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Showing posts from October, 2017

The Joy of Giving Back: Citizen Science

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If you’re a science teacher, you might find it difficult to cross a crowded room without hearing the words, “Have you heard of this citizen science project, eBird/Be a Martian/Air Quality Treks/etc.?” A science teacher looking for a service learning project is spoiled for choice these days. Our students can dial into global databases on almost any topic, supporting professional scientists brave enough to crowdsource data collection or analysis. I’m all for it.

Examples from My Classroom
My 7th grade students recently followed the lead of Belwin Conservancy’s intrepid director by planting 50 Red Emperor tulips for Journey North’s climate tracking Tulip Test Garden program.

My biology students removed invasive species and gathered prairie seeds at local parks this fall, in cahoots with an array of local partners. After the seeds complete their “winter” in the staff break room fridge, we’ll grow them in the greenhouse and plant them in park restoration projects this spring.

Concerned…

#notalkWC for Owl Pellet Dissection

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I was recently captivated by Alice Keeler’s #notalkWC – No Talk to Whole Class approach. This teaching method employs individual, partner, and small group lesson designs that students can complete without a teacher’s whole-class instruction.

I originally discovered this approach out of sheer necessity in 2012, when working with a bright, creative, lively, and oppositional group of high school students. Although this class was motivated to learn and had positive interactions with me as individuals, any whole-class instruction efforts I initiated quickly imploded. Large-group instruction triggered many of the students in this class to act out, and their disruptions were so severe that they completely derailed lessons that had worked for every other class I’d taught before.

So I shifted my approach. When students arrived in class, I greeted them individually, provided learning materials, and gave one-on-one instructions for how to get started on the lesson. During the whole class, I…