Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
1. Identify the hypothesis to be tested, phenomenon to be investigated or the problem to be solved. (ΔHS.1.2.2a)*
2. Identify the tested variables and conditions to be kept constant during an investigation. (ΔHS.1.2.2b)
3. Communicate the details of an experimental procedure clearly and completely. (ΔHS.1.2.2c)
4. Record and represent data in a meaningful way. (ΔHS.1.2.2d)
5. Analyze laboratory data in order to clarify the questions, hypotheses or methods of an experiment.
6. Use common mathematical functions to analyze and describe data. (ΔHS.1.3.3b)
7. Use statistical and graphing data analysis techniques. (ΔHS.1.3.3c)
8. Recognize accuracy and precision of data depends on instruments used. (ΔHS.1.3.3d)
9. Use equipment properly and safely. (ΔHS.1.3.3f)
10. Follow all lab clean-up procedures.
So what do you think? Am I missing anything?
*The unbelievably unreadable jumble in parentheses is a reference to our state standards.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Some of them are having full blown panic attacks.
Some are beginning to realize that the whiteboard discussions are their opportunities to ask questions and clarify what they know. Some are still too busy texting to even know what class they are in*. A few are cursing under their breath.
Me: "Well, let's see, you got 3 out of 4 on Lab Skills target #8 and 2.5 out of 4 on Lab Skills target #3.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Kid: "No, but couldn't you just tell us?"
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer - not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition - a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Harley is not my typical student. He is smart, popular, athletic. And lazy when it comes to his classes. Mostly because he is really smart. Harley's big complaint is homework. He doesn't see the need to do any of it. Mostly because he is really smart and doesn't NEED to do any of it to understand what he is being taught.
We have had meeting after meeting with Harley and his parents about his grades. Every teacher says the same thing: "If Harley would just do his homework, he would be passing my class."
Last year, I was one of them.
I have failed Harley. Not in class (he did just enough to pass), but as a teacher. Ask him anything about my class; he can probably still tell you. He learned everything I asked him to learn.
For some reason, that was not good enough for me. Why did I punish this kid for not needing to work hard to learn?
Monday, May 10, 2010
Standards Based Grading
1. Love it. Need to tweak some things. Need to do away with others. I jumped in here at the beginning of the trimester with two classes (Astronomy and Applied Physics). In hindsight, I should have started with one class and done it properly. With nine class days left, I am simply overwhelmed.
2. I need to edit my Learning Targets. My kids have been terrific about the experiment and have rolled along with me as I changed things up*. When I wrote the targets, I was basically copying the state standards. Ugh. Some targets were too broad, some targets were too narrow, and some just didn't make sense. My targets need to be more clear as to what is actually going to be assessed. I want the kids to be able to read the target and know what they need to do. I am finding this is not an easy thing to do with Astronomy targets.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
This remains one of the rare upper level classes I have ever taught, so maybe my perspective is somewhat skewed, but I saw a different type of motivation at work here.
Victoria was a hard worker. She was a straight A student. She was valedictorian.
She was a Grade Junkie.
It didn't matter what kind of work I threw at her, she got it done. Six page tests? No problem. The great by-product of having Victoria in class was that (almost) all the other students followed right along with her. I was thrilled. Finally, I could assign homework, and the kids would actually do it. I could give a test and not have to go buy a new pen to grade it.
Then one day, we had some down time. I can't even remember what the conversation was about, but the words that came out of Victoria's mouth stopped me in my tracks.
"I don't care if I learn anything, I just want the A."
I am still trying to reconcile that statement with what I am doing in my classroom. I started on my winding journey into SBG (although I didn't know where I was going) because of that one little comment made by my student. I didn't know where I was headed until this year. I now have a destination. Now all I need is a plan.
Friday, April 30, 2010
My class integrates as much observational astronomy in to the curriculum as I can.Anyone who has ever looked at the night sky has seen the Big Dipper, either knowingly or accidentally. It is a prominent feature of the sky and is full of pointer systems that my kids can use to locate other major stars and constellations.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Now I am in trouble. How do they study? Some targets are easy to show that extra work has been done to relearn the material. Others, not so much.
For this particular student, I have him create a four square vocabulary card. He looks at me like I have completely lost my mind. Maybe I have. He seems to think staring at his notebook should be enough to convince me he has studied. "Really? Is that what you did the first time around?"
"Touche" is his response. (Yes, he really said that.)
By the time he finishes, seminar is over, so I take his quiz down to his powerclass teacher. Ninety seconds after the bell rings to start class, he bounces into my room, gushing how he did great. He understood. He KNEW the answers.
And so he did.
His "1" became a "4."
Three days later, the same target comes up on another assignment. The boy can barely sit in his seat he is so excited that he remembers it.
He has made a 42 card for every new term since then in this class AND ALL HIS OTHER CLASSES! Something has worked for him. Something clicked.
I feel like I am on the right track.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I don't like them.
I have been trying to come up with a better way of reporting the overall grade. A student pointed out yesterday that he did not want to reassess a target he scored a "1" on because he did well on the other targets. These other targets bring his overall grade up to one that is acceptable to him and his parents.
This REALLY bothers me. That target is one that I decided was critical to this course and a student told me that it wasn't important.
In a percentage world, he is right, it's not important. I'm not sure how to fix this, but it must be dealt with.
To be honest, I'm not even sure if I am allowed to change this. Our district (like many others) has an official grading scale. It might possibly take an act of the BOE to change it.
And if I do change it, what do I change it to?
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Know what we did yesterday? We had professional development.
When I get to see my 5th and 6th hour tomorrow, it will have been an entire week.
My 6th hour Astronomy is okay. I went ahead and started them on their final project. We obviously haven't covered everything yet, but they can get a good start and think about what their end product will be like.
My 5th hour Applied Physics, on the other hand, might be having some problems. While my Astronomy class is pretty needy, this class is beyond needy. Routine and structure are important to them. Feedback is important to them. One girl saw me in the hallway this morning and, nearly in tears, gave me a bear-hug.
It's good to know miss me.
See you all tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I am floored by this. I'm not even sure what my reaction is yet.
How does this relate to testing?? We spend so much time testing our kids to find out what they "know." Forget all the research. Forget all the teachers, students and parents crying out that testing is not a measure of how good their school is.
This one simple quiz brilliantly shows that kids are learning.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I mean I am trying to cover too much material. Should my kids in high school astronomy be able to cover the same amount of material that I did in my masters astronomy?
My answer yesterday, apparently, would have been "Yes." Today, however, I am not so sure.
My four earth science classes are up for review by the Board of Regents. Since they are not titled "Biology", "Chemistry" or "Physics," this means I have to make a list of the major concepts covered in each trimester. I am limited as to the number of concepts I can submit, mostly because the BOR doesn't seem to want to read through every objective I have for the class.
The realization came as I was trying to summarize my Ocean Science unit on Currents. Again, trying to decide what is critical is the major hurdle I am trying to get around. I have fallen into the bear trap of trying to touch on everything while not actually covering any subject in depth.