∆ Jackson

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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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…

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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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Jul 29 2013

Cheesyness, Culture, and Calculators

The summer is nearing its end!  I can’t believe it…and I also can’t believe how excited I am.  I mean, when I think really hard about it, I get sad because I like being with the puppies all day and its so nice to sleep in.  Not to mention the fact that I am able…

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Jul 15 2013

Racism.

Yup.  School’s out, but I’ve got something on my mind.  A couple things, actually. First, I’ve been reworking my lessons and the order in which I want to teach each unit AND I’ve been attending awesome conference calls with the Science Director of the Mississippi TFA region about making science content more relevant to students’…

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May 22 2013

More highlights.

I am continuing to enjoy the responses from my students’ final exam essay  (see this page if you have no idea what I am talking about: http://vskk.teachforus.org/2013/05/13/life-lessons-in-science-class/ ) So I thought I would share a few more with you…maybe I went a little  (okay… A LOT) overboard, though, so skip through them as you like : )…

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May 16 2013

Raytheon Competition

Quick blog post to brag about my Physics students and to grovel on the ground and beg you to vote for them. I think I mentioned before that they are in the top ten in the nationwide Raytheon competition.  Voting is live to see who wins the fame and the fortune (and by fortune I…

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May 13 2013

Life Lessons in Science Class

After a disappointing past couple weeks, my first group of final exams are in (Seniors take their exams a week earlier than everyone else) and as the last question on both my Physics and Physical Science exams, I asked the students this: Write at least three paragraphs describing what you think is the most IMPORTANT…

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May 02 2013

Discouraged.

This week I was highly disappointed in my students.  And of course, Teach for America has trained me to think this is my fault and I have not done enough.  I didn’t build strong enough relationships, I did not create a classroom vision my students bought into, my classroom culture was not strong enough, I…

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Apr 24 2013

My week as a…Biology Teacher?

This week, and next week, I have two Physical Science classes and my Physics class…my other three classes are Biology tutorials.  State tests  are approaching (May 5th is less than two weeks away!?!) and once again I find myself teaching Biology.  I thought this summer was the end of it, but when our students are…

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Apr 12 2013

The State of My Classroom…

…is currently a mess. But that’s okay!  Because we made solar ovens this week to wrap up our electricity unit.  So there are little scraps of foil and aluminum foil and tape scattered on the floor and under desks and strange foil-covered pizza boxes are covering all available desks and flat spaces. It is so…

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Yesterday, I was told that my high school Physics teacher, Mr. Wertz, had terminal liver cancer.  I was in the process of writing him a letter last night to send him and let him know how much he inspired me. Then my best friend called me and told me he passed away today.  So here is my…

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So far, it has been a good week back to school from Spring Break. We started the unit on electricity in Physical Science, which I think students are enjoying it because it is so relevant.  And my Physics students have had some really great attitudes lately, which just makes class so much more pleasant. {SIDE…

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Mar 15 2013

Lesson Planning on my Birthday

The title for today’s blog is what I do NOT want to happen.  And so, I am working on my lesson plans today instead of going out and spending my Friday off doing more interesting and fun things.  But it will be worth it when I can enjoy my Sunday birthday free of lesson planning…

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Mar 03 2013

What do I want my students to say?

Yesterday, we had ProSat.  Which was annoying because we just had ProSat two weeks ago, but with both Mississippi and Arkansas Spring Breaks coming up (yes, I am counting down the days and it is five) they had to be scheduled very close together. Anyway, at our Diversity and Inclusiveness session, my MTLD asked us…

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I sent Nick this text message Tuesday afternoon: “My 4A block was the wooooooorst today.  I nearly hit someone with a stapler.  But I didn’t.  So the good news is I’m still employed.” And then when I returned to school on Wednesday morning to a 1B block that was almost as terrible as my 4A,…

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Feb 11 2013

Doing something right

Today was…less than perfect.  I mean, not terrible, but seriously not good either. BUT.  One student of mine who consistently misses my first block class because he never gets to school on time came to me today and we had a really serious conversation about where he wants his life to go and how he will get…

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So, driving home from work today I had a really sad realization. With the exception of a few of my students, I realized today that nearly none of my students will be ready for college when they graduate high school. And I say this not because I don’t believe in my students, but because even…

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