Archive for April, 2010

My Teaching Portfolio

Awhile ago I wrote about Teaching Portfolios and brainstormed what to include in my own. Well, it’s finished! Here’s the final product:

Index: I found super funky section dividers at Staples that I used to color code the sections of my portfolio. I used these to create a user-friendly index.

Personal Section: BLACK

  • Teaching Philosophy
  • Resume

  • Test Scores
  • Grad School Transcript (this and the test scores might be a bit much, but in the case that a principal wants a copy and I don’t have any with me, I can just pull them out!)
  • References

Someone recommended I mention the blog as often as possible, so I added a line at the bottom of my references sheet that reads, “For more information, visit my blog: https://justcallmemsfrizzle.wordpress.com”

High School Samples: DARK BLUE

These fantastic section dividers have tabs that you can move anywhere along the side, top, or bottom!

  • 2 samples of high school level lessons
  • Student work associated with the lessons

Middle School Samples: RED


  • 2 samples of middle school level lessons
  • Student work associated with the lessons

Evaluations: TEAL


  • Student Teaching Supervisor’s Observations
  • Cooperating Teachers’ Evaluations

Blog Entries/Teacher as Researcher: ORANGE


  • Sample blog entries – to show the amount of work I  have put into my teaching so far, as well as proof of my ability to use social media in an educational setting.
  • Teacher as Researcher: Parents & the Community project – I am always interested in learning new things and hope a sample of this project will assure a principal that I am always ready for some professional development through workshops and research!

If this post leaves you with questions, please don’t hesitate to email me!

SCONYC 2010

Last weekend I went to the annual SCONYC conference for New York City Science Teachers. Here’s a summary of the day:

Forensic Microscopy Workshop – My fellow TC-ers and I headed up a a workshop on forensic microscopy. It was a bit disappointing because it didn’t end up being as hands on as we had hoped, but I got a few good pictures out of it:

playing with a lens and camera

a classmate’s split ends – it was amazing that we could use the digital camera to capture what we saw in the microscope!

Operation Shellshock – Key Address by Lt. Richard Thomas of the New York State Police

There were a myriad technical difficulties, so we couldn’t hear most of his talk, but Lt. Thomas handled them well! He spoke about his experience working under cover to help stop the black market trade of indigenous New York amphibian and reptiles.

Active Physics – This was a fantastic workshop given by John Roeder of The Calhoun School in Manhattan. In my methods classes, we have worked a lot with different Active Physics activities, but I had never grasped how the curriculum as a whole worked. As John walked us through the curriculum, I was quickly convinced that I would definitely use this curriculum if given the opportunity! I’m heading over to his school in two weeks to observe him in action.

The conference was held at the incredible Stuyvesant High School in Battery Park City.

The school has escalators that travel two floors at a time. It also has these fantastic tiles I forgot to take a picture of: they are glass boxes with some sort of memorabilia from each year since the school was started. So cool! We even got to eat in a cafeteria that overlooked the Hudson River.

NY Center for Space Education – Katherine Brown, of the NYC Challenger Center, gave a talk and materials based on several different NASA-designed science curriculum. We even got free UV beads :)

If you have a Challenger Center near you, go check it out! They are amazing places and fantastic resources for professional development and field trips.

Joy of Chemistry – all I can say about this workshop is that I want to grow up to be as crazy as the two women who presented it! They spent the hour demonstrating awe-inspiring chemistry experiments and describing how they can be effective in the classroom. Their effort to remind us that science is fun was easily rewarded as the room was packed and we were all on the edge of our seats! They recommended reading the book “The Flying Circus of Physics with Answers” for us physics people and gave us the procedure for each of their demonstrations:

  • Floating Golf Ball (my favorite!)
  • Fortune Fish
  • Switch Pitch Ball
  • Magic Sand
  • Secret Message with Window Cleaner
  • Flash Paper
  • Naked Eggs
  • Blue & Orange/Gold Reaction
  • Collapsing Soda Bottle
  • Magic Birthday Candles
  • Soda Geyser (I learned you can use seltzer instead of diet coke – much easier cleanup!)

In addition to the workshops, we had a great walk through the exhibit hall. I’m hoping a few of the booths I left my name with will be sending some sample text books!

The Long Awaited Magnetism Unit…

I’ve been working on this magnetism unit off and on for an entire semester – I’m so glad it’s finally finished!!

Student Teaching Week 11 & 12 [4/19-4/28]

MONDAY – 6th grade classes finished their presentations on ecoscenarios. I was observed for the last time during the 7th grade classes. I did a lesson on digestion and absorption of nutrients using the List-Group-Label (LGL) literacy strategy and differentiated levels of reading on the topic. The class went relatively well – the class was a bit rambunctious and I still haven’t found my classroom management groove with this age group, but they got the reading and activity done, so I can’t complain!

TUESDAY – A tear out my hair and never come back to school day. Haha, it wasn’t that bad, but the kids definitely pushed me to the edge. Even the regularly well behaved students were incredibly rude and there was absolutely no decorum. I don’t even think it had anything to do with my cooperating teacher being out today. There wasn’t much I could do except be consistent with inappropriate behavior and not condone any of these new behaviors.

WEDNESDAY – 7th graders finished their digestive system monologues and we combined them all into a fabulous bulletin board outside of the classroom. The kids were all excited to see their work on display!

THURSDAY & FRIDAY My cooperating teacher was out again, so I was on my own again. After Tuesday’s experience I was sort of dreading it, but I was up front with the kids and instated a new policy: if I have to speak to you more than one, you get a check next to your name and will be reported to the cooperating teacher. I hate having to threaten them, but since she is their ultimate science classroom authority, it worked! The 6th graders watched the National Geographic Video “Hawaii: Strangers In Paradise”. It is a fantastic documentary on the organisms of Hawaii and led to natural conversations about adaptations and advantages within a population!

