Science, Education, and Science Education

classroom applications

Archive for the ‘Inquiry’ Category

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.

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?

September 14th, 2015 by Luann

All Means All Part 3: Graphing our Learning Styles

This is the third 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 

 
Evaluating-learning-styles
Disclaimer: I’ve read a good deal of literature and opinion around the validity of learning styles. Nonetheless, at the encouragement of a colleague (this colleague) during some collaborative course design work, I pulled out the learning styles inventory* again this year, in Physical Science classes. The intent was to use the data gathered to introduce graphing, and that was a win.  The colleague suggested we share with students WHY we are interested in their learning styles. We are interested so that we can be sure to make learning available to all students in the modality each student best learns. We discussed this in both classes. The real win, though, was what I learned about my students, and what they learned about themselves.

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March 31st, 2015 by Luann

A Perspective on STEM in the US and Interesting Implications

Today, I read this article from the Washington Post. The author’s opinions of STEM are interesting. The connection to STEM as I know it is pretty broad. Some claims are backed up with evidence, some simply reinforce his stance on a liberal education for all.

The author made some great points. I read with interest.  The twelfth paragraph really jumped out at me.

“No matter how strong your math and science skills are, you still need to know how to learn, think and even write. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon (and the owner of this newspaper), insists that his senior executives write memos, often as long as six printed pages, and begins senior-management meetings with a period of quiet time, sometimes as long as 30 minutes, while everyone reads the “narratives” to themselves and makes notes on them. In an interview with Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky, Bezos said: “Full sentences are harder to write. They have verbs. The paragraphs have topic sentences. There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking.”

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November 1st, 2014 by Luann

The Dollar Tree and The Scientific Method Poster

You log into Facebook, and there’s THAT friend, the grammar expert.  The well-meaning grammar cop who is on a personal mission to correct every grammar or spelling error, ever.  The friend who would bring together the programmers who created Autocorrect for a workshop.  We accept that person. We love that person, and sometimes we learn from that person.  Some of us may or may not recognize ourselves in that person. I am not that person. Oh, no. I have a far more nerdy mission.

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December 12th, 2013 by Luann

Candy 2013: A First Adventure into PBL

For years, my chemistry classes have made candy right before winter break. In years past, we spent a day investigating solutions, then I handed out a recipe and we made the candy. This year, with the blessings of  grant from NBPTS to investigate project based learning, I began to learn how to integrate content into a project. I’m working on using more true PBL instead of simply asking students to do projects. In addition to the integration of academic content into making candy, students blogged about their learning and their work. Some students worked in Evernote and when they finished, posted their work using postach.io.  Postach.io is now a paid app, and the features available for free may change before we use it again. Commenting must be done through Disqus, yet another sign-up and sign-in, so most students opted not to use it. I’m not going to lie – getting kids set up on Blogger through their school Google apps accounts was a challenge, and I’m on the hunt for something better. Next year, I will consider WordPress unless I find something better in the meantime.

