Thursday, October 18, 2012

Día de Muertos

There is one Mexican tradition that intrigues and fascinates the people that become in contact with this culture. The: “Día de los Muertos” celebration. During the first two days of November the cemeteries all over Mexico become a colorful places where everybody wants to be. It is a way to keep the dead alive, and it is also a way to honor them. But make no mistake; it is not a Mexican Halloween.

In my school there is a group that preserves the Mexican traditions, and it is a tradition to build an altar for the loved ones that passed away.

I called for volunteers among my students to cooperate with the altar, to bring a photo, a small biography of our love ones, and help decorate according to our Mexican tradition. The loved ones that are going to be in our altar include: Rutherford, Einstein, Curie, Faraday, Bohr, and more scientists who made possible the advance in the science field in the last century.

On one hand we are addressing a cultural tradition that we want to preserve, it reinforces the sense of belonging, it brings pride for the culture, and it promotes family values and traditions; on the other hand, we are learning about my content area.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teach for brain development and memory

I’m aware that chemistry is a very difficult subject. In order to succeed in my class students need to have a great capability to visualize abstract ideas. That is a concept that I always have in my mind when I plan my lessons. Abstract thinking is something that not everybody has, that’s why I need to look for other ways to facilitate the understanding of my content area.

When I’m teaching I use models and make a lot of similes in order to promote the understanding of a concept. I try to translate some of the concepts to things that are more visual: like chemical bonds for handshakes.

I also try to help my students to make connections with their daily experiences, by explaining why we do some things the way we do: how we prepare lemonade? How can we save money by using vinegar as a fabric softener? Why we cook adding the ingredients in a specific order? On one hand, chemistry is everywhere; on the other hand, some of its concepts in the curriculum are very difficult to understand.

I plan based on a practical application of the lesson that I will be delivering. That is the way I use to transform short-term memory into a long-term memory: in the form of semantic memory or maybe emotional memory. By relating the knowledge that students just acquire to real life situation.

And in my experience that works, when students can see the immediate application of the concept, they are more interested in that concept.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Management Plan

Class management is one of the not so nice parts of being a teacher. We can plan a perfect lesson and have a terrible experience when we are teaching it if we have behavioral problems in our classroom. Some strategies that can help us with class management are:
• Explain the rules of the classroom and the daily ritual.
• Have the lesson plan: have everything ready and available for the lesson. We also need to be ready to modify the instruction.
• Explain the purpose of the instruction. If we let the students know what we are expecting, we are all in the same track.
• Constantly check for understanding.
• Have many group working activities to promote socialization among the students. Rotating the groups will allow them to know their classmates and will create a nicer teaching environment.

Is better to prevent than to remediate. By preventing difficult situation we are making our behavioral management easier. Some strategies that can help prevent behavioral problems are:
• A good idea is that teachers and student together create a class agreement for instruction and discipline (C.M. Charles, 2000)
• If we create a sense of family in the classroom, few behavioral problems can appear. The class environment is caring an positive. (C.M. Charles, 2000)
• We need to explain the rules and the consequences of breaking those rules, also we need to check that the students understood what we mean by breaking rules and by consequences. (Canter, 1976)
• We can involve students in the classroom, even when we involve them in solving the behavioral problems. (Kohn, 1996)
• If we want our students to act with maturity, we must treat them with dignity. (Mendler, 1983)

We want to promote a good learning environment. This is a concept that needs to be reinforced very often: to go back, check that everything is all right with the students, try to remediate if there is something that disrupts the discipline, and continue from there.
• To support a good learning environment we can include our students in taking some decisions and helping us to solve some problems that arise in their classroom. (Kohn, 1996).
• We need to teach our students that it is OK to make mistakes, we learn a lot from them, and they don’t need to be frustrated if the make one. (Coloroso, 1994)
• We need to give examples of situations and how to solve them. With examples and not with ideas, the students can preserve their dignity and their hope when they are facing a problem. (Mendler, 1983)
• There are three types of misbehavior, if we understand them, we can prevent them and address them accordingly if we have a misbehavior problem: mischief, mistake, and mayhem. (Coloroso, 1994)

But sometimes the things turn difficult, discipline problems arise, and we need to act. We need to address the conflict in a more straightforward way to end with it and to return to our good environment.
• If we have an episode of misbehavior we can have a class meeting to address the situation. (Kohn, 1996).
• When a rule is broken we must try to address that fact immediately and apply the consequence. (Coloroso, 1994)
• When there is a serious infraction we can use strategies as the three R’s: reconciliatory justice, restitution, resolution and reconciliation (Coloroso, 1994)
• Once the class’ routine is established, the teacher should look for the cause of misbehaviors and try to correct it. (C.M. Charles, 2000)
• We should stop the misbehavior as soon as we perceive it (C.M. Charles, 2000)

