Allison Tarvin's blog

Summer Solstice Update on the Students' Progress through Our First Summer Assignment

On June 20, 2016 at 6:34 P.M. E.S.T., our sun achieves the most northern point in its journey and stops. The summer solstice marks the moment when the sun stands still; a Latin derivative from the words sol, meaning ”sun”, and sistere, meaning “to come to a stop.” Imagine the wonder and curiosity associated with such a phenomenon in the ancient world!

Building Summer Assignments for Next Year’s First-Year Chemistry Students

Our new administrative team now strongly encourages all core content teachers to provide a summer assignment to prepare students for the first day of school. Outside of the summer reading for literature classes, we’ve never done this. I see the potential for class time-savings and improvement of student understanding. Will the students see the possibilities? What should I assign? Is it realistic to expect next year to begin differently?

Give Me Back My Copper! A Simple, but Multi-Faceted Lab Activity to Review Lab Skills in Week One of AP Chemistry

In the lab, students are given a 1.5 gram samples of copper. The copper is taken through a series of five chemical reactions ending with the precipitation of solid copper. After the five reactions, students are asked to return their 1.5 gram samples of copper to the teacher.

Four Ways to Fight Spring Fever

How can I engage my students (and myself) for the last half of the semester? I read recently that the human attention span in 2015 is 8.25 seconds(link is external), which is down from 2000’s 12-second span. Currently, we are just beneath goldfish, who can attend to one thought for 9 seconds. I’m not sure of the methods of the research study, and I maintain a level of healthy skepticism. However, I admit my thoughts often spring from topic to topic like a bubble gum machine bouncy ball.

First Year AP Chemistry Teacher...Enough Said

I’m a first year AP chemistry teacher. My emotions swing from fear of inadequacy to confusion in pacing to acute awareness of the number of years since college chemistry to desperation in grading 55 lab notebooks to exhaustion with inexperience. Honest truth: I'm studying. I'm studying a lot. Despite 14 years of chemistry teaching experience, I feel blindfolded again.

Four Things I Learned on the Path to the Right Online Learning Platform

Edmodo, Coursesites, Schoology…which digital learning platform is best for you? I’ve been searching for the right, free fit for me for the last three years. My journey has taken me from Edmodo to Coursesites to Schoology. I learned four valuable lessons about myself along the way that may help you make your own decision.

Origami Rabbits and Flipped Chemistry Classroom: Use an Origami Tutorial to Teach Students How to Learn from Videos

If videos are the method of choice for my students’ free time learning, then why do they sometimes struggle to hear and make sense of the chemistry content in my short teaching videos? 

Answer: Students need guidance in developing video-viewing skills that foster understanding complex concepts.