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Rebecca Price. Congratulations Rebecca!

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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. 2) Find the relationship between the surface area of a solute and the rate at which it dissolves.

Students were placed in groups of four and given a list of materials including: triple beam balance, beakers, graduated cylinder, sugar cubes, sugar granules, water, thermometer, and a hot plate. Each group member had a job including: team leader, recorder, sugar person, and water person (I know the last two are a stretch, but at least it gave each person some responsibility). Their directions were to develop a procedure with these materials that would answer the given objectives. I gave them about 50 minutes to work with one another on the procedure and ask questions of me in order to make sure that what they wanted to do was workable. Then, today (friday) they used their procedure in order to complete their task and decide on the relationships described above.

By coming up with their own procedure they were sure to read the procedure and know what they were doing and in addition have a better understanding of WHY they were doing certain things as part of their procedure.

Bill Fowler
English 1 students studied capital letters in the textbook and grammar workbook. Then, we went to the computer lab and worked on the editing skills section/grammar and language with emphasis on m. capitalization. We also focused on b. verb forms and tenses, f. context clues and word maps, and h. sub.-verb agreement. We have studied these areas in class prior to using Study Island to assist with comprehension. I examined the students’ scores on these four areas to determine weaknesses which still exist. We returned to the EOC Coach exam practice book to do further work on these areas. We continue to work on these problem areas with daily sentence editing on the overhead and mug shot paragraphs for editing skills.

Jed Smith
Early Release Days can be challenging due to the excitement students feel when such a novelty appears in the schedule. I was trying to come up with a relevant strategy based on our current use of study that wasn’t just popping in a video or fighting a losing battle to keep students in their seats during an hour-long lecture.

Several of us had just been introduced to thinking map training by Michael Flinchbaugh. The first map he taught us was the “CIRCLE MAP”, which basically helps students to define a term in context. I decided to introduce the concept of cloning-one of many issues in our unit on genetics that presents itself with ethical concerns-and to use the CIRCLE MAP as an EXIT TICKET to assess what the students had learned in that hour of class. An Exit Ticket is a strategy I use to ensure that all students are engaged in an activity. Basically, its the opposite of a Bellringer; I expect the students to turn in their exit ticket as they leave class. I walk around and check with a few minutes left in class to ensure everyone is still engaged.

To begin class, I asked how many students had heard of a CIRCLE MAP and about 1/4 of them had. I reviewed how we would construct ours. I told them to put the word CLONE in the center and to include facts about cloning from the lesson in a bigger circle around the center term. Then we added a “frame of reference” and I asked them to answer a question based on the information proposed in the lesson. (Would you clone yourself or someone close to you? Why or why not?) For the content of this lesson, I wrote 3 terms on the board concerning types of cloning, gave the students a page number in the textbook, and showed a 30 minute clip of a National Geographic video called “Clone”. I was impressed with how much more engaged the class was than usual on a day with an unusual schedule, plus I am now sold on the effectiveness of thinking maps in the classroom.

Lynn Cox
I think my strategy was called “raging” – letting my students struggle with each other over a problem.

I had a class of 31 physical science students who were supposed to be learning to balance chemical equations. They had expressed frustration when it was introduced in class the day before. When I saw that many had not even attempted to balance the seven problems they had for homework, I decided to change the game plan. Rather than have volunteers balance the equations on the board, I had students pair up with someone they thought knew the three step process as well as they did. I told them that I would make adjustments to the pairs if I saw anybody copying answers. They paired up pretty equally. I only had to make one change.

They worked for 45 minutes to get the equations figured out and balanced. While I helped pairs that didn’t know where to begin, I heard others fussing about how someone didn’t know how to count correctly and “you have to distribute it to all of them!” I heard “I told you so” more than once and may have seen some future teachers in my desks that day. One pair wanted me to tell them which of their equations was right – all I said was that they would be equal on both sides when they were balanced correctly.

After all this struggling and nashing of teeth, I selected students to work out the equations on the board (they could bring a buddy if needed). About two-thirds of the class had a grip on it, while the other third was at least listening, watching, and asking why questions which other students were answering. This was not a peaceful class, but I believe it was successful. They have five slightly more difficult equations for homework, we’ll see how those turn out.

Carrie Overby
I used a graphic organizer to help students understand how to make yeast breads. How does a bread mix work? (Used as middle topic) Descriptions: 1. Preheat over 2. add dry ingrediants and yeast 3. Add correct quanity of warm water. 4. Mix with your hands to form a dough 5. Knead on floured surface for about 5 mins. 6. Divide for rolls or shape into loaf. 7. Leave in warm place to rise. Covered in greased plastic sheet. Should double in size 8. Bake on top shelf of oven 9. When cooked, the bread will sound hollow when tapped on bottom.

Ashley Hutchinson
This week, my honors English 3 students started on their Junior Research Papers, which will be argument-based. I wanted to show them that research doesn’t have to be boring, so they would be engaged with this experience from the beginning. I also wanted them to see the pieces of the process of research in action so they would not feel that it was one huge, unmanageable task. In order to accomplish this, I used a group of essays about genetic engineering in the book The Informed Argument, including one about a deaf couple who chose a sperm donor with a family history of deafness in order to ensure that their son would be born deaf. I knew that my students would have a great deal to say about this “imposed disability,” and, as expected, they had a rich, thought-provoking discussion about it. Then we read another article about a couple who engineered a second child to be a donor for their first child. Students connected this to the movie My Sister’s Keeper, which many of them have recently seen. Then, we set up arguments that we would use to debate genetic engineering, and we found points in the essays to back up our assertions. After this, students felt that the research process was much more accessible and not nearly as overwhelming as it might have seemed at first. All it took was an engaging group of texts along with some modeling and practice.

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