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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Day 13: Types of Reactions

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Day 13: Types of reactions lab prep.

Digital access at school is improving slowly. I can now log onto the computer, but can’t do anything after that. I don’t even see the word processor, let alone the grading, attendance, or district-wide learning management system. Super awesome. Apparently, there’s emails in my inbox, but I can’t get to them.

Students graded the weekend’s assignment, then started setting up their lab books for tomorrow’s extravaganza. Looking forward to setting off the smoke detectors (not entirely kidding… another teacher doing the same lab set off the fire alarm, which is how we realized that our air/ventilation was off in our rooms).

Day 12: Balancing Acts

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Day 12: balancing equations, types of reactions, and real teaching

I got a text, around 6am, that the teacher was going into labor. My first day was on!

Because I wasn’t in the district, I wasn’t allowed to have email access or Haiku access or even log onto the computers. So the PowerPoint the teacher left for me remained invisible to me (but accessible for the kids, who all have laptops). Super convenient (not). But, at least I got to do hand-written notes, which I much prefer to slides anyway. The only problem was covering the information in this (strict!) schedule, since I didn’t know what the schedule was.

I love balancing equations. There’s something kinda zen about it. Everything’s nicely tallied at the end, there’s just enough of everything. It’s a brain-feel-good thing for me.

I also teach pretty differently from the other teacher. There’s nothing wrong with different teaching styles (especially if you have no energy because you’re pregnant). But instead if yawns, today I saw smiles and giggles. Kinda cool. I’ve missed this!

Day 11: Ions

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Day 11: Super quick info on ions and ionic compounds.

Still not-quite-teaching. Because this teacher didn’t know who her sub would be (or even whether they’d find a science person or not), for the duration of the current unit, she put together a thumbdrive full of PowerPoints for notes, some worksheets and other homework assignments, and a schedule for the duration. This is a department-thing, as they’re very nearly lock-step, so I’ll be trying to maintain that.

So, through the pre-provided slides, I reviewed info on protons, neutrons, and electrons (most kids seem to have it pretty well), and then go into ions. Ion notes were pretty confusing for me, and throwing neutrons back in the mix, when they have nothing to do with charge, was really messing with kids.

It’s hard to fill in for someone. It’s also hard to fill in stuff that you do a different way, especially when you think your way is better or clearer. I’d have done the whole course in a different order, so now I’m working on not-discussing some stuff that the kids will see next semester, and bringing up other things that I don’t usually address for a while.

Day 10: Alkalis

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Day 10: Short day and alkalis

Still only sorta subbing. Wednesdays are short, to give teachers the afternoons for working, grading, and professional development. Periodic table notes about the various groups. I love being the teacher who blows stuff up… I’ve missed dropping alkalis in water. Because of the short day, we didn’t get the chance to show the alkali videos.

The real ones (that I remember watching on a film strip):

The faked one:

Day 9: Periodically

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Day 9: Still not quite subbing, following best laid plans.

I’m still not quite actually in charge, but since I have limited (read: virtually no) experience with students working on their own district-provided computers, it was good to shadow the regular teacher around again today. This week was originally set up (with the rest of the department) with a random sub in mind (how often do you get a qualified long-term sub in STEM fields??), so that if she was gone, the sub could get into the swing of things pretty easily. So, I’m following the plans for the week, whether she’s there or not. The kids worked on a website/worksheet to search for periodic table trends. The teacher continued to show me locations of things, like lab equipment, the bits and pieces in drawers, gas line switches, who to call when the smoke detector goes off… ya know, normal stuff.

Day 8: Not Quite Subbing!

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Day 8: Semi-first day in the long-term sub job.

The regular teacher hasn’t had the baby yet (so I’m not getting paid!), so I got to hang out with her all day. She taught her first period, and I mimicked her the rest of the day. Just some notes, but good to know general classroom procedures, homework policies, how she does notes, pace of class, etc.

Based on my last school (with very little technology), I’m learning to use a document camera for the first time, and will see a computer-based lab tomorrow. I’m actually kinda pumped.

Bonus: Saw a kid I’d taught last year! Super good to see a familiar face.

Day 7: Cramming and Real Preparation

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Day 7: National Boards Field testing and thinking about Monday

This morning, I participated in field-testing the new National Boards tests. Maybe I should do the real Boards when they’re up and running again.

After some emails, I spent the afternoon trying to cram stuff together in my head for a potential Monday lesson. The teacher I’ll be subbing for will be going on maternity leave, but because she’s still pregnant, she’s still considered fit to work. I may not be subbing on Monday after all, rather, “assisting” possibly with or without pay (but I’ll get to see how she works with her class, which is super-valuable information). Never mind that I don’t yet have a district email or access… who needs in-house resources anyway?

Hey, guess what unit the kids will be learning? ATOMS AND PERIODIC TABLE STUFF! CHARGE!