A-B-C, Easy as (Level) 1-2-3

It’s already mid-October, fall is in swing, as every coffee shop has something pumpkin spiced. Family showcase was in a few short days and Collaborative Conversations a few short weeks away. There was a lot to do, but not before Ryan gave us non-vector folk some physics schooling.

Ramps With Ryan

Ramps With Ryan

The snack array/dinner for some of us is starting to follow a trend.

Is it snack? Is it dinner? It is both?

Is it snack? Is it dinner? It is both?

If there isn’t hummus, grape tomatoes, grapes, and oreos, it might as well not be a GRS snack/dinner. I don’t know why those became the staples, but it’s one of the more nutritionally balanced sets of food in during the week so it is always welcome. Hooray vitamins!

The first thing we did in prep for the family showcase was answer some tough questions, namely “What could your least performing student (in this case, STARS) show that they know?” This was where some of the potential gaps in understanding there were in our STARS groups, but at the same time it gave us a benchmark: at the very least, what did we want our STARS to take away from their time and effort?

We then revisited our ice water activity from last week, remembering the differences between what, how, and why, as well as the seen and unseen phenomena that are occurring. This was the basis of the 1-2-3 responses that we wanted our STARS to generate. They could tell us what their group found, how this result happens, and why the result happens (as in, what are the unseen things that occur that lead to the results you found). By working towards the level three explanations we can also uncover misconceptions STARS may have about the unseen. To steal a potential misconception from Team Green, a misconception may be that because someone learned that photosynthesis only requires CO2, water, and light energy to make its own food that plants only would need those things. Constructing these responses allows these misconceptions to come out and be addressed if necessary. The level 1-2-3 explanations are ripe with modeling possibilities as well. As the STARS team progresses through their work, they can add on to previously existing models. At the very beginning, a STAR could create a model that simply shows what they can see is happening, but over time, they can add onto it, using their model to explain the unseen forces behind a observable phenomena.

With that level of practically and importance, we got to work reading a few level 1-2-3 responses from the EDE 477 class (thanks, EDE 477). They were of mixed degrees of usefulness, but there was a common trend based on the ones that I got: The what section is very short, the how section is a bit longer, and the why is just a pile of content and reminded me of the “brain dump” section of the WLP. Reading these was an excellent model of how we should go about constructing these. We were so ready, so in the zone, so cranking away at our work… that we kinda sorta put the other parts of class (discussion of readings, discussion of 5 practices, the video review) on the back burner for next time.

Pictured: The brief interlude between intense work and intense work

Pictured: The brief interlude between intense work and intense work

To finish class, we reenacted the scene from the Wizard of Oz in which the Wizard gives everyone a gift symbolic of their desire for a brain and a heart and what have you. We each got something to use at the family showcase.

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And Ryan and I got some headphones.

And that about wraps up the week. Good luck to everyone. See you again real soon.

Heyyyyy Level 3, Heyyyyy Level 3…. What’s Up With Level 2!?


We started class on Monday with a conversation initiated by our very own Cebby. Ceb wanted to have a conversation about how we are all feeling at this point in the semester. It was nice talking as a group and sharing all of our thoughts and ideas. The room was full of such support that night which is always a great feeling.

We moved on to a discussion about the readings for the week. April tried out a new piece of technology to take notes while we were discussing… if I am remembering correctly it was called an Elmo. We talked about the important aspects of “Cognitively Demanding Tasks”. Some of the ideas we came up with were the following: relevant to students’ lives, appropriate level of challenge and scaffolding, goals for the task must be realistic and can start small and grow to larger goals, have and the tasks must be robust while keeping in mind how to improve this factor all the time.


After the discussion of the readings we moved on to my video critique. I presented a video of my STARS team doing an icebreaker. This was the most fun I had seen my team have up until that point in STARS. It was also the most collaboration I saw amongst the STARS. We discussed how we can bring the collaboration and individual problem solving strategies demonstrated in the video into a scientific investigation.

