∆ Jackson

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 09 2014

Going beyond “Hands-On”

I have had some proud moments with my kids in the past week or so.  Why?
Yesterday, as my students in 1B were building solar ovens, one student, with his hands full of plastic wrap and working together with two other people to try to get the plastic wrap to go around their oven just so, turned to me and said, “Man, Ms K, I wish more teachers would do hands on stuff like this.”
I smiled because that is a high compliment.  And also it got me thinking.  Is hands-on the best kind of learning….and more importantly, WHY?
I have humbly (let’s face it, I have limited experience in my two years of teaching) come to the conclusion that there is hands-on doing and hands-on learning.  The biggest difference? Critical-Thinking. Problem-Solving.
Too often, we put some instructions and an activity in front of our kids and expect that because it is hands-on, they…

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…Or, Kids Really DO Say the Darndest Things! I’ve been creating this lovely little collection over the past few months.  Mostly, it is my students making fun of me. : ) I know I haven’t had one in a while but, it’s a nice lighthearted change of pace from my sometimes heavy posts.  Post about…

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Last year nearly 30 students earned failing grades in my class.  And they all failed Physical Science and will need to retake it in order to graduate.  Some of them are in my classes again this year.  Most of them are doing better.  I have watched closely and I don’t think they are doing better…

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Today, I found out that for one of my students, if he can hang on two and half more years, he will be the first in his family to graduate high school.  Not the first to graduate college, not even the first to go to college, but the first to graduate high school. The news…

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Nov 03 2013

The Legend of October

In the teacher-world there is saying that October is the worst month.  You’re just getting out of that “honey-mooning” phase, it’s the beginning of a new term, kids are restless, teachers are tired, and let’s face it: October is just plain LONG and meanwhile Thanksgiving and Christmas still seem a world away. So is it…

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Sep 26 2013

The Power of a Piece of Paper

This week, I saw students who were truly proud of themselves because of a piece of paper. They analyzed their data, revised their hypothesis about their planes, and re-built them in hopes of their new designs flying further.  We ran a final test and declared the “winner”. The morning of our final tests I came…

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Sep 06 2013

Picking up Paper Clips.

This past week (although short) was crazy in Room 116.  We are becoming designers and engineers and this week my students were designing and building their very own paper air planes. Basically, I spent the week frantically shuffling from group to group helping them interpret their research articles, asking them to revise their hypothesis over…

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Aug 26 2013

Setting the Record Straight.

There is a common misconception that only elementary school teachers can have cute, clever, and awesomely decorated classrooms.  The other end of this rumor tends to suggest that high school classrooms are not cute, exciting, or well-decorated.  That they are boring and consist of only a few content-related posters.  Let’s just set the record straight.…

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Aug 13 2013

And, we’re back!

School is back in session and I have to tell you, I am feeling excited about this year.  Let’s run over a quick list of what has been completely awesome: 1. The Science Hall.  We are incredible.  We are a superb team.  And you don’t have to just take my word for it!  I have…

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Aug 02 2013

Poster-Crazy!

I have been hard at work this week getting my classroom and my classroom culture student-ready!  And because buying food is more important than buying fancy posters, AND because I was, after all, a design major, I collected images of posters I liked on my “I love to teach” Pinterest board.  And then I bought…

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