Sunday, January 26, 2014
Our Science Curriculum Teacher brought us a special gift in Forensics today... a dead bird! I'm pretty sure this will be a semester full of "I never thought I'd..." moments and having a dead bird in my classroom definitely falls in that category! However, it did create some great questions and observation skills from my students as they tried to figure out why the bird died. Never a dull moment here! :)
In Forensic Science today, students wrapped up the Hair unit with a bit of review, then we looked at some real life Case Studies. Technology was NOT our friend today which required a last-minute-in-the-middle-of-class lesson plan change. When we collected their Review worksheets, we found this drawing on the back of one of the student papers. Of course I had to snap a photo! It's not often that I get a portrait drawn of myself :)
In Intermediate Algebra, we've been working on a lot of problem solving, so when I ran across this idea on pinterest, I knew it would fit right in! The groups had to decide when to use which coupon and create a number line showing their conclusion, then we followed up with piggybacking coupons and which one to use first. Overall there were some GREAT discussions and I was very proud of them!
Today was our last day on the Hair Lab. Most groups were able to narrow down the suspects to two, including the correct one. The investigative teams were hard at work writing up their conclusions and double checking their work.
Monday, January 20, 2014
I love team-teaching a STEM class because I am learning so much about teaching science! My team teacher worked in a lab setting before she became a teacher, so it's been very important to her for the students to learn how to keep a scientific notebook. Today, we used our process from yesterday to analyze some hair evidence from a crime scene. Above is a sample of one of our students notes from their analysis.
Today started our first major lab in Forensic Science where we are investigating trace evidence, specifically with regard to hair. The kids were fascinated to see what their hair looked like under the microscope and there were some great discussions about the differences between ethnic groups and hair colors.
My students were working on a review assignment when this young man came to my desk to ask a question. I didn't even notice his shirt until another student pointed it out. At that point, I definitely needed a photo and he was more than happy to let me snap one. :)
At our school, schedule changes tend to happen during the first two weeks of the semester, so I anticipated my Intermediate Algebra class enrollment increasing. As a result, I wanted to spend quite a bit of time working on problem solving skills in order to gauge where my new students were. The problem pictured above was about a restaurant with some 4-seat tables and 2-seat tables and determining how many of each type were in the restaurant. I was very impressed to see that some kids went for diagrams, others went for guess and check, and a few tried to write an equation and use a system of equations. It was a great teaching moment over strategies and if one method didn't work out, try another!
Monday, January 13, 2014
When students came to class today, they found post-it notes on their tables and instructions on the Promethean. Basically, they were asked to summarize their four landmarks that they researched yesterday and put them on a post-it and put them in order on the whiteboard. Now my student aides will transfer these post-its to a poster to hang in the hallway to share with the rest of our school.
Welcome back to Forensic Science! Today we did some background information on observation skills, then started on our first research project of the history of Forensic Science. Students were instructed to find four important landmarks in Forensic Science and learn about them. Some students chose court cases, while others chose important discoveries or scientists. In general, it was great to visit with the students about what they were learning.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Today was the start of a new semester after another snow day on Monday. For those of you counting, that's 4 snow days and it's just early January! I was grateful to get back to school and back to my routine, however I knew my students would need a day to wake back up the neural networks, so we did a probability review. Back to the grindstone tomorrow!
Today was also the first day for our new class, Forensic Science and Data Analysis. This one-semester STEM class is going to be awesome! Two teachers and 40 kids all set on learning the science and math behind crime scene investigations.
Today we started our first crime scene using deductive reasoning. As the students finished up the day, I heard some very positive comments, which made my day! :)
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Tonight was day 2 of our 5th annual AVID Study-a-Thon. Our AVID students are required to spend a minimum of 4 hours studying for their finals. Last night and tonight, I was upstairs from 3-8 pm watching over our 130 kiddos as they diligently studied. Here are a few of our seniors prepping for their AP Statistics exam!
When reviewing for their finals, I encourage the students to make sure their notebook is organized and up to date. They do not want to spend precious time searching for a topic. One young lady took this lesson to heart and made tabs for her notebook so she could quickly reference important topics. Organized notebooks make me happy :)
After the very frigid weather that gave us three snow days, we finally made it above freezing yesterday. Of course, whenever the ground thaws, that means you have to be on the lookout for water line breaks. This was the view out of the end of the building this morning. Water was gushing EVERYWHERE! They ended up turning off water to my building ALL DAY, so if a student had to use the restroom, they had to trek over to one of the other buildings on campus. It was NOT a fun day! :)
One snow day I can handle... two is okay... but after three snow days, I'm freaking out! I still need to finish this chapter before the end of the semester and finals are next week! Today we worked on probability rules and I pulled out this nifty little whiteboard that I picked up this summer in Target's dollar section. Great way to do example problems using the Elmo! :)