We moved on to the introduction of the STARS project by April. For next week we should all have some ideas that we will be able to discuss with the class. Ideally we should have something written down that can be passed around the room but it is mostly a sharing of initial ideas about the project. If you forget the different sections, just look on blackboard at the slideshow at the awesome hashtag page.

The last part of class was dedicated to level one, two, and three responses. We were each given a glass of ice water and asked to draw a diagram and write a description. After doing this, Jessica, Ryan, Alanna, and Ceb put their diagrams and descriptions under the Elmo so we could talk about them and see the differences in their responses. It was interesting to see the different approaches everyone had made to depict the cup of ice water. We then made our way around the room to look at several examples of the same assignment and rate them as level one, two, or three responses and provide evidence for the rating. I think we all learned that Ryan is the harshest grader out of our cohort. Also… I just want you all to know that I can’t type level one, two, and three without thinking of Harambee when they all chant “Heyyyy level three, heyyyyy level three”.


For next week, remember to bring in your ideas and some physical piece of work about the STARS project to share with the class. Theoretical framework is due by Sunday. Eric is our video person for Monday and he will provide snack =)

I leave you with a festive picture coming from my apartment:


September 29th, 2014

We began class with some delicious treats as always, which was then followed on some reflection about the inquiry cube activity we did over the summer.


This began us starting on our focus of the day: “What is essential to know about the nature of science, and why?”

Some of us recalled how we came together as a cohort, to figure out the “mystery” of the cube, which increased our chances, and provided us with more tools to use. As we thought about it we began to make a list of both the Characteristics of Science as a Discipline, and the Common Stereotypes.

Characteristics of Science as a Discipline (Inspired by Inquiry Cube):

• Science becomes richer through incorporation of multiples perspectives
• Arguments are based on evidence
• Search for patterns
• Science Claims are based on prior knowledge
• Process was directed protocol
• Science requires maximum use of limited resources
• Science is collaborative
• Doing science involves being skeptical
• Science requires naming ones assumptions
• Science uses math as a tool

Common Stereotypes:

• For nerds
• “recipe”-follows a distinct path
• Only right or wrong answers (has definitive answers)
• Boring
• Investigation require a manipulation of a variable
• Old, white men with crazy hair (or a crazy woman)
• Have to be brilliant to do science
• Have to memorize facts
• Don’t “get” connections of science to everything
• Something only done in schools
• A body of facts

After thinking about the previous lists, we moved on to think about the “Why”. “Why” do we want to teach science to students? The following is what we came up with:


• Students are our future and they need to be informed citizens
• Their input (diverse perspectives) is needed
• The Stereotypes mentioned are all false assumptions and exclude a lot of people if they were true
• If a student has not had an experience in science, it reinforces the stereotypes


After that engaging conversation we moved on to the verse of the week in our Science STARS chant: “Get Your Data. Journalize” This is the Orange Team’s verse. As a group we came up with the “Do’s” of that line, and how it explains the Nature of Science.
Some of the ideas we came up with:

“Get Your Data. Journalize”
• Organize Data
• Initiates Modality
• Provide the “Why” (for others and yourself)
• Evaluate Data as you go
• Use your journal
• Provides evidence


Collaborative video followed. The question of the video was: How do you support your students in displaying model behavior, including engagement and participation, of a field trip, so the experience is beneficial for all, and reflects the learning of authentic science?
In the video, STARS took a field trip to Discount Hydroponics, to talk to the experts about a hydroponics system that would be the best fit for their school. In the video, the STARS represented engagement through constant attention on the speakers, taking notes, and asking questions.

It was discussed by the cohort, that there a certain things to do to prepare for a field trip, such as visit the people/place before you take students. Also, give students, and in this case STARS, a way to apply and use what they will learn during the trip. The STARS in the video had to take the information they gathered from the experts, and use it to determine the best hydroponics system for their needs. They also had to use that information, and conclusion on which hydroponics system they would like to buy, and put it into a presentation. The presentation would determine if they received grant money, or not, to buy the hydroponic system.

