Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Flower Reproduction Lab - A Great Seasonal Activity

When the weather gets nice, everyone loves flowers!  Its even better if you can integrate them into an educational lab and reinforce science content.

This flower reproduction lab is one of my personal favorites.  Students can dissect a flower and study the parts.  I use the lab after teaching sexual reproduction, and students answer the questions "do flowers reproduce sexually or asexually?" through their lab work.  In the lab, however, I have also included a more traditional version of the lab that allows students to learn about the parts of a flower.  This lab also includes links to some great videos on flower parts, and suggestions on sources for flowers, and type of flower to use.

This was one of my students' favorites on course evaluations.  I love the fact that they get to take a closer look at something they have probably seen, but never studied before.  It would be a great lab for summer school, because flowers are so readily available.





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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Virtual Coursework

I will be taking a new position for the fall in my district, and I'm very curious how it will work out.  The position is Teacher on Assignment for the Instructional Technology Department.  Specifically I will be teaching virtual classes. Those classes fall at two ends of the spectrum. I will be teaching a virtual AP Environmental Science course, and virtual online credit recovery science classes, for students who have previously failed.

I will be split between different schools, so I will spend a day or 2 per week in each school, meeting with students.  The rest of my student contact, and their work, will be virtual via phone, email, and maybe even Skype. 

I am excited about the change.  From what I have heard it is much lower stress, and I'm ready for a change.  It is a one year position, so after a year I can go back to my current position.

However, it is upending most of what I know about teaching.

"Students working on class assignment in computer lab" by Michael Surran - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Students_working_on_class_assignment_in_computer_lab.jpg#/media/File:Students_working_on_class_assignment_in_computer_lab.jpg
I went to training yesterday and it was about how to use the online LMS (learning management system).  I am having trouble picturing starting the year NOT setting up a classroom.  I will be doing minimal lesson planning because we have purchased a curriculum that I can adapt and modify, but not extremely.  I am working Monday on curriculum work so we will see how that goes.   The AP class is supposed to be "blended" or "teacher facilitated" whereas the credit recovery courses are supposed to be largely independent.

It has been described to me that this position is more like tutoring where individual students get stuck, or building relationships with individuals and small groups.  I think that might be a positive, but its so different!

If any of you have experience on either the student or teacher side of this please let me know.

I'm really looking forward to this new experience, but it seems like a lot of unknowns as well!


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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sea Life Photograph Collection

I am writing a quick post to let you know about my new resource that I just posted.  A collection of 25 high quality aquarium and sea life photographs.  They are available as jpg (although I can convert them if you wish).


If you are giving students a project on sea life, ecology, or teaching a unit and need photographs, this can be a great resource.  You no longer need to worry about copyright, or finding just the right images.

And....just for my blog readers, I'm giving away 2 pictures for free, so you can see the quality.  Those are available in high quality at this link and this link.



Hope you enjoy!

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday Nerd Libs Link up -- last one for 2014


Join me one more time for a "Dear Santa" teacher letter.....I know there are things we all want.  Here is my letter to Santa (well.......a version of it!).



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Sunday, December 14, 2014

12 Days of Nerd Libs

Once again I am linking up with Mel and Gerdy's 12 days of Nerd Libs.  They are so creative with these.  I filled it out in true nerd libs style, where I looked at the prompts first.  I hope you will be entertained and please visit some of the other blogs as well for even more!



Hope you enjoy, and have a great holiday!! 

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy Link Up



Mel and Gerdy's Saturday Nerd Lib Link-UpI am taking part this week in the first Saturday nerd libs, by Mel and Gerdy.  It is a great chance to 'meet' other bloggers and get to know each other a little better.  They are so creative!  I am glad to be able to take part in their fun ideas!  Please click on the button to the left to head over to their blog and see some of the other bloggers.  

Here my my response.  I did it true mad libs style and had my kids fill out the terms (based on what was underneath).   I have two boys, ages 5 and 8, and they love to be involved in what I'm doing.  Now that they are both in school (my little guy started kindergarten this year), it has given me new perspective on teachers and school, although I have taught myself for about 10 years, now. 

 I wish I slept until 7!  I am actually at work at 7, or a little before.   Otherwise, I do love pasta (but not for breakfast).  I do usually go first to my desk and get to work.  



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Friday, November 28, 2014

How I do interactive notebooks

I recently got an email from a teacher who used interactive notebooks, but wanted to get better at using them, and had some questions for me. I thought I would post some of the highlights from our discussion here, in case others are wondering the same thing.

How do you do vocabulary in them?
How do you organize a unit? 

I focus on vocabulary in INB's in two ways.  First, at the start of each unit my students make a cover page.  In traditional INB fashion, this cover page has a left and right hand page (input and output).

On the student output side, I have them divide the page into four.  In the center of the four squares I have them write the title of the unit.  Then in each of the four boxes I give them a key vocabulary word for the unit.

Then I have them use the textbook, look online, or based on their own knowledge, draw a picture that goes with each vocabulary term, and write a caption.  This gets them connecting to what they already know, and previewing the topics.

On the teacher input side I give them a sheet that has the learning objectives of that unit, and the key vocabulary for the unit.

This gives the students a reference point, as well a view of where they are going during this unit.

Then at the end of the unit I have them write a reflection that has to include main points they have learned in the unit, and a reflection on their work.  In their reflection, they have to use a certain number of the key vocabulary terms.  They also have to revisit their work and discuss, what pages did they do the best on?  What could they have improved upon?  Etc.

I find that these two experiences really help them to focus on the main concepts of the unit, and tie together what they are learning.


Image from http://mrsloving.weebly.com/interactive-notebook-information.html


Here is a sample of the objectives that I might use....
Cell Division Student Self-Assessment "Keeping Track of Learning"





Classroom freebies
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