Thursday, December 4, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Science and Social Studies Unite!

Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Ellisor, Science & Mrs. Elliott-Smith, Social Studies

What are the students doing?  


 



What do you hope students accomplish by completing this activity? 

We want students to become more collaborative thinkers by making connections between the content areas.  The walls of the classroom should not stifle creativity and thinking.  Ultimately, our goal is for students to gain a more meaningful understanding of content by building these connections.

 


How did this activity tie to your standards?

This activity ties content standards from science and social studies together with the Common Core State Standards for listening, speaking, reading, and research.  It also requires students to develop and utilize the Math Practice Standards related to strategic problem solving.  
  
How did this activity promote student learning?


Students are engaged in, empowered by, and connected to their past knowledge and present learning.  Students have to collaborate with each other to solve problems and design ways to creatively present information learned through the research process.  Students have to manage their time well and utilize information learned through both their classroom lessons and through their independent research.​​​​​​​

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Zeis does the Wave!

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Zeis, 8th Grade Science


What are the students doing?  
The students were investigating sound waves by using inquiry to listen and investigate the behavior of sound waves through inquiry.
First, students who played string or wind instruments played in class so that we could investigate amplitude (volume), tone, and pitch (frequency/hertz). Students discussed their observations with the class.

Next students visited several stations around the room in small groups.

At Station One students had a device that they spun around. As it spun, they heard different pitches. Students determined that the movement of waves caused a different pitch. This is the Doppler effect.


At Station Two, students had two different sized glass containers and they had different amounts of water in each. Students had to predict the order of these container from the lowest pitch to the highest when tapped with a metal spoon and then students had to explain their prediction. Next students tested it and explained the results, supporting their findings with evidence. If they had time, students were encouraged to make familiar tunes.


In Station Three students had a tuning fork. Students hit the tuning fork on the counter and placed the vibrating metal into a cup of water. They observed that the water splashed from the waves. This allowed students to visually see the movement of waves.

In Station four, students had a tuning fork, an upside down plastic container and a handful of used staples. Students had to predict what would happen to the staples when the ringing tuning fork lightly touched the plastic container, with the staples on top. Students were able to observe the movement of the staples when this was done. Students were required to explain why this happened.

Station 5- Students had a metal spoon tied to a long string. Students placed the string over their pointer fingers while a partner hit the spoon on the counter and then let it hang. Students had to explain what they felt (vibrations) and why.



What do you hope students accomplish by completing this activity?
A.) Students are expected to understand that waves move energy but not matter as it travels.
B.) Students are expected to understand that waves are energy that are there even if we can't see them.
C.) Students are expected to learn that waves behave differently in a different medium.
D.) Students were expected to start to understand the behavior of waves.
E.) Students learned about wave frequency and volume and what/how it is affected.



How did this activity tie to your standards?
In eighth grade science students are expected to learn about the world around them by inquiring, testing, and analyzing, which they had the opportunity to do in this activity. The received the opportunity to collaborate with peers.
Instructionally, students are expected to understand the behavior of waves, including sound waves, how they work, and what affects them. Students studies the effects of different mediums. Students used simulations and models to explore the wave properties. Students began to explore the concept of amplitude.



How did this activity promote student learning?
This activity promoted student learning because students took ownership of discovery and sharing. They did not know ahead of time what they were looking for. Students were able to test sound and sound is a part of our everyday lives. This created a higher interest in sound as we began studying this portion of our unit which is sound and hearing.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Orchestra Works to Compose Music

Teacher Spotlight: Stacey Dobyns, Orchestra

Students Compose Music

The 7th grade students were using their instruments to come up with the notes to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in D Major. Once they figured out the notes, they put them into the web-based music notation program NoteFlight. It has a neat play-back feature where they can hear their composition played for them. Since these photos were taken, the 7th graders have used this same website to compose their own music. 


 




Thursday, November 6, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Brown 7th Grade Mathematics

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Brown, 7th Grade Math

Rational Numbers Song Project

Mrs. Brown's students are working on a Rational Numbers Song Project using WeVideo.  Let's see what this project is all about.


What are the students doing?  
Students are creating and recording a song based on rational numbers. Some students came up with an original beat and lyrics, while others re-wrote the lyrics to the tune of a popular song. Students recorded their songs and created a video using WeVideo.


 





What do you hope students accomplish by completing this activity?
My hope is that by completing this project, students have found a unique and personalized way to remember the rules for operations with integers, decimals, and fractions. When presented with a problem later in the year, hopefully students will recall their song lyrics. By completing projects such as this, I also hope to instill a love of learning into my students. Often times, students find math difficult, and therefore, do not enjoy it. I want my students to like coming to class. Having my students do something out of the box that showcases their creativity and individuality makes class more fun for them.




