Monday, October 10, 2016

Coding: The Video Project (Day 37)

Today is a coding Monday, and the students are doing different projects based on grade level. The sixth graders are continuing to learn about cyber safety, while the seventh graders are beginning to code in the computer language Scratch.

As usual, I'll more on the eighth graders on the blog. The class is divided into groups of 4-5, and each group is to create an instructional video of about 2-3 minutes. Here I use the term "instructional" loosely -- for example, one group plans on making a video to teach characters how to escape being tortured in horror movies! The project should last the rest of the trimester. As fun as it may be for you readers to watch the videos, I don't post anything that could identify students here on the blog.

So this will be another Monday post where I talk about other issues on my mind besides math class. I begin by mentioning that at Barnes and Noble, this is Educator Appreciation Week, where teachers get a 25% discount. I decided to purchase The Everything Parent's Guide to Common Core Science: Grades 6-8, by Laurie Bloomfield. This is definitely where I need more information.

Here is the table of contents for Bloomfield's book:

1. What are the Common Core Standards?
2. What are the Next Generation Science Standards?
3. How can you help your child be successful?
4. Writing Science and Technical Subjects
5. Reading in Science
6. The Three Dimensions of Science
7. Matter and Its Interactions
8. Motion and Stability -- Forces and Interactions
9. Energy
10. Waves and Their Applications
11. From Molecules to Organisms -- Structures and Processes
12. Ecosystems -- Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
13. Heredity -- Inheritance and Variation of Traits
14. Biological Evolution -- Unity and Diversity
15. Earth's Place in the Universe
16. Earth's Systems
17. Earth and Human Activity
18. Engineering Design
19. Science Fair Projects

This may seem like an overwhelming amount of science, but we must keep in mind that this covers the NGSS for all three middle school grades. The big problem I have, of course, is that the division of these standards into grades is state-specific. Furthermore, California has a special NGSS test for eighth graders, and so I want to make sure that I'm teaching my eighth graders anything that may appear on that test. One of my school's online curricula mentions California State Standards for eighth grade, and so that website is still my main source for science information.

So far, I've taught two science lessons. The first was on Motion and Forces and so corresponds to Chapter 8 of Bloomfield's book. The other was on the earth, moon, and sun. This appears in Chapter 15 of her book.

Meanwhile, today is the tenth of the month, so here's a link to Elissa Miller. I've mentioned her blog before -- she was a participant in the MTBoS30 challenge in May (and she actually completed all thirty posts)! Well, she also joined the "Day in the Life" challenge, and her monthly posting day is, of course, the tenth.

So far Miller hasn't wriiten her October 10th post. (In May she was the perfect blogger, but October is another story.) Here's a link to an interesting post of hers, dated September 26th:

Miller writes about a time when she was supposed to teach constructions in Geometry, but she didsn't know how to perform the construction! So what did she do?

Admit it. Show room for growth, Use growth mindset on your own set of teaching skills. Explain your old thinking and how that changed or hit an obstacle. Explain your new thinking.

I won't be surprised if there's a point this year -- especially during a science lesson -- where I won't fully understand the material myself. Thanks, Miss Miller, for giving me some pointers on how to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation.

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