No worries: I am still alive! My dear friend, I have so much to tell you! The 2015-2016 school year has come and gone, and there are less than four weeks of summer vacation left before I begin the new 2016-2017 school year. Where do I begin with my news? I’ll start off with some highlights from last year, bullet-journal style.
2015-2016 School Highlights
- Organized an all-day STEM DAY for Grades 6-8 with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s (RPI) Engineering Ambassador Program
- Created and supervised a new elective in which the students attended their first Future Cities Albany Competition
- My elective students and I met former astronaut, Dr. David Hilmers! That’s a photo of my students and I in the Future Cities’ website and article.
- The team won the “2016 Best Green Design Model” award!
- Helped create an all-day inter-curriculum CSI Day for Grades 6-8 with department
- Helped create a half-day STEM competition between Grades 6-7 with the math teacher
- Learned more about Google Apps for Education (GAFE) tools and used them in the classroom with the school’s 1:1 Chromebook program
- Began using Google Classroom in December
- Created a department “Missing Assignment” Google Form with automated parent emails
- Attended EdTechTeam’s Capital Region Google Summit–and had so much fun!
- Implemented the Code Blue unit with Life Science students for the third year in a row, where several amazing parents, who worked in the medical field, volunteered to act as judges and evaluate the students’ Grand Rounds presentations
- Set up and helped evaluate the 4th Grade Intermediate Life Science (ILS) exams
- Set up and proctored the 8th Grade ILS exams for the first time on my own as a teacher
- Taught Regents Living Environment (LE) for the first time, proctored the exams, and helped evaluate other schools’ exams in June.
- I am proud to say that 100% of my Regents LE students earned a score of 84 or higher! Whew!
Other Important News
- This fall, I will begin my seventh year of teaching as the new 8th Grade Physical Science Teacher at a rural public school district.
- I greatly enjoyed my time teaching Grades 6-8 at a private Catholic school, and learned so much about teaching different science subjects (and teaching evolution in a Catholic school setting!). I also loved experimenting with GAFE and web 2.0 tools. I will certainly miss the students and staff!
- After six years of teaching at charter schools and private schools, I am relieved to finally be in a public school setting–one that is also less than a half hour drive from home! Tira tira! (Filipino slang for I can do it! I did it!)
- This fall, I will also officially debut as one of the magazine columnists for NSTA’s Science Scope magazine!
- So, be on the lookout this month for the September issue! I write for the monthly “From the Listservs” column. If you are an NSTA member and subscribe to one or all of the NSTA email listservs, many thanks for your wonderful responses and contributions to my column.
- I have been working for the past four months on these magazine articles, and holy moly! I do not envy my editors and other professional writers their jobs. How do they stay so disciplined with their writing schedules?! I struggle with blogging on a daily basis, so it will be quite an adventure this year to see how I brush off my social media accounts, attempt to blog more frequently, and keep up with the monthly column! Tira tira!
What I’ve Been Up To Lately
- Back last November, Hubby and I moved into a 200-year old farmhouse. This summer has been all about house projects. We practically live at Lowes and Home Depot since we are there every other weekend. So far, we have–
- Repainted the front porch and back patios
- Repainted the gazebo
- Attempted to build a chicken coop and chicken run from scratch
- I have 20 10-week-old chickens living in my sun-room! Building this chicken coop and run has been the bane of my existence. Between Hubby’s knee surgery and rainy weekends, this particular building project is going molasses slow. I can’t wait for it to be finally over and reclaim my sun-room.
- Took up a self-paced Bible study with SheReadsTruth. (Thanks Lisa, @teachwithsoul, for the recommendation!)
- Started to learn and practice creative hand lettering
- Signed up for Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Teacher Work Club Program (#40HTWC)
- Vicki (@coolcatteacher) shared a post on Angela’s “6 Simple Steps to Your Best Summer Ever”, which I read, which led to a free webinar and to the #40HTWC program
- I attended the webinar and was inspired to sign up for the #40HTWC program, which is a year-long professional development program for teachers on how to work smart and more efficiently throughout the school year.
- Completed the July materials, and I’m super excited to be in the classroom throughout August to set up my classroom and organization systems.
- I’m loving the #40HTWC Facebook group for secondary teachers–the topics are on point, and I’m getting so much advice and feedback! Membership is closed for the 2016-2017 year, but if you get a chance to sign up for next year, I recommend you do it! Watch out for some of my blog posts later this year on my personal teacher goals with #40HTWC
- Attended several of Chris Kesler’s free science webinars
- I watched his free webinars on interactive science notebooks, the 5E learning cycle, and student-led stations–all very informative and clearly presented
- I’ve tried interactive science notebooks for two years now; setup and routines has been hard for me to keep consistent, so hopefully this fall I can tweak the system to run more efficiently.
- With the #40HTWC program, my goal is to create a more productive and efficient workspace for my students and myself. With a self-running classroom, I hope to be able to spend more time focusing on…
- building an inquiry-based curriculum
- learning more Next Generation Science Standards and modeling instruction
- and continuing to learn more about GAFE tools
- Entering my seventh year teaching, I have also learned that I need to create parameters around work. I used to think that being a good teacher was about being the first to arrive and the last to leave, but I have learned over time that a good teacher is one who manages time well and includes well-being as a priority. With #40HTWC this year, I hope to…
- make more time for daily exercise
- make healthier food choices
- and make more time for self-care
Hopefully throughout the year I’ll be able to journal about my experiences with #40HTWC, the new school, and new column position. Until then, happy summer!