Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Week 27, Day 5: Chemical reactions-Splitting water with a BANG!

Even block Schedule.   Finish Hindenburg video, splitting  water into H2 and O2 with electrolysis apparatus.

Spring break is a week too late. Need it now! This week as been "off" in the words of a colleague. We have had quite a few days of the choir kids being gone to competition which makescthe class size drop from 36ish to 31 ish.  I've always been amazed by the difference the absence of 3 kids can have on a class. If It's the right 3 kids the class will be TOTALLY different.

I've been using the Hoffmann electrolysis device in class to splitting water molecules into H an O gases. I mix them and BANG!!!.  Or I keep them separate and show the burning properties of both. This is a great demo for our chapter on Chemical Reactions and the PBS episode of Secrets of the Dead: What happened to the Hindenburg. I highly recommend this video. Great chemistry and history and kids say " that's were the "Oh the humanity" quote comes from".

Sci fair next week. My students that have chose to do this for their project have not all been spending the time checking in with the other coach. This is my poor managerial skills. Next year I need to make sure ALL my kids are meeting with me each week. I focused only on the sci oly kids.  Hey live and learn. Improve 10% per year.

I hope this helps,

Love to Teach, and Teach with Passion!

It's not Magic, It's Science!

Week 27, Day 4: Is it Easter Vacation yet? Teaching techniques

ODD BLOCK SCHEDULE: Same lesson as yesterday.  Intro Student Periodic Square start Hindenburg.

Choir out again today so movie day. I updated grades, kids ramped up and I'm ready for next week to end.

Perhaps the choir kids being out for the 4th day in a week is getting the students hyper excited, also the sunny warm weather is helping the kids get a bit wild.

New York Times article about teaching techniques and merit pay.  Very good. I really like the links to videos of excellent teaching techniques.An aging dinosaur like me is appreciating this.

I hope this helps,

Love to Teach, and Teach with Passion!

It's not Magic, It's Science!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Week 27, Day 3: Choir kids gone, more artsey Chemistry.

Even block. Hindenburg video. Student periodic Square.
Choir is out again today and this week so I'm doing videos in place of notes or labs.

Lost moring prep time having to cover morning duty because some colleagues not showing up to their duty.

I created this STUDENT PERIODIC TABLE assignment as a fun way to make a connection between students and chemistry.  It looks so neat on the wall with all their pictures, especially when the put photos of them when they were much younger.

Week 27, Day 2: Getting my "sea" legs back.

Odd block schedule: Period 1 , begin NOVA Kaboom video.  Period 5 and 7  do white powder lab(after a week off from labs due to the grape and broken model airplane incidents).
Day felt hectic, kids are a bit more hyper, we just had the daylight savings time switch and we now have sunny warm perfect weather after almost 2 months of clouds and rain. I need a vacation more that the kids to.  My colleagues feel the same way about the hyperness of the the kids.  We hope next week will be better for kids behavior.

I'm almost recovered from the intensity of the final weeks of science olympiad.  My room is a mess and I need to get it cleaned up.  Open house next week.  I need to get ready for that.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Week 27, Day 1: Hydrolysis of water and Gold Foil Simulation Lab

EVEN BLOCK SCHEDULE: Viewed Hydrogen Hopes Video, and Honors sceince did the Gold foil simulation lab,

Electrolysis device working slow but usuable.THe Platnum electrodes are waring out or my copper wires connecting it are corroded mostly through.

 I escaped to lunch with my wife and mother in law. It was nice to get away after 4 months of coaching during my lunches.
In honors class we did the Rutherford Gold foil lab simulation. This was the experiment that showed atoms have a positive dense nucleus. Did it outside on cement. The data was lousy. Perhaps the cement or maybe the distance ,25 ft, was too much. Lab took too long, more than a period. I thought we'd be done in a half an hour.  The kids are to roll marbles randomly, not aim, at some target marbles. Then we count hits and misses and use some statistical math to determine the size of the target molecules.  Usually we do better with calculating the % error. Usually its about 10%, today it was -56% error.  Yikes.

You can get the lab sheet from my web site.  E-mail me if you need.

Week 26, Day 5: Short periods and Rally and P Er I O d I C N Am Es!

Odd Block Periods
Due to shorter periods we really just had tome to go over homework, reveiw some notes and prepare for the next homework.
Friday rally schedule.  Classes a bit shorter than usual. Actually about the length of next years class periods on the 3 day non-block periods.
This is The Periodic Names Assignment.  A fun artsey project that looks great at Open House
You see our school and the connected High School do not have enough minutes per period compared to the other schools in the district and we have to change our schedule next year.  For me this means one less section of teaching and an hour a week MORE with my students.  YES!

I was rally co-M.C.. I am shy by nature, I overcome that in class by being semi wacky, being over the top is my stichk.  I would much rather wear a mascot suit so noone knows who I am.  I over come this very well, I doo great on stage, but it leave may lepidopterans in my gastric region.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week 26, Day 4: Don't plan anything big during a chior festival.

Thursday, Even Block Schedule: Same lesson as yesterday.

Choir was out today to a festival out of town.  I estimate that 1/4 of period 2 was absent.

Every month we have a pizza luncheon to pay tribute to our students that have done exceptional work or made exceptional improvement. 3/4 of the award recipients were out for choir, including my student.

Nice day, VERY CALM

Week 26, Day 3: Getting wild classes back in line.

Wednesday ODD BLOCK SCHEDULE: Atomic theory notes. P Er I O d I C   N Am Es,   Review HW: Intro to Isotopes

We have our schedule for next year. We will leave our 8 period all block schedule and go to a 7 period day with block only 2 days a week.

I made plans with the library media teacher for a computer lesson and a research project next month.  I also  planned into the next month.  Strategic planning ya!

