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1st Year Teacher [Oct. 23rd, 2010|01:37 am]

Name: Sammy Grimes
City, State: Monticello, AR
What subject(s) you teach: Physical Science, Physics, Chemistry
Degrees (in relation to being a science teacher): BS Physics, MS Physics, MA Biology
What grade(s) you teach: 9th - 12th

I am currently a 1st year teacher. I have made the transition from teaching as a teaching assistant/adjunct professor in graduate school/community college to teaching in a high school and my first 9 weeks have been rough. I've been pretty sheltered and I have taught college sophomores/juniors (Organic Chemistry Lab) at the University of Arkansas and now I am currently teaching 9th graders in a 6th year in improvement school. It's mid-sized for Arkansas. I have lots of problems with classroom management and I thought that college freshmen couldn't retain anything. I have also been thrown into the thick of things and I have no idea of what labs I should be running. I am hoping to get out of chemistry this week and I just need to know what to do for the physics side of physical chemistry. I just feel lost and overwhelmed. The state standards for physics are a jumbled mess (it starts with forces and momentum and then goes back to kinematics without any sense of order) and, well, I am so confused right now. And most of the so called lab activities I found out there have dubious educational value and seem more for just filling the state mandated 20% activity time more than anything.
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The Great Curriculum Exchange [Jun. 8th, 2010|02:21 pm]

Do you have files in digital format or extra copies of incredibly cool lessons lying around? Do you believe in the saying, "Pay it forward"? Do you think that sharing leads to better teaching, all around? Then you'll enjoy the curriculum exchange.

Requesters -- Below are a list of courses that people are willing to share materials from. There is also contact information listed. Remember, that it is always good form to offer to reimburse postage if materials are being mailed. And remember to pay the favor forward when you have curriculum to contribute!

Curriculum Offered
High School Honors Chemistry - theinfamousj at gmail dot com - Entire course on CDs sent by snailmail.
High School Honors Chemistry - http://www.mrbigler.com/moodle/
Chemistry II - http://www.mrbigler.com/moodle/
AP Chemistry - http://www.mrbigler.com/moodle/

High School (Honors) Earth Science - theinfamousj at gmail dot com - Entire course on CDs sent by snailmail.
High School ES(O)L Earth Science - theinfamousj at gmail dot com - Entire course on CDs sent by snailmail.

High School Physical Science - theinfamousj at gmail dot com - Entire course on CDs sent by snailmail.
Physical Science - http://sites.google.com/site/mssoehlssciencesite/Home

Life Science - http://sites.google.com/site/mssoehlssciencesite/Home

Living Environment and Science (research course) - http://sites.google.com/site/mssoehlssciencesite/Home

Webquest on Astrochemistry - http://sites.google.com/site/mssoehlssciencesite/Home

Regents (LE) Biology YSBATS - dsoehl2 at yahoo dot com

Contributors -- Post what courses you would be willing to send out materials for, along with a way for people to contact you. When contacted, email the files/burn the CDs/stick the lessons in an envelope and ship them to the teacher who has contacted you. Remember, they will be paying the favor forward as well.
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Attention K-6 Illinois teachers! [Jan. 2nd, 2010|06:42 pm]
I will be teaching elementary science in Chicago (CPS) in a week and I am desperate for help in locating the science standards. I know that teachers have curriculum standards they have to follow, but I can't seem to find them online. Can anyone help point me in the right direction?

Any additional inside information on CPS K-6 science curriculum, etc. would be GREATLY appreciated as well, if you're willing to share.
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New Here, and a Question [Oct. 9th, 2009|06:49 pm]

Hi, I'm an undergraduate Biology major in my senior year of college. I am in the process of applying to grad schools to get my Masters in Teaching, and someone advised me to join some professional associations to beef up my resume. So, I was wondering if any of you were members of said professional associations and what those were. Or, if there were any that you had heard of that would be good.

Also, here is this:

Name: Alissa
City, State: Pullman, WA
What subject(s) you teach: none yet
Undergraduate degree (in relation to being a science teacher): getting my BS in Biology
What grade(s) you teach: none yet, want to teach high school.

Thanks in advance! If anybody has any other advice, I would be more than happy to hear it!

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Help with inquiry tubes [Aug. 21st, 2009|03:40 pm]
Is anyone able to tell me more about Inquiry tubes?

Specifically I would like to know how to construct one, and what they were used for in your experience.

