All posts by Vickie

Snowball Game – High School Classroom

I searched on the internet for vocabulary games and combined a few ideas to create this game.

Preparation

you will need a stack of scrap paper, sheet of paper for answers, information you want to review – this can be vocabulary words, Study Guide Questions, Summary Module Questions, etc.

Write the question number and the question on one sheet of scrap paper.   Be sure to write the answer on your answer sheet.  You will want twice the number of snowballs as students.  After all questions have been written on the scrap paper, crumple up the papers and throw them into the middle of the room.

Station students an equal distance away from the snowballs.

Students are to get a snowball, return to their seat, open the paper, write the answer by the question number on their paper, crumple the paper back up and toss the snowball back to the middle of the room.  Then they can leave their seat to repeat the process.  The game continues until one student says they have gotten all the answers.

At the end of play, everyone returns to their seat and we check the answers.  The student with the most correct answers (this is not usually the student who is done first) gets a prize.

BE VIGILANT:  As the game continues, they will open the snowballs in the center of the room to keep from getting a repeat question — the repeating questions are a good equalizer for the students who are not great a memorization.

I have played the game allowing students to use their book and not allowing them to use their books — using the book helps with new concepts while using their memory helps with exam review.

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Family

My father –  rather, the man I called my father – passed away.  My husband went over for their weekly visit and there was no answer at the door or the phone.  When he opened the door to find him “sleeping” on the couch with an ashen face and cold to the touch, all his nightmares came true.  He is glad that I am not the one who opened that door but I know it was hard for him.

People ask if they can bring food — takethemameal.com — great invention.  People ask if there is anything they can do.  I have made those same gestures myself.

But really, what can anyone do?  You are sitting there in a daze and have to keep reminding yourself that you should really be doing something.  But when you pull yourself out of the daze to cancel the payments, the cable, the telephone, notify the landlord and regular things that need to be done..  everyone wants a copy of the death certificate.  You don’t get that for about 10 days.

What do I do for 10 days?  Life goes on but somehow I can’t really participate 100%.  I am really good at Scarlet O’Hara’s “I’ll think about it tomorrow”.   I am scatter brained and hope that I made sense to someone and that I don’t mess stuff up too bad.  I have re-read lots of books, nothing of substance because I just want to lose myself in a fantasy world.

Update your will.

Pre-plan your own funeral.

Hug your loved ones and don’t miss any opportunity to tell them that you love them.

Re-join the world, just a few hours at a time.

 

Module 12

We have a ‘no-class’ week during this module and this module contains a crayfish dissection.  After much deliberation

— dissection in class/at home
— have them work through the module at home & test as scheduled?

For crying out loud, this is a homeschool class.  We are here to learn, not to check of boxes … Test – Check …

Nope, lets have some out-of-the box hands-on learning.  Instead of a regular test, the students will create a model of a crayfish.  If this works as well as the edible cell, they will learn, have fun and get to be creative.

While I was searching the internet for ideas, I came across a web-site with some great illustrations: http://www.uwlax.edu/Biology/Zoo-lab/Lab-8–Arthropods/

We did the dissection in class and it was so much more fun than the worm.  The students were more comfortable dissecting and I had them take pictures instead of make drawings.  Many of the crayfish were in mutilated both intentionally and unintentionally.  At the end of the class I jokingly announced that many of them should take “surgeon” off of their future career list because surgeons do not rip apart bodies or have their specimens fight with each other.

On the lab reports, they included the labeled pictures with their lab report.  I am quite pleased with the outcome of this and will do it for future dissections as well — they seem to have learned so much more.

— update on the crayfish model —

Only a few of the students followed the directions and got a good grade but all of the students were able to identify the parts of a crayfish which was the object of this assignment.  Many of the students did not include the system on the label so I am letting them resubmit the assignment for a better grade (but not full credit).

For the remainder of the module, I gave the class a “Pop-Presentation”.  I had anticipated this being a class grade but had 2 students absent so I gave the students Extra Credit instead.  The directions were:
1.  Select a topic from the rest of the chapter — each topic was about 1/2 to 1 page in the textbook and I wrote their choices on the white board.
2.  Spend 15 minutes, right now – in class, preparing a 2 minute presentation on the topic.
3.   At the end, the Presenter will ask a question about the content of their presentation (example: “does an insect have arms?”) that everyone in the class had to answer, in writing.  The students were told that “If the audience does not know the answer to the question then you have not done a good job with the presentation.”

