It is back-to-school time! I started school on September 3rd so I am just getting back into my school “groove.” On August 1st, College Board released its new AP Classroom platform (myap.collegeboard.org). While exploring this new online resource, I couldn’t help but reflect on how I teach AP Chemistry and what changes I will make in light of AP Classroom to ensure this year will be a great one!
My district recently provided a professional development session focused on utilizing three dimensional formative assessments in the classroom. The ideas I learned in the session as well an an activity for students to engage in formative assessment are outlined.
Formative assessment can be a double edged sword. It can be and often is extremely helpful. Some quick short three or four well worded questions at the beginning of a unit provides information about student abilities. A teacher can skip teaching information that kids already know or the teacher can discover concepts that he or she assumed students know but do not. Formative assessment about "Moles" can provide data that is hard to deal with. Can the students handle scientific notation? How well are students at basic math skills?
Card sorts are a great way to achieve a number of classroom objectives. They can be used as a review activity or they can be done during the middle of a lesson as a type of formative assessment. Sorts can encourage students to work with other students or can even be used as a type of exit ticket. I decided to use the strategy about two thirds of the way through a unit on covalent and ionic compounds and lewis structures. I knew there were items we did not cover in the sort but I was curious to see how they would approach these unknown topics.
Although not a chemistry app, I have been using Classkick(link is external) in my chemistry class strictly as a formative assessment tool and wanted to share the many benefits I have found with it. Classkick is a free app that is currently available through the itunes(link is external)store. I use it with the iPads I have in my classroom. Soon, classkick will be available on other devices besides just the iPad.
It is the time of year that content exams loom large and student stress is high. A few years ago I decided to ditch the typical review packet for something else - an open ended, student led, collaborative concept mapping project and I am never going back to the old way!
I love the periodic table. I love the order, the stories, the trends and patterns, the people who made it. I love how it can be used. I love that it is the ultimate cheat sheet for a scientists or a student taking chemistry. I love the different types of periodic tables that exist. My love for this table is pretty evident.
n teaching we regularly change our class structures and routines and we implement new “interventions” in hopes of changing classroom dynamics or reaching more students. I know that most of the time I make these decisions based upon anecdotal evidence, perhaps after glancing at a handful of exit tickets from my students or based upon how I “felt” the class went. Recently, though, I’m finding myself a little more hesitant when making a claim about my class. I require that my students support their claims with evidence, so why wouldn’t I also support mine with evidence?
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:
In my previous post, I shared the general formatting of the videos I create for my IB Chemistry course within which I utilize the flipped model. Within that blog post, I mentioned that I use Google Forms to collect data about the videos, and I'd like to offer some thoughts on this as a tool with many uses.