self instruction

Cognitive Load and Active Learning

A couple of days ago on Twitter, the ever-lasting debate between lecture and active learning reignited due to some talks at an Educational Research Conference held in Dublin. These talks stated direct guidance (which includes lecture) was superior in terms of student learning due its reduction of students’ cognitive load. The main citation used for this argument was an article by Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark published in 2006. So, let’s dive into what this article says.

Elements, Compounds, and a Vocabulary Card Sort

How many of you could recite, word for word, a definition you learned in school? When you first memorized the definition, you could state “inertia is a property of matter”, or “density is mass over volume.” However, you struggled to apply it to a new situation and maybe you were unsure of how to construct a model of what it meant.

Some Like it Hot

In my class, I use the illustration of a mountain to help students push through the challenges of chemistry. Stoichiometry is the top of chemistry mountain. As we progress through the year, I say things like “the mountain is getting steep here!” or “there is not a lot of oxygen up here!” or “I will carry you up chemistry mountain if I have to!” to keep students motivated. When students finally get to the top of chemistry mountain (mid quarter 3), the air is thin, they are tired and they are ready to base jump off the mountain (see illustration from a former student below).

Concept Mapping in Chemistry

It's been a few days since my summer break began. I have had a few days to decompress, relax, and think about my next post. I have been planning to write about concept mapping since the end of our first semester. I first recognized the effects of concept mapping in the classroom when I read Shannon Bowen's blog post last December.

Blending a Periodicity Unit

Previously I wrote about taking part in a district-wide high school blended learning pilot. You can read about it here. I received my Chromebook cart near the end of February/beginning of March. A little late but just in time for the periodicity unit I was planning as a blended unit. The following is a breakdown of how I designed the unit.

Blended Learning Pilot: #1

Last year, I researched and practiced what I thought to be "flipping the classroom". But, now that I am taking part in a district-wide "High School Blended Learning Pilot", I can say that I was attempting blended learning early in my teaching career. You see, the flipped classroom is really a small subtype of blended learning. So, the goal of this post is to define blended learning and share what my professional development has in store for me during this academic year.

Vocabulary Instruction

Late last school year at a staff meeting, teachers were informed that we were going to be coached and encouraged to introduce more vocabulary instruction to