I woke up at 5:30 Nashville time (3:30 to my body) to be on the first shuttle to the conference center. But I was excited! Got my awesome goodie bag and immediately attempted to identify my agenda. There were so many awesome talks, it was hard to pick. Below are the talks I attended and my take-aways.
- Cell Phone Physics: Mr. John Clark rocked this presentation with how to introduce the concept of how cell phones work into a physics class, with the emphasis on waves (specifically the doppler effect). Not only did I learn more about how the magical devices function, he also shared an amazing resource, OCTAVE, that is free and similar to Matlab. He then, in passing, mentioned the "Pasta Car Lab". Not gonna lie...this made me excited. Kids build mini cars out of pasta and run them down a ramp, explaining how Newton's 3 laws apply. AWESOME! Over all, great presentation, even if it was 8 am.
- BioInteractive's Free Resources to Teach Math,Statistics,and Data Analysis (HHMI BioInteractive): Paul Strode and Valerie May delivered. Even though the focus was stats in a bio class, I wanted a quick refresher on basic stats. Got what I wanted. Really nice review of standard deviation, standard error, confidence interval and t-test. AMAZING FREE Resources. Check out the LINK.
- NGSS Toolkit Pathway Session: Using a Tool and NGSS Performance Expectations to Plan for Classroom Assessment: Dora Kastel and Jo Topps did a nice job introducing their unique methodology for NGSS curriculum development. This session introduced us to a tool to help consider what evidence of learning is needed to plan for assessments. Though this session wasn't exactly what I thought it would be (I thought it would be focused on the assessment for NGSS), I did get some pointers about unpacking the standards. The method we used to create units of study was different (and I prefer our method), but I can see why they chose this method. Their useful TOOLS can be found here. Tomorrow they have their assessment session, so I might just go back to that one.
- Standards Based Learning: Matt Senese (@MrSenese) and Eric Janshego led us on their journey of how they turned the traditional grading methods to a standards method. They break up their learning as follows: 95% summative assessment, 5% everything else. Students do online portfolios that are not graded (interesting). If students want to do a test retake they have to show their portfolio is complete. Student grades are based on whether the FULLY Met (20 pts), Met (17 pts), Minimally Met (14 pts), Not Yet Met (11 pts) or No Attempt (8 pts). Though I like what they are doing, they are lacking the project component that I feel is an absolute NEED in a science class. I also didn't see evidence of lab notebooks or assessing the LAB/engineering component, but I was unable to stay and ask. Good presentation, engaging presenters, they clearly have a method that works for them....but I still need more time to digest standards based learning...I want to do it...I just need the right tool.