This website is built to share my educational philosophies and materials. Please feel free to download, use, and amend anything you find on the site. I don't provide any digital answer keys but I am happy to share my hand written answer keys with teachers who can prove they work in a classroom (email me firstname.lastname@example.org.) Read about some of my educational philosophies below.
My "Flipped Classroom" Approach: A new perspective on flipped classroom; video after inquiry.
Traditional classrooms lecture during class time and send students home with problems to complete with little to no guidance. Utilizing the flipped classroom allows me to get the basic information out to my student individually, at home. In class we have more time to work together on problem solving and more difficult concepts. My students engage in a lab or activity to collect data and observations about real-world phenomena. Students compare their findings and construct explanations based on their evidence. At home, students watch a short video lecture for homework while taking notes and completing practice examples that are embedded into the video. This allows for deeper explanation of key ideas, terms, and calculations that have emerged as a result of the lab or activity. Back in class, we work together to review those concepts, share and peer review our ideas, evaluate the students' understanding, and address difficulties or common misconceptions. Students then move on to complete additional critical thinking questions, hands-on activities, labs, debates, discussions etc. in collaborative groups. This format allows more time in class for these hands-on activities which they can't do at home and more difficult concepts that would be too hard to answer on their own, than a traditional classroom set up would. The teacher is a facilitator instead of a lecturer. The flipped classroom puts a lot of responsibility on the student to remain engaged and work hard at home, much like a college course. As an educator, I want to ensure my students have the tools to make them college and career ready. This strategy allows my students to begin to become more independent at home, while also giving me more time in class to work with them one on one. My instruction is more easily differentiated giving students more freedom to choose how they learn the material. In addition, students can access lectures and materials through my website at any time to review old concepts or make up work when they are absent. All handouts in class can be found on this website. I created a presentation here about my flipped classroom ideas: click here.
After taking two courses with American Modeling Teachers Association I have changed my first year chemistry topic sequence (which you can explore by navigating the honors/regents chemistry pages on this site) and incorporated many aspects of the modeling philosophy such as socratic seminars, creating and evaluating models, and student argumentation/presentations, to name a few. The sequencing has been invaluable, in that students are witnessing a logical storyline of topics moving from macroscopic topics they can observe and try to explain to microscopic topics that are more abstract and rely on those earlier topics. Student in my classes now ask questions about the next topic in our sequence without even knowing it! And the modeling instruction not only aligns with NGSS but really allows student to demonstrate their thoughts in a powerful and meaningful way but also allows me to identity misconceptions.
POGIL: Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning
I have been using POGIL resources for the majority of my career but in 2017 I became a trained POGIL facilitator which has really helped me grow as an educator and analyze why I teach the way I do. POGIL resources are meant to be utilized in small teams of 3-4 students, each with a role such as manager or presenter (click here for my role cards). Students work together using process skills such as teamwork, communication, problems solving, and critical thinking, to complete the activity. The POGIL created activities follow a constructivist approach that allows students to "explore" models and data sets, "invent" ideas such as identifying patterns, constructing solutions or formulas, etc and then students "apply" these inventions to new scenarios. This is known as the learning cycle. In my classroom, teams are not assessed on the content initially, they are assessed on their ability to use process skills to attempt the assignment to the best of their ability. This lowers the pressure on the students as they work on new information. At the beginning of each POGIL lesson I state the learning objective (such as isotopes), the process skill objective (such as teamwork), and timing goals (for example: questions 1-5 in the first 10 min...). At certain points, I ask my teams to call me over to check in on their progress, although I am constantly roaming the class, listening to conversations, moderating debates, and asking deeper questions. At the end of class, I have each team fill out reflection including a rubric which you can view on the role cards. I really can't stress enough how much a pogil workshop can change your practice! Consider attending a workshop this summer! The first year and AP Chemistry books are a dream and they are linked in the images below.
I think it is so important to share ideas and resources with colleagues. We are better together! I attend conferences and professional development workshops and classes where I have met so many amazing chemistry teachers (#chemfam on twitter!). But the sharing can also be digital! No need to travel. I share resources on this website but I share blog entries with explanations of my work on ChemEdX. You will find tons of great ideas from teachers around the world trying new things. It's totally free! Go explore this awesome resource and get involved!