Allison Tarvin's blog

Four Ways to Fight Spring Fever

spring

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.

Dilemma: How do we prepare new chemistry teachers for the 21st century classroom?

Which Way

“I wish I knew then what I know now.” How often do you reflect on your first year of teaching? When I run into a student from my first few years, I catch myself hiding behind a clothes rack or ducking down the frozen food aisle. I’m embarrassed.

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

digital 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

Origami Rabbit

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.

What are they thinking? Where did they get that idea?

Making Thinking Visible

Have you read “Making Thinking Visible”?  You should. It focuses on making student thinking visible to the teacher. While still learning to use the visible thinking routines, I really feel more conscious of students’ understandings than ever.  

Here is a sample activity that I adapted to fit my honor chemistry students’ needs:

The Chemistry of a Family-Style Dinner – Ideas Invited!

periodic dinner

Science is creative; it requires new ideas, new patterns, and new solutions to old problems. A deep understanding of the periodic table is the most critical knowledge in chemistry. I want my students to experience the table and conceptualize its trends in a deeper way. Combining creative ideas from an AP Lit project with my honors chemistry content, I am brainstorming about a more engaging, more challenging summative assessment on periodic table families. I would love to hear your ideas and collaborate to build an exciting assessment.