We wrapped up class with the consensus that our STARS should have an end goal in mind.


Who are we? Science STARS!

Class two started with all of us getting up and moving! Sharon led us in energizers, and we learned that some people are better than others at counting while shaking their limbs.


Sharon helping us get moving!

1-Shake each limb 5 times to start and then do again, but also add 4x’s, 3x’s, 2x’s, 1x, increasingly faster.

2-Fruit salad dance, watermelon, pineapple, banana, fruit salad (song can be to any well known rhyme).

3-Stand shoulder to shoulder with eyes on floor, look up and directly at someone in the circle, if that person is not looking at you, stay in the circle, if that person is looking at you, you are out, repeat until last 2 people are standing

4-In circle with eyes closed, count one at a time and anytime two people talk at the same time start again (try to get to 9)

5-Group juggling, throw and say hi and their name, then the person says “thanks Ryan”, remember who you threw to, and then repeat

*can try with a second object to throw at same time


Energizers are fun for everyone!

April Shared Important Information For Us

East Considerations

-not too school-y

-prior knowledge

-age of students

-working toward an end (Collaborative Conversations)

-learning inventory “how do you best learn”

-establish norms (safe, respect)


Five E’s-an overview

Engage-settle into science mode (ex. Question prompted by a video, image, model)

Explore-Provide STARS first hand experience

Explain-Kids tell each other what they found, you identify the concepts they have been students

*a lot of research exists to support placing the explore before the explain

Extend-Apply to a new situation, use what we just learned in a new experience

Evaluate-Can happen at many points

*See Chapter 9 in Settlage and Southerland for more

Side note! Don’t ever stop reading Dewey!


We decided that Wegmans Hydroponic lettuce appears to be hydroponic (no soil)

We charted our 5 E’s for our lessons on Wednesday and then shared


Attendance Rooms

E107 (Logan)-Purple music (Ryan and Eric)

E111 (Tim)-Orange Vitamin C (Jessica)

E112 (Paul)-Red Muscle (Ceb)

E114 (Dan)-Blue Clean (Jill)

E116 (Laura)- Green Hydroponics (Tiarra and Alanna)

*3:40-come to Atrium for circle up each day

-Each day hang your poster of your progress

-Circle up and do chant by teams, each team responsible for one line

Investigate, Collaborate (Jessica) *teach week 2

Get Your Data… (Jillian) *teach week 3

Analyze, interpretize (Ceb) *teach week 4

Constructify the why (Eric, Ryan) *teach week 5

Evaluate, Communicate (Alanna, Tiarra) *teach week 6

*Each week one group will be responsible for teaching what their portion of the chant means


Guest STARS-Andrea (science of cravings) and Brianna (science of the chocolate chip cookie)

Helpful Hints Shared

-let the students drive the decisions

-bring in clear sentence starters to help support conversations

-level 3, 2, 1 explanations, a guide for what we expect of our studens

Level 1 response-statement only (“sugar makes a person hyper”)

Level 2 response-statement with reason (“eating candy raises a person’s blood sugar”)

Level 3 response-Statement with a reason described carefully (“eating candy raises a person’s blood sugar quickly because the glucose in the candy is a simple sugar”)


-procedure writing needs to be scaffolded

*at times you may choose to let them fail and determine what to modify next time

-better long-term planning (end of September, October, so it would help us keep focused)

-consider roles for each week


April’s point-how do we let kids fail so that they become really productive learning spaces

 Additional Suggestions From Theresa (13-14 cohort):

-Do more with less

-Find consistency in your lessons

-Be OK if your lesson doesn’t go well, you will learn more

-Know that student participation will look different, create a method for recording student’s questions and comments

-Don’t be afraid to make kids write, even if they don’t want to (tell a story using these words, revise previous ideas)

-Lesson plans will get easier



Readings Discussion

We brainstormed some norms!

