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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies


As the students were working on their bell ringer today (recalling radioactive decay equations), I stood in the middle of class and read the following to them:

He was the only person making his way into the city; he met hundreds and hundreds who were fleeing, and every one of them seemed to be hurt in some way. The eyebrows of some were burned off and skin hung from their faces and hands. Others, because of pain, held their arms up as if carrying something in both hands. Some were vomiting as they walked. Many were naked or in shreds of clothing. On some undressed bodies, the burns had made patterns—of undershirt straps and suspenders and, on the skin of some women (since white repelled the heat from the bomb and dark clothes absorbed it and conducted it to the skin), the shapes of flowers they had had on their kimonos. Many, although injured themselves, supported relatives who were worse off. Almost all had their heads bowed, looked straight ahead, were silent, and showed no expression whatsoever. - "Hiroshima" by John Hersey

Then, I showed them haunting imprints of people killed by the blast...

This was my prelude to starting the discussion on nuclear fission and fusion in chemistry today. And, while the images students undoubtedly saw in their minds upon hearing the above story were gruesome, my purpose was clear. I wanted to evoke strong emotions.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

Stressed student

Stress Impairs. Stress Damages. Stress Kills.

Stress stinks really bad.

Fear, anxiety, shame, powerlessness, hopelessness. These are all feelings that can lead to stress.

But are they real? 

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Posted by on in Blended Learning

Hiya friends!

I switched to coffee shop style flexible seating in my chemistry classroom, which means that:

  1. Students face each other and not necessarily me or the front of the classroom.
  2. I have to be intentional about building collaboration into my lessons and teaching students to collaborate..
  3. I have to change the way I deliver much of the instruction and look for ways to change my teaching to fit the environment my students and I suddenly found ourselves in.

Today, I decided to let my students "Google It." They already learn this way outside of school, so why not let them inside? I too learn a lot of things by Googling or YouTubing them. If learning this way is something students already do, they can benefit from it, and I can curate it, why not do it?

The new concept to learn was "Isotopes." We did a bell ringer activity to review from the day before and got right into it. Here are the directions I gave:

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies


“Small shifts in your thinking, and small changes in your energy, can lead to massive alterations of your end result.”
― Kevin Michel


No More Lectures. Down With Lectures! Never Again Will I Lecture.

And I encourage you to do the same.

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Posted by on in General


I had no time. I was stressing out. I watched others get it done. I was in awe.

I was not ready in June. Neither July. Nor August.

I had doubts, fears, and obstacles...

I told the world I'm doing it and I wasn't sure till the very end if I'll be done.

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