How did this activity tie to your standards?
The following standards were covered through the rational number song project:


7.NS.A.1 Apply and extend previous understandings of addition and subtraction to add and subtract rational numbers; represent addition and subtraction on a horizontal or vertical number line diagram.
7.NS.A.2 Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division and of fractions to multiply and divide rational numbers.


How did this activity promote student learning?
This activity encourages collaboration and higher-order thinking skills as students are required to apply what they have learned to teach their topic through a song.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

1st Quarter Collaborations

Media Center Collaborations
Working across grade levels and subject areas to engage students.

Here's a link to the great work happening across our school.  Many thanks to Mrs. Swetnam for creating this look back at the 1st 9 weeks. 

Collaborate and Listen Recap

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Math/Science Mrs. Brice and Mrs. Dissenger

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Brice and Mrs. Dissenger

8th Grade Math and Science: Forces and Motion

     Students in 8th grade science and math classes are having a fun inter-disciplinary study of the forces and motion.  They are using the study of airplanes and flight as a means to help students mastering this concept.  Let's see what Mrs. Brice has to say about this fun interactive learning.



What are the students doing?  

In math the students are measuring and identifying types of angles in order to design their own glider in their science class with the appropriate angle of attack. In science, they are determining the forces acting upon the gliders, how to create lift, and using engineering practices to design their own glider

 What do you hope students accomplish by completing this activity?

The hope is for the students to understand the relationship between the types of angles and their measures on the optimal design of their glider (wing to fuselage relationship). For science, students will learn how engineers test and redesign in order to get a better product/results. They will apply their knowledge of forces and angle of attack to fly their glider farther than anyone else.

 

How did this activity tie to your standards?

 In math, this ties directly to my Geometry standards as the students are learning angles and their relationships. This also reinforces the geometry strand of the 8th grade math standards. In science, this relates to Forces and Motion standards and Science as Inquiry standards.


How did this activity promote student learning?

The students worked collaboratively in math to create complementary and supplementary angles.  The students saw a direct connection between math and science. Mrs. Dissinger and I both brought different discipline - based perspectives to the study of flight and forces and motion. In science students created a glider and tested it. During testing, they made modifications in order to fly their glider into a box. After discussing these modifications and other concepts such as fuselage to wing ratio, students designed and built a new glider. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Nadorff Science

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Nadorff 6th/7th Grade Science

What are the students doing?  
The students had to pick a location within the United States.  Once they chose their area, they had to do daily weather reports and find the high/low temperature, chance of precipitation, wind speed, wind direction and barometric pressure for at least 5 days of weather.  Then they had to predict the weather using their daily weather forecasts for the next 2-3 days.  Once they had their weather predictions, they had to write a script in their groups.  One person was the news anchor, one was the meteorologist and the other was the camera person.  They had to first practice their scripts using we-video on the Chromebooks.  Then students had to present their final rehearsed script in front of the class.  Once students were finished practicing, they got to create a background for their weather video. Once they did their final video take in the library, students edited their videos using we-video and inserted their backgrounds for the video.  Then they uploaded their final videos onto their weather portfolios.  


What do you hope students accomplish by completing this activity?
 I hope that students will understand that it takes a lot of information and data in order predict weather.  I also hope they learn how to have a better stage presence.  Students really enjoyed making their videos and scripts.  Some really took their roles of news anchors and meteorologists seriously, while matching their own personalities with the script.  

How did this activity tie to your standards?
The new science standards involve performance tasks.  Students need to be able to gather weather data, interpret the data, and make weather predictions. This activity involved students gathering weather data, analyzing the data to make predictions.  Then they needed to communicate their results via we-video.   

How did this activity promote student learning?
Students were actively involved in the entire process on collecting data, making predictions and writing their weather scripts.  Everyday the students could not wait until the end of class to continue working on their scripts and videos.  I believe that students learn better by doing, rather than seeing.  Students were so excited to see their ending results using we-video after two weeks of working on gather data, interpreting data, writing scripts, making videos, creating backgrounds and editing their videos.  


Friday, October 3, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Dobyns, Orchestra

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Dobyns Orchestra

Excited today to share with everyone great work happening in our Performing Arts classes.  Let's take a look at what Mrs. Dobyns did to engage and empower her students to have a deeper understanding of her content.

What are the students doing?

