Day 13: Howdy Howdy Howdy

Monday, Sept 17

This is spirit week, and today was Western Day. I donned my overalls, boots, hat, and work shirt that were all already in my closet. Tomorrow is Tacky Tourist, so socks and sandals is where it’s at with another one of my hats. Wednesday is “Decades Day” and faculty is supposed to dress in “Early 2000s”. That means jeans and an HMC tshirt. So in for that. I don’t remember the others, but so far enjoying myself.


Physics: Today we did lab one as an in-class group activity rather than all of them doing it themselves. It’s a lab where we send a glider down an air-track from top to bottom and then middle to bottom, measure both times, and then calculate the acceleration for both trials. If all goes well, they match, and we have a discussion about what causes acceleration. It’s not a great lab, but I continue to comfort myself with the idea that either next year or the year after this class will disappear and this 40-year-old curriculum can be retired at last.

Honors Physics: Review for tomorrow’s exam. I asked them what topics they wanted to review and what questions they had. Turns out I had slides for everything they wanted! We went over what “perfect work” looks like and did a few practice problems.

AP Physics: Today was supposed to be the beginning of unbalanced forces. That did not happen. And that is just fine. Instead we went over the Friday 5-3-1 results, also talked about what is good work, handed back quizzes, and introduced them to the Standards Based Grading. They really struggled to understand a grading system that didn’t depend on point-grubbing and curving tests. The idea that the class is based on them showing evidence of their learning is completely foreign. I’m new to it, too, so we’ll all be adjusting and figuring it out together.

Feedback Loop: In both AP sections and Honors I went over all the responses from the Friday 5-3-1 and put the questions and requests in my presentation to be addressed. I told them what changes I could make now, what changes I can work into the future, what is going to require us working together to make happen, and what wasn’t really an option, but I hear them, and here’s what I CAN do. On duty tonight while doing rounds of the dorm, one of my students unprompted told me how much he appreciated having his question addressed directly in class because it made him feel like I was listening and I cared. Yussssssssssss.

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