Vocabulary PechaKucha!

Today at PD, I created a student-driven technology lesson for introducing new vocabulary in my academic chemistry class. As a preface: PechaKucha is a presentation format the includes 20 slides, presented for 20 seconds each (for a total of just under 7 minutes).

Blank Student Template:

Make ONE slide related to your term with the following info.

  • Provide TWO definitions that you found
  • Rewrite them into ONE definition in your own words
  • include any variables, units, or formulas that apply
  • include one image to illustrate your word
    • it should take up most of the slide
  • Be able to explain your word for/in 20 seconds

Technology Integration Matrix Review: This lesson falls under adaptation in all categories. I’m okay with that considering I am working towards more technology integration for that group of students.

Nearly-Paperless Classroom

Nearly Headless? How can you be nearly headless?  – Hermione Granger

Disclaimer: I don’t believe in:

  • a truly paperless classroom
  • technology as gimmickery
  • one [teaching] method to rule them all
  • drill and kill (but practice does make permanent)

I do believe in:

  • not assigning busy work
  • authentic homework assignments
  • saving paper

This year (with only one week until school started) it was decreed that each teacher would have a set number of pages copied per semester (each SIDE counts as one). This number varied by department, but there was no apparent consideration of the number of students, common teaching practices for the subject, etc.

I’ve had to ask my students to print things at home. I’ve moved to lesser testing practices of copying only one class set of tests that students cannot annotate (I came up with giving them a transparency and erasable marker) and cannot keep for future studying. It also fosters cheating because I used to have multiple versions of tests. I’ve done these things because I can’t make copies frivolously. However, I’ve NEVER made copies frivolously. I always try to conserve paper.

That being said, I have found a reason to be thankful for this proclamation. My website traffic is higher than ever before. I’m averaging 70 visitors per day (and I have about 70 students).

Just in the past month:

Classroom Website traffic 10-2014

Classroom Website traffic 10-2014

Even more impressive: in the past year…

Visitors by country. Oct 2013-2014

Visitors by country. Oct 2013-2014

In fact, my classroom website caused me to be headhunted by a local tutoring center and personally asked to review a new study/resource website for science classes by the site’s developer… who lives in the UK. If that’s not proof that I’m impacting people outside of my school, I don’t know what is.

So, thanks for forcing me to become even more paperless than I already was. My website has blown up as a result. The funny thing is, my husband’s math website blows my stats out of the water.

 

Phase one complete… (XP points in the classroom)

On Tuesday, I plan to implement phase two of my goal for my AP Biology students this year, which is for them to take a pile of my resources and learn about a unit almost on their own (constructivist theory, for you psych folks). Granted, there will be checkpoints and various discussions throughout this unit, but I want them to eventually be in charge of their daily tasks, both in and out of the classroom.

Phase one involved incorporating an experience point (XP) system in my grading plan. Students gain experience through various instructional activities, and the sum of these experiences at the end of each unit correlates to a rather hefty (30%) portion of their overall grade. This is the first time I have tried anything like this, but I think it is going well. I have been at a loss the past few years as to getting more of my students personally engaged in the process of learning this extremely cumbersome curriculum. Thus far, I think this is the hardest that I’ve had an AP class work overall. I’m not sure if it’s the students themselves or the XP system. Perhaps, both.

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Molecular Biology – A PBL Unit for AP Biology

This unit plan was designed as a result of my externship experience at BASF during the summer or 2013.

Here’s a blog post I wrote about the results of that externship.

And here’s a video I made to thank the scientists at BASF for working with me for the two weeks that I was there.

Essential Questions
  • What is the primary source of heritable information, and how are cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the expression of this heritable information?
  • How can genetic engineering techniques manipulate the heritable information of DNA?
Topics covered
  • plasmid construction
  • polymerase chain reaction
  • bacterial and plant transformation
  • restriction enzymes
  • gel electrophoresis
  • plant physiology
  • GMO crops