Saturday, September 16, 2006

What a grand thing...This learning thing...

Yesterday was a little interesting. You see, the students had a short quiz on ions in chemistry (I am sure that those of you who read this that have taken this class remember the quizzes on items that you need to memorize. Oh, so much excitement.) and then they needed to work on formula writing. The interesting thing about these types of quizzes is that the students all finish at different times. I guess they are not all the same.

Let me back up a little. There is a lot in chemistry that is thought of as memorization but if you know how to use the tools, like the Periodic Table, you can find reason in what you are looking at. The students in my classes have been working on these patterns for about a month and I hope that the scores on the quiz reflect this work.

Now, back to yesterday...

As they finished the quiz, at their own pace, they looked up to find simple instructions on the board. They were to start up their laptops and find my notes on-line. I tried to post a PowerPoint show on the school webpage so that the students could go through the information when they were ready. There was then some questions for them to answer and a worksheet for them to start on. The amazing thing was that all of the students were on task as I walked around the room helping them with information that was a little confusing. Even though the students were all at different points in the process they all were aware of where they needed to be for Monday and could find the information at a time (if they ran out of class time) that would be handy for them.

The best thing about this activity was that some of the students were using my notes along with a couple of college sources and wikipedia. They were building their own rules for naming chemical compounds that were in the proper rules but they had ownership of this material. You see, the material was not coming from one person to them but they were putting together information to build an understanding of the world around them.

What a wonderful concept. Students making their own learning and understanding with guidance. What will we (or someone else) think of next?


annes said...

You are a great teacher! Way to go. Nice job by providing the "scaffolding" they need to succeed but they are able to move ahead when they are ready. They did not feel the pressure to get everything done within the confines of one class period.

Hikingout said...


Hope I got your attention, this is very IMPORTANT.

I have an URGENT message. Today in AP Gov, Meyer brought up a very interesting bill called the DELETING ONLINE PREDATORS BILL, despite the nice title, the bill will destroy what we and the Arapahoe High School staff have attempted to create. Please research this bill. The gist of the bill is that all access to chat rooms, BLOGS, myspace,and perhaps even simpler pages that might allow students to display any kind of personal information will be denied to students.

This bill will be extremely detrimental to the education, will destroy everything we have worked hard to establish, and eliminate the benefits to internet in the classroom that many of you enjoy. THIS BILL PASSED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BY A VOTE OF 410-15. Our time window is incredibly short to take any kind of action against this bill before it is passed by the Senate and it WILL be passed. We must take action now, IF THERE IS A WAY TO ORGANIZE A MEETING FOR CONCERNED STUDENTS I WOULD BE GRACIOUS FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO GET A ROOM AND ANNOUNCEMENTS.

Any strategies on how not to get this bill passed would be greatly appreciated, I have a few, but I would prefer one in which I don't have to be suspended or expelled :).

Teacher help would be greatly appreciated.