The Dog Ate My Blogpost

It’s been a busy week… umm, month. I was ill. I had lots of other things to do.

All true.

But the end result is still it’s been more than a month since I posted, which is pretty shocking. I suspect colleagues will appreciate my situation when I mention module exams, reports, parents’ evenings and the dreaded ISAs – effectively a bastard crossbreed between coursework and practical exams. Not to mention home stuff… oh, I just did. 🙂 Anyway. Enough babbling.

I’ve got several posts about half-done so I’m taking the logical step of ignoring them all. They will happen – more on what they are in a moment – but for now I’d just like to reflect on the good and bad bits of my week, as far as work and teaching are concerned.

Good Stuff

I’ve had some pretty good lessons – either ideas that worked well or those moments that are both predictable and affirmative, like my Year 7 kids reaction to seeing actual real cells for the first time under a microscope. Also, in no particular order: My Year 11s leaving the lab still arguing with each other about research and clinical uses of stem cells. My Year 9s commenting on each other’s resources according to Bloom’s Taxonomy, after using them for speed dating revision – this was their third ‘perfect’, interruption-free lesson so I now have to bake for them, too. A Bubbl.us printout falling out of a kid’s bag and being told they’ve been using it in other subjects since I showed it to them. Chatting to colleagues and realising that without trying we’ve all shared ideas that can be ‘stolen’. Being told via Twitter that hearing about my lessons was ‘inspirational’ – thanks @cpezaro (Of course, I probably don’t tweet about the less-impressive ones so much). Several kids have told me they’re enjoying the World Book Night freebies I’ve handed out; one says it’s the first book she’s chosen to read since coming to secondary. I lost half a class to a trip and the remainder got a lot out of watching Attenborough, something harder to justify in a regular lesson with ever-looming exams. My 6th form appreciated the link to xkcd I sent out regarding exposure to nuclear radiation; I shall follow it up with this one from Information=Beautiful.

Bad Stuff

I’ve given in with one class who refuse to participate, make suggestions or attempt basic work; the remaining few lessons of content will be covered from the board, with worksheets and textbooks. I’ve failed, in that sense. I can still challenge those who want it, but I can’t fight inertia any more. When we start revision I’ll make them an offer; they can sit at the sides with a book open. I won’t care if they write a single word, learn a  single fact. All they have to do is leave the rest of the class to work with me. Let’s hope they take me up on it.

A bad case of manflu and a cough that makes me sound like Leonard Cohen have meant some creative planning. I’ve had to use textbooks more than I’d prefer, but I suppose it’s given my students practice on comprehension work. I feel guilty that ISA marking pressure has meant some of my classes are being neglected in terms of feedback. (To put this in perspective: 2 classes of 25 students, each of whom produces 2 scripts taking 10 minutes each, means 1000 minutes or over 16 hours of marking.) I’ve been grumpy with my kids because of home stuff, and though I’ve not technically shouted, I probably haven’t been as patient as I normally manage with the muppets among them. And in terms of this blog, I’ve managed not to finish several posts or produce anything. Not only does this make me feel guilty but also I know the comments I get help me clarify my own ideas, a good thing as it’s obviously not financially profitable.

Forthcoming blog posts

  • Sweetie Science as a lunchtime National Science and Engineering Week workshop.
  • fifth post about using the MMR manufacturoversy to teach about science.
  • second and subsequent posts about using blogs in teaching.
  • my response to a discussion on Twitter about a new concept in references for students and other professionals (one of the other viewpoints is here).
  • how we teach all the other subjects in the process of teaching Science.

So which do people want to read first? Let me know and maybe it will get done faster…

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