Sunday, April 17, 2011

Last weeks of the semester

My charter school has decided to do alternative teaching the last 4 weeks of school after the California State testing.
We are doing blocks of 1 1/2 hours, instead of 1 hour, some twice a week, some every day. There is a lot of remedial work for kids who need it, as well as classes to prepare students for what comes ahead.
My biology class is working on group projects to fill out this PREZI:

I took the Reproductive System because I figured their parents wouldn't want them working on that.
I have 2 seniors working to get credit for chemistry with lab, and the rest of the class just 2 hours Wednesdays for labs, where we will be working on writing good lab reports.
And then I have an Algebra I remedial group who will all be retaking it next year. I'm working with using patterns and other representations for functions. They meet every day, so it has to be entertaining.
And a group of 9th graders are learning geometry using patty paper (the paper you put between hamburger patties) which is translucent, so they can see lines drawn on it. We should be able to get through most of the important concepts superficially but hands-on in this time, and end with a little origami, so they will be ready for the "real thing" in the fall.
And this week we're celebrating Earth Day Friday afternoon. I will have 4 groups about 45 minutes each doing alternative energy. I've ordered models of a windmill, solar panels, and a fuel cell, which I hope we'll be able to use then. As well as making pin-wheels out of the comics and ads from today's paper, using pencils as the sticks.
I'm enjoying the planning. The kids were skeptical last week that learning could be fun, but I think they're getting the idea. It's frustrating when they put on their "try me" attitude when I'm trying to do something interesting. In one class (the last period,) I asked each student if they wanted to learn, and placed them up front. The one student who didn't sat in the back, and after a while asked for a piece of patty paper anyway.

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