Day 112: mini-THON


Finally, after months of planning, our first ever mini-THON is tonight. Hundreds of students wore their mini-THON shirts today. Our goal of $10K has been exceeded, by how much we don’t find out until 6 am tomorrow morning. All of this goes to benefit the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center. High school miniTHONs contribute over 2 million dollars to the $13 million that is raised by the students at Penn State.

UPDATE: Total was $28,284.29. Wow!

Day 111: pH Lab


Today the IS II students were introduced to pH. We discussed properties of acids and bases and they used litmus paper to determine whether household items were acids or bases and then universal indicator paper to pinpoint the pH. Most enjoyed the activity and many had never used or heard of litmus paper.


Day 110: Borax Crystals


Students in IS I investigated solubility and grew sodium borate crystals by preparing supersaturated solutions using borax. Crystals were grown on pipe cleaners that students made into interesting shapes (lots of hearts). Students compared the crystals to NaCl crystals. This student’s first language is Arabic and he was able to confirm that the word “borax” comes from “buraq” Arabic for white!

Day 109: Retaking Assessments


Students of mine can retake nearly all assessments (midterms and finals excluded) in my modified SBL classroom. The managing of this has been OK but I wanted to try something new and perhaps encourage more students to take advantage of this. Someone (can’t remember who) on my PLN mentioned using a Google form, so today I rolled out the new way for students to schedule a retake. QR codes are all over the room and will be on any subsequent assessment that can be redone. The link to the form is also on the class Moodle.

Screen shot 2014-02-26 at 6.26.34 AM

The hallmark of the form is the last part. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Screen shot 2014-02-26 at 6.26.55 AM

Day 108: “Student Requests Whiteboard for Quiz”


The title for Day 108 reads like a headline and it should. Extra, extra read all about it! Student uses whiteboard during a summative assessment! I was thrilled to have a student ask if she could use a whiteboard for a 2D Motion quiz. She told me she finds it easier to see the big picture and likes to script out the problems and diagrams on the whiteboard first. Winning!

Day 107: MiniTHON


For the Kids (FTK) is the ongoing theme for the Four Diamonds Fund. This weekend is “the” THON at Penn State where dancers spend 46 hours on their feet to raise over $12,000,000. Our HS is participating in its first ever MiniTHON on February 28th. Ours is an 8 hour overnight affair and student council has been planning all year for this. Our goall is $10K. As one of its two advisers, it has been learning experience. You can follow us @YSHSMiniTHON on Twitter and we have our own Facebook page.IMG_3806

Day 106: Periodic Prototypes


I made a prototype of a periodic “square” for outside my classroom. I have had this idea forever and finally am acting on it. We have nine science teachers and I want students in our painting classes (and/or National Art Honor Society) to help make these. Each teacher’s last name works well with an element (Whiteley = Tungsten, Foy = Fluorine, Idgunji = Iodine, Braun = Bromine, etc.). I’d like them to be colorful and vibrant and something the students can relate to as well. I’ll update when they are finished. (Note metric “growth” chart on wall).