Day 32: Seasons of Love

Friday, 27 Sept 2013

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Google’s answer to “minutes in a year”.

A classwork problem of mine asks

What’s the distance of a light year in meters? A light year is a measure of distance that light travels in one year.

Which prompts me to play

At which point half the class starts singing.

Later on, a kid tells me “Google was wrong” and another decides “Rent lied to me”. Not a single one realized the 1/4 day Google considers or Rent doesn’t.

Day 30: Binder Checks

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


One of my classes took their unit test today on Waves & Sound. While doing so, I graded binders.

My students must keep a binder with course materials that I check on test day. I like being able to see each student’s work end-to-end. I also found several instances of assignments the student never turned in (usually because it was incomplete and they were “going to finish it tonight for homework”), so I was able to grade them on the spot. Also now I have a list of kids to work with in small groups because their assessment scores are low AND their binders are hot messes.

Why no more interactive notebooks? I had a lot of pushback last year from my students, many of whom are quite well-organized in their own fashion. Since the IN is a teacher-centered organization scheme, I opted for a less structured design (though this one is still quite structured by me). The thesis I’m developing is that the IN is super-useful for lower achieving students or those with executive functioning skills deficits, less so at the other side of the spectrum.

Day 28: Quizzes

Monday, 23 September, 2013

Here’s the student quiz day workflow: take a quiz on Moodle, get immediate feedback as to right & wrong answers, correct what you can with commentary as to why you got it wrong/how to correct. Both of these young women made silly mistakes. Unit conversions are a huge issue when starting out in physics. The young woman on the left will learn. The one on the right merged two adjacent problems from her screen while solving. I did have mercy on her, in case you were wondering.

I love the way my room sounds about 30 minutes into quiz day. The first wave of kids has just hit submit and is looking over their results. They let out some form of sigh when they realize the mistake they made — that’s educational gold. I’d estimate 75% of student errors get a “gah!”. Only 25% of student errors are in the “I have no idea where I went wrong” camp.

Closed out class today with ~10 minutes an introduction to Electromagnetic Waves.

Day 27: Grade Catchup Day

Friday, 20 September 2013

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Last day of the marking period. Am I the only decent teacher out there who “wastes” class time checking on the gradebook with kids? Today was an opportunity to turn in missing work, check off on work you never turned in, and finish this week’s assignments.

Above is the Moodle gradebook. Not the easiest thing to work with, but I’m learning. The first two columns are a quiz then its retake, a method I used only once until I found a more efficient way to manage retakes in here.

Day 26: Sound & Music Classwork

Thursday, 19 September 2013

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The kids are getting their classwork done. Kinda the same thing going on Wednesday and Friday, too. I’m trying more open work time in class — as in, we’re working on three different assignments at once. So far, mixed results. Some classes take to the responsibility better than others. Definitely a maturity thing.