file folder for each entry.
  • Name your files with the entry #, your name, and the date. Your cohort and facilitator are going to get a LOT of files named “NB entry.”

Cohort Group and Facilitator Courtesy ( if you have one)

  • One word: prepare.
  • Read what you are asked to read, bring what you are asked to bring.
  • This group is all about you.  You and your fellow candidates.  Other candidates will ask questions you hadn’t thought to ask but will need to know the answer.  Listen.
  • Don’t monopolize the group’s time asking questions that you should have known by preparing for the meeting.
  • Don’t arrive late and expect the group to back up or wait while you are filled in on what you missed.
  • Don’t miss cohort group meetings and then expect your facilitator to spend 2 hours with you filling you in.
  • As a result of the missed meeting, collect the agenda and any other handouts or information, study them, do the suggested exercises and assignments, and THEN ask your facilitator for explanations of things still not clear.
  • If you are distributing a hard copy, label the copy with your name and entry number, and even your content area if the intended reader might not know this.
  • When someone reads an entry for you, return the favor. Say “Thank You.”
  • Better yet, give them chocolate.
  • Share organizational tips with cohorts.
  • Maintain confidence and privacy of others’ entries.


  • Set up a videocamera and record a random lesson that you have no intention of using, to get you used to being taped.
  • Watch the tape.  Really.  Don’t analyze, just watch.  You’ll get a feel for how to best use your classroom space and how sound is best recorded.
  • Yes, your first reactions will be the following, in no particular order:  Do I really sound like that?  I will never wear THAT outfit again. Is my butt really that big?
  • Learn from your videos.  That’s the point.

Nuts and Bolts

  • If you can’t seem to think of anything to write, re-read entry directions or standards.
  • Chocolate is a food group.

Get ready, new candidates! You’re in for the ride of your lives.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: