Science, Education, and Science Education

classroom applications
April 19th, 2020 by Luann

COVID-19 Data Sites

I’m making no claims or assumptions of the validity of any of these sites. I’m watching all of them with interest. As with any graph, don’t be fooled by flashy lines until you look closely at the labels and values on the axes.

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April 3rd, 2020 by Luann

Document Handling from a Phone or Chromebook

Some online platforms have built-in submission options for students and that’s nice. I prefer students to simply organize their coursework in a Google Drive folder as I wrote about in this post. Still, sometimes a student needs to post a picture or scan of some handwritten work. The best strategies I’ve found for doing so are listed below and are working well for my students.

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March 24th, 2020 by Luann

Collecting Student Work in Google Drive – KISS

Many of my colleagues ask students to just share their work. Disadvantage: Their email inbox is a disaster. A paraeducator or intervention specialist does not have access to their work. And a conventional LMS entails a lot of clicking to find anything.

So. Much Clicking.

I post assignments on my public class website from my Google drive. If you don’t want the content of an assignment shown to the public, you can control that in the document’s share settings.

Collecting the work is far easier than using a LMS. There are many videos out right now with crazy complicated ways to collect student work. Here’s the easy way I collect and manage student work in Google drive.

I create a folder for each class. My Drive is displaying @Students Chemistry 1920,  like this. The folders inside are student folders with the names blocked out.  It’s really easy to find student work.

Student Folders in Google Drive

A look into my Chemistry class student folders folder

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March 18th, 2020 by Luann

Scavenger Hunts (and social distancing)

A few decades ago, I wrote a scavenger hunt for my AP Chem students to do After The Test. It’s gone through a few iterations, and  a Biology version followed. I’m linking the PDFs and Word versions here, if anyone would like to use them, please do. All I ask is that if you change them, I’d love to have the new versions, and that you honor the Creative Commons licensing and attribution as you edit and share.

Biology Items pdf   word

Biology Directions pdf  word

Chemistry Items  pdf   word

Chemistry directions pdf  word 

Recently, I adapted the items list for my students who will be learning remotely for at least the next 3 weeks. The items to hunt are broken down into 3 related tasks per day. You can find those modifications on the class syllabi at chemistar.com > Biology > March and chemistar.com > Chemistry  >  March.

 

August 5th, 2019 by Luann

Projecting from a Tablet, specifically an iPad

I’ve seen many questions on various social media outlets lately, about using a tablet to project in the classroom. Here’s how I do it. With this setup, there is no need to “control” the computer as all files are accessed through the tablet. If you want to “control” the computer, I suggest Doceri instead of Notability. The Remote Mouse app also works nicely, but you can’t write on your files with it.

You need:

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October 20th, 2018 by Luann

What I’m Reading

The past summer provided me with a little time and space to read. I wasn’t working any Jumpstarts, maintaining a farm, attending professional development for new “initiatives” at my school, or, thank God, moving across the country. So what did I read? These books*.

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January 29th, 2018 by Luann

In the Classroom: Teachers Sharing Our Work

I tweeted a few weeks ago, mentioning my frustration that a well known site on which you can save your favorite images had become nothing more than a re-direct to a site on which teachers sell their work. A number of other teachers jumped into the conversation, offering up the websites on which their own work could be downloaded for free. Many items are editable. All that is asked is that you follow their Creative Commons or other copyright requests.

On the sites below, you won’t find un-editable but cute worksheets that can be easily used as filler. You won’t find un-editable cut-and-paste scrapbooking-type activities that usually generate an attractive product with little likelihood of students engaging in any depth. You WILL find the best work of accomplished, practicing classroom teachers who continually update their lessons.

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June 29th, 2017 by Luann

Coming Home to a Place I’d Never Been Before

Yup. We are back in Ohio, after almost 13 years in Washington and then Oregon.

It all happened rather fast. Skyrocketing real estate prices made it a good time to sell the farm.  Administrative changes in my district left me feeling stifled and restless. The Husband easily made a few business moves, made possible because he works from his phone. He bought us a new home in Ohio without my even visiting it. We packed more stuff than 2 people should own. The Husband supervised the movers as they toted it all across the country and he drove the dogs and cat. (Moral of that story: Never purchase something you can’t eat. Except dogs and cats.)

