Week in Class Week One 2014

September7

40 number 1 hits,
Due to family concerns, I’ve not been able to do as much writing as I would have liked in August, but I did want to share about my great first week of teaching. Read the rest of this entry »

End of Year Reflection on ELA, History and Science: 2013-14

July16

What do I know – my weekly assessments, my unit planning

I have been using Understanding by Design planning for over five years. It’s taken me about that long to use it somewhat effectively.  There are things I still need to work on. Here is my planning for last year. I think the connection between my goals (understandings and knowledge) and the assessment (especially the knowledge part) needs tightening. I can see looking back at my plans that not everything gotten to.

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Is the glass half full?

June27

Gratification Paradox
Student: My school district hires too many white teachers – The Washington Post is a really thoughtful first-person piece from a student in the New Orleans school system that was posted in a private teacher discussion group which I’m part of. Since it’s a private group, I’m going to talk pretty generally about that aspect of it. When I first looked at the discussion I thought it looked pretty good. Lot’s of folks talking pretty seriously about the subject. The glass looked half-full, to me. Read the rest of this entry »

Week in Class: Week 33 Primary Documents

May17

33
Since we’ve finished with our Language Arts text for the year, I’ve been trying to implement a “replacement” unit for Common Core featuring closed readings. The examples modeled centered on short stories or poetry, but I’ve opted to use primary documents. One of the best resources I’ve found is an older compilation of “essential” speeches, and writings edited by Diane Ravitch, called The American Reader. At this point many of you are probably horrified that I’m using a Ravitch text for Common Core. Perhaps even Dr. Ravitch is just as flabergasted.  Be that as it may, I here is what happened.
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Week 28 in Class: The YouTubes

April13

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

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