On Friday, the 7th graders completed endocrinology based patient simulations and had to use their notes on the endocrine system, as well as an article on endocrine disorders common in children, to diagnose their “patient”. They all took the task seriously and worked diligently in teams to come to a diagnosis!

MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY – State Language Arts testing began, so the classes were all whacky. Plus, I developed some sort of upper respiratory infection and lost my voice! 6th grade continued talking about adaptations by completing the FOSS Ecosystems and Populations Walkingsticks Simulations. They enjoyed working together on the computers and did a great job graphing their results! 7th grade moved onto the nervous system and has been working hard to understand the significance and delicacy of this body system!

Wednesday was my last day of student teaching and I’ve got to admit that I was sad to say goodbye! I have plenty of frustrations with the middle school age group (who doesn’t), but I feel so fortunate to have had such a positive experience – the kids, faculty, and administration welcomed me to their school and embraced me. One girl even begged me not to move to Nevada so I could get a job at the school next year; I am so thankful to be ending the experience on such a good note!

I’ll miss the view from my classroom!

The end of student teaching means the end of this series of posts, but just get ready – in the fall I’ll start a series of my first year teaching!

Digestive System Monologues

We finished up the Digestive System by having students write monologues as if they were a part of the digestive tract (accessory organs such as the liver, gall bladder, kidneys, etc. included). Here’s the finished product:

Students presented their monologues in groups of two or three (there are two classes worth on monologues posted) and wrote them on colored paper for the bulletin board. This would be a great activity for any age group. With homeschoolers, you could even have each child write a monologue for each part – a great way to reinforce the content!

Great Intro to Endocrine System!

Today we started the endocrine system with the 7th graders. My cooperating teacher started the lesson by telling the following story written by Janet Weaver of Rosary School in Oklahoma City, OK:

Say (pausing …. after each suggestion): Close your eyes….Relax your feet….Relax your knees….Relax your thighs… Relax your stomach….Relax your hands….Relax your shoulders….Relax your chest….Relax your forehead. Imagine yourself in the middle of a beautiful field of flowers….The smell is sweet….the colors are all of your favorites….there is no pollen to irritate you….you are perfectly relaxed….the sky is blue, with only small puffs of white clouds…. You look around and see a small dirt road leading into the most beautiful grove of trees….you decide to follow the road into the trees….As you walk on the road, the temperature gets cooler….there are still flowers among the trees…. You see the road makes a sharp turn ahead, and as you walk around the turn you notice a house at the end of the road….It is not large, but it is not small either….The house is not well kept, but it is not falling down either….You can tell that someone lives there…. You decide to go up to the house to see if anyone there could give you a drink of water….You walk up to the house and up the 3 broken steps to the front door….The door is standing open a little as you knock….No one answers your knock, so you knock again, a little louder….Now you hear a muffled sound coming from far inside the house….You look into the front room of the house and see clothes laying around….a half full glass of milk….and a kitchen in the back…. You hear the sound again….so you call out….again you hear a muffled sound from the back of the house….You walk into the house….looking around as you go towards the kitchen…. In the kitchen you notice a door, half open leading into blackness….you open the door and see steps leading down….you hear the muffled sound a little louder now coming from beneath the stairs…. You begin walking down the stairs, into the darkness….your hand brushes up against the cool wall….At the bottom of the stairs you hear the muffled sound coming from your right, and as you turn towards it your hand feels a wetness on the walls….You walk v e r y slowly towards the sound….in the darkness….then A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A (teacher screams as loudly as possible) Open your eyes. What is your body doing right now????

The kids screamed and jumped out of their seats! We had a great conversation about how our bodies are designed to react to potentially dangerous situations without us even realizing it! 

To end the period, we watched the beginning of the Brain Pop Endocrine System video. It a bit longer than the average Brain Pop video, but its jammed full of great information!!

We’re going to continue the unit with a detailed power point on the system, the glands, and the enzymes/hormones involved – I’m not a huge power point fan, but the kids need opportunities to learn how to take notes! Friday we are going to do a patient simulation, where each table will receive a patient’s chart and try to diagnose which gland is not functioning properly based on their notes. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do :)

Virtual Labs in Science Class

from a lecture given by Amanda Gunning.

Why a virtual lab?

  • Online or downloaded – I recommend the downloaded version if possible since you won’t have to worry about faulty internet.
  • “Hands On” – student should still be manipulating variables, making observations, and drawing conclusions.
  • Fulfills lab requirements.
  • Provides variety to curriculum.
  • Easy way to incorporate technology and use school resources.
  • Explores complex and difficult to observe concepts in a simpler way.
  • Great way to give students lab activities when they are home-bound due to illness or are chronically absent.

Challenges to using virtual labs:

  • Availability of computers and internet access.
  • Battery-life of laptops.
  • Management issues – to get all the computers set up and ready for use cuts into class time.  If you have an IT person who doesn’t come from an education background, get to know them and learn as much as you can so that you don’t rely on them in case of a technology issue in class when they aren’t available to help. Be sensitive that they don’t always understand the time constraints and pressures related with teaching.
  • If students are sharing a computer, are they both involved or is one student taking control and the other off task?
  • Students might want to listen to music while working on the computer – this is a policy that needs to be determined by the teacher if the administration hasn’t already written a policy on that.

Preparing for a Virtual Lab

  • Plan for it! A virtual lab isn’t a free period: are you using the lab to introduce a topic, demonstrate a concept, or assess student understanding?
  • Scaffold the virtual lab! Introduce using the virtual lab as another way to experiment, explain and model the features students will manipulate, and have an associated assignment or handout.
  • Plan for discussion to make meaningful conclusions.

Great Virtual Lab Sites