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Monthly Archives: July 2015

ChemEd Day 3

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My day three sessions were pretty cool! Electrochemistry on the morning (with Paul Price), a bunch of ways to teach stoich (variety is helpful!), a bunch of discrepant events, a plenary by Larry Gonick of Cartoon Guide to Chemistry (etc.) fame, all about the Molympics with Kristin Gregory and Doug Ragan, some good stuff on scientific writing in the classroom, and some PBL info. I guess today’s theme was doing-stuff-in-the-classroom, not so much on the philosophy or for me to make up on my own. It was good specific help on specific topics. I definitely need to think through that electrochem stuff, especially the last couple of slides with the ion animations.

*kerpow! brain explodes! in a good way!!*

In the evening, there was a happy hour at a local bar. It was nice to have some chill-time with new acquaintances. We’re a bunch of good people, and I enjoyed having some more-than-half-hour time to just chat about work and family and people and problems and successes. Pretty cool.

ChemEd Days 1&2!

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After a red-eye and a long layover, I’m in Atlanta, at ChemEd.

Yesterday’s opening ceremonies had Aaron Sams, talking about his journey through teaching and flipping and into conducting professional development. It’s good to have re-affirmation for change, for innovation, and for trying new things. I especially liked the (far-too-silent) truth of chemistry teachers having a sort of superiority complex, enjoying the inaccessibility and weirdness that our jargon affords us. Um. Yes.

Today, I went to sessions on NGSS in chem (didja know there’s a phone app??), energy in modeling systems (with Erica Posthuma-Adams… oooh… much to think through), Ramsey Musallam’s keynote address on playing/teaching to your strengths, tips on writing grants, literature connections especially for ELL kids, and agricultural ideas and hydroponics with Jeff Bracken (whoa… so much goodness going on!).

AAAAANNNND, if all that wasn’t enough, I’ve now met a bunch of Twitter peeps! In person! And they’re just as cool as online!

Take Aways

It’s okay to try new things. In fact, you should try new things. Especially piece-meal. Especially one or two things at a time. Even if you don’t know whether it will work or not. (That’s kinda the scientific method of classes; propose, test, modify.)

And it’s okay to fail. And it will happen. And it probably already has. And you can always revert to previous versions of things, even if you know the old version isn’t super good.

And reflection is super important. It wasn’t explicit in any of the presentations today, but most of the presentations were themselves reflections of materials and courses.

Brain exploding… more tomorrow!

Day 114: Getting Comfy

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Day 114/180(?): starting over with SBG

No, I can’t fit all 180 days in before school starts again!

During an interview, I asked a principal what he/she thought about SBG. His/her response was unfavorable, including that kids would have to figure out the system for each class and teacher. I thought it strange, since kids already do that.

I was chugging along with SBG, following what a middle-school colleague had done, when I realized that I didn’t like that version. I needed something else.

So, thanks to some Tweeps I’ve been stalking for a while really neat and well-connected people (I’m looking at you, @jmbalaya!), I contacted Ramsey Musallam, and we chatted on the phone for a good half hour (in between his summer school robot building fun). I’m gonna give his SBG system a shot, and see what happens. It makes far more sense to me than the other version (at least, for my grade-level and subject). And I’d hate for the kids to be a part (again) of a class where the teacher isn’t comfy with the grading system.

Day 113 (and beyond): Doing It Again for the First Time

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Day 113+more / 180: signing a new contract and thinking of next year(s)

I signed the contract for my new school and got a non-sub-ID!

I’ve been working on and off on my new SBG curriculum. While I’m set on trying SBG, I’m now realizing how much I have to do and change from the stuff I already have. And what do I do with lab notebooks on the scale?

And this (start of an) exchange with @rawrdimus:

So how do I get students to use the notebooks after they’ve finished particular labs?

So what it comes down to is… I’m feeling like a first-year teacher. Super insecure. I’ve got the job, and now I have to deliver all that I promised. I haven’t been in a normal classroom — my classroom — for eight years. I have scrounged a basic schedule from the school I worked at last fall, and I have all of my old worksheets (which need to be updated for my new SBG thing). I have tons of resources from other people, but need to make everything my own.