Photos would be GREAT.

Thank you for your help!
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A job! [Aug. 16th, 2009|10:53 pm]

Just wanted to share the fact that I did get a job, and say that there is hope! (x Posted so forgive me if you read it multiple times)

I managed to land a job teaching at a Catholic school in Portland, OR. I am teaching Math & Science for 6, 7, 8.

I am really excited, and nervous. I haven't ever had any experience with having this many preps, or teaching math.

Because I'm sure some of you will be wondering, I got the job by a word of mouth recommendation from my dean and I did have a connection as the principal was a former professor of the school I graduated from. I would say keep trying, and work your connections, keep in contact with your previous supervisors and teachers etc to see if they hear of things that might not be posted. This job wasn't even on the diosece board I just emailed the principal directly.

Now I have questions for you lovely people :)

How do you juggle having 3-4+ preps (math 6th, 7th, 8th and science)???

Any tips for someone teaching math who hasn't had a lot of experience with it?

What type of notes system do your students use/have you found to be the most effective?

What do you use as a grading system?

Any bits of advice/wisdom for a new teacher? Especially for middle school
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(no subject) [Aug. 7th, 2009|01:36 pm]

I wanted to see if anyone teachers have ideas of what they are using in the classroom this year as far as journals/notebooks? I know about interactivee journals a little, they seem like a ton of work and I am not 100% familiar with them. So, what else might you use instead or did you use before? Last year, I had the kids keep a spiral with notes in that they could take home, and a folder with papers handed back and a warm up sheet that they kept in the class. FYI I teach 8th grade. Thanks for any info or advice!
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What Could You Do With This? [Jul. 27th, 2009|07:56 pm]

I awoke in the night with a flash of insight for a lesson that could serve my Earth Science students. After taking the pictures that I needed to put together my presentation, it occurred to me that this particular photoset could be used to teach concepts other than what I had in mind. So, for those of you who are science or math teachers, and are lazing about this summer and are up for the challenge, let's see what you can do with this photoset.

Click on the picture below to be taken to the page with the entire photoset:

Post your lesson plans or presentations in the comments. I'll make a follow up post with my own lesson plan/presentation, as soon as I've finished working up the files.

Here is my take on lessons that can be made from the photoset:

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The Great Curriculum Exchange [Jun. 2nd, 2009|06:30 pm]

Do you have files in digital format or extra copies of incredibly cool lessons lying around? Do you believe in the saying, "Pay it forward"? Do you think that sharing leads to better teaching, all around? Then you'll enjoy the curriculum exchange.

Requesters -- Below are a list of courses that people are willing to share materials from. There is also contact information listed. Remember, that it is always good form to offer to reimburse postage if materials are being mailed. And remember to pay the favor forward when you have curriculum to contribute!

Curriculum Offered
High School Honors Chemistry - theinfamousj at gmail dot com - Entire course on CDs sent by snailmail.
High School Chemistry I - http://www.mrbigler.com/moodle; You can grab everything except answer keys and tests by logging in with guest access.
AP Chemistry - http://www.mrbigler.com/moodle; You can grab everything except answer keys and tests by logging in with guest access.
High School Honors Earth Science - theinfamousj at gmail dot com - Entire course on CDs sent by snailmail.

Contributors -- Post what courses you would be willing to send out materials for, along with a way for people to contact you. When contacted, email the files/burn the CDs/stick the lessons in an envelope and ship them to the teacher who has contacted you. Remember, they will be paying the favor forward as well.
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Alternative Certification and the First Year [Apr. 22nd, 2009|11:09 am]

Hello. I'll be a first year HS chem teacher this fall, starting an alternative teaching certification program as well. I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions or advice for a starting teacher and, if any of you have done alt cert, what did you have to do besides taking a few classes and tests? I'm comming from grad school with some lab and recitation teaching experience, and I also have some industrial experience.
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Help! [Apr. 21st, 2009|07:33 pm]

Hi everyone, I know this isn't a homework help site, but I needed help with a few things. My teacher refused to explain to me how these worked because I was absent.

1. Can someone explain to me how to use the Empirical and Molecular formulas? I don't understand them.

2. For 2 labs I'm working on, we have to find the mass of things. For example, in one lab, we weighed a piece of gum, chewed it, and weighed it again. We have to find the mass of the sweetener and the percent of the sweetener. We're doing the same for a piece of chalk.

