Monday, January 26, 2009

First day take two

Today was the beginning of my second semester.  I got new kids, freshmen instead of juniors. 

I didn't feel prepared at all, going to EduCon 2.1 this weekend was definitely the right choice -- it was amazing -- but it left me a long night last night and an early morning getting things together for my class. 

Everything turned out pretty well, I almost forgot to have catalyst (science do-nows) sheet ready for my first class.  I made the copies ten minutes before class, kinda got my blood flowing. 

I made it a point to be excited about science all day, I started off dipping a dollar into one clear liquid, and then another.  Held a flame under the dollar and watched it burn.  The alcohol (second liquid) burned off leaving the water soaked dollar there.  One girl decided a side conversation was more interesting then the dollar, and then she begged me to do it again.  I did it again asking students to try to figure out what was going on. 

I had conversations about what must be happening that were among the top conversations I've had in a classroom since becoming a teacher.  The favorite part of my class was defining science.  I figured out how to talk about it as a process, not as a bunch of information or facts. 

I think science education should be about learning how to use the scientific method, not just about what scientists have done before.  Biology and Chemistry needs to have some of that, it would be hard to have students come up with the theory of the atom, evolution, etc.  It took thousands of years for us to amass our science knowledge and it would be a shame for our students to not be aware of any of that.  On the other hand, we would guarantee that we wouldn't ever be able to learn more about the natural world if we stop training the next generation to use the scientific method.  I think that the most useful way to train people about how to use the scientific method, is by letting them use it and explore with it.  That's what I hope to allow my students to do.  Teach them just enough natural history so that they understand how their world works, and give them a love for science by allowing them to do it. 

Really tired, tonight is about putting in grades, and editing tomorrow's lesson plan

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Starting out

I just got back from educon2.1. Decided to plug in and share some of my thoughts. Here is a little bit about me, I'll start writing for real sometime soon

I am a first year (Teach For America) science teacher
I live in Baltimore, MD.
I play Ultimate Frisbee.
I am a political junkie.

I am about a lot more, but don't need to put myself in any more boxes.

Before I go, I should say that I'm doing this for me, but putting it online because 1) I hope it will make me write, 2) I think that there are some people out there who might find this interesting, and 3) I can