-Looking at each other

-Respectfully push back

-Along the same lines

-Give credit

-Cite from work

-Link from previous

Theoretical Framework Assignments

-a statement about what you believe and understand about science and about science learning

* as you read and write, add your ideas and revise previous ideas, quotes

*this is not where you list implications for your practice

Each week-one page

Top portion, summarize readings

Bottom portion, theoretical framework

*for this next week you will only write claims and quotes, and we will build up to Theoretical framework

Assignments This Week

-lesson plan by Monday at 11 pm

-blog by Saturday

-summary of readings-10 claims and 5 quotes organized with 3-4 headings by Saturday

Video Club

Each of us will lead a week videotaping ourselves, writing a script, and analysis

*see syllabus for more details

Blogging and Snack

You will blog for the same class where you present your video, as well as bring snack

*next week “the guys” will bring snack


*observe what is in this box and DO NOT buy any more of these items (we really just need some fresh fruits or veggies)

Readings Discussion

Cobb and Hodge (April even showed their photos)

We discussed equity and culture, and specifically how we can impact motivation

Feeding off Jessica’s point about access and creativity, April posed to us, don’t we need creativity to be successful in science

Tiarra used Ryan’s point to share that we need our students to consider themselves as part of the science culture we are creating

Respect science and conform to it…”(Ryan)….”and change it” (Jill)

 Closure-what have you learned so far?

April’s point-you have learned so much!-theory vs. practice

Only a few days left before camp!

Camp is approaching rapidly here at GRS. We spent this Wednesday preparing for the first day. The first item on the agenda was finding out each group’s campers. We were all excited about our groups and it got us pumped for Monday. We then spent some time going over some logistics. Each group has a group leader for each day, and we also wanted to have a few of us ride the bus with the campers. Eric and I being carless made it a little trickier to figure out transportation, but our final schedule is looking good.

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We moved on to discussing camp safety. We determined that it would be best if campers created their own safety agreement, but we wanted to make sure the agreement covered a few things. We brainstormed safety procedures for both the beach and in the laboratories on campus.

photo 3(1)


The discussion then moved to the daily schedule that all groups would be a part of. This includes lunch as well as where and when we would debrief after camp.

photo 1(2)


Michael then answered a few questions about creating our lesson plans. The discussion focused here on Wiggins and McTighe’s (2005) concepts of understanding by design (UbD) and backward design. The main idea is to start with an end goal when planning lessons,  instead of working in chrinological order. this way all the planning is focused on fulfilling that goal. Michael also brought up the twin sins of unit design: hands on without being minds on (a focus on style over substance), and coverage (focusing on covering each piece of the curriculum, not bound together by core principles).

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After our discussion we moved on to group work, focusing on preparing our lesson plan for the first day.

photo 4

Team Orange

photo 3

Team Justice League

photo 5

Team Purple JAR


After our group work, we got back together to wrap up the day. Tiarra had some ideas for our celebration/song on our daily schedule. We also discussed the questions we had run into when working on our lesson plans. Today (Friday) in class we will be sharing our progress so far and determining the tools and materials we need for camp. Stay tuned next week for our first day of camp!


Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Camp starts a week from today!

After receiving our tie dyed shirts, we began class.  I was going to post exciting photos of us posing with our tie dyed shirts, but Jo Ann stole my thunder below.  She has every right to do this, however, because she took the photos then provided them to us as a hard copy, via e-mail and then on her blog.

Also, we stayed at her house well into the night dying our shirts on Friday, and may have dyed her basement floor and her lawn various colors.

Because we had already begun discussing our camp goals and objectives in Seminar, Michael changed our Bell work prompt to ask us to look over our third Critical Commentaries.

