T-32 Days: The Last Month

Monday, April 29

Every Monday my school has an all-hands meeting from 7:50-8:45, and the kids get to start school late. Nice for them, since they can get that extra few minutes of sleep after the weekend. Today’s meeting was about ways to change our teaching based on next year’s switch to 70 minute blocks. They introduced ideas such as clickers and peer instruction, noticing what you notice, and having a peer network to talk through ideas with. This sat very well with me, considering between my reading books, keeping up with PER, my large professional networks, the Exploratorium, and all of the workshops I run, I have been using these techniques for at least seven years.

On the plus side, it was very validating that research-based classroom techniques I’ve been fighting for from below are now in some part being presented from above. On the other side, it was an hour of being told and demonstrated things I know AND I won’t be here next year, so I’m working on getting over being grumpy about me also not getting that extra sleep since I was on duty all weekend and Sunday night.

We’re trying to drum up kids to go to Great America Physics Day. We put a pretty arbitrary cut off number of 30 kids to make it worth it, so we’ll see who wants to go.

Physics: Starting atomic and quantum physics. It’s so confusing. We’re cramming three chapters (on the above, radioactivity, and nuclear processes) into two weeks along with a lab where they listen to a geiger counter beep that takes one entire period. Having now taught through the Hewitt book two more times, my impression remains largely the same as it was back in 2008 when I taught it the first time. I am very relieved to be putting it behind me again.

Honors Physics: Circular motion! Super fun. Starting with horizontal and vertical circles. Hoping Thursday will be the flying pig day. I love flying pig day, because although I have some feelings about letting kids wear my flying pig hat, I get to wear it with pride. It’s the best.

AP Physics: We’re taking the E&M final this week, so they’re studying like crazy. I’m just here to answer questions.



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