2014-15 Good, Bad and Ugly

By flipping this year I was able to do more labs and activities in class. This resulted in some good and bad moments in class. The good was the ability to connect more concepts to the labs in class. At the end of the school year I always give a class survey and ask students for their feedback. From this I get my “good, bad and ugly”.

The “good” students did enjoy the labs that we did in class and believed they learned a lot from them. They did however prefer labs that I explained to them in detail. Meaning, introducing them to the procedures etc. The inquiry labs or PBL activities where they created the procedure etc. were not their favorites. Why? Because they had to think outside the box a bit. They also felt they needed a bit more guidance in these activities. To improve on this I hope to introduce this a bit earlier in the year. Develop the skills they need to succeed in completing an inquiry or PBL activity. I hope while teaching students to “think outside the box” , to introduce them to proper lab write ups.  Some really cool ideas for inquiry and PBL labs can be found at different websites such as Edutopia .  Also information on formats for lab write reports can be found any where on the internet, but I do like the UNC writing center  Handout.   It is a bit detailed but can be really helpful resource. And of course NSTA forums have some really good suggestions.

A “good/bad” that took place in class were the students 2nd semester project, students were allowed to choose a topic based on their interest in science and do an experiment on that topic. Some of the projects were very good, one group actually had a marine scientists Skype with the class. Another group worked on the EV3 Mindstorm Space Challenge. That was the good part, the bad part;  I had started out hoping to do the “Genius Hour”  or 20% project. But other items took precedent and I veered away from that idea.  Some students didn’t quite get the idea and ended up picking a topic and doing the project last minute. Changes need to be made no doubt. But I think I want to change this around and implement the “Genius Hour” or 20 % Project. There are some great blogs by teachers who implemented this project. you can also type in the hastag #Genius Hour and you will find some great resources. Both are similar, “allow students 20 % of class time, or one hour per week, to work on and explore one topic of their choice” (Definition taken from 20% Project website). So an improvement on this is definitely in the future.

Now the Ugly! Group Lab Journals. I tried to implement this year and it just got pushed to the wayside. After the first couple of tries, it just didn’t work. I think part of the reason for the flop on this was I didn’t really take enough time to show students how to properly enter labs in the notebook. I had assumed they knew how to do this. Also it was easier in some instances for them to hand in their work with Google documents.  I truly believe that group journals are harder to use than individual. Some might disagree with me, but I found it was easier for the group to rely on one person to do the entries. I think creating jobs at the beginning of the year for the lab groups would help. I’m actually thinking about going digital for lab notebooks and using OneNote from Microsoft. Still looking into it, I’ve been watching TeacherCast and their videos on how to use OneNote. This is one of my projects for this summer.

So the summer has been about improving certain strategies and also learning new ones.

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About rippie77

Science Teacher at Cardinal Gibbons High School, Raleigh NC.

Posted on June 21, 2015, in Cardinal Gibbons High School, Class Ideas, Earth Science, Flipping the Classroom, Google, Project, Teacher Ideas, Teacher Strategies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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