Ideas for 2014-2015July 1, 2014
My big focus this summer will be on Astronomy.
My school district is finally offering a course in astronomy, and I have been bugging my principal about letting me teach this for about three years. The decision finally came down that yes, I could teach the class as long as I passed the 8-12 Science certification test. This test covers physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, geology, and astronomy (none of which I have really looked at since 1986). Joy. So, for around six weeks, I spent just about every spare moment studying science. The physics and chemistry didn’t bother me too much (math!), but the biology, ecology, and geology drove me crazy with all of the vocabulary. Fortunately, I passed the test, and in a few days I will be officially certified to teach science in the state of Texas. If I get to teach all of the students who have signed up (there’s some doubt as to whether we have enough teachers for all of the sections of Geometry we need), I will have two classes of Astronomy!
It looks like there are some really nice online resources for the astronomy textbook, so I will probably start out using those until I get more comfortable with the material. The big decision I have to make is what kind of structure I want for the class. After last year, I really want to keep flipping my classes, so I want them to take notes for their homework, but I haven’t decided whether I just want them to take notes over the book or whether I want to make powerpoints/pdfs of some sort. I am supposed to be getting a class set of Chromebooks, so I’m thinking of having the online assignments be self-paced, and periodically have the classes do some sort of exploration/lab/project sort of thing. I have been gathering materials together for years, but now that I actually have to put stuff together, I’m getting a little nervous. I do know I want to do some type of big projecty thing for the planets.
As far as Geometry goes, I’m toying with the idea of radically cutting back on the topics I cover in order to spend more time on the important ones. Based on how last year went, if a topic warrants it, I’d like to spend one class day doing skill practice (worksheets) and one day doing problem-solving. Once I figure out what I’m doing in astronomy, I’m going to take a look at my calendar. I’d also like to record more narrations for my notes, because I think that would be very helpful.
I originally asked for Astronomy, PAP Geometry, and AP Calculus AB (yes, I am crazy). I was scheduled for all of that, when a scheduling error was discovered and I lost Calculus. What I’d like to do next year, though, is see if I can observe the teacher who’s currently teaching BC because he’s been a phenomenal teacher and he’s thinking of retiring soon. In theory, I may end up with some regular Geometry classes, but I have put in a request that I have only PAP. I’ll have to see how my schedule plays out.