Afterwards, every one of us was recognized for our strengths, which was much appreciated.  Of special note was Tiarra’s recognition, which stated that she has superhuman feats of stamina.

We discussed how camp will be an environment where we can take risks without the pressure of the structure of schools, a nice way to start out working with learners.

We were reminded that our Grant Drafts are due tonight at midnight via e-mail to Michael, and our Goals and Objectives are due via Blackboard on Wed.


We when discussed Critical Commentary #3.  Some thoughts from that discussion:

– We must become the change we want to see in the world, but how?

– How does understanding yourself help?

– What does it mean to be a teacher leader?

– As GRS grads we will be positioned to be radical thinkers more than many other first year teachers- Michael

– What would you do if you had a student like Miguel?

– Be the voice for change in your school.  Be on a trajectory to be a teacher leader but that doesn’t men signing up for every committee and burning out.  Learn to recognize what caused past burn outs.  – Andrea


We split into small groups and discussed our final Critical Commentary, #4:

– It could be a danger if students mis-perceive what science is -Ceb, Jill, and Jessica

– We should ask ourselves “How applicable is this hands on inquiry task to real life?  Would a scientist do this?”  Tiarra

– The separation of learning content and doing inquiry is not necessary.  It is important that the learners learn the topic through the process of inquiry.  Science is non-linear- Eric and Ryan

– There is a difference between a lecture and a whole group discussion, a fundamental shift.  – Michael


We then discussed how we can incorporate engineering practices like design into our inquiry based teaching:

– Tiarra told a story about noticing a house next to an eroding stream.  The class had to consider how to prevent the house becoming in danger, and Earth Science content was needed to do this.

– Ryan suggested that students could design their own sextants to look at the moon, rather than have the teacher give them out


We discussed must-haves for inquiry based teaching:

– An optimal challenge- Ceb

– Why does what we’re doing matter outside of the classroom?  Make this clear.  – Eric

– Has to be complex- Ryan

– The activity has to address the content of the course- Eric



Our vegan leader then told us about a lesson he did with wasps, saying “…..cut their heads off and mash them.”  This was a great inquiry-based lesson, except for that detail.

We discussed how reading scientific articles might be intimidating for some students.  Some ways to handle this:

– Use a news story with more accessible language

– Bring up vocab words as they come up, rather than lecturing, then put them on a word wall

– Ceb participated in a global warming debate when he had Michael in high school.  This teaches kids to have strong evidence to support claims.


We then split up into our camp teams to begin planning.

i  Team Purple JAR was sent to the cold room, where we almost froze to death! 

When we came back together as a class, we discussed many things about camp:  (sorry about all the lists!)

– Day 1 should be planned to a T before we start

– We have a shelter booked, which is the closest one to the pier

– We shouldn’t let the campers go to the bathroom alone.  There are staff to take them.  Or, we can build in bathroom breaks.

– Snack and lunch will be provided

– We should have a back-up plan if it thunderstorms

Each group then shared what we are thinking of investigating with our campers.  Each group took a slightly different route, which is great!


Michael then gave us a tour of some of the spaces on campus we will have to use with our campers on days 3, 4 and 5:

– Rm 285.  We were shown how to use the technology.  If you are unfamiliar with using the touch screen, practice before you do it with campers!

– Rm 285A- the prep room- We have an incubator to do Coliscans in 24 hours, a fridge and a freezer (not for food!), dissecting scopes, hot plates, various types of probes (Vernier, Data Hub), an infrared thermometer, many other tools, and, of course, a slinky and a magic wand!  If you need to learn sterile Coliscan techniques, Michael can help.

b Casting a spell

– Rm 162 downstairs- There are colored rolling duffel bags for each group to use.  We also have hip waders, fishing vests, and, of course, Maxi Pads.

c We then walked through oddly colored underground caves……….

……and ended up in Hutchinson Hall, where we explored some science labs that we can also use with campers.  These labs have:  lab coats (which will help the kids feel like the real scientists that they are), safety goggles, dissecting scopes (also ask Michael for help learning these), gloves, another incubator and glass wear.