Periods 5 and 7 were given a new seating chart and lost lab privileges for a week due to the grapes incident and the falling model airplane with substitute incident. The kids accepted the new measures as if they deserved them, which they knew they did.

Week 26, Day 2: An even day calm after the storm and a new problem.

Tuesday, ODD BLOCK SCHEDULE: Following my subsitute lesson plan from yesterday but finishing the Nova Kaboom video instead of Scientific American Frontiers Video:Hydrogen Hopes.

Substitute lessons are usually nice and easy and it makes it easy for me when I come back to school after an absence. 

A student from my period 5 class came in to see me at lunch about some missing work.  I asked how things went with the sub yesterday.  He said some kids were not working and some throwing things like erasers and that one of my plastic models (a 1/72 scale F-16) was broken and hidden in a drawer. 

Grapes thrown and smashed last Thursday in period 7 and now Hooliganism in period 5.

Because of earning high grades and nobody failing at semester, I allowed these 2 classes to make their own seating chart.  It was a bit noisy  but I let it go anyway.  This is my reward.  I have to say that period  1 and 2, my two early morning classes, have managed pretty well with their own seating chart as did my period 8 Honors Science Class. I did not allow my period 4 kids to make their own seating chart.  Period 4 is one of the best behaved.  I have learned my lesson.

Week 26, Day 1: A day off teaching and Science Olympiad reflection

ODD BLOCK PERIOD: Substitute lesson: Scientific American Frontiers video: HYDROGEN HOPES, Textbook Isotope Outline Worksheet and then for Homework: INTRO TO ISOTOPES.

I spent the day at our district office with 4 other colleagues, one from each of the other middle schools, revising our 8th grade unit benchmark tests.  A nice day. Got 90% of the task done.

I walked home afterwords. It took me an hour and I maintained a 4.5 mile and hour pace.

Last Saturday my two teams competed and came in 10th and 12 place. I feel like both me and my students let each other down. Most of the students only wanted to do 2 events. In past winning years most did 4 events with some doing 5.  I did not push them to do more. That is where I failed them.  I need to have another coach next year.  Mrs Gaede is happy to help and I will use her more next year.  I will field only 1 team.  If more kids want to compete then they had better work hard early and show me.  THIS IS THE FIRST YEAR I DID NOT TOTALLY ENJOY THE PROCESS. Mediocrity was happening this year and from now on I will fight it to death with my light saber!

Week 25, Day 5: Even Periods are now the best behaved

Even block period: graded homework, did white powder lab.

My even periods are now calmer and better behaved.  My odd periods (except period 1...they are still half asleep) are becoming loud and obnoxious.

Final day to get ready for Science Olympiad. I got here early and let some
teams work on their last minute adjustments for science Olympiad. 

To make the day even more hectic...Food fair today. I had half the period in my room having students prepare their Science Olympiad event boxes and  half my lunch spent checking the boys bathroom. After school packed up truck with sci oly boxes and went to happy hour with some staff and my wife.

Science Olympiad drains me.  I spend almost all non-class time hours coaching Science Olympiad and I get punch from lack of having "down" time.

Week 25, Day 4: Ahhhh...Grapes!

Odd block schedule: Periodic facts worksheet and watched Nova :Kaboom

Spent a lot of time preping for the Science Olympiad competition next week. 

Getting the papers printed for event reviews and the test for the event that I run
called Physical Science Lab.

Period 7 kids began throwing grapes during the movie today. 

3 people I am unhappy with about this: 
1) my self for having no clue it was
goining on. 

2) the 3-4 doeky boys throwing the grapes. 
3) the rest of the class for not being resposible enough to even say "stop throwing things".

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Week 25, Day 3: Running around too much.

EVEN BLOCK PERIOD: Began Nova Kaboom video and introduced the periodic table.

I did double double duty by helping my neighbors substitute do a lab. My neighboring science teacher colleage is at Jury duty this week.

Periods 2 and 4 I went to the other classroom to so the lab.  The sub came over to my room to cover while students started the video.

During my period 6 prep the sub saw me do the lesson and felt comfortable enough to do the lab hersepf period 8. It is the 4 white powders lab and it is simple and easy to do.
The Sub was able to do the lesson no problem on her own after seeing me model the lab. She is really good. It's great to have a competent sub.

My Honors Science class listened to the reading passage on Dmitri Mendeleev figuring out the periodic table.

Week 25, Day 2: Nuclear "testing schedule" frustration

ODD BLOCK SCHEDULE: Was going to be a lab, instead we began to learn how to use the periodic table.

Weird testing schedule today. I did not see my period 1 at all. I did not know this schedule was so disruptive until the morning.  My fault, but c'mon.  Send me an e-mail saying "HEY, PERIOD ONE WILL BE DESTROYED NEXT WEEK".

The afternoon classes were shorted to the point that the lab I planned was impossible to do and I had to go to plan B...Jump a few days ahead and start work with the periodic table.

Don't you just love it when your lesson plan is blown apart AND a whole class skipped (I guess it depends on what class).

 The whole day was thrown off.  I had a couple of boys, buddies, almost get into a fight! Other teachers said the day was lousy.

Week 25, Day 1: Wow...this was a NICE day.

EVEN BLOCK SCHEDULE:  Same lesson as last entry.

This was a really nice day and an easy one. I have the lesson timing down well.

I've often said, "You are a better teacher 8th period than you are 1st".
The only problem is that you may be tired by then!

This is the last week to prepare for the Science Olympiad Competition.  As usual the students have not had their building projects completed two weeks ago as they should/

Two teams is too many. Only one team form now on.  Next year they have to have the building done by end of January.  This has to be a fault of mine because it this the same occurance every year. I have to change how I approach this, but I do not want to be making the projects myself.