Mid-Year Reflections

concept map

It’s the end of one semester and the beginning of another. Final exam week. For the first time in my teaching career, I had my grades caught up and posted prior to the beginning of final exams. This gave me time to reflect and plan ahead.

Here are some highlights of the fall semester:

  • More frequent utilization of Google Classroom for warm-ups, lab reports, and blended lessons.

  • The introduction of Gizmos activities.

  • Updated Nuclear Chemistry unit with NGSS focus.

  • Updated Chemical Reactions unit with NGSS focus and Gizmos lessons.

  • Updated Physical Properties unit with Gizmos and Target Inquiry activities.

  • Abstract accepted for 2017 MACUL Conference in Detroit, MI.

  • Mentored a pre-intern from Western Michigan University.

  • Concept Mapping for final exam review.

Projections for the spring semester:

  • Update my Google Site to be more user-friendly.

  • Mentor another pre-intern from Western Michigan University.

  • Continue frequent use of Google Classroom including daily agenda that was introduced in December. As part of my district’s recently adopted 5D+ evaluation model, I set out to have a Google Doc displayed in each class that displayed the Learning Target(s), Performance Task(s), and Success Criteria, in addition to the agenda and relevant warm-ups.

  • More warm-ups!

  • Continue blended lessons where appropriate.

Questions to figure out before next semester:

  • During the Relative Reactivities of Metals lab in our Chemical Reactions unit in December, students mixed Zn metal with aqueous Zn(NO3)2. Several students observed what appeared to be a black precipitate forming in the aqueous layer. I performed the experiment and observed a similar result. My hypothesis is that the Zn metal strip had not been polished with steel wool to remove the oxidized layer on the surface. It is possible that this layer was being “washed” off the metal’s surface and presented itself as a black precipitate. I will revisit this next semester. What are your thoughts?