It’s only partly true that I’ve never been here before. We lived in the nearby town for 27 years. We raised our kids here, and they’ve stayed. I knew where the house was but had been inside only through photos and videos. A well-respected local builder built the home for his wife, so construction is topnotch.

I’m considering career options at this point. I’ve turned down 2 offers that were not me, and received one letter of rejection (with typos.) In the meantime, I have some updates to make here – so many posts in draft form – and on the website.

It was time to come home.

New House

New House

September 22nd, 2015 by Luann

All Means All, Part 5: The Elephants in My Classroom

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts summarizing my reflections on what it means to provide learning opportunities for every student, every day. Find the series here, at  #AllMeansAll 

A slim majority of my physical science students are Caucasian. The rest declare their heritage as Hispanic, African American, Pacific Islander, Native American, No matter their background, they have a few things in common: most don’t read. Most don’t write, at least not more than text messages. And most can’t verbalize the importance of school. They just don’t know. I recently took a closer look at the achievement gap in these 2 classes, and looked at the stories behind the data (I’ve done this before.) I was very, very uncomfortable with what I learned.

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September 20th, 2015 by Luann

All Means All, Part 4: Learning from Parents

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts summarizing my reflections on what it means to provide learning opportunities for every student, every day. #AllMeansAll 

At the beginning of each year, I send a safety contract home with my students to sign with their parents.  There’s also a place for parent and student to sign that they read and understand the course information and syllabus. The truly important questions, though, are on the other side of the paper.

Yes, I want to know what parents expect for their child in my class. While this survey is far from scientific, every year the answers I receive cause me to reconsider how I communicate with students and parents. Here, in general terms to protect privacy, is a summary of some of the most common comments from parents explaining what they want for their kids. Some comments are not at all surprising. Some comments, however, make me step back and think.

Parents want me to:

  • be enthusiastic about our learning.
  • be a really great teacher.
  • know if their child will learn to work with chemicals safely.
  • treat their children courteously and with respect.
  • know their children are kind, funny, clever, interesting, talented, intelligent, hard-working, conscientious, scared, stressed, anxious, are quick learners, struggle with math, are gifted artists and writers and musicians.
  • be available for any help their child might need with understanding concepts or learning skills.They want me to know their child doesn’t always like to ask for help.
  • communicate with them if there are any issues with their children, be they behavioral or academic – assignments missing, failing grades. They want to hear from me if they call or email.
  • actually teach the class and not just hand out papers and expect students to understand.
  • know they can’t help with chemistry homework.
  • provide career guidance and prepare their children for college.
  • give help, when their child needs it.

Parents want their children to:

  • be challenged appropriately.
  • enjoy science and learning.
  •  “just please pass this class.”
  • be able to ask questions and get answers delivered in a way that doesn’t make their child feel like an idiot.
  • be challenged.
  • be given clear expectations

Parents want to know what they can do to help their children be successful.

Most of all, each parent wants me to know his/her child; to know that Rosa loves her dogs more than anything; that Abby is on the state equestrian team and is a horse whisperer; that John needs frequent check-ins for understanding, that Katie lost her glasses and won’t be able to get a new pair for 3 weeks; that Zach is having surgery in October and will miss at least a week, that Mindy has anxiety attacks before tests but does just fine if I offer some reassurance beforehand that I know she can do well; that Jose wants to be a physicist and will take AP Chemistry and physics both next year; and that Roger wants to take over his grandfather’s machine shop after graduation.

There are very few surprise responses. Parents do ask questions,  and they expect answers.

How am I changed by knowing all this?  Students love knowing that I know a bit about them when I plan our work together. I can better craft physical and emotional learning environments that meet all students’ needs. I know  student seating preferences, who is reserved about speaking out, who doesn’t read aloud in class,  There’s something positive to talk about when I call home.

What do you do to better know your students? 

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