Monday, January 31, 2011

Reflecting on Science...and so Much More

So here we are, another semester has come and gone. My first full semester of Science was definitely an eventful one, as the couple of posts I was able to make eluded to. A couple of challenging classes leading to many challenging moments. A few sick days with some terrible symptoms. And some great results from some of those challenging students in the end.

We worked on our approach to the final 30% evaluation for our applied level classes this semester. Changing the weighting of our performance task and the exam and changing our preparations for the performance task to try to improve results. Using a base of identified kids I was able to track an improvement of 9% (from a 58 to a 67). we used a checklist to help them identify the skills they were working on and practiced the same type of task multiple times. While it seems to have worked it is still so concerning to have a group of students pass through a course and not really learn anything - most of them cannot pass a test or lab without a cheat sheet or asking a multitude of questions. It was definitely an interesting experience as well as one that taught me a lot. There are many things that I will do differently when I am given the chance to go through that course again (both to do with classroom management and the curriculum/teaching itself).

The next semester will be a fun one - I will get to see if I can apply some of the things I learned with a Grade 9 Applied class; to reteach Grade 10 Academic for the second time this year (a small breather); and to teach my first Physics course (Grade 11 Academic). I am looking forward to the Physics course, it will provide me with a chance to teach some topics that I am more comfortable with again and to be challenged a bit more academically. I have missed both of those aspects of education in the past few months not getting to teach Mathematics or Physics.

So here it is, my written goal for this upcoming semester
1) Set firm, transparent boundaries and stick to them right from Week 1.
2) Adjust to having an afternoon prep and try to stay a day ahead on planning.
3) Incorporate as many demos, POEs and practical classes as possible into all of my courses.

A tall order, I suppose...but here's to trying! And to maybe staying on top of my health and fitness in the meantime.