At the end of 15 minutes, each student got out a piece of paper to write their answers on and the presentations began.

Everyone did a great job with the “Pop-Presentation” and only a few of the questions were really hard or too broad to answer.  In the future, I will give them written directions and read them aloud – not allowing questions until the end — because this was a new concept, they were asking so many questions while I was attempting to give directions.

Module 11 – Earthworm Dissection

I have really been looking forward to dissecting and so I came to class excited! I took quite a bit of time setting up the classroom with some lavender air fresheners, plastic table cloths, paper towels, gloves, hand sanitizer all easily available. — (I even purchased some fun things for the students and called it a “dissection party” LOL)

Each of the students had purchased their own dissection kits. We sent a bulk purchase to hometrainingtools.com and I am a bit disappointed with the way the dissection kit was packaged. Three of the specimens are packaged together so that you have to open the large bag (with the perch inside), remove your specimen and then find some sort of clip to close the bag back up. It really isn’t a huge deal but it would have been so much nicer for the kids just to grab the earthworm specimen and bring it to class.

I also ordered some extra pins from amazon — during my pre-class dissection, I used lots of pins so I could see everything. When the kids had put in a couple of pins, I told them to put the pins in slanted outward so that they could see everything. Some of the specimens were hard to pin back down when the pins were taken out and repositioned because the pins were not carefully removed and the outer skin had torn apart.

The specimens themselves were fine. Since the students ordered their own specimens, I cannot be sure which were new and which were not. Some of the specimens were juicier than others — the juicier ones were much better. Next time I think I will follow the lead of one of my favorite bloggers and purchase the specimens in bulk – pass them out instead of having the students purchase their own.

The students were at 3 different tables (3 per table) with a book at each table. I read the directions to them and walked around making sure they were all doing it correctly. For the most part, they all did a great job.

Things I would improve upon:

1. It would have been helpful to have a parent at each table and I will ask parents to help out for all future dissections.

2. Instead of flashlights, I had purchased some small desk lights from the dollar store — they worked ok but the lighting in the classroom is so much brighter than the lighting in my workspace (my dining-room) so they didn’t really use the lights at all.

3. I referred to the paper models quite a bit when explaining the dissection. I would have a large paper model on a display board so I could show the class what I was talking about.

4. I invited parents to the classroom to take pictures for our yearbook. So far I have only received 3 pictures (all of the same child). I am not sure why I didn’t think to give the parents instructions on what type of pictures I wanted but I will be sure to do that for the next dissection 🙂

Module 11

This module has 4 Labs — 3 are microscope labs and one is the Earthworm Dissection!  (YAY)

For the first class of this module, I had the students work on the first 2 labs — since we only have 4 microscopes and 10 students, the students waiting for microscopes needed something to do.  So, I searched my favorite blogs, googled videos and found some videos for them to watch.  I setup 3 laptops and setup the links to 2 videos per laptop.  Kept the students moving around the room watching videos and doing the labs.

The first video is of Budding in Hydra (30 seconds) :  https://youtu.be/489CSop00sY
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/molecules/transcribe/

The second video is of a Planarian (54 seconds) : https://youtu.be/w0QzSYQGsnA

The third video is of Planarian regenerations- it is about 1/2 way down the page on the right.  It is long but good and gross: http://www.exploratorium.edu/imaging-station/research/planaria/story_planaria1.php

The fourth video is of a Cnidarian (30 seconds): youtu.be/Szt42nG-hGg

The fifth video is very cool — 6:04 but interesting: https://youtu.be/7WJCnC5ebf4

The last video is just for fun — https://youtu.be/2KjNH2_QDVs

The second day of class we completed all of the microscope labs and made a paper model of an earthworm. I purchased the model from teachers-pay-teachers and changed it a bit because I thought the highschool students could be a bit more challenged. I had hoped that the paper model would help them to locate the worm parts during the dissection because it really helped me.