Posts Tagged ‘teacher resources’

NSTA 2011 Here and Gone Again

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

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Welcome to Junk Drawer Science: a result of years of frustration with the out-of-touch, and often-out-of date resources that have been available to us as teachers.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.

Will you be at NSTA 2011??

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!

Fluids Unit

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!

Donors Choose

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

First Week of School Science Activities

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.

Easy $ For Your Classroom

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!

Wiki-Teacher

Wiki-Teacher is a fabulous resource for all teachers, regardless of content area. It was actually started by my district, but has more users from outside of Nevada than not!

One of the great things about Wiki-Teacher is that it has lesson plans and ideas as well as videos to give you some ideas of how to implement certain strategies.

There’s not much else I can say since even just a little time exploring will get you hooked!

Websites for Science Teachers

I am loving Making Teachers Nerdy’s post on the Top 20 Websites No Teacher Should Start the 2010-2011 Year Without! Below I’ve written a little bit about which websites I’m excited to make use of in the coming weeks.

Picnik – I have no idea what role this might play in my classroom, but it’s so fun that I’m sure it will weasel its way in somehow!

Delicious – I had started using this awhile ago, but have neglected it lately since I was teaching with my personal laptop last year. Since I’ll be using one computer at home and a different one at school, this is going to be super handy.

Dropbox – For the same reasons as above, this is going to be a lifesaver! I can access lesson plans at home and school without worrying about them getting lost in email!

Edmodo – This is a new one for me…I’m exploring all my options for how to have a class blog or website that students can be super involved in as a classroom social media type thing. As an experiment, I started a group “Just Call Me Ms Frizzle” (pass key 9219vq) – feel free to stop by and leave a note, upload a favorite article or lesson plan, or give me feedback on what social media has worked in your classroom. If your school does not have any type of online assignment giving and grading, Edmodo has everything you’ll need – and it doesn’t require students to sign up with an email address, so it’s super easy for them!

Google For Educators – A great resource as to how to use the different Google Applications (calendar, docs, etc) to maximize technology and organization in your classroom.

Live Binders – Live Binders caught my attention when I saw you could make digital binders of websites, videos, files, etc. in order to have students do digital scavenger hunts. So cool!

Webspiration – Online tool for creating mind maps, graphic organizers, etc. Another great website that is very similar is XMind.

Prezi – I LOVE this! At the Channel 13 Celebration of Teaching & Learning, I saw a presentation given with Prezi. It’s Power Point on steroids; I am not a huge Power Point in the classroom fan since it is so predictable and not interactive, so I think this will be exactly what I use to give notes and lectures through my projector.

Troovi – This is another one that gets me really excited! Since I want to incorporate pictures all over the classroom of sciencey things my students and I experience, this would be a great way for them to send me pictures without having to pay to have them printed!

VoiceThread – This is a great option for teachers who want to have online conversations with students or an option for keeping home-bound students in the loop. The website has many different options for membership (free and paid) as well as an entire article based on how to maximize VoiceThread use in the classroom.

I hope these suggestions might inspire some new way to include technology in your classroom this year. For more great teaching websites, see the full article at Making Teachers Nerdy.

Help My School Get Cash from Kohls!

Kohls is giving away money to the schools who get the most votes, so head over to this link to vote for Sunrise Mountain High School!

Sunrise Mountain High School is entering into its 2nd school year. While it is in a new building, it serves a student body who are considered “under-privilaged” and come from families who are not involved in their children’s education. I am excited to join the Sunrise Mountain faculty this year buy teaching 4 Physics courses as well as supporting 12th grade students who have not passed the state science exam yet. I know that a grant like this will give students the opportunities they deserve to explore the world through the lens of science!

Check out the pictures of my classroom to help me with ideas for getting my first classroom set up and decorated!