We were reminded to leave the rooms better than we found them, and to make sure to go over basic lab safety with our campers, such as wearing safety goggles, lab coats, not allowing horseplay, and asking before you touch anything.  We also talked about how giving the campers a positive experience on our campus may help them feel that they belong at a college.  It did for many of us!

And………last but not least………I think that Ryan is the only cohortian (not a word) to not have done the class blog yet this semester, so, Ryan, you’re up!

Seminar July 21…Prepping for Camp…. full speed ahead!

This week, Seminar actually started before we entered!  We read an article from Friday’s Democrat and Chronicle: Children Explore Science in Summer.  As we read we were to jot down “ideas to steal” and “things to avoid during our own Science Camp.  A number of hands-on activities described in the article were worthy of remembering: the number of drops of various liquids that would fit on a penny; writing coded messages in white wax, revealing those messages by applying grape juice; making a tin foil and clay boat that would hold the most number of pennies.  The focus of the week-getting children excited about science, providing opportunities for them to explore and ask questions.  This resonated with us, as we are about to head into our Science Camp.  We want to be sure that we put “science” into the experience.  To do so, we will frame the work around an Essential Question (Ceb’s version:  What’s in there? and how do we know?that will be shared and revisited daily.  We will model the use of science talk and listen for the use of science talk with our campers.  We will be explicit about the practices of science. We will be sure that as the campers: explore, create models, collect data, analyze data, make claims supported by our data, and present their work to the community, that they realize that they are doing the practices of science, and identify themselves as scientists.  Our challenge will be to:  balance the doing and the understanding during the camp experience.

The Topic of the Day: Assessment… for this chart… we thought back to some of the work we did in 487… here are some of the assessments we wrote (this was a collaborative effort… with Admiral Tiarra… taking command):

Various Assessments done in 487

Various Assessments done in 487

We talked briefly about what NSES and NRC says about assessment… gone are the days… wait, that is not quite true… gone should be the days of one end point test to find out if/what learners learned…. the new ideas about assessment posit that assessment should happen before, during and after instructions to diagnose student learning; monitor student progress and guide teacher planning. Assessment should be a guiding force in what and how a teacher teaches and what students learn.  We never got to it, but we were going to make a list of some of the types of assessment will be used in camp.

We worked a bit more on our daily Camp Map…here is a not so neat version of where we got to on this… (previously, we added the practices for each day; Meta Map, Energizers, Ice Breakers and Team Building reminders)…today we added specifics about what will be done, and added a question of the day.

Messy, daily Camp Map

Messy, daily Camp Map

From there we split up into our Camp Groups and worked on Goals and Objectives

Daily Goals

Daily Goals

 A start on objectives days 1-3

A start on objectives days 1-3

a start on day 4-6 objectives

a start on day 4-6 objectives

Objectives are way harder to author than we believed… but with practice and revision work, we will be pros by the time we are done with this program!

Of course, I would love to report that we had enough time to complete the daily summary and then the closure, but I am unable to do so…. (an arrow for sure).

Right after class we modeled our Camp Tees… done Friday night, then washed, folded and separated by owner by Jill (mega thanks for doing so, Jill).

Tie Dye T's ready for camp.

Tie Dye T’s ready for camp.

We’re Reached Critical Sass

Ah Friday. Time to learn, and apparently turn the sass-o-meter to 11. Right from the get go it was full of light-hearted whimsy and heaping spoonfuls of the aforementioned sass. It still boggles my mind that two months ago, we were all complete strangers. Below was the agenda for the day, which we  got through and got through really well despite the energy overload of Friday. We didn’t get to work time but we won’t mention that.



First thing we did was a quick debrief on what we thought were some good practices used by the freedom school.

