Saturday, 8 March 2014

2 Stars & A Wish: Week 24

     I haven't reflected formally through a "2 Stars & A Wish" post in quite some time and it is something that I would like to get back into. While I've spent a lot of time reflecting informally throughout my lessons, at the end of the day, etc I feel like I benefit more when I take the time to write out my thoughts and get feedback from those around me. As such, two things that I think went well this week were:

1 ) Having my Gr 8 Students Pass 3,000 Pageviews on Their Blog!
- My Grade 8 students have been blogging in both science and math since
  September and I couldn't be more pleased with their progress in regards
  to reflecting on their learning, asking open-ended questions, developing
  their PLN, and developing a better understanding of digital citizenship.
- While I try to not make their blog stats a big focus point of this project,
  we do keep track of our pageviews and enjoy checking out our audience
  map (they've had viewers from every continent except Antarctica!).
  Passing 3,000 pageviews was an exciting accomplishment for them and
  there were so pretty exciting cheers when we discovered our new
- You can check out their blog at:

Mrs. T's Classroomg Blog, grade 8 science blog, grade 8 math blog, blogging with middle school students, blogging with junior high students

2 ) Engaging Debates in Grade 9 Science
- This week we reached the close of our unit on Reproduction with a
  final discussion on Biotechnology. Over the course of a few days
  students were provided with articles and videos on a variety of
  biotech projects such as stem cell research, GMOs, and vaccines.
  In small groups, they were responsible for learning about their topic,
  discussing possible Pros and Cons, and sharing their ideas with other
  groups who, in turn, shared their topic.
- As a closer, I shared a video on cloning from the Eyes of Nye series
  (the Bill Nye series for High School), which built on our discussion
  regarding stem cell research. After the video was completed, I presented
  students with the following reflective prompt:

  "Imagine you live in a world where, at birth, you parents have the choice
   to create a clone of you. This clone can be used as an organ donor in the
   event you ever became ill or injured.
   The clone, a fully-functional human, identical to you, is maintained at a
   medical facility until is it needed.
   Write a response summarizing what society's potential PROs and CONs
   to this program might be. If you were starting a family, would you create
   a clone to safeguard your child against illness? Why or why not?"

- I was very surprised by who much my students got into this activity, not
  only did my students have A LOT to write, but we were having thoughtful
  debates across the room as it was occurring. Students wanted to know more
  about the morality of a program like this, what would happen if the illness
  was genetic vs. environmental, if the clone could replace them if they passed
  away, etc. I also had students comparing the maintenance of a clone to having
  twins and only keeping one child or discussing how their potential spouse's
  beliefs would factor into their decision! Great big picture, thinking!

     One thing I want to work on this week, however, is maintaining focus and direction in my Grade 9 Math class. Despite having this group in both math and science, there is a very different atmosphere in each class. While science is focused, on-task, and punctual; math is disruptive and somewhat chaotic. I only get to see them three times a week and we are almost two units behind where we would like to be. I've asked my principal to informally pop in this week and even listen from the hallway (so the students don't know she is there and change their behavior) so she can give me some tips. I'm at a loss to as why there is such a big difference from one subject to the next, when the students are the same. I don't know if there is something I am doing delivery wise or what, as my classroom management is the same in both settings... Here is hoping for a more focused week!

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