Time to Draw Aliens

March 31, 2010

Flinchicus jaundicus

The first thing I did after I put my two-year-old son to bed a couple weeks ago was draw an alien. I had been waiting to start my drawing since observing Jed Smith’s alien DNA activity earlier that day. For me, drawing the alien was everything. I’m guessing it was for many of his students as well.

Before beginning this cooperative activity with his students, Smith taught them the process for transcribing DNA (a series of A’s, G’s, C’s and T’s) into mRNA (a series of A’s, G’s, C’s and U’s), and translating mRNA into proteins. These proteins are determined by a sequence of amino acids, which in turn tell something about the genetic trait. In this case, the genetic traits included alien features—2 antennae or 4, 4 eyes or 8, blue skin or yellow.

Why It Worked
The process itself is easy to follow. It’s also one of those processes that is easy to forget a few minutes later. That’s why, for me, the alien was going to be everything: Keep reading »

Your contest winner is…

March 21, 2010

Rebecca Price. Congratulations Rebecca!

Thanks to everyone for the amazing contest submissions. Check out the brilliance…

Rebecca Price
I wanted my students to understand the concept of how temperature of a solvent and surface area of a solute affect the dissolving rate in a solution. So, on Thursday I gave my students a list of materials that they would have access to during their lab activity. Then I gave them two objectives: 1) Find the relationship between temperature of a solvent and the dissolving rate of a solvent in solution. Keep reading »

A Tale of Two Islands

March 4, 2010

I will never pretend that technology can do what we do. Teaching is best left to teachers. But learning? That belongs to students. Study Island, although it cannot teach a student on its own, can help students learn the skills and knowledge we teach. In my conversations with teachers about online tools like Study Island, I have encountered two strategies that seem particularly effective.

The Kujawski Plan
Geometry teacher Zina Kujawski—in every way a mathematical thinker—has such an elaborate Study Island plan for her students that it deserves a name: The Kujawski Plan. Here’s what she does: Keep reading »

Teaching Triumphs

March 2, 2010

Check out what’s going on at Rose High. The following paragraphs are teachers’ responses to the question: what was your best teaching experience today? They were accumulated over only a few hours.

My first period class (I’m sooooooooo proud of them) have learned how to love and affirm a particular student in the class and, as a result, have developed a higher level of tolerance and understanding for one another…. (I believe, too, that it’s part of because of how I treat the particular student)… D— has become very dear to our hearts…. his theatre nickname is “D-fresh”…. :)  and; when he comes in the room the entire class heartily greats him (he comes in a little late each day, and we’ve usually started)… they cheer, call his name and applaud…. You should SEE his face light up!!!!!  It’s awesome!!!!!   And it has really helped his self-esteem and his willingness and ability to participate!!!!!  What more can we ask for?  Everybody wins!!! Keep reading »


March 1, 2010

Ninety percent is a solid B if you’re a student, but if you are a teacher in Pitt County School, 90% is A+ territory.

Last year the county began training all teachers in Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol. Within the SIOP initiative, they identified two particular goals: SIOP objectives (content and language objectives) in every classroom and 90% student engagement.

What it’s not
Ninety percent student engagement might be difficult to define, so let’s start with an antonym. Keep reading »