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(I missed one, sorry about that…)

As a general note, Andrea, Michael and JoAnn, will post times when they are available this week for any help with anything camp-related, so look for that on Blackboard. A friendly reminder: goals are the big final step. Objectives are the little steps that get you to the goal. Activities are the thing you do to build the steps to get to the big goal. It takes me a few tries to get it too.

Next we discussed the Barton and Yang (2000) reading and our Critical Commentaries. This reading hit home for a lot of us. We felt horribly for Miguel, who was a driven scientific mind but he did not fit the system and the system and as Ceb pointed out, said no to the point they discourage and denied him form even taking science classes. Ryan and Jill agreed on the notion that while there should be increased access for all students outside of the culture of power, the culture of power should also be expanded. Next in the discussion was the solutions that we could employ to help the future Miguel’s we would encounter. One idea was to do an artifact day where the students bring in something that represents their passion and with that knowledge tailor the learning to fit rather than resist their passions. Along those lines we should embrace their culture into the academic world. One of Miguel’s dilemmas was that the formal notion of schooling ran counter to what he identified himself with, so helping students associate both as one and the same is a big step. Lastly we can always use the connections we make, both through Warner and beyond, to come and show that scientists are in fact real people and not just some unattainable goal in a lab coat.

Check you phones, check your phones

Check you phones, check your phones, we’re on break so check yo phones

After a short break (where the sass level took a dip, oddly enough) we went right into each group’s APK findings. Some common trends among our varied styles and topics were:

-The campers have a fairly solid knowledge base, so there is not as high of a need to scaffold as we thought

-They always went to be right, which is good, but sometimes can hinder open-ended discourse

-Discussion is a must, they love to verbally share ideas

-Skepticism is aplenty, which means they care

Speaking of the campers, camp is really soon… Which means what seemed so far away has now become just around the corner. The photos and names are on Blackboard, so get familiar with the name-to-face connection. And as Michael and Andrea pinter out, if you are unsure about names and/or pronunciations, ask until you get it right. Which also means get it right. We also got our camp group assignments, which was met with 45 seconds or so of silence. But we’re all one big happy family so of course the silence was followed by some joking about captains and such.

A few things we touched on before our reflections:

-We got the NCATE and Warner lesson plans, the Warner one being at a significantly higher level, and one which we will “suck” at. That’s okay because this is our first one and we’ll only get better at these.

-Objectives, goals and activities are going to change as camp goes on. That’s okay too! We’re gonna (sort of) have time to fix things day to day,

-Consider the culture of low expectation the campers may come from during the school year. In the time we have, we do what we can to reverse that. Through our APK’s we know that the campers are energized and thoughtful and eager and ready to go. Therefore, so do we.

Captured: A moment of silence in 486.

Captured: A moment of silence in 486.

I leave you with this little gem. Hopefully we don’t have this mindset but its still british humor at its finest and its moderately relevant to our class.


Alanna, I choose you as the next bloggerina.

Two for one special….

Science Seminar 7/7 and 7/14

Since the First Draft of the Safety Essays had been submitted and read, the Topic of the Day-Safety sense in the classroom is vital because….   here are some of our responses- granted they are the tip of the proverbial iceberg, there are so many compelling reasons for classroom safety!