I'd really appreciate it if someone could help me with these questions! I really couldn't help having to go to my grandmother's viewing & funeral.
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casual day in the science department [Apr. 19th, 2009|07:40 pm]

Thursday after school, our high school science department got together with t-shirts and iron on letters to make some fun t-shirts to wear for casual day on Friday. We all came prepared with funny phrases related to our particular courses. We made quite a splash on Friday, with kids wondering why some teachers had writing on their shirts and others coming to the science wing to see what our shirts said. It was a great morale booster, as we had a ton of fun making our shirts. Some of the phases:

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
Don't let gravity get you down.
Science Rules, but friction is a drag.
My clone is awesome.
Your epidermis is showing.
Instant biology teacher - just add coffee.
Actually, I am a rocket scientist.
They let me play with chemicals.
I'm not an English major, I is a scientist.
May the F= mXa be with you.
Schrodenger's cat is dead.
Chemistry: because biology is just too easy. (this one started a bit of a war within the department!)

It was a ton of fun, and had the kids interested, and let them see us having a good time. Plus, now, the social studies department is trying to outdo us.

cross posted to teaching
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Blokus review (more math than science, but still) [Apr. 1st, 2009|10:27 pm]

[The mad scientist is feeling |excitedexcited]

Months ago, we ordered Blokus for our k-5th after school program, and it finally arrived today. After inviting kids to play "my favoritest game ever", I had three opponents (k-1st) and a handful more audience members, attracted by the pretty, translucent colors and bizarre shapes.

The kids picked up the idea of the game quickly, and their strategy evolved within one round. Then, as they waited for their turn, they started to play with the pieces. They would try to fit all their extra pieces into one rectangle, experiment with building outwards, or formed letters and words. They recognize patterns created on the board--"a T next to a T!"--and categorized the polyominoes by number or overall shape. The best part was their attempts at simile. "This one looks like a W! Or an M! Or stairs!" They eventually lost interest in the game itself and instead made pixellated images with the plastic. When playing with friends, I had only approached Blokus polyominoes as tanagrams and as designed. But they opened the playing field up to a wide range of discovery.

It's a little pricier than games I've purchased with my own money ($30, as compared to $10-20 for SET, Quiddler or the Great Dalmudi), but I'd definitely get this for my own personal educator's shelf. If you have school funds to spend, it's a very worthwhile investment for its range appeal in age, ability and application.

Also, I found it online.

Possible lesson topics for Blokus:
- Four Color Theorem
- Geometry (rotation, shape names)
- Multiplication/area calculation
- How computers create images
What else?
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Gallup: Less Than 40% Believe In Evolution [Feb. 11th, 2009|05:40 pm]



PRINCETON, NJ -- On the eve of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, a new Gallup Poll shows that only 39% of Americans say they "believe in the theory of evolution," while a quarter say they do not believe in the theory, and another 36% don't have an opinion either way. These attitudes are strongly related to education and, to an even greater degree, religiosity.


There is a strong relationship between education and belief in Darwin's theory, as might be expected, ranging from 21% of those with high-school educations or less to 74% of those with postgraduate degrees.


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Physics Book Suggestions? [Nov. 14th, 2008|09:37 pm]

So, I am thinking about getting new Physics books for next year. I am currently using Holt Physics 2002 for my Physics Class and Serway and Faugn's College Physics 5th Edition for my Honors Physics Class. Despite being written by the same authors, they are not consistent with each other (the equations are different, gravity is different 9.8 vs. 9.81 which is somewhat trivial, but annoying)

I would like to continue using two different books for obvious reasons *grins* I am not sure if I am happy about the order that the book follows. There seem to be two ways of teaching physics. Teaching motion in 1D, motion in 2D and then forces OR motion in 1D, forces in 1D, forces in 2D and then motion in 2D. I'm doing the 1st and I feel as though it's sort of confusing for the students. Does anyone have experience with the 2nd?

So, ideas and suggestions :)

What book(s) do you use? What do you like about it (them)? What do you dislike?

Thanks :)
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Maybe I got it all wrong but... [Nov. 14th, 2008|11:55 pm]

[The mad scientist is feeling |amusedamused]

So...last weekend I had a movie night with a student from school. We watch the same sci fi stuff and games and she is really cool to hang out with and her family sorta adopted me. Well we were watching the first Xmen movie again because they showed a clip in her Physics class and we both agreed it was time to see that movie again. In the meantime, I just got through with a buttload of quantum preparations for my AP class.