The 8th grade orchestra students are learning to play two octave major scales (16 notes). I had 16 volunteers come to the front of the classroom to form a "human scale," where each person represented a note of the scale. They lined up with different spacing between them (some were standing close together) to represent how the notes of the scale are spaced.





What do you hope to accomplish by completing this activity?

My hope is that this activity will help the 8th graders have a better understanding of how their scales are constructed, that will enable them to perform them successfully.


How did this activity tie to your standards?  

Standard 1: The student will sing and perform on instruments a variety of music, alone and with others.
The students perform their scales in class by themselves and as a part of their instrument section.
Standard 4: The student will listen to, describe, analyze, and evaluate music and music performances. 
The students analyzed the picture of the "human scale," noticing the spacing between "notes" and then applied that to their scales.

How did this activity promote student learning?

After seeing the attached pictures, some of the students had an "aha" moment where everything clicked. Seeing themselves up there as the notes made understanding and playing the scale so much easier.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: 8th Grade Science Mrs. Zeis

Teacher Spotlight: Jodi Zeis Two Examples
Twitter @mrszteachesme

Today's spotlight features Mrs. Zeis and her 8th grade Science students.  Let's see what great work these students are doing.

What are the students doing?

The students were on a website that tracks the movement of some mako sharks.  Students collected the data on the screen which showed the travels of a mako shark.  Students calculated the total distance, caluclated the average speed, and graphed this in a time/distance chart.






What do you hope to accomplish by completing this activity?

By completing this activity, students applied their knowledge of finding average speed and graphing into a real world situation.  The sharks are something that they can continue to follow and analyze throughout the year to continue practicing their skills.

How did this activity tie to your standards?  

This activity ties in with our standards by putting into practice the content about average speed, motion, and utilizing a graph to indicate differences in speed.  Additionally, students attend to precision and model with math. Students were requried to determine how to set up the graph and set it up functionally.   As students worked in groups, they collaborated to determine strategies for completing the tasks as they used technology to gather information.

How did this activity promote student learning?

This activity promoted a connection for the students to show how we can utilize our science skills in a real way while creating curiosity not only about sharks, but about how we may track them.  In the future we will be studying how those tracking systems may work.

Lesson Two - Analyzing Speed

What are the students doing?-    
 The students are finding the average speed it takes them to complete specifc tasks (such as walking, running, walking backwards) and are calculating average speed.

 


What do you hope to accomplish by completing this activity?      

By completing this activity, students will master how to find average speed and they will master coverting one metric unit to the other- such as m to cm - when necessary.  Both of these skills tie in to expectations and standards in 8th grade.  Students are expected to apply skills, compare and analyze.  Students had the opportunity to compare data from other groups and determine if accurate data was collected.

How did this activity tie to your standards?  

We are currently learning about forces and motion which encompases identifying distance vs. displacement which was another part of this lab. Students were also creating mini time/distance graphs to compare how something faster or slower appears on a graph.
How did this activity promote student learning?

This activity allowed students to work together to identify how to approach the tasks at hand and create a way to find the answers.  Once students developed a strategy, they practiced utilizing formulas that they learned to find average speed.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BMS Career Day 2014

Careers come alive at BMS Career Day 2014

     This year's edition of Career Day did not disappoint as Ms. Schmitz, CDF, did an excellent job of coordinating this experience for teachers and students.  All across our campus students were able to meet men and women shared their experience and lessons learned in a variety of careers.  We are so grateful to have this type of day for students as this may be the spark that inspires them to go towards a certain career path.  I hope you enjoy checking out our Tweetbeam from the day.  

Career Day   - Tweetbeam Pics

If you're not already be sure to follow us on Twitter: @BMSatRSD2   

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Brown 8th Grade ELA

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Christy Brown 8th Grade ELA



What are the students doing?

The students worked with a partner or small group to research topics that will be covered in our upcoming novel study, Max the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick.  The students researched one of the following topics:  child abuse, Timbuktu, mining, Yellowstone National Park, the Mississippi River, Tai Chi, dyslexia, and owls.   After the students completed their research they created a short video clip detailing what they learned.  

  

What do you hope to accomplish by completing this activity?

My goal behind this activity was two-fold.  First, I wanted my students to complete a short research project.  Second, I wanted to increase my student's background knowledge prior to reading the novel.  I plan to show the video clips to the class when we get to the appropriate section in the novel and allow them to be the experts on their topic.  

How did this activity tie to your standards?  

1.  Conduct short research projects to answer a question.  2.  Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources.  3.  Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.  