Classroom Safety is Vital…

The “as you enter” task was to review the camp lesson plan template received in seminar last week and to jot notes, ideas, questions as each section is reviewed; use the ILS Core Curriculum, A Framework for K-12 Sci Ed practices and Cross-cutting themes, NGSS, and Common Core to find appropriate standards and practices for our use in writing camp plans. Before starting a share-a-thon of camp plan findings, we had a quick discussion about reasons for thinking about Classroom Safety.  In the Safety Essays, most folks included “to protect teachers from law suits”.  It was suggested that in the next versions of the Essays, other reasons would also be included. Recognition work:  Spotlight was on Tiarra’s opening and concluding paragraphs: “Science classrooms are typically full of activities, demonstrations, experiments, and even sometimes, field trips.  All of these types of exercises, add to a students’ experience with science, and helps engage them in learning the ideas and practices of the subject.  However, all of these tasks are potentially dangerous, if safety precautions are not taken into consideration…… The safety of a classroom is a key component in a productive learning environment.  Students, as well as teachers, need to be experts in safety techniques and procedures, and need to be able to react quickly and effectively should an emergency situation arise.  Safety should always be a priority, and is, in a classroom that is prepared.” Next, we spent some time looking at Material Safety Data Sheets and symbols, with a reminder to be sure mention of these make it into the final Safety Essay. During group share, we started by adding to our Camp Map… marking the anticipated K-12 Science practices for each day.  Here is what we thought might work:

  • Day 1- (At the Beach- Observe, Explore with tools, question, initial models) Practices 1 and 2-Asking questions defining problems.  Developing and using models.
  • Day 2- (At the Beach- data collection, revision of protocol and model as needed)Practice 3-Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Day 3- (At U of R- processing data, begin to plan the final presentation) Practices 4 and 5-Analyzing and interpreting data.  Using mathematics and computational thinking.
  • Day 4- (At U of R- making claims, supported with evidence from the data gathered, continue to map out presentation)Practices 6 and 7-Constructing explanations and designing solutions. Engaging in argument from evidence.
  • Day 5- (At U of R- finish the final presentations and have a dry-run)Practice 8-Obtaining evaluating and communicating information
  • Day 6-(At The Freedom School- final presentation)Practice 8-Obtaining evaluating and communicating information

We talked about Essential Questions, but did not settle on any one version.  Stay tune for more on EQ’s. We finished by doing a quick look at each of the lesson plan sections. We had a quick share out… one important consideration from today’s lesson.  I got so involved in the conversation, I forgot to write them down. ps.  the group asked me to stay for their PD’s.  I am glad that I did!  I learned some new “tricks” during each of the presentations. 7/14- Topic of the Day… ideas for making sure that camp is not too “schooly”…

Energizers, Ice Breakers, and TeamBuilding Ideas

Energizers, Ice Breakers, and TeamBuilding Ideas

Check out some more Ice Breakers:


During the quiet time as you enter activity, everyone spent time:  pouring over the ILS Core Curriculum, pg 21 from the LE Core Curriculum; looking for Big Ideas that would be appropriate for camp plans; looking over the DKP rubric and the article from Saturday’s paper: Reaching for our beach is easy.

During group share, we added to the Camp Map, at the bottom of the square for each day, reminders to include: energizers, ice breakers, team building activities, and Meta Map work.  We then shared some possible Big Ideas aka Key Ideas- (and talked about the code system)…Standard 4 LE KI 7:  Human decisions and activities have a profound impact on the physical and living environment.  Standard 1-Sci Inquiry-KI 1, 2, 3 were also shared.  The general consensus about the LE checklist… most applied.

The discussion moved to goals and objectives… a crash course, with handouts to paste into our journals for each…a list of possible goals for each of the 8 practices; the ABCD method of writing objectives, a word list for writing objectives.  The fast version:  Goals-an overarching statement that guides the decision making.  Objectives-specific measurable steps that can be taken to reach the goal.

While we were taping things into our journals, we also go a Inquiry Learning Cycle, identifying the parts of the cycle that would be accomplished on each different camp day.

I dropped the big news… next week was the last of Summer Science Seminar as the following two Mondays, we would all be very busy with the campers!  (But to reassure everyone, I mentioned that we would continue to work on crafting plans… and I would be available to help.)

ps.  This week, the group asked me to stay for the dry run of the APK’s… again, I am very glad that I did… it was another very valuable use of my time…. I always get energized listening to the ideas folks think up for the various activities requested of them… it is a mark of a good job, when my mind won’t shut off, and I keep thinking about the work done…. their work, inspires me… and I am so happy that it does!