Power School Learning Management System

Our school has been using Power School, formerly known as Haiku, to post homework and resources for our students. This is how I have my 6th grade page set up:

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.51.57 AMScreen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.52.15 AM

It also ties into Google Drive and I am able to create a shared folder for each unit which allows students to access handouts, Google Slides, Google Sheets, etc… I simply drop them into the folder and kids have instant access to all files. I can also add links to additional resources such as videos or interactive websites.

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There is also an assignment calendar feed that aggregates all of their classes homework onto one calendar. For assignment details, they can click on the link to see homework specifics. I also use the gradebook which is a great feature. Students can see all of their science grades as well as current average.

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If you use a Learning Management System, how do you use it with your students?

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Post it Notes for seating charts

 

I started using Post-it Notes on construction paper for my seating charts and it makes changing seats and groupings really easy. What do you use?

post-it-notes-seating-chart

 

Super Easy to Make Cartesian Divers

Looking for a fun summer activity? Make your own Cartesian Divers using paper clips and a bendy straw. Who can make the slowest diver?

Middle School Science Blog

Cartesian Divers - test out your divers in a beaker of water and then add to the 2L Bottle. Keep all your materials on the tray to manage spills. Cartesian Divers – test out your divers in a beaker of water and then add to the 2L Bottle. Keep all your materials on the tray to manage spills.

This was the easiest, and most inexpensive way to make cartesian divers I have ever tried, and each student got to take theirs home after class. Did I mention how much fun it was?!

Rescue Hook: Attach 2 straws together and add a paper clip hook for rescue missions Rescue Hook: Attach 2 straws together and add a paper clip hook for rescue missions

Materials

  • semi-transparent to transparent bendy straws – 1 per student
  • colored paper clips – 4-6 per student
  • scissors – 1 per 2-4 students
  • 2L bottle with cap – 1 per 2 students
  • beaker of water – 1 per 2-4 students
  • tray to contain spills -1 per 2 students
  • paper towels
  • optional: eye dropper with blue colored water

Part 1 – Demonstration:

As part of our density unit, we talk about the concept…

View original post 301 more words

Eyewitness Videos – FREE!

I just stumbled upon this – the classic series by Eyewitness Videos is now available on YouTube for free! When I started teaching in the 90’s, we didn’t have all the amazing free online videos available at our fingertips like today and relied on…..gasp… VHS tapes. Having a collection of quality science videos in your classroom was highly coveted!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEBTfxJ13zkpZVbZTF3aukg/videos

About EWV: “Eyewitness is a natural history television series produced by BBC and DK Vision. The series is based on the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Books series of children’s books.”

Here are a few of my favorites:

 

K-4 Lower School Science Position

The Peck School, a co-ed, K-8, independent school in Morristown NJ, seeks a full-time Lower School Science Specialist for the upcoming school year.

 

The science specialist develops curriculum and provides hands-on investigations in grade K through 4. The ideal candidate will have strong content knowledge, broad technology skills, and a proven track record inspiring young learners. The candidate must be eager to contribute to Peck’s new STEAM program, developing innovating programing in concert with other faculty members. A deep understanding of learning styles, classroom management techniques, and the particular needs of students of different ages is also essential.

All candidates should have a minimum of three years teaching experience with elementary students, as well as exceptional communication skills, both oral and written. A degree or background in science or related STEM fields is required.

This position is an excellent opportunity for an innovative and highly motivated educator to join a wonderful faculty. Please submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references by email to science @ peckschool.org.

Kindly reference the job title in the subject line of your email. No phone calls please. We encourage you to explore our website to find out more about our program and mission.

http://www.peckschool.org/about-peck/employment-at-peck/ls-science-specialist/index.aspx 

Blog Updates via Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, & Email

Lesson updates are now available via:

I am also tagging the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for each blog post to help teachers find lessons more easily.

A ‘real’ teacher

My first teaching position was a 2/5 Biology position at a public high school, I was hired one week before school started. I think they found my resume at the bottom of the pile after they had contacted each applicant from the 99 resumes that were on top of mine. I had a science degree, but not a teaching degree or teaching license. The only ‘classroom’ experience I had was as a Teacher’s Assistant’s Assistant for  Botany I and Botany II courses at UD during my junior year, and as a public school substitute teacher after graduation.

In 1996, Alternate Route Certification was not a very common or a well-known way to earn a teaching degree, and to be honest, was viewed as being ‘less’ and not equal to a ‘real’ teaching degree. Many teachers (at the time) thought it was unfair and that I was taking jobs away from ‘real’ teachers who earned their teaching degrees/licenses. Needless to say, it made for some very uncomfortable conversations.

When I met my Science Supervisor, he was honest and told me that he was unhappy that I was hired without being interviewed by him (he was on vacation), and he has never had anyone in the science department do this ‘alternate route thing’. When he asked me where I earned my science degree, I told him that I graduated from Delaware the year before. Suddenly, his whole demeanor changed – he had gone to Delaware and graduated in the 60’s. Go Blue Hens!

He ended up being an amazing and supportive Supervisor that year. The whole science department took me under their wing and really helped me become the teacher I am today. At the end of the year, the 2/5 position was no longer needed for the following school year, but a F/T Chemistry position was opening up instead and he asked if I was interested. I told him I was only going to be certified for 7-12 Biology and K-8 all subjects. He was disappointed that I wasn’t able to teach Chemistry, but immediately offered me the full-time position for 6th grade science instead. I said yes, of course!

The math teacher I had worked with told me about an opening for a summer school position at an independent high school near where I was living. It would be teaching a Biology course for students who wanted to advance to Chemistry as incoming Freshman, setting them on a higher science track. Teach a whole year of Biology in 6 weeks? Yikes!

Keep in mind that I had binders full of transparencies, no ppt slides, no Youtube videos, and very limited internet content available. It was 1997. The school had a new computer lab, and I took the kids to the lab after lunch to work on ‘interactive’ websites, do research, etc. This website, which is still online, was one of the first websites I ever used with my students. It was for breeding peas:

http://www.sonic.net/~nbs/projects/anthro201/exper/

Somehow, we covered everything that needed to be covered, I was following the current Biology teacher’s lesson plans. (She taught the course during the regular school year.)

With a year of teaching under my belt, including summer school, I finally became a ‘real’ teacher and earned my certification.

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Middle School Science is back for 2015. Lessons will continue to be posted for free for you to use in your classroom, be sure to come back for updates! You can also follow me on twitter @MSScienceBlog