Friday, November 10, 2006

21 C Feedback

1) Did the information presented today make sense? If not, what would have helped? What do you still need?
2) Were the activities today well-planned and meaningful? Be specific. If they were not, what suggestions would you make?
3) What potential do you see in the information presented today for your possible use?
4) What else do you want the planning team to know?

The articles on constructivism have been a great resource for a solid background knowledge of the theory. They always seem to raise a lot of questions and good discussions. As a group, I feel that we are very eager to jump in head first, which is good. However, it is important to have a good understanding of what constructivism really is and examples of what it looks like before really diving in.

I love having the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from other departments! It's just nice to know that everyone is trying new things and sometimes failing...or not working out exactly the way they had planned. It's not just me! The most meaningful activity yesterday was the discussion of ideas that others have used or have heard of. This way we can adapt the activities to use in our own classroom. I plan to use a lot of the activities discussed today in one form or another. It's just nice to get new, fresh ideas.

I really liked Larry's idea of demonstrating a constructivist lesson for our group. However, I agree with Lauren in that I think it's awesome, but I would not volunteer...not this year at least. I think it will be great to implement 2nd semester and see how it goes! Since it is hard to use up a planning period to observe another teacher, I think this will be a great way to be a student during a constructivist lesson.

I'm glad that we were able to continue our discussion instead of going to the computer lab. Although the time to read other blogs, comment, etc is nice, I feel that the discussions are more helpful and meaningful at times.

Got gas?

Chemistry class was so fun today! We have just started into Gas Laws and how different variables change the behavior of the gas. I had 8 stations set up around the room that the students rotated to. Here are the questions that the students had to answer:

1.What are the four Factors that effect a gas?
2.List the 2 variables that change at each station and explain what is happening to the gas.
3.Make a general statement relating each of the four factors at each station.
4.Tell whether each of the relationships in #3 is direct or inverse?

Before they could begin, they used the text to find the answer to #1 (pressure, volume, amount of gas and temperature). Then they rotated to the various stations to see how each variable affected another and recorded their observations.

One station consisted of a flask with balloon on top. The students placed the flask on a hotplate and then in ice water. On the hotplate, the balloon expanded, when it was placed in the cold water, it contracted. This shows that as temerature decreases, the volume of a gas decreases. We also used the vacuum pump, which the kids loved! I placed a marshmallow in the vacuum to show that as the pressure decreases, the volume increases. If you haven't seen a vacuum pump, it causes the marshmallow to grow and then shrivels up once the pressure inside the chamber is increased. (We have also use the "Peeps" during Easter season). The students soon wanted to put everything in the vacuum to see what would happen. We put the entire bag of marshmallows in to see how much they expanded, they built marshmallow castles to put in, a was fun!

On Monday we are going to use these demonstrations for the gas law calculations. This way they don't have to memorize 5 equations, they just have to know the relationship between the gas variables.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Grading Dilema

I have been thinking a lot about Tony Winger's presenation and how I can adapt my grading policies and categories. Right now, I still have the same general categories for grading: tests, quizzes, homework, labs, etc. I know, I know...terrible! I have been asking several questions to people who have already implemented new grading categories, just to gain a better understanding. Next semester I plan to try some different categories like responsibility, content knowledge, etc. to see how communication changes with the students and parents. I still have a lot of questions that I need to figure out for myself about late work, the daily assignments given out, how to split the point values for asssignments for the different categories...Ok, I have a lot of questions and uncertainties about this. I'm anxious to try some new things out and see how they go for next semester.