Based on my teaching philosophy, the Experimentalism or pragmatism my main goal is to promote critical thinking, to learn to analyze, to criticize, and to make a conscious decision based on evidence. Values like democracy and justice are important for me.
 I think that teenagers in general are asking for limits. And we need to establish them and to let them know how far they can go and what are the consequences of their actions. But in order to be fair and democratic we can have the students to decide on some of those limits and the consequences.
I like to promote the concept of them being responsible of their actions and I don’t really like a reward/punishment schema.
I also agree that discipline and respect are key areas of teaching, we are educating people, not just passing knowledge.
But I also believe in dignity, in treating our students with respect, to try to understand them and to help them as best as we can.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Problem Solving Gallery - SDAIE Strategies

8. ASSESSMENT(S) The characteristics of the assessment for my lesson plan are:

Type: Informal – Diagnostic. With open problems.

Purpose: To assess for knowledge and skills.

Implementation: Individual, written. It will be corrected with an Answer Key. 

Feedback Strategies: Teacher’s evaluation

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lesson Plan - Vocabulary

The word is telling us its meaning (30 minutes)
10th grade Chemistry
3A. STUDENT INFORMATION: English Language Learners
There are 38 students in the classroom. One former ELD student that has been reclassified. Her name is Laura
 1.) Readiness Level
 2.) Learning Profile

  3.) Interest. Chemistry is not a mandatory class. The students choose to be here. They have some kind of motivation
3B. STUDENT INFORMATION: Students w/ Special Needs
      There are no students with IEP or 504 plans

1.) Readiness Level
2.) Learning Profile
3.) Interest
    A. Enduring Understanding.
There are many words that we use in Science in general, and in Chemistry in particular that have Greek or Latin roots, by just looking at those words, and if we know about prefixes and suffixes we can know the meaning of that word or concept.

    B. Essential Questions
What is the word telling us about a concept?
Why knowing the words origins can be useful?

    C. Reason for Instructional Strategies and Student Activities
Trying to integrate a vocabulary lesson in my concept course. The information that we can obtain will help is an enduring understanding

Investigation and Experimentation
Standard d. Formulate explanations by using logic and evidence
Standard l. Analyze situations and solve problems that require combining and applying concepts from more than one area of science
Word Analysis
Cluster 2. Apply knowledge of words parts.
Level (A): Apply knowledge of words relationships such as roots and affixes to derive meaning from literature and
    A. Cognitive

    B. Affective

    C. Psychomotor

    D. Language Development
After the lesson the student will be able to determine if some words have a Greek or Latin roots, will identify its affixes, will infer the meaning of the word and the concept that it represent by analyzing some word.
8. ASSESSMENT(S) (Identify if the assessments are Diagnostic/Entry Level, Formative-Progress Monitoring or Summative)
This lesson is formative, the assessment will be finding the meaning of some words on a worksheet.
Most of the words are new for all the students. The information is going to be presented in a way that there is no need for differentiation, except that for some ELD (if their first language is a Romance Language) the some concepts can be easier to understand
1.)   Content/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest

2.)   Process/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest

3.)   Product/Based on Readiness, Learning Profile or Interest
With the use of manipulatives, students will see and deduct the meaning of the words. Students with special needs can work at their own pace
(Describe what the teacher does. Include differentiation strategies.)

a)       Short lesson about prefixes, roots and suffixes (8 min)
b)       The students will be playing words cards (description bellow) (12 min)
c)       Worksheet and conclusion (10 min)
(Describe what the students does. Include differentiation activities.)
a) Taking notes
b) Playing with he cards, taking notes

c) Inferring the meaning of the words. Asking questions.
(Attach any materials needed to implement the lesson, such as a power point presentation, graphic organizer, reading…)
The students will be playing with some words cards. The cards are 2-3 pieces puzzles, one part has the prefix, the second has root and the other has the suffix. On the back there is the meaning of the word’s part.

Cards:                                      Back
A-tom                                      (a )not - (tomos) cut    
Co-valent                                 (com) together - (valentia) strength, capacity
Poly-mer                                  (poly) many - (mere) parts
Cat-ionic                                  (kata) going down - (ienai) to go
An-ionic                                   (ana) going up - (ienai) to go
Bio-logy                                   (bios) life – (logos) learning

Some words tell us its own meaning

Based on the previous activity, what do the following words mean?