Week 28 in Class: The YouTubes


Stage 28

This week’s share will be YouTube videos. YouTube videos can be a great source of short videos on topics that can help illuminate a larger topic you’re teaching. Here’s how I used them:

Right now we’re finishing up a unit on music (Beyond the Notes in the Open Court reading series). YouTube is a great source of music from almost every style and time period. We’ve studied Beethoven, and Ray Charles as part of this. Here are some videos I’ve used:

two cellos thunderstruck – YouTube  This is an anachronism that works. Two guys on a cello in front of a baroque era audience (Vienna, maybe?) playing…AC/DC’s” Thunderstruck”. I works for a couple reasons. It gives a fresh view of “classical” instruments and also how music may changes but some things stay the same.

ray charles – YouTube
boogie woogie – YouTube Students read a story about Ray Charles, playing boogie-woogie, but few know what that means even though they go to piano lab in school once a week, and many take piano lessons after school. These two videos give a good example of Charles’ early sound, and what boogie woogie sounds like in general.

How I Feel About Logarithms – YouTube I’m trying to introduce more general ideas of mathematics and more visual representations of the same. These videos are too fast moving to take in one setting, but we’ll go back to look at it, and pause to discuss. They need a lot more of just exploring ideas, and less “solving” problems with a single answer.

vsauce – YouTube A student asked me to show this, and it was  a winner.

For the second year, I played RadioLab’s Speedy Beet episode. This discusses time notations Beethoven added to his symphonies later in life with the advent of the metronome, and as deafness to hold. Since students are doing a weekly keyboard lab class they had some familiarity with the basics of this (time notation, metronomes, etc.). Combining this with two-cellos video was  a way to make an old topic (classical music) a little fresher for the kids.

Image Credit: Stage 28 by Kevin Dooley, on Flickr

Common Core Mathematics


This is in response to Mercedes Deutsch’s call for input from teachers on our experience with Common Core Mathematics

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Human Rights lesson done right…


So way back, in the dim mist of time (before winter break), I finished a unit on human rights loosely based on an idea from a really poorly executed unit that I first heard about here. The unit had students reading the novel Esperanza Rising, while looking at her life through the lens of a legal document, the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child. On the whole, the unit worked very well, and the students enjoyed it a lot. Some observations: Read the rest of this entry »

Week 20-24: Where did the hours go?


Waste less EARTH do less homework[Day270]*

So between a week up at Sly Park in the Sierra, parent conferences, and the craziness brought on my an early spring in California, I have become a very poor correspondent about goings on in my classroom. This is the time (before spring break) when it can become a grind, for the kids, and for me. Time goes both fast (look at how these posts have gotten away from me) and s-l-o-w, stretching everyone’s patience. It’s probably the time to change things up, but given a super-busy outside of school schedule I have, that hasn’t happened. What are the kids doing? Read the rest of this entry »

Week in Class: Weeks 13-20 the Lost Files


Hidden Message in Credit Card
I have been a super-bad correspondent since winter break started over a month ago. For this I will apologize. Writing about what I am actually doing in my class is important, and not just for the handful of readers perusing my blog. It’s important for me to think honestly about my practices, and to try to do better. What was I doing?

  1. I had a major bought of nesting around my home, putting in a nook, reorganizing my study and kitchen, canning marmalade (not so successful, but still lots of fun).
  2. I relaxed, I’ve been going to the gym, I’ve been spending time with family, watching Netflix, and reading novels. For the first time, my husband took off all Thanksgiving week, and two weeks at Christmas to spend so we were ALL together for a break.
  3. I’ve been working with colleagues at my work discussing what we’re doing with Common Core and in our classrooms more generally.

My time has not been wasted, but I’m overdue to get back on the blogging habit, so…here I am. Read the rest of this entry »

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