Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Yellow Lab

As you can imagine, and may possibly be experiencing yourself, our run of Snow Days played havoc with my teaching schedule. The last one we had was a week before our trimester ended, and I sat down and re-planned. I resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn't going to get through the next unit and had it figured out how to end on the right day. Looking back now, I think that may have been more planning than I have done all year.

The day we came back, our principal sent out an email asking us to vote whether or not to extend the trimester to the next week. Um, no. No, I don't. I was, however, in the minority.

I sat down again. We were finishing up with molarity, so I went in search of a project that I could use as a final.

As luck (?) would have it, my computer died. It was a quick death, with it dying in its sleep, simply not turning on one morning. This could have been a set back. However, it sent me scrambling into my backed up files. I have been teaching since 1997 and apparently have never deleted a file. I found an "Ideas" folder from early last decade that I had forgotten all about. In it I found a bunch of things I had copied from The Chemistry Coach that was run by Bob Jacobs at Wilton High School. He has since passed away and the site is no longer maintained, although I am definitely going to check to see if there is an archive somewhere. I corresponded with Bob several times (mostly to see if I could use his stuff), so he was sort of the beginning of my PLN.

One of his creations was The Yellow Lab. Its story is based on the Clue board game and the students have to go about finding Miss Scarlett's murderer. The killer either used potassium iodide or lead (II) nitrate to do her in and the molarity of that solution.

After listening to some of the discussions my kids had, I felt a lot better about what they learned this year. For all the complaining that they didn't understand what we were doing, they sure stepped it up when they were required to use that information.

My latest obsession has been project based learning. I've never done much in the way projects, but after this week, I am going to make it more of a priority. If I can get organized, that is.

I also offered the extra credit mini-project at the end. I had three students write hilarious stories and one group create a video. I need to do more stuff like this :)

No comments:

My Menu