Tag Archives: blogging

Working on a series of blog posts about lab report feedback

Wow, I have been really bad with blogging lately. No excuses this time.

But I am working on a series of blog posts over at ChemEdX-Change related to giving feedback on lab reports. This is a big emphasis of mine this year as I’ve got a group of seniors in the first year of a new IB Chemistry syllabus. I’d love to see some really high quality lab reports – and I think meaningful feedback could help with that.

The first post is related to the logistics, aka work flow, I’ve created for providing the feedback on student lab reports. Here is the link. The next blog post will be about creating a comment bank to use for the lab reports. I’ve written about that previously here, but I’m re-exploring the idea and trying it again. More on that later.

Until next time, keep it #MintyFresh!

 

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Student Blogging: The endless search for comments

My grade 10 introductory chemistry class has been blogging this spring. It’s been a GREAT experience (introduced briefly here), and I’ll probably share more later on the experience.

One part of blogging that I didn’t realize would be so onerous was finding an audience for the student blogs. There are quite a few people in the educational world that highlight the authenticity of blogs, as students write for an audience beyond the walls of the classroom. And while I agree with this, what is difficult is finding that audience. I have struggled to find people that will consistently engage with my students and their writing. There have been a few individuals that have done so, and I’ve tried to thank them through Twitter. But we’re all busy, so finding time to comment is difficult.

I’ve used #comments4kids to publicize the student writing, and that has generated some comments. I’ve RTed student tweets looking for comments. I’ve sent tweets to specific individuals, generating a small uptick in activity, only to be followed by a lull. I’ve had students tweet repeatedly asking for feedback, only to get none (one student in particular comes to mind, as she’s written some great posts worthy of a larger audience). Any time my students have received comments, they’ve been thrilled.

And this brings me to the purpose of this post: To ask for help!

First, if you have time, please read and comment on the blogs (linked here for a list of each student blog, and here for posts about an inquiry lab, and here for their final assessed blog post).

Second, if you have any practical suggestions (beyond what I’ve mentioned above) for increasing the readership of the student blogs, let me know!

Third, if you have some student blogs you’d like others to read, let me know. I’m happy to spend a bit of time giving back to other blogs in an effort to ‘pay it forward’ so to speak.

 

 

Thanks.

Lowell

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An experiment with blogging in a grade 10 chemistry class (Part 1)

I just realized that I should discuss (although only briefly today, as I’ve got tests to mark and videos to make!) something new I’m trying this year with one of my chemistry classes: The class blog.

Find our chemistry class blog here: http://aisbchemblog.wordpress.com.

I am the author of the posts, but I have a link to “Student Blogs” that will take you to the list of student blogs from the class. For now, I’ve only had them complete one formal blog post (but a few students have posted on their own). This first post relates to our reading of The Case of the Frozen Addicts (discussed here on ChemEdX) and is simply a summary of the first few chapters, questions inspired by the text and a response to the reading. I didn’t do any proof-reading, but overall I was very pleased with the outcome.

The second blog post is in the draft stages. For this one, I gave the students a bit more leeway to decide on their own topic. It’s expected to be about Frozen Addicts, but the format is more open. On my class blog I gave them an exemplar blog post just to give them some idea of what it could look like. In retrospect, before I started blogging with the students, I think I could have taken some time to have students look at other blogs out there to get some ideas on formatting and content. (To that end, two teachers that have inspired me to delve into blogging are part of my Twitter PLN. I’d like to give them a hat-tip here: @OChemPrep and @VirtualGardner. They’re good for a #FF recommendation and some great ideas.)

I will keep you posted as blog posts develop from the students. Thus far, it’s been a great experience that I only expect to get better.

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A new place for my ideas

I might be slowing down a bit on my blogging here because of a new opportunity. I recently joined as a contributor to the ChemEd X-Change. ChemEd X serves as a bit of a clearinghouse for ideas related to the study and teaching of chemistry. It is focused mostly on the pre-college and 2-year college levels. As a high school – and IB – chemistry teacher, I’ve used this resource for a while to find ideas. I signed up for the email notifications of any new posts. These have included lab ideas, safety discussions and other issues related to the teaching of chemistry. It’s one of my go-to places for resources specific to chemistry.

The front page - and description - for the ChemEd X-Change.

The front page – and description – for the ChemEd X-Change.

 

In late December, I got contacted by Deanna Cullen about joining the team at ChemEdX as a contributor. Of course I was thrilled for this opportunity. My first post was published about a week ago and explains my route to the team and the role social media plays in my life as a teacher. You can find the post here: Social media brought me here.

I’ll be posting at ChemEd X on topics that are specific to chemistry – and my use of technology in my teaching. I’ll still likely post here occasionally about general topics, as I like to use this blog in a reflective capacity  – a task my ChemEd X contributions aren’t really suited for currently.

 

Until next time.

Lowell

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Thoughts on blogging

I’ve been contemplating a ‘professional’ blog for quite some time. A few years ago, I was inspired by some folks I met at ETC in Kuala Lumpur, and have been trying to successfully integrate technology into my teaching ever since. OK, that’s not true. I was actually inspired long before that by Tim Renz, biology teacher at Foster High School in Tukwila, Washington. (http://renz.fosterscience.com) He and I worked together for a number of years, and we started making class websites together. Initially, they were just a repository for class documents and PowerPoints. Then we started using the Catalyst Tools from the University of Washington, and that transformed how we used our websites and the internet. Then I moved overseas to Thailand and started to use Moodle as a CMS. I had to host and administer my own site. (Pain in the butt!) It worked, until my site got hacked. So I completely rebuilt the site, making it better – and losing some stuff along the way.

Now I’m teaching IB Chemistry at the American International School of Bucharest. We have Moodle here as well, but I don’t feel I’m using it to the fullest. I’ve contemplated a flipped classroom for a while. A few weeks ago, I found some great resources from other teachers that are teaching with the flipped class model.

I’m intrigued by this model, because I feel one of my weaknesses as a teacher is that I don’t get out into the room and interact enough with my students, letting them come to me with questions. If/when I flip my class, my goal will be to do more circulating, and thus more teaching

Anyway, it’s Friday and my grades are due Monday. So you won’t be hearing from me for a while. But I’ll try to post along the way.

Cheers.
Lowell

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