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 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,, Infinite Campus,, podcasting and (Other technologies discussed but not chosen also included: PHUN/Interactive Physics,, 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)
  • 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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