Day 111: Tri 2 Reflections

Today was our second day of final exams. While my students work, I’m taking some time to reflect on this term.

AP Physics 1

I’ve been moving a little bit slower than I have in past years, so the week we lost to cold and snow is going to make it tough to squeeze everything in before the exam in May. Looking ahead, I’ve got some ideas to integrate a review of linear mechanics into circular motion and rotation, so I think we’ll be okay, even though I won’t have as much dedicated review as in the past. I feel like I skipped a lot of activities that I did in past years, so I need to think about what slowed down the pace. I think part of the problem is this is the one course where I’m not collaborating with another teacher, which means its the prep I’m the most likely to let slide when I’m crunched for time. I need to make sure I’m managing my time in a way where I stay on top of AP going into the home stretch.

Physics

For the first time, I’ve been generating random groups for students almost daily, and I’ve been very surprised at how effective that’s been. Students tell me they feel like they actually know everyone in the class and I’ve noticed a very strong sense of class community. I need to start expanding the random groups into my other courses.

Chemistry Essentials

I’m continuing to really enjoy co-teaching this course. Its great to have another perspective on how to make the material accessible to the students in this course and even on how to best support individual students who are struggling.

This tri, we did a lot of work on making sure students had a strong conceptual foundation for what they were doing in the class. While we made a lot of good progress, I’ve noticed that while students may be able to connect a particle diagram to a written answer or a calculation, they often struggle to connect their conceptual understanding to the real world. Especially as we move into the second half of the course, which includes a lot of stoichiometry, I’m thinking about what it will look like to help students see how what they are learning relates to things they can actually see or measure.

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