Engineering Design Challenge - Part 2!


Hi!

Three weeks in a row with posting Vlog posts - I am on a roll!  I hope you are enjoying the "play-by-play" content from my classroom.  I am still working on my video editing skills, but I'm getting there. 

In this week's video you will see the second half of my engineering design challenge.  You will get a glimpse of my assessment strategies, the documents I provided to my students, and the materials I purchased for students to construct their prototypes.

I hope you enjoy the video.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment here.  Enjoy!




Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

Engineering Design Challenge - Part I

Hi!

This week I decided to take a break from posting about student buy-in, and put more of a focus on my lessons for the week.  In this vlog post I invite you into my classroom where you'll find information on my use of something I call "unit menus" and how I begin my engineering project.  Both are incredibly engaging ways for students to take ownership over their learning.  Part II will be recorded next week, so to be continued...

Enjoy!



Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

One small change to improve the student-centered learning environment - Homogeneous grouping

Hello!

I hope those of you coming back from spring break are feeling well rested and ready to finish out the year with your students.  This new Vlog post identifies one small change that can make a huge difference in your student-centered learning environment.  Not only has this made a difference in the students' interactions with each other, but it has tremendously helped with their understanding of the behaviors necessary to be successful in student-centered classrooms.  Enjoy!



Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

A new series of videos - Promoting student buy-in

Hi!

It is April, and as the end of the school year draws near, I finally had some time to sit and reflect on my next steps to bring you quality content.  Initially, I started my blog and YouTube channel to keep you up to date with the products I post to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  While I will continue to do that, I think it is equally important for me to share my struggles with transitioning from a "chalk and talk" teacher, to creating a more student-centered classroom environment.  Please enjoy this vlog post that will update you on the new goals for my YouTube channel.  As always, I welcome any questions or feedback!



Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

Constructing Explanations for Phenomena + a FREEBIE

Hello!

I hope you are having a wonderful month of November with your students.  I wanted to take a moment to tell you about how I have been incorporating phenomena into my chemistry classroom.  Please view my vlog post on how I started my unit on periodic trends.



You can find a link to the freebie in the video description.  Enjoy!





Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

Update to Floating Teacher Blog Post

Hi!

I was at school yesterday getting ready for the year and I thought I would make a video of the other items I did not mention and have added to my cart since my last blog post.  Enjoy!


Wishing you and your students a wonderful new (school) year!



Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

Floating teacher? Helpful tips to keep your sanity when teaching in more than one classroom.

Hi again!

If you are back to school already, I sure hope you started the year off on a great foot.  For those of us who head back after Labor Day, I hope you are enjoying these last days of summer.

Three summers ago, I made the decision to change jobs and begin teaching chemistry at another high school.  Looking back, it was very scary to leave my tenured position, but in the end it was the best professional decision I ever made.  Deciding to leave was easy, but it was hard making my decision of which school to go to because I was offered two positions; one where I would have my own classroom and one where I would be moving from room to room.  I went with my gut, and chose the school that I felt would nurture my talents and help me grow as a teacher.   Today I am far more competent with student-centered learning and have grown to be very well versed in the Next Generation Science Standards.

So for those of you who are starting the school year at a new school, without having your own classroom - this post is for you.

Yes, moving a cart from classroom to classroom can be a complete drag (get it?), but here are some positives that come with being a "floating teacher":

#1 - You don't have to set up a classroom for the first day of school.  I remember spending weeks in the summer unpacking my room to make sure I was ready for the year.  One day of professional development simply wasn't enough to put everything back where it was in June.  (Same is true for packing up your room for summer vacay!)

#2 - Collaboration is so much easier when you go into your colleagues' classrooms.  I love being on a cart for the simple fact that I get to collaborate with my colleagues more.  I get to see in action what they are doing in their classrooms and share materials.  It truly has helped me keep better pace and has cut my planning time significantly.

#3 - Teacher clutter is at a minimum.  Every year I spend so much money on supplies.  Between my Expo markers, whiteboards, cleaners, post-its, etc. it's no wonder my former classroom was so filled with stuff.  Not only does being on a cart force you to be selective as far as what you bring with you from class to class, but it also causes you to stop buying that cutesy stuff from Target.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you stay organized on the go:

First and foremost, you will need a great cart with at least two shelves.  I absolutely adore this cart I purchased from Amazon.  It's so sturdy and the wheels move in all directions making for easy
transport.  Truthfully, I loved it so much I got a second one last year so I could transport my large white boards and lab equipment on it.  Totally worth the investment - and if you live in New Jersey it is tax-deductible.

