Double Rainbow Panorama, Labs, and Three Column Notes among other things

This was the glorious rainbow over Sherman Indian. It was a fabulous sight!

Follow this link about rainbows!

On the school front, we did a lab this week in biology testing pH before and after adding a buffer. I had a full short answer test for the students at the end of the week. I was thinking I needed a rubric for short answer questions and so I quick developed one. Using it, I found that it was so much easier to grade the answers.

Since they need to learn how to answer the questions better I will give them a chance to redo it on Monday with the rubric and their graded answers to go by to redo it.

It will take me a while to grade them this weekend along with a few other assignments which I need to grade to get grades in by Tuesday. I am trying to change up my curriculum and grading  to be more in alignment to Common Core and NGSS along with mastery grading style. Some of the students really did want to do better to meet the expectations of the rubric when I shared it.

Students in chemistry did so well this week on generating their own three column notes for the molecular shape section of the textbook. My three column headings are: Term/Idea, Explanation, and Example. They can draw a diagram if they wish for the example column.  I finally think I have taught some of them how to do this. I know that some of the students have learned to copy other students work but not that many of them.

Jim is very sick. I am doing the nursing thing. He was in Vegas for the Wholesale Miniatures show and who knows what germs get brought in and out of there. He bought some really nice pieces. They are just delightfully cute.


Tom Scarice: Saving the Innocence of Childhood

Diane Ravitch's blog

We live in a time that reeks with what the late child psychiatrist Elisabeth Young-Bruehl called “Childism: Prejudice Against Young Children.” In a book with that title, she identified NCLB high stakes testing as an example of “Childism.”

Thomas Scarice, Superintendent of Schools in Madison, Connecticut, makes a plea to restore innocence to children.

Scarice writes:

“Over the past decade, schools have deteriorated into data factories, reducing children to mere numbers, with a perverted ranking and sorting of winners and losers in high stakes testing schemes. And now, a new test promising to revolutionize education will produce yet more meaningless data for adults starving to exploit children for self-gain, selfish career aspirations, blind ideological ploys, or for the purposes of establishing high property values on the backs of children, all the while sorting out which 8 year olds are on track to be “college and career ready”.

“Even at the…

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Senator Whitehouse says it well

Finally someone has the right idea and says so.

“My experience in the education world is that there are really two worlds in it. One is the world of contract and consultants and academics and experts and plenty of officials at the federal state and local level. And the other is a world of principals and classroom teachers who are actually providing education to students. What I’m hearing from my principals’ and teachers’ world is that the footprint of that first world has become way too big in their lives to the point where it’s inhibiting their ability to do the jobs they’re entrusted to do.” -Senator Whitehouse

I really hope that this statement is like a shot gun heard around the world of education and those who are gung hoe about testing, not so good charter schools, and horrible VAM for teachers really start to open their minds about what is happening. You can’t legislate student achievement with testing. You must provide the support teachers need so they can teach and children of all backgrounds have the best shot at fulfilling their dreams through education.

The Rights of the Children

I posted this  as a comment on Diane Ravitch’s blog. I even suggested she could use it in any way she wishes. I am not so sure that it is any good other then just like it says below summing up what I have been thinking about what I have learned from her blog.

This poem seems to sum up what has been going through my mind as I have been reading your blog for the last few weeks- Cynthia DeMone

The Rights of the Children

An education is the right for us, the children

And even now here in the USA

More than half of us don’t have enough clothes or food

Please don’t test our educational rights away

Don’t fire those teachers who are on our side

Please don’t make them go away

Just because we couldn’t get those very high scores

Testing us doesn’t help us learn more

Testing us more doesn’t increase our scores

An education is our ticket to our future lives

So our kids won’t come home to what we do now

An empty home, an empty house

No one to help us study or do homework

Because our parents have to work hard and long

They do not care about tests, but they care what we learn

Please don’t test our educational rights away

Don’t fire those teachers who are on our side

Please don’t make them go away

Just because we couldn’t get those very high scores

Testing us doesn’t help us learn more

Testing us more doesn’t increase our scores

An education is our ticket to our future lives

Cynthia DeMone

1/19/2015 8:20 PM

Discussion today on CO plus using models

Today we had a great discussion in chemistry, in both sections, about CO and why it is deadly. This was in the context of the lesson on covalent compounds. I also couched today’s lesson with the idea of the performance expectations for NGSS, specifically designing and using models. We use so many models, physical, conceptual, and drawings in chemistry; these are essential for building the metal images of their knowledge.

It would be so cool if I could come up with a model of hemoglobin to show how this works. There is a website that had some expensive models for building proteins. These didn’t actually have individual parts for each amino acid but did have something to represent ones that had functional groups which relate to how the structures of proteins are built, i.e. primary, secondary, etc. Wow,  I just thought of something which can substitute. I will have to reason it out and see if they would work. I will update this if it works out. 🙂

It seems so frustrating to me that I cannot impart to students the understanding I have of how thing work in chemistry. I know it took a long time to build my schema; I know it takes time for them to do  so as well. I know that I do a better job than at first with bringing it to where they are. Some students don’t try and engage in the material, listen to the lecture,  or engage in the discussion of the material. It seems they plan on being lost and somehow learn this stuff all on their own.

In biology, we talked about basic atomic structure as it relates to making up molecules.  We worked on molecular models. The biology students didn’t  behave with the models as it is with the chemistry students, they sometime got playful. I used the models that one day and I think they have had enough of an introduction to that. I wish I had enough kits for every student. Maybe I can use some other things like the pipe cleaners and the plastic golf balls to build things again so it can at least be pairs of students. I don’t need the mess of marshmallows and toothpicks with 36 students in each class.

Carol Burris Writes a Letter to Senator Lamar Alexander

Something has to be done to get high stakes testing stopped.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Carol Burris, high school principal in Rockville Center, Long Island, Néw York, wrote a public letter to Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Senator Alexander is the ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Conmittee. He has said that he will press for a reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.

Sen. Alexander released a draft of his proposed legislation. It includes two options for testing. Option 1: let the states decide. Option 2: retain the status quo, with a federal mandate for annual testing in grades 3-8.

Burris, who supported NCLB when it passed in 2001, explains how NCLB has failed. She reviews the negative consequences of high-stakes testing and offers her suggestions for fixing the law.

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The Experiment Yesterday

We had dramatic results from our chemistry experiment with pennies. I used an experiment similar to this one. In this one we cleaned the pennies with vinegar and salt, then we added a screw to the cleaning solution and it was coated with copper from the ions in the solution.  I thought is was quite fun and the students seemed to enjoy it. I think I will do one tomorrow with measuring the density of the older pennies and the newer pennies from 1984 onward. I think I will use the gold pennies lab tomorrow. I am learning to let go and no do so much lecture. Well, I did lecture today but yesterday was lab and we will do this other lab tomorrow.

Thursday will be a hands-on with the molecular models again. This time with more content knowledge for background. Last week it was just a hook and inquiry about the patterns they saw when they were building them. I still have to introduce the new grading system from what I learned from the book Grading Smarter Not Harder. This will be different for the students but I think they will like it once they get used to it.  I think they will really get it when they see that to goal is learning not just getting points.