Actually, I find that my real job is being a teacher. Though my focus is creating, designing, and building technology my struggle is teaching people to use it. This could be teaching customers to order products themselves, or just teaching my boss about what I did and how I make him money. I see teaching as more than communication, because communication is one sided – it’s output. Teaching requires output and input, I need to communicate out, then accept input so I can learn and adjust my message to the student. My goal is to be a teacher, a person people come to and get answers that make sense to them. I’ve found just in teaching my own kids that everyone learns differently, so making the content adaptable to the student is my number one job. What I need is help learning about teaching styles, tools and techniques that match to learning styles. 15 months ago
Entries from everyone
Because I don’t want to be a classroom teacher any more; I want to earn my masters and become a specialist.
:) 22 months ago
This week I’m going to make every student a CD of their instrument(s) and the different musical possibilities. They are all mature enough players that they can decide which direction and how seriously they want to take their playing. Yes, it’s my job to help them play to the best of their ability, but they need to choose their own directions :)
The fun part will be going through my recordings.
3 Flute CDs
1 Advancing (jazz) flute CD
2 Clarinet (variety) CDs
1 Sax (variety) CD
2 Advancing (jazz) sax CDs 2 years ago
Back in August I unveiled my plan to improve the way I teach the scientific process by breaking down my lab assessments instead of asking my students to produce a complete lab report right off the bat. In the first unit, for both physics and chemistry, I focused on just making hypotheses. We talked a lot about dependent and independent variables in different experiments until the students felt comfortable identifying them. Controlled variables still seem a little on the vague side, but I can review those when we get to procedure design. Then they can see that their procedure should be designed in a way to control any variables besides their dependent and independent ones.
For my next unit, different skills seemed appropriate for physics and chemistry. Chapter two in chemistry introduces elements and compounds, and in previous years, students have done elements projects where they do things like make posters, pamphlets, or skits informing their classmates about a family of elements. Well, I found them to be really dry and report-like after a while. Last year at the NSTA conference in Philadelphia I saw a presentation from pre-service science education students on creating a scientific symposium in the classroom. Last year for the final physics project, I asked students to come together in a symposium to discuss which physicist has had the most impact on society. This year in chemistry, I’m asking them to choose an element and explain why that element is the most useful for society.
In physics, I’m moving on to evaluating graphs and data tables. We’ve seen some data tables in our first chapter, and now we’re ready to make some graphs of our own and learn how to describe them in words. I always find that students make a graph, and then never refer to it in their writing. Sometimes it seems like they feel the graph is so self-evident it needs no explanation, but that’s not always the case! Explicitly teaching graph interpretation will give me another powerful tool for assessment of skills in the scientific process. 2 years ago
I’ve been doing project based assessments for a few years now, where students choose a topic and perform an experiment of their own design. After the first year, I structured most of the scaffolding around improving research skills. Now I think I’ve got that down and I’m ready to improve another aspect of my final projects.
Last year before I turned over all class time to the projects, I spent five days reviewing skills the students would need for their experiments: evaluating research sources, forming hypotheses, interpreting graphs, and drawing conclusions. It was really helpful because as they needed these skills again in their experiments, we could recall together the skill review from earlier.
This year I want to make my skill instruction a lot more explicit, and much more evident from the beginning of the year instead of only right before the final projects. The resources from sciencebuddies.org have been really helpful, especially the rubrics that help me communicate to the students exactly what I’m looking for.
My first unit this year will focus on hypothesis forming. Along with the content for my first unit, my classes will perform these three activities:
- use the hypothesis grading rubric to evaluate an exemplar hypothesis
- use the hypothesis and variables worksheet to form a hypothesis in a quick lab, then evaluate their work with the rubric.
- read a short research paper on the content they’ve been studying to form a hypothesis they will test in their next lab period.
These kinds of projects have been a little intimidating in the past because in order to do a full experiment, you’ve got to have the whole package, all the parts of the scientific method. In the past, I guess I’ve been trying to teach these skills by repetition, thinking they would get all of the scientific method in all the labs we did without focusing on each specific skill. Now, I see that of course they won’t use these skills in isolation from the rest of scientific method, but it’s ok to break it down and evaluate a specific step in the process. 2 years ago
I’m planning out my summer time. I have so many projects I want to do but I know I’m going to have to prioritize.
1. map my labs onto my final projects so they fit together better. This will make the lab average a more reliable component of their coursework grade, and make their final project a better assessment of their progress.
2. pre-plan possible collaborative learning activities for each chapter . keep task cards on hand to make daily lesson planning easier during the academic year.
IF i finish those, then I can move on to my lower priority goals:
A. yeah, i just forgot what they were. guess it wasn’t very high priority! 2 years ago
I spent the last four days in a beautiful place near Medellín called Guaycoral. 20 teachers of different schools from Colombia had a meeting to discuss, share experiences, study new theories and make plans of improvement for our institutions. I’m really happy because the school chose me to participate in this event. I feel renewed and full of ideas and energy to continue doing my job with love. 3 years ago
I’m doing my first class teaching undergrads. The kids are super smart but are totally unmotivated. They come to class with lame excuses or red-faced, near tears over some story I can’t tell if they made up or not. I feel like they’re duping me into letting them get away with doing nothing. Any advice? 3 years ago
Many people say I would make a great teacher, but the few formal lessons I’ve given so far felt strangely lacklustre. I need to prepare more for my tutorials, but above all need I more opportunities for practice. I will do nine tutorials this fall, so that should help. 4 years ago
I’m 1/2 way through my first year of teaching…and to be honest…I am looking forward to my two weeks of vacation. I can only hope that my students do well on the state exam in April. I will take some time to map out the second semester a bit and working on some classroom procedures… 4 years ago