Second, you may wonder what exactly I have on my cart to keep me organized.  The first thing I cannot stress enough is getting a file sized plastic bin capable of holding file folders.  I organized my hanging folders by the classes I am teaching.  So this year I have both college prep and honors chemistry.  I put a set of file folders in each hanging folder for each day of the week.  I instruct my students to get the work that was missed from the file folder for that particular day.  If possible, I put any materials I copy in advance in the subsequent folders.  This strategy works for me, but I have seen other teachers use accordion folders instead.  I don't find those as sturdy though, so I don't use them.

A third tip to keep you organized is to have a bin on your cart where the daily warm up will go.  I call my warm ups do nows.  I use a letter-sized stack able bin (shown in the picture above, on the bottom shelf) and I made a sign that says "Do Now Assignment."  The kids always know to get their assignment from there at the start of each class period.  It also helps give me a few extra minutes to get my activity set up for the day.

You may be wondering if I allow my students to use the materials on my cart - and yes I do.  I tell them that they are encouraged to use my stapler, hole punch, or my awesome USB powered pencil sharpener.  I also place a cup filled with miscellaneous pens or pencils for students to use.  Another thing I find helpful is to use little containers for things like rubber bands, stickers, and paperclips.  The rubber bands are especially helpful when students forget their hair ties during labs (pictured on the right side).

To give my cart some more pizzazz I purchased that "DO YOUR BEST" light box.  I actually like this one a bit better because you can change what you want it to say.  I'll be putting that on my Christmas list!

Here are some items that are not pictured that I have recently added to my cart:

  • Bathroom sign out sheet
  • USB pencil sharpener
  • Clipboard for checking homework (usually placed in the back of the big plastic bin)
  • A pair of safety goggles
  • Document camera (this thing is amazing - it's so teeny tiny!)
  • Tissues
  • My classroom information binder
I'm also thinking about adding some growth mindset quotes to my cart since that is one thing I am trying to focus on this year.

I truly hope this post has given you some inspiration as you prepare to teach from a cart this year.  It won't be easy, but staying organized and planning ahead will make your travels from room to room much more bearable.  

Wishing you a wonderful school year with your new scientists!




Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

Back to school, back to (NGSS) lesson planning + GIVEAWAYS!


With the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in full swing in my district, I thought it would most helpful to share how I plan my lessons to coincide with its three-dimensional learning requirements.

DCIs, CCCs, SEPs, oh my! So many acronyms, it is no wonder most teachers do not know where to start. But my hope is that this blog post will help you to not only make sense of the meaning of these, but also give you some idea of the process I use to devise an NGSS-aligned lesson.

The DCIs are most similar to the science content that your students need to know, therefore this is the first place I begin my lesson planning. I start here because if you do not know what science content to teach, it is impossible to plan for the science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts the students will use to learn this content. Here is an example of a DCI that I teach to in my atomic structure unit:

“PS 1.A - Each atom has a charged substructure consisting of a nucleus, which is made of protons and neutrons, surrounded by electrons.”
 
Some DCIs may need to be broken down into smaller lesson objectives, for example the previous DCI could include lesson objectives for both learning about the history of the atom, ions, isotopes, and atomic mass. However, it is important to note that the NGSS now focuses on depth and not breadth. While it is important to paint an accurate picture of atomic structure, that can be done without necessarily teaching every single concept that the DCI may describe. Ideally, the students would be engaging in their own research and Q/A to uncover these concepts.

Which brings me to the second step in my lesson planning: selecting the crosscutting concepts. When you look at the DCI you must ask yourself, “what theme present in all of science can be used by your students to make sense of this content?” For example, if you are teaching about isotopes – patterns, structure and function, even stability and change are appropriate CCCs.

The final step in my lesson planning for an NGSS-aligned lesson causes me to ask myself, “how can my students act like scientists while learning this content?” Whenever possible I try to introduce a new unit by using some sort of phenomenon. For example, to teach about atomic structure I introduced the unit by using static electricity. Students constructed models, analyzed data they gathered from a simulation, and evaluated and revised their models based on observing the models constructed by their peers. When I am unsure what SEPs to include, I always try to plan my lesson around data – either data that I construct for the students, or data that the students compile. I have found this is the easiest way to ensure my lesson incorporates some sort of SEP and CCC.

