As promised, I will be writing up some of the sessions I attended this past weekend…since this was my first conference as a presenter, I spent less time in sessions as usual, but I did learn quite a few new tricks!
This weekend was also exciting since the conference was held in San Francisco – thousands of science teachers in a city with a tsunami warning; I can bet lots of lesson plans were changed (including my own) to focus on the current events in Japan.
So be on the lookout for:
- Parent-teacher communication and involvement ideas
- How to host a physics-themed haunted house
- Ways to make the most of the Holt Introductory Physics textbook
- Accessing understanding of ELL students
- Skills to help ELL students understand science
- Exhibit hall highlights
Junk Drawer Science is a new science curriculum company started by teachers with great resources for teachers.
Welcome to Junk Drawer Science: a result of years of frustration with the out-of-touch, and often-out-of date resources that have been available to us as teachers. We believe that it is time for a revolution in science education. The textbook should be relegated to its proper place. It should be a resource and no longer the focal point of our science classes!
Our mission is to provide engaging materials that stimulate learning in your students. We believe that science should not be expensive, and that the simplest lessons are often the most profound.
At the moment, they have three products available for purchase: a book full of great activities for middle and high school life science classes, a guide to using interactive notebooks in science class, and the game they created called “The Game of Evolution”.
I happen to teach with the Junk Drawer Science owners and can guarantee that their products are worth every penny. They have worked hard to develop curriculum and lesson tools that are effective in the classroom as well as easy to implement on a low (to non-existent) budget.
I guess that makes this a shameless plug: all in the name of providing the world with great teaching resources!
Unfortunately, they will not be at the NSTA conference in San Francisco, so for now, you will have to check them out online.
I sure will!!
Last year, several grad school colleagues and I presented research on parent-teacher-student communication via this blog and we were selected to present our findings at the National Conference in San Francisco.
Please feel free to come to our session on Saturday, March 13. More details to come and we will be collecting more data from our new schools…until then, feel free to read our data and conclusions from last year.
See you in March!
I started the fluids unit this week (I’m going shallow and wide with the curriculum so the kids can get exposed to as much as possible). For some reason, my kids love talking about and asking questions about buoyancy, Bernoulli, pressure, etc.
What is suprising me the most is that the kids who usually don’t pay attention or do their work are the ones most enthralled. And when I say enthralled, I mean interrupting class every 40 seconds to ask questions when they are usually talking with friends or resting their head on the desk. It’s baffling.
I have no clue what the reason is for the changes, but since it has been so successful, I figured I’d come up with something to share. Check back soon for a summary of the scaffolding I’ve provided them with over the last few days.. I hope it will help somebody!
I just submitted my first Donors Choose project! I am requesting one caddy of scientific calculators since my kids do not have their own. We’ll see what happens – I’m hoping for a class set eventually!
Check out my Donors Choose page here: http://www.donorschoose.org/mccoy1007
Since it takes awhile to get all of the administrative things out of the way in the first week of school, I am planning on focusing on mostly Nature of Science type activities. The following are some of the things I’m most excited about:
Science Is – Students brainstorm their own lists of things that Science Is and Science Is Not. Then a large list is generated and students sort words on a t-chart into what they believe science is and isn’t. We did this activity using construction paper and glue sticks to make colorful Science Is Charts!
Tower Building – Students work together to build the tallest tower of cups they can without speaking. The second time, students are allowed to talk. This encourages students to think about the importance of communication in science.
Which Is Better? – As a student guided scientific method activity, we split the students into two groups. One had to analyze which bouncey ball is better and the other which bubble wand is better. The students defined their own definition for “better” and their procedure. Afterward, they listed their steps and quickly realized they used the scientific method without realizing it!
Letter Writing – Students wrote themselves a letter setting goals for themselves for the school year. I will return their letters at the end of the semester or the end of the year.
Lab Safety – For lab safety day, we handed out the Flinn Safety Contract and students wrote short skits demonstrating 5 safe lab techniques and 5 safety violations.
I have had fun discovering ways to fund extra materials and projects within my classroom. Here are the two that have come most highly recommended:
Adopt-A-Classroom: Kind of like the Adopt-a-Highway deal, but you can get your classroom adopted by several sponsors. From what another teach told me, you only get about $100 over the course of the year, but it was enough for her to get some classroom supplies and a class set of books.
To support my classroom, go to this link: Rebecca McCoy Adopt-A-Classroom Homepage
Donor’s Choose: This website allows you to apply for mini-grants (usually $500 and less) to fill your classroom with what it needs most. Some teachers apply for class set of books and others apply for one computer at a time until they have enough for each student. I will most certainly be using this throughout the school year.
Good luck with the school year!