Sunday, December 20, 2015

Science Instruction in Three Dimensions

Joe Krajcik, a professor of science education, associate dean for research in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. He is also co-director of the Center for Highly Interactive Classrooms, Curriculum, and Computing in Education at the University of Michigan advises educators to think of lesson development as building a balanced meal. In an NSTA blog, he writes:
“I like to apply the analogy of preparing a really great meal to three-dimensional learning. I originally got this idea from Ted Willard from NSTA. I love to cook, so I’ve tried to expand on this analogy.
Think of knowing how to do various techniques in the kitchen like kneading bread, cutting tomatoes, beating an egg, frying or roasting, and so forth as the practices. You could know how to do all of these and still not be able to prepare a really good meal.
Now, think of picking out really good ingredients for the meal. You want to pick out a high-quality piece of fish or poultry or excellent pasta for the meal. These are your core ideas. A disciplinary core idea is essential to explaining a number of phenomena. Your main ingredient is essential to the meal. But just as the DCI works with practices to make sense of phenomena and design solutions, you need to know how to cook that main ingredient.
But something is still missing. The meal tastes bland. What is missing? To make a really good meal, we need to use spices and herbs [crosscutting concepts] to enhance the flavor of the main ingredients. Similarly, to really make sense of phenomena and to design solutions all three dimensions are necessary.
To make a really wonderful meal, good main ingredients are necessary, but you need to know how to use various techniques to prepare them, and you must have the spices and herbs to enhance the flavors. All three work and blend together to make a great meal. Similarly, to foster three-dimensional learning where all learners can make sense of phenomena and design solutions, all three dimensions need to work and blend together.”
Teachers can gain greater understanding of the Framework by reading the overview produced by NSTA. Chapter nine of the Framework provides a detail description of the integration of the three dimensions.
Chapter 9 - Integration of the Three Dimensions

From Maine DOE

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Great article about ways to summarize a lesson and the value of doing so.
Read: 22 Powerful Closure Activities for suggestions. I'd be happy to try one with you when I'm in your class.  Jenny

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Making Connections with Students

Aaron Hogan wrote a thoughtful blog post, "Who's in the Gaps". In this post he challenges teachers to look at their class lists and be able to name one thing they know about each student outside of school - making a list of those that you do not know anything about.

As you identify these interests you can make a plan to engage with these students and make connections. These connections will help you plan lessons that will address those students needs.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Increasing Interactions with Students through Questions.

What is so Important About Asking Questions?

In the article Michael P. Clough references the below figure.

"Penick et al. (1996) suggested a questioning strategy particularly suited to science teaching in that it emphasizes students' prior experiences and using these experiences to build relationships, apply knowledge, and create explanations (Figure 1)."

Click on the image to enlarge.

Reducing Teacher Talk and Increasing Student Responsability

A Series On Talking Less - From Ian Byrd's Blog

I wrote a series about reducing teacher talk and increasing student responsibility:
  1. Shocking Stats On What Students Can Hear - We simply can’t listen as fast as we speak.
  2. Making Better Class Announcements - Many of our words are wasted not on teaching, but on announcements and directions.
  3. Use Non-Examples - As teachers, we use tons of examples to illustrate concepts. But an example becomes even more powerful when paired with its opposite: the non-example.
  4. Two Discussion Tics - When leading discussions, I accidentally developed two weird tics: re-stating and repeating louder.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Unbundling of Education - Albert Wenger

Great talk on the digital age and its impact on Higher Education.

Creating Engaged Collaborative Groups in your Classroom

Here are some great readings on increasing the engagement of  collaborative groups in your classroom.  As well as promoting discussions and talk in the classroom.

Engaging the Adolescent Learner

Classroom Talk

Promoting Questioning and Discourse in Science

Here are some great readings to increase the discourse and questioning in your science class.  

Using Models in the Classroom

Discourse Primer

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Telling the Story of Your Classroom

This week I have read two blog posts about utilizing social media and the Internet to make your classroom more transparent and developing a "brand" for your classroom. If you're not telling the story of what happens in your classroom you allow the story to be told for you. Take charge of that narrative and you'll reap tremendous benefits.

The first post is from TeachThought - Using Social Media to Tell Your Classroom's Story. This post highlights the importance of developing the identity of your classroom. This may sound like "one more thing" to do but it doesn't need to be. The 6th-grade team has done a great job of adding a social media component to what they do by having students responsible for posting to their Twitter feed.

One quote from the TeachThought post that really resonated with me was, "In isolation, your classroom is a mess of learning targets, projects, standards, grades, deadlines, and crowded rosters. But contrast can be revealing. By opening your classroom up to the world, your classroom begins to establish an identity." There are many great things happening in your classrooms on a daily basis - show them to the world.

The second post is from George Couros - How do you Tell Your Story? Couros starts his post with the quote, "Standardized tests do not tell the story of what we do in education." He then questions readers about how they share student learning that goes beyond a number or letter.

At HMS we have started using a Twitter feed to share some of the great things happening on a day to day basis. We have had the News blog for a few years and Bruce Brann and Joan Adler do a great job of providing a deeper view into some of the happenings going on at HMS. These sources along with the school website tell the story of what is going on at HMS.

HMS Twitter Feed

Many teachers at HMS are utilizing Twitter and blogs to share what going on in their classrooms. Here's a great list of examples:

Demo Post

This is a demo post.