There is another scene in the movie that will forever make my little quantum heart pitter patter!!! Okay if I get the general idea of quantum, the proof that energy can also be matter is a vice versa scenario. Well, whoever wrote Xmen either really got that detail or the effects guys were just having a random day of fun up there. Either way, the fire boy starts a fire in his hand with nothing but a lighter. Now, unless he is combusting carbon matter, I made a grand assumption that the fire you were seeing was really pure heat energy. Well, paint me interested because a few minutes later, the ice boy sends a stream of cold air toward the fire. The pure ENERGY fire! Do you see where I am going here? Within moments the entirety of that energy was converted into a rock solid ice ball that shattered on the floor.

Guys, seriously, Xmen demonstrated their support of quantum by converting ENERGY directly into MATTER!!! Oh my geeky goodness. Who does that? How awesome is it to see such an abstract concept purposefully or accidentally displayed on the movie screen? I am so psyched about this that I brought it up in my AP class the next week. They totally got the supreme awesomeness of that moment. Heat is made up of nothing but energy. Ice is pure matter (frozen water). Heat=ice only in the world of quantum baby!

I think I am going to be on cloud quantum for a while...see you laters.
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My 7th Period Chemistry Class is ahead ... [Nov. 14th, 2008|04:00 pm]

... so I needed to do something that would stall them a bit, but at the same time allow them to continue to interact with the material in a way that is authentic to them.

Since they are such a mature class, I posed the dilemma to them and asked what they thought would be good. We'd just learned about the two types of ions: an and cat.

After much debate they decided that they needed to create a LOLCats for cations because it was something that they felt hadn't been done yet. I turned it in to a desktop image for my computer (which projects on the data projector). I wanted to share their work with you. This took at least five revisions because they wanted to make it obvious enough to others without being blatant.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures
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What do you have on your bookshelf (and what should I put on mine?) [Oct. 29th, 2008|09:43 pm]

I have a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble and am looking to build my science ed bookshelf. I definitely have my eye on Last Child In The Woods.

Obviously, I'm into environmental ed and biology, and I currently work with k-5 in the after school setting. My BA is in biology, I don't have a teaching cert, and I'd like to focus on out of classroom ed. Curriculum resources, food for thought, hard science references, whatever, what have you found useful?

Already on there, non-alphabetized:
Gould, S J. Structure and Theory of Evolution.
___. Bully for Brontosaurus
Press. Simple Science Experiments (this one is SO dated. It encourages kids to play with mercury and cigarettes! Awesome!)
Games for Math
Friedl & Koontz. Teaching Science to Children: An Inquiry-Based Approach.
Hann, J. How Science Works
Farndon, J. How the Earth Works
Van Cleeve, J. Oceans for Every Kid.
The Everything Kid's Environment Book.
Steinmark, Thompson & Cossey. Family Math.
The Private Eye: Thinking By Analogy.

And then field guides, such as
Roth. The Amateur Naturalist.
Benyus, J. The Field Guide to Wildlife Habitats of the Western United States.
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90 minute lesson ideas [Oct. 8th, 2008|01:45 am]

I'm not currently a science teacher, but I just started working with an organization that has an after school program which includes homework help and cultural enrichment activities. Right now I am working with about 30 4th and 5th graders.

Normally the situation would be that I just wrangle the kids while someone else who is paid by my organization comes and leads an activity. However, today the activity leader did not show up, leaving me with a bunch of bored kids and nothing to do. I was just hired Sunday so I still don't entirely know what's going on with this organization, but I am determined to never let this happen again.

Also, it seems likely that once a week I will have my kids in the gym (or I could take them outside). As opposed to letting them just have a free-for-all, I'd like to do some kind of structured activity.

The unfortunate thing is that I don't think that there's much of a budget for me to get supplies through the org that pays my salary, so it seems I need to do my best to think of stuff that will take up about 90 minutes for which I don't need a lot of supplies.

A couple of the ideas I had:

Classroom days:
Crafting beaded necklaces - beads can be made from cut up magazines. I actually made beaded necklaces with magazines all on my own when I was their age!
Some kind of watershed program - I actually already have a very good lesson plan based on a watershed program that uses pretty inexpensive materials.
Something relating to skulls, bones, fossils, or animal prints - purchasing one of these kits would be pretty spendy but it's actually something that I'd wanted to have on my own that I could take when subbing or whatever.