How did this activity promote student learning?

Students not only learned to work with their peer(s) they also gained prior knowledge before reading a novel.  This activity taught the students to generate questions about a topic and to gather relevant information about the topic.  In addition to this, the students had to summarize their research in to a short video clip.  


Friday, September 19, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Dissinger 8th Grd. Science

Teacher Spotlight #3: Mrs. Dissinger

What are the students doing?

Students designed and conducted an experiment to investigate the effects of friction on objects.

What do you hope students accomplish by completing this activity?

By doing this lab, students will learn how to use the scientific method to answer a question that they posed. After sharing their data with the class, students have the opportunity to learn from their peers, ask questions of each other, and evaluate the validity of data collected.

How did this activity tie to your standards?

Standards this lesson covers include: 

Math Practice Standards of 1. Model with mathematics, 2. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, 3. Reason abstractly and quantitatively, 4. Use appropriate tools strategically.  

ELA standards include: Research, High level questioning, and supporting claims with evidence.  

Science Standards include: 1. Ask questions and define problems, 2. Plan and conduct investigations, 3. Use mathematical and computational thinking, 4. Construct explanations and design solutions, 5. Engage in scientific argument from evidence, 6. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information, 6. Analyze and interpret data to describe and predict the effects of forces on the speed and direction of an object.

How did this activity promote student learning?

Student learning was promoted as students were engaged in asking testable questions, generating hypotheses, and testing their hypotheses. Because students designed their own experiments, they took ownership of the lesson and came up with original designs. The most important part of doing an experiment is to share the results. Students had the opportunity to do this in class as they explained their data with graphs they created. This allows students to peer critique each other and learn hwo to modify experiments in order to get better results.

         


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Teacher Spotlight: More Great Math Practices

Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Susan Parker 6th/7th Grade Math

In our next addition of Teacher Spotlight we have Ms. Parker who is a part of Team Storm.  They are a split 6th/7th grade team.  In this addition we see how she uses Interactive Notebooks to enhance student learning.

 

The Questions asked:
What the students are doing? 

     An Interactive Notebook is a method to assist students with organization and to develop ownership of their learning. Students take teacher guided notes and conduct their own independent learning in a very methodical manner that incorporates their own creativity.  Students are highlighting key components to successfully completing the Order of Operations. Another students is adding his own personal touches to remembering the correct order to solving an equation.

What you hope they accomplish by this activity?
    My hope is that students will develop an appreciation and have pride in their learning all while unbeknownst to them, they are solidifying the process of solving a problem correctly.

How did this tie to your standards?
     This activity ties to 6th grade math standards in which students are communicating an understanding of math concepts and in this particular case, an understanding and the relationship between integers.
Standard 6-1: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the 
academic standards and accompanying indicators 
through problem solving, reasoning and proof, 
communication, connections and representations. 

Standard 6-2: Through the process standards students will 
demonstrate an understanding of operations on fractions 
and decimals, a beginning understanding of ratio and 
rate, integers, and the use of exponential notation to 
represent whole numbers. 

How did this promote student learning?

     Interactive notebooks promote student learning in such a way where students take pride in what they have learned and their notebook becomes a resource for students to reflect back and review key concepts that have been taught.


Lesson Two

What the students are doing? 
     Students have been learning about different types of numbers and we have spent a lot of time learning about integers (positive and negative numbers), and in particular learning about adding and subtracting integers.  This is a difficult concept for students to learn.  Through the process we have taken notes, learned a rap (some danced), created stories, and real-life ways to remember the "rules" for adding and subtracting integers.  A more creative method is illustrated in the pictures where some students worked in cooperative groups and developed their own visual for remembering the rules for adding and subtracting integers.  A different class worked independently to develop their method of remembering.

What you hope they accomplish by this activity?

    My hope is that by creating their own twist on the various avenues we have practiced, the students will be able to recall their project when dealing with integers.

How did this tie to your standards?

     The sixth grade math standard for understanding integers is covered in this activity.
Standard 6-1: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the 
academic standards and accompanying indicators 
through problem solving, reasoning and proof, 
communication, connections and representations. 

Standard 6-2: Through the process standards students will 
demonstrate an understanding of operations on fractions 
and decimals, a beginning understanding of ratio and 
rate, integers, and the use of exponential notation to 
represent whole numbers. 

How did this promote student learning?
     Students are able to apply their own spin for adding and subtracting integers.  Different learning styles are exhibited in the final products.

Creative Commons License
Make Common Sense Common (MCSC) by Tyler Abernathy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.