Thanks so much for reading! I wish you the best of luck as we head into our second year of NGSS implementation. Please be on the lookout for more NGSS aligned lessons in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

To celebrate back to school time enter to win one of three $25.00 shopping sprees in my store:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet my friends and enter their personal giveaways!
Here are my secret words #5&6 “a person”
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

Secondary Science BTS Giveaway 2016!


Today is your lucky day!

Me and some of my friends who happen to be THE TOP secondary science sellers on Teachers Pay Teachers are having a HUGE giveaway!   The first giveaway is a Rafflecopter to MY store.  You can win 25$ worth of products of your choosing.  I will email the winner their choices directly.

Maybe you're looking for a more fun way to review - try my color by number bundle!  Need some help establishing your classroom policies and procedures?  This First Days of School bundle is completely editable to fit your classroom needs.  Or you could try one of my completely print ready unit bundles - bell ringers, power points, student note sheets, homework assignments, AND answer keys are all included!
 
  

Click below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

After you enter my rafflecopter, check out each blog at the bottom of this post to go to each blog and enter their individual rafflecopter giveaways.

In addition to our individual giveaways, we put together one HUGE blog hop giveaway, just for science teachers teaching grades 6-12 science: Four $100 Teachers Pay Teachers gift cards!  Each blog post has a secret code word and a number.  My clue word is 16. TYSON.  The number tells you where the word falls in the secret sentence.  Collect the words from each blog, write them down in number order, and copy the secret sentence into joint the rafflecopter giveaway.  This rafflecopter form is the same on every blog, so you only need to enter once from any one of our blogs!  To enter the final sentence click below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Meet my friends (and enter their personal giveaways!):





Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

TPT Cyber Sale - Monday - Tuesday


Great news!  The Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale is coming up!  Get ready for 28% off ALL of the products I have in my store when you use the code "SMILE" at checkout.  It's a great time to stock up on all the lesson plans you will need to keep you fully planned and prepped through the holidays!

Looking to spice up how you review some of the basic scientific concepts?  Try my color by numbers - I'm sure your students will love them just as much as mine do!


Midterms will be here before you know it!  Do you have your review packet AND answer key ready?  Lord knows the copy machine will break down without fail the week you need to make those copies.  Why not save yourself the stress and use mine - and actually copy it weeks before you are scheduled to review?

Want more sale updates and FREEBIE surprises?  *Hint, hint - there's one coming VERY SOON* Follow me here or on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MsRazzChemClass



Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

Happy Mole Day!

To celebrate, enjoy 20% off my Teachers Pay Teachers store (MsRazz ChemClass) for the entire day on October 23rd!  That's 20% EVERYTHING in my store!  Certainly, there is no better way to honor Amedeo Avogadro than to pack your TpT cart with quality science resources.

Major shout out to Bethany Lau for this awesome graphic she's sharing with all the secondary science sellers involved in this sale!  Be sure to click on the link to stop by her blog to see all the sellers involved in this sale.

Best wishes for a totally awesome Mole Day with your little chemists!

Karen (MsRazz ChemClass)








Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

Neapod: A Fabulous Tool for the Science Classroom

Hello  again!

I hope you are settling into your school year nicely and you are ready to add some exciting technology into your daily drills!

Currently I work in a 1:1 district - all students have chromebooks.  In the past, I've had to work hard to incorporate a technology component into each chemistry lesson.  However, with Nearpod - it has truly made planning and assessing my classes so much easier.

Most of the time, my students' days start out with a 5-10 question quiz.  Usually these assessments are formative in nature, but after a couple of days reviewing the content, I do convert the grade earned into points.  Nearpod has been an absolutely amazing tool for assessing my students and assessing them often!  When the students enter my classroom I post an access link on the overhead.  The students immediately get their Chromebooks out (or cell phones if they forget their Chromebook) and plug in the code.  I can see how many students are logged on in real time.  Students can record their answers in the form of multiple choice, short answer, or even draw a diagram!  You can even see which questions they are answering incorrectly.  But that's not all - Nearpod can even grade your multiple choice assessments for you, and once everyone has completed the questions, you can share the results with each individual student!  Immediate feedback!  My students love it because it really helps them gauge if they understand the material or not.  I love it because it takes minimal effort to make a quiz and it does the grading for you!
An actual printout of my student's assessment data.  The subsequent pages are not included - but they display the answer choices for each multiple choice question for each student.

