Tuesday, May 6, 2014

One down...
Yesterday, 22 of my AP Psych students took the AP College Board Psychology test. 100 multiple choice questions that they had 70 minutes to answer, and two FRQs where they had 50 minutes. No one came back crying and I could tell that some of them felt very confident. I am so relieved to have this hurtle crossed. We had 15 snow days this winter, so the equivalent to 3 full weeks. I am pressed for time as it is. Losing 3 weeks was really hard to make up. I combined U12 and U13 (Abnormal Psych and Treatment of Psychological Disorders) and had the students write research papers and create presentations on various mental disorders and their treatments to try and cut some corners. It actually worked pretty well. Part of their assignment was to have a handout for the students containing additional information that they didn't have time to elaborate on during their presentation. I was still able to show the documentary, "Dear Zachary" which the kids really responded well to. I hate to say that they "liked" it because no one with half a heart can get any joy or satisfaction from the outcome of that story. But most, if not all, were visibly moved. I had to cram U14 into about 2 days...I hated that because soc psych is "the fun part". If the state were to dissolve into a nuclear puddle, the test would have still been yesterday, May 5 at noon...the amount of snow days didn't matter. It was really hard coming up with ways to "fix" missing 15 days. I had no time in class to prep with my testing kids, so we studied together outside of school for approximately 12 hours...we worked and we worked and we worked. And now we have to wait until the middle of July to get the scores. Ugh. It's over though which means one of my preps is over! That thrills me. I have psych kids for a little while longer, and then 3 weeks of just government kids. 2013-2014 is wrapping up and I'm really looking forward to the summer!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Why Blog?

Why would a teacher use a blog in their teaching?

The first thought that came to my mind was reflection! I am currently seeking my Specialists in Curriculum Design and Instruction. One of the most important concepts I have learned through my courses so far is how to use self assessment and self reflection to become better, and more prepared for the next time the lesson comes around. Before school started, I bought a planner and dedicated the first 15 minutes after the kids left to reflecting on the two preps that I have: What worked? What didn't? What would I do differently next year? In addition to the reflection, taking the time to write my thoughts down ensured that they were cemented and easily found if I wanted or needed to read them again at a later date. I hate to admit that it didn't take long for stacks of papers, deadlines, other pressing needs from within the classroom for my planner to become abandoned :(. One afternoon turned into a week and then weeks turned into months. I haven't written anything since the end of September. The intent was good, perfect even...maybe- but was the method? I am of the generation where we were raised with one foot in the land of paper and pencil with the other foot in the realm of technology. There are some aspects of both my personal life and my career where I prefer using technology, and some where I feel I need to write things on paper for them to "be real". I pay my bills online, but I prefer to have a paper and pencil grocery list. Maybe the method in which I was reflecting needs a different approach.

Psychology isn't an easy subject to teach...technically it is classified as a social studies (which is great, I'm certified to teach any component of Social Studies grades 5-12), but I would argue that it is about 70% Science, 30% Social Studies. There is more Biology than I think even my kids realize...I only have a few resources to use: the Myer's textbook, and the Myer's study guide. I am always looking for some additional sources to help my kids grasp these concepts. Through this lesson, I was guided to go to google and search for an educational blog that inspires me. Jackpot!

It was clear to me right away that Mr. Cantor doesn't use Myers, the scope of his course is very similar to mine (example- Myers combines Sensation and Perception, whereas Mr. Cantor divides them into 2 separate units). He includes notes, pictures, graphs, diagrams, and the gold mine was a link to a website that offers free online psychology courses!


So, what I'm going to work on is navigating Mr. Cantor's blog while using my own to reflect and therefore learn. :)