Sophia C. http://itissciencetime.postach.io/
James http://chemistrywithjames.blogspot.com/
Shawna D. http://moomoo.postach.io/
Marcus D. http://marcusdu4candylab.blogspot.com/
Hap F. http://hapgoeshard.blogspot.com/
Makayla G. http://makaylaschemistryblog.blogspot.com
Robert H. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s341/sh/547a9e1c-cc74-4235-9cee-528b2b656339/a5ee32d0960810f3f83437be0609a5ba
Kearsten H. http://kearstenschemistryblog.blogspot.com/
Isabel K. http://isabelnkelly.blogspot.com/
Tallan K. http://chemistrywithtallan.blogspot.com/
Victor L. http://chemistrywithvictorlopez.blogspot.com/
Alex P-C. http://alexshardtackcandy.postach.io/
Charlette Q. http://charletteschemistryblog.blogspot.com/
Annika R. http://annikaschemistry.blogspot.com/
Devin R. http://chemhardcandy.blogspot.com/
Joscelynne S. chemistry-js.postach.io
Emily T. http://emilytry.blogspot.com/
Sierra Y. http://nhschemistry13.blogspot.com
Ryanne B. http://ryannebates.postach.io/
Jacob B. http://chemistrycandylab.blogspot.com/
Bronwyn B. http://brblac16.postach.io/
Donovan B. http://moistbread.postach.io/
Grace B. http://graceschemblog.blogspot.com/
http///gracestiedye.blogspot.com/
Calliope B. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s346/sh/588447c7-bd93-466b-bdff-8fc4c6dedf00/fb963107387a99e0a5a86b4171c4a362
Dylan C. stratusscience.blogspot.com
Micheal E. http://randomchemistrynhs.blogspot.com/
Klarissa E. http://kkkhem.blogspot.com/
Marcus G http://marcuschemblog.postach.io/
Alexis G. http://lexischemistryblog.blogspot.com
Luke H. lukechem.postach.io
Cuyler H. http://cuylerschemlab.blogspot.com/
Morgan J. morganschemistryblog.blogspot.com
Jade L. http://jadechemistry.blogspot.com
Kyle L. http://kylelutze.blogspot.com
Jason M. http://dragon-slayerr-dnd.postach.io/
Andrew M. https://www.evernote.com/pub/anmend14/anmend14snotebook
Ivette M. ivetteschemistrypage.postach.io
Camile R. http://camillechemistry.postach.io/
Alisha S. http://alishascandymaking.blogspot.com/
Jessica S. http://semageonchemistry.postach.io/
Benjamin U. http://bjulloa16.postach.io/
Matthew W. schoolchemnotes.blogspot.com/
Maria E. http://mariaeliaschemistry.blogspot.com/
Devon E. http://devonschemistry.blogspot.com/
Lindsay G. http://lindsaychem.blogspot.com/
Gage H. http://gagehannan.postach.io/
Sandra V-J. http://sandrascandylab4.blogspot.com
Robert M. http://dfbkjdfbkjf.blogspot.com/
Sasha P. http://sashaperezchemistry.blogspot.com/
Shane R. http://shanereedchemistry.blogspot.com/
Martha G. martmartmartha.blogspot.com
Luis S. http://luischemistrycandylab.blogspot.com/
Makenna S. http://makennasmithchemistry.blogspot.com/
Chantel S. http://chantelsorensen97.blogspot.com/
Esmerelda T-C. http://esmecheme.blogspot.com/
Madison Z. http://madichemi1314.postach.io/
Jessica M. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s322/sh/bbf8ecff-53ec-44dc-b679-1be325346acf/75be78c872db9f2029d6a67c45c48eee
Haley W. http://haleywidmechemistry.blogspot.com/
Brad A. http://chemistrycandymaking.blogspot.com/
Kayla B. http://kaylascience.postach.io/
Skyler C. http://32cannon.blogspot.com/
Rachel C. http://rachelchemistrywork.postach.io/
McKenna C. http://chemistrymckenna.blogspot.com/
Kylee D. http://pafeen16chem.blogspot.com/
Ashyton F. http://chemistrycandymakingasfox16.blogspot.com/
Colin G. http://cogard16chem.blogspot.com/
Jessica J. http://jessiejetcandylab.blogspot.com/
Taylor L. http://chemistrytaylor.blogspot.com/
Rosa N. http://rosaloveschemi.blogspot.com/
Tori W. http://chemistrytori1998.blogspot.com/
Tyler P. http://tntpiller.blogspot.com/
Jose P. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s329/sh/14b389a6-0a11-4146-ba7c-da60b1814067/f88c88b69df8b43e156236b78273ed21
Chase P. http://chasesrenewedchemistry.blogspot.com/
Deanna R. http://deannarose98.postach.io/
Eduardo R. http://eddieschemistry.blogspot.com/
Owen S. http://owensaballer.blogspot.com/
Paige S. http://manarka16.blogspot.com/
Colin S. http://peanutbuttercandylab1.blogspot.com/
Kylie T. http://beautifulcandymaking.blogspot.com/
Keeghan V. http://tyedyekv.blogspot.com/
Joseph Watson!!! http://candychemyum.blogspot.com/
Eugene W. http://chem-blogger1234.blogspot.com/
June 23rd, 2013 by Luann

The Paper Mill Project 2013

This post might well be titled “Adventures in Project-Based Learning.”

Students Working with Sludge

Sludge

You have to start somewhere.

It was an experience in jumping in feet first, and fortunately, also an experience in collaborative problem-solving. Based on the student excitement level, the student-initiated collaboration, and the chemistry-rich discussions involved, it was also a very successful experience.

I’ve learned that students find a final project more relevant than just a final exam. I’ve used either or both together as a final assessment.  One favorite in the past has been the scavenger hunt. Most of my Chemistry kiddos had done the biology version last year, so I wanted to provide them with a different experience in Chemistry.

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June 18th, 2013 by Luann

Creativity and Science, Part 4

It’s been almost 2 years since we attended Learning and the Brain.

The first 3 posts are linked below.  I’ve had a while to implement some new ideas and process this topic. Anecdotal evidence from my own classroom began to show me that creativity in the secondary science classroom is different; in science, one must know something in order to create something new. I began to pay more attention to the push for creativity on social media. Here’s what I’m learning.

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February 18th, 2013 by Luann

Creativity and Science, Part 3

From Learning and the Brain Conference, Day 2, Friday.

Souls of Pe bring water for purification.

It’s pretty clear to me, perhaps because I’m looking for it, that however one views creativity, one has to know something to be creative in a productive sense. Rigorous content is part of most models of PBL and creativity models. I’m not sure this is obvious to everyone, though. I’ve always known that before kids can create productively, they have to know something. Granted, some world problems appear to be solvable on the surface by 6th graders playing with plastic cups and sand models of water purification systems, and 6th graders should play with these things. At some point, however, rigor and expectations need to stretch. How can this be done? Read the rest of this entry »

February 15th, 2013 by Luann

Creativity and Science, Part 2

Creativity?

I’m starting to form a more clear picture of how I see creativity as a part of science.

I don’t care if it’s considered to be right or wrong by brain scientists or by educators.  It’s my synthesis at this time in my learning. If you’d like to help me with it, please do.

I’m still having issues with those who are of the school that creativity must be done in collaboration.  I have the same issue with those who state that true creativity takes place in total solitude. Maybe this is because I’m a Libra.  Maybe it’s because each learner processes, synthesizes, and constructs knowledge in his own way.

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