I've also been exploring the use of Nearpod for flipping my classroom.  Any Nearpod presentation can be converted into a homework assignment for students to do before they come to class the next day.  It is so easy to create a presentation!  You can directly import any Power Point into Nearpod!  Then to "Nearpod-ize it" I place little check point quizzes throughout the presentation for the students to answer.  It really holds them accountable.  And of course the opposite is true, you could broadcast your Nearpod in real time with your students, instead of assigning it as homework.  I haven't used that feature too much, because I am focusing on flipping my classroom.  Want to see the most recent homework I assigned to my students?

Follow these steps:
  1. Go to www.nearpod.com
  2. Click "I'm a student"
  3. Type in the access code: GOCPV
  4. Click the arrows on the left and right to scroll through the presentation.  Feel free to even take my quizzes!  :)
Getting ready to implement NGSS?  The drawing feature can address any model building standards or even arriving to a consensus.  You can anonymously share student models and discuss the inaccuracies in each model.   I recently had the students draw heating curves for water.  We were able to address the components of a good graph and alleviate any misconceptions or inaccuracies.  It was perfect!

Now for some really good news:  You can use Nearpod for FREE!  You have most of the features available in the free version.  I'm telling you though, once you start, you won't be able to stop!  Even your students will keep asking for more!

If you have any questions about how to use Nearpod or suggestions for use, never hesitate to reach out to me.

Happy Teaching!



Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

Part III - Fundamental 5 - Recognize and Reinforce and Writing Critically

Welcome back!

This is my final book review post on the Fundamental 5.  If you would like to read the two previous blog posts, please click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.  So, I've had a little less than three weeks to get to know my classes this year, and I can tell you that the Fundamental 5 has truly transformed me as a teacher.  Today, I will discuss the last two components for implementation in your classrooms.

So often, only the highest achieving students are recognized for their academic successes.  The chapter "Recognize and Reinforce" not only emphasizes the importance of recognizing the journey to success, but also how to keep these positive  behaviors occurring on a regular basis.  The authors of the Fundamental 5 cite research conducted by Marzano on the integral part of recognizing effort and the impact it has on student achievement.  On a more personal note in my classroom, I often emphasize the importance of "grit."  I love this TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth to help understand the power of grit.

Not only should we praise our students for their efforts, it is important to have the praise be both personal and specific.  For example, just yesterday I was trying to roll a cart full of lab materials out of my classroom and into the hallway.  Two students could see I was struggling to open the door and push the cart at the same time.  One of the students held the door for me.  It was a very kind gesture, and even though I didn't know the student's name, I was sure to turn to him and thank him for holding the door.  Instead of simply just saying "good job,"  or "thanks" I praised the behavior by name (specificity) and looked directly at the student (personalization).  This simple act of acknowledgement not only will promote this positive behavior from occurring again, but his friend that was walking with him would also be more likely to repeat the same behavior in the future.

The final chapter in the Fundamental 5 entitled, "Write Critically" takes us through the importance of writing as an integral part of the classroom culture.  Through writing, students can construct meaning and purpose to the content learned.  Writing critically can occur in a variety of ways including: lists, comparisons, mind maps, exit tickets, etc.  No longer does writing critically simply encompass essay writing.  According to the authors, the critical writing that takes place in your classroom must have the intent of creating abstract thoughts into concrete understandings.  The very act of students writing critically about a concept can quickly transform a typical "chalk and talk" lesson into student-centered learning.  Furthermore, the rigor of the lesson is immediately raised due to student reflection and it allows for a great formative assessment if the writing pieces are collected and reviewed by the teacher.

It is my hope you have truly enjoyed my book review of the Fundamental 5.  In the last three weeks I have been working hard to implement all practices on a daily basis.  Not only have I seen quite an increase in student respect, but it has allowed my students to feel empowered to do well.  It has truly made me think about how to transform my teaching and to make my classroom a fantastic learning environment for all students.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it!

Happy teaching!



Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.