Day 131: Yet Another Shortened Day….

That’s right folks…. only 30 minute classes and an early release for some professional development; the day before Good Friday (so no school for us). Now normally I tend to be critical of our ‘professional development’ on these days. BUT, I was looking forward to this one because we were offered a choice of 8 different breakout sessions put on by colleagues in my building!  Here were the choices:

Meaningful implementation of the College and Career Readiness Report Card – Room 314
In this session, we will discuss the ways that the College and Career Readiness Report Card has been used and how we might make the use of this tool more effective in assessing our students appropriately.
Developing a standards-based scope and sequence – Room 316 (Department Chairs only)
In this session, the English Department chairpersons, will provide a tool that they have developed to assure appropriate implementation of course standards and how the department has engaged in the discussion to refine standards that will be accessed from a departmental perspective
Our process of implementing department-wide re-takes – Room 330
In this session, the Math Department will discuss how they have effectively implemented re-takes to assure students meet the standards before moving on.  Facilitators will discuss struggles on the way to implementing this process department-wide.
Developing benchmarks that are tied to assessments – Room 332
If you missed this session last year, you will have a second chance for the Math Department to discuss the way that they have tied benchmarks to assessment and the growth they have seen in our students.
Grade Less, Accomplish More: Changing the way you (and your students) think about homework – Room 326

In this session, one of our educators will share how replacing “homework” with “practice work” has not only made grading easier, but students more accountable and receptive to completing assignments on time.
Re-taking performance-based summatives – Room 328
In this session, we will provide examples of how you might provide students the opportunities for re-takes on non-traditional, performance-based summative assessments.  If you use labs or projects to assess your students, you may want to attend this session to discuss the process of re-takes using these tools.
Alternatives to traditional assessment – Room 336
In this session, our problem based learning (PBL) team will discuss the tools they use to assess students as alternatives to traditional assessments.
Want to make exemplary rubrics in a short amount of time? -Room 324

Transform your classroom assessments and come learn how to access, edit/revise, and create your own rubrics.  These strategies and online tools will be ideal as we continue to develop our common assessments.
I chose the two options in blue.  Why show all the options? Well besides thinking you might be curious, I am proud that my building provided a chance to get a glimpse into our colleagues rooms… GOOD Professional Development in my mind.  Sign me up for more!
Advanced Physics:
With the 30 minutes available, we worked through a sample conservation of momentum problem as a class.  We used the Pasco Mini-Launcher and Projectile Cather Assembly that attaches onto a cart:
A very typical problem, predict the final velocity (verified with the motion detector shown). The predicted value was 0.190m/s, as shown in the work here (COM Sample Problem (14-15)).  Here is a screen shot of the verification:
Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 12.57.24 PM
Awesome right!
SIDEBAR: Because there was a number of students absent (remember, this was a 3.5 day week and an early release on a Thursday), I made a screen cast of the class solving the problem.  I used QuickTime to do a screen capture.  It occurs to me that I should really be doing this each time we do one of these sample problems regardless if there a a bunch of missing students.  It is easy to do (wish there was a way to show the actual demonstration..) and might be helpful as my students review for finals.  I know I could also use student created screencasts as an alternative method of assessment…. something else to work toward!  Anyway, here is the movie in case you are curious.  Feedback welcomed.
General Physics:
We used the 30 minutes to discuss the four short quantitative problems they were assigned as practice.  After that, we developed (via discussion) that the area trapped by the Hooke’s Law graph (linear Force applied vs. Change in length graph) represents the working done on the spring by the person pulling AND thus the elastic energy.  They are poised to graphically develop mathematical model for elastic energy by plotting the elastic energy as a function of Change in length.

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