Gym days:
Paper airplane races
Crafting kites and then flying them

Can you guys think of anything else? I bow to your superior experience!
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The Large Hadron Rap [Sep. 10th, 2008|08:38 pm]

My kids really enjoyed watching this rap video about the super collider.


One of them brought in a newspaper article about the test on Wednesday and we found this to explain a little bit about what it is. It was written by one of the scientists there.

Shamelessly stolen from [link] "Nan Lafferty"'s post on Middle School Science
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I Love Grading Stamps [Sep. 6th, 2008|01:38 pm]

When I first started teaching and had loads upon loads of students' work to grade, I discovered that I quickly grew tired of writing the same comments on papers. Really tired. So I created address labels with my comments and would attach them to papers. (Edited to add: The 1/2" wide labels ... don't waste the larger ones.)

That file has grown large, but there are still some things that I attach more often than others, and for those I have created stamps.

Perhaps you have some of the same needs as me, so I'm sharing my latest two stamp creations with you. Use them as you'd like: numbers without units and axis inversion.
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Understanding the concept of a watershed? [Sep. 3rd, 2008|09:22 am]

Hi folks, I'm working with some 7th and 8th graders who don't seem to understand the concept of a watershed. They don't get how what they dump in their yard can eventually make its way down to the ocean, no matter how we try to explain it. Have any of you encountered this in your classrooms and know of a good way to get the point across? We're trying to develop some sort of 3-d interactive model to show how this happens so suggestions on the model would be helpful as well.

Also we're trying to help the kids differentiate between the storm drains and the sewers. The kids think that the storm drains on the street lead to the sewers which is part of the reason they're not getting the concept of how they might affect the watershed. We want to make part of the model reflect this as well, so any suggestions you all have would be great.

Thanks a lot!
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Physics and Physical Science Resources [Aug. 12th, 2008|11:26 am]

I found a fantastic blog about Teaching Physics. He has a lot of resources up there and has some cool ideas. I'm hoping that it keeps going during the school year.

The Physics Front has info about things to do in pretty much any physical science class. There is stuff for the k-8 crowd as well.

Links to Java applets and animations that hit the usual topics of mechanics, optics, sound, wave motion and much more :)

Physics Central relates current events to physics. There are links to "People in Physics" and a "Buzz Blog" which relates to the Olympics currently. There are also links to Biology and Earth Science stuff.

Science Inquirer "Free Stuff" page has lots of links to lots of free stuff. This is a web page maintain by Mike Horton who you've heard of if you're subscribed to Physhare.

Intel Education Page has some project ideas. It's not set up very well or easy to navigate, but there is a lot of information to be had if you are patient and fairly technologically savvy.

Nova Special Super Bridge Page has ideas for activities that can be done in class. There is also a sub page that allows the students to choose the best type of bridge for a certain situation. It explains what bridges are used where and why.

If you are not a member of the National Science Teacher Association, I recommend that you join. I've found it to be an excellent resource for the classroom. If you've only been exposed to "The Physics Teacher" this goes so much further that it is amazing. I also recommend joining ASCD which is the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The "Select Membership" is probably the best deal at $89 with a magazine and 5 educational books that they select and send. The upcoming one is "How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students" by Susan M. Brookhart.
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9 Week Projects [Aug. 6th, 2008|01:36 am]

[The sounds in the lab |Pieces - Rascal Flatts]

So, one of the things that I've been wanting to do for a while but haven't really gotten the courage to do is 9 week projects with my Physics students. I know that there are people out there that have done this and I would prefer to steal what they have rather than invent my own :)

I'm specifically looking for stuff on spaghetti bridges and egg drops. I'm open to other ideas as well. I'm also thinking about having them do a report on the physics of a certain super hero/villians super powers as a final project (with posters and/or powerpoint presentations).

Any help is appreciated. I guess I'm afraid that I won't think of something that will make the entire point of the project moot if the students figure it out.
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Wash Bottle Image [Jul. 7th, 2008|11:38 pm]

As I was updating my chemistry files for the upcoming year, I realized that I had a space for, but no image for, a wash bottle. I had an artistic student sketch me a picture of one of the class wash bottles, but couldn't find a good wash bottle graphic online.

I scanned it and tweaked it a bit and came up with the following semi-professional image. Use, share, and make merry.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

QuickPost Quickpost this image to Myspace, Digg, Facebook, and others!

(click for a bigger picture)
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