Thursday, July 30, 2009

So......I have decided that blogging isn't for me. I really thought all the quirks were out of my blogging at home after the first weeks of class. But now that I went to school and was working on my paper (different computer) and I realized that none of my posts (besides Monday- the one I did while I was in Vermillion) were on the blog. Ugh...I don't understand! I think it just must be my connection at my apartment. Frustrating! But I will try to do a summary of what I had written in the blogs. This may be interesting.....

Tuesday was a fun day. I really enjoyed Darwin's demonstration with the cup trick and soaking up the water. I think students would be very enthused by this. I was really enjoyed the levers lab. I think this is a great way for students to work with different types of levers and calculating mechanical advantages. Just looking at a book and its pictures students may be a little confused where the pivot point is, but when they can play around with them hands on, they just to experience it instead of trying to imagine it. I really could see myself doing this lab with some variations. As for the afternoon, I was very thankful for the time Brenda and I had to work on our project. It was a little frustrating, but it all ended up ok.

Again the demonstrations were great. I LOVE Darla's card lesson on accuracy and precision. This seems a little difficult for the students to remember the terms but I like the way Darla presents them in a fun way. I hope to do this next year. It was neat watching the crystals grow. Also, the afternoon session was filled with great labs. I like the thermometer lab and letting students explore the different efficiencies between the various ones that were made. Then burning food was also very "cool". I think it is a great way to cover laws of conservation of energy and also mass. It is a great way to show converting food energy and heat energy.

I thought John's balloon demo was very fun. I think I would just vary it to taking a balloon outside. But the way he presented it is way more exciting! The food demo was also very fun and informative. Today was full of plenty of explosions, which is also fun. I don't know if I would be brave enough to have any of these demos. But I do think it is very important to have conversations about the dangers of some household products, so maybe even watching movies on explosions over youtube might help get some points across. None-the-less they need to be exposed to this one way or another. Finally to wrap up the day, making wind generators was a great way to explore different variations in a popular energy source.

Again sorry about this.....I thought it was working, but I guess I was wrong.

Thank you Miles, Kathy, and Paul for everything. I really enjoyed the two weeks of class and am excited about the new ideas that I have obtained!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thursday and Friday--overdue

Well, we finished the week with some exciting stuff. There are a few of the ideas that I will use that we went through on Thursday. The presentations on Friday were good. I think these classes are soooo good because of not just the content but also the conversations that we have with other teachers. As a presentation or demo was finished, you would here comments from others about different techniques or extensions that the teacher does in their classroom, or they have seen before. Getting other teacher's websites was also good as the ideas were great too. Hope all of you enjoy the rest of your summer and have a fantastic school year.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thanks to all the teachers in this workshop. I learned so much this week just in the conversations I had with each of you. The demos each of you did were fantastic. Thanks so much to Paul, Cathy and Miles for all your efforts in making this workshop a success.
Everyone's willingness to share and learn was inspiring!
Have a great summer everyone1
Darla VG

Thank you All for a Great Week!

Thanks to Miles for his inspiration (and perspiration), great sense of humor and Paul for his great teaching ideas, help and wonderful all of you for sharing your great talents, experience and teaching ideas. I will post your presentation materials and pictures of this last week, shortly. Have a great rest of the summer and school year and take care of yourselves!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I apologize for not posting regular this week. I have enjoyed meeting everyone and our activities. My favorite activity was the crystals lab we participated in yesterday. There are kits that you can buy at Hobby Lobby and catalogs that have crystals you can grow on rocks in the classroom. I thought this crystal lab could be used for many different activities and enjoyed listening to everyones suggestions.
As I watch and participate in the labs, I reflect on how these labs could be used in the resource room. I would like to teach an overview of material first, before the material is learned in the general education setting. After the students have a bit of knowledge about the subject matter, teach them a lab to present to the general education students about the upcoming subject matter (such as plate tectonics, or mixing solution for the crystals). After the lab the students would continue to participate in the inclusion classroom but would have knowledge of the subject matter already. I believe in presenting and teaching or repeating classroom instruction if at all possible.
I realize that some students would be reluctant to do this lab teaching but I think this could be successful with a good co-teaching relationship with the science teacher.
I also think that the special education teacher could prepare and teach certain labs and material but this information is probably for another class and also depends on the teachers and relationships involved.

As I read through some of the information on Niclola Tesla, I remembered a video I had at Woodfield. If I remember correctly, the video was called, 'Tesla, Master of Lightning'. The video wasn't the most interesting video for at risk students but if I showed this video again, I could pull bits and pieces from it. Nikola Tesla designed the Tesla Coil. This coil is an extremely high voltage transformer. The reason that the Tesla Coil is unique is because it creates powerful electrical fields.

"Snack Tectonics"

The demonstration on plate tectonics that I presented this morning is called "Snack Tectonics". I love using this with students. At Woodfield Center, we had a weather fair and one of the girls used this demonstration with her subject of plate tectonics.

Here are links to this activity. I hope you and other teachers use it and enjoy it!

This link is a question page to the activity.

Thursday's Good Ideas

This morning illustrated why doing or demonstrating something has so much more impact than reading about it. This results in actions taken. I now have a terrific lab for endo/exothermic reactions, plus a sense of being able to explain the chemistry behind the reactions. Blowing corks out of bottles would be an excellent supplement when the four stroke engine is explained. The most enjoyable part of the day is realizing the summary project is done! I really enjoyed collaborating with Gus; PLUS his twelve words per minute typing skills far exceeded my four words.
It takes but one good new idea to make a day worthwhile. Today was highly profitable.