Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Week 2, Day 3 Cooing(good lesson) and Ranting(who makes our textbooks)

What a nice day I had today. Same lesson as yesterday...Tally the Mini Sci Project (see previous blog). I have found that I am a much better teacher period 8 than period 1. In today's case I was about even money in front of the kids with yesterday. Where today was great was having time to get my grade book set up, doing some room cleaning and putting away, and getting ready for tomorrow's Lab...THE DISCOVERY LAB (I'll tell you about that tomorrow). So anyway this was one of those days where the kids are working as hard as I am, and they were having a great time.

About the Homework I assigned and collected today..

Caution: Rant about to begin!

We adopted the Glencoe Focus on Physical Science text. I mostly like it. One of their worksheets was TEXTBOOK SCAVENGER HUNT. Sounds like it should be a pretty good homework assignment. HUH! Who do they get to make the worksheets for textbook companies? I don't think they are using teachers. Come on get a clue, get some teachers to input on the setup of the book and worksheet. I swear to ORION (the constellation of the teacher) that if I see , for an example, another astronomy worksheet that says, "Look out your window each night for two weeks, after the NEW MOON, and draw a picture of its SHAPE. Record the time it rises.".
I did do this once, but that was earning my LUNAR OBSERVERS CLUB CERTIFICATE with the ASTRONOMICAL LEAGUE OF THE PACIFIC and it actually took me two moon cycles(and was a total blast sitting out back one June after school was out).

Back to who writes-edits science textbooks.

If a company does get teachers to contribute, then I think, this is just me talking here, I mean I'm no brain surgeon , BUT I THINK MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHERS should be contributing experts. Often I see PhD's and High School Department chairpersons listed as contributing experts. OK...for content...SURE...for editing science facts...FINE. BUT...if that PhD or Dept. Chair has not taught* MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE, they should not be designing labs, worksheets or even book flow.

*By taught I mean they passionately taught Middle School Science by design, not because they had to wait for a High School Biology slot to open up, or they are the ______ (FILL IN THE SPORT) coach and the principal stuck them in an open science teacher slot (because they lost the teacher to the High School)

Okay, I'm lost..where was I...Oh ya. The Textbook Scavenger Hunt...created by the textbook someone who does not teach, does not understand middle school kids nor realize how their minds are like chunks of fruit spinning in a blender(smile if you remember the Bass-o-matic). The worksheet was terrible. I COULDN'T FIGURE IT ALL OUT..EVEN WITH THE TEACHERS EDITION!

I took the 15% of the sheet that was okay and redesigned it so that it was the following:
a) not stupid nor difficult or confusing
b) written by someone that knows and loves middle school kids
c) showed the helpful features of the textbook, not the obscure appendices of almost useless info.
d) allowed you to find some interesting facts
e) made you have to read directions AND follow them
f) asked you to read ..but not that much.

(if you answered the choices above by circling one of the letters above, then you are a middle school student and should leave this blog and go do your homework)

Well, I hope this helps...
....I think the point is make sure you are "planned ahead" and plan on you not always being on stage. You'll have a great day(s) if you do. Also, take the good, modify the mediocre, replace the lame in your textbook materials. And share in and put it on your website.

Love to Teach and Teach with Passion

It's not Magic, It's Science

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