One of my professional goals this year is to become more active on Twitter by contributing and interacting in the education discussion. In an effort to be more consistent with my Twitter activity, I have decided to try my hand at the #Teach180 challenge. As a part of this challenge, each day of school I will be posting a summary, photo, or link to give a glimpse inside my classroom. It is my intention to continue adding "feature length" blog posts throughout the year as I have time to share and reflect on some of the more notable lessons that take place. I will be posting weekly summaries on this blog but you should follow me on Twitter (@cossettej) to get the full "real-time" experience!
First Year vs. Second Year
The first day of my second year of teaching felt very different than the first day of my first year. I found myself returning to a school culture/building that I was familiar with and faces (both students and staff) that would smile at me in recognition. I had a wonderful summer of friends, family, and adventures, but I was excited to once again dig in to the challenge of getting my students to grow in their appreciation of science.
The biggest shift from last year is that I have had a full summer of thinking about the larger framework that I want focus on to support my curriculum. One year ago, my one-day-at-a-time survival mode had already begun. Starting Year 2, I have a vision and I have a plan to get there.
Graphing Data and Finding Patterns in Unlikely Places
I tried a new approach to graphing this year. Instead of giving students tables of data or having them complete mini-labs with clear patterns in the data, I wanted to remove my students from the idea that there is a one right answer to look for. On Day 2, students completed a google form where they reported things like wingspan, shoe size, # of siblings, and birth month. This data was then compiled and share with the class and they were then tasked with presenting any two data fields on the same graph. Previously, we had talked about Tyler Vigen's Spurrious Correlations blog and discussed some techniques on how two sets of data can be presented together and how we can tell if patterns emerge. Besides that quick primer, the students were on their own and the results were very interesting. Without a model to build their ideas off of, some had trouble knowing how to start and some really had to think hard about to the fundamentals of graphing in ways that they don't have to when there is a known procedure and predictable outcome. Also, I found out that in at least one class, there is a correlation between birth month and how long students can hold their breath. Patterns show up even when you don't think they will...
Father, Physics Teacher, Knowles Fellow, Friend, Techie, and Musician