Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Beginning of a new year-same old stuff?

Well, we are starting a new year, I say we because I am including all of my students also. It always seems that we forget that the students are an integral part of the class and will ultimately determine if the class goes well or not. I have told my students repeatedly that I am replaceable. The teacher matters little in their education. One student will achieve an A and another in the same class will get an F. Therefore, it is not the teahcer that determines how well the student does, but rather the student themselves. Now this is not to say that the teacher has no role, but rather it is their job to motivate and pique interest in the subject matter. That said, I am really going to push responsibility on the students. I believe that this is the most important thing to learn as a high school student. I am not accepting late papers, I am accepting all papers. I truely believe that it is the student's responsibility to do every meaningful assignment that I assign. Therefore, I am not taking any excuses, all assignments will be done, either on time, or at the end of the year, albeit with some points off. I think school and society have become to complacent in accepting failure, or the lack of effort. Hopefully this will not happen in my class.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Time and Google Earth

It just seems that we do not have for anything. Today after listening to Mike Porter's presentation on Google Earth, I realized that it could be used for so much more than finding my house. I would love to do a travelog of Darwin's travels to the Galapagos using Google Earth, supplemented with pictures of the various finches and other animals that he discovered. Also the whole Ebola or Avian flu outbreaks to be traced would be great. However I just do not see how I can put in the time to make them. Would it be possible to have students do these types of presentations for independent studies? Give them ideas of what we are looking for and let them create. I believe that these types of presentations, where they are actually seeing it rather than reading it would be fantastic, and enjoyable. I think that they have the time to do it, it would be used throughout the world and they should recieve credit for it. Do high school students really have anything tangible that they walk away from school with? I am thinking about doing a long term project like this in summer school.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Job Hiring

I was just thinking of school hirings for teachers. Basically it comes down to who we think the best fit is for our school. I keep wondering, what was it that they saw in me that prompted them to hire me? Yes, I graduated from college, happened to be a coach, and teach science. Hopefully I was qualified, however, I had never taught before and was straight out of student teaching. So, was I hired because they saw the potential?, the commitment?, or was I hired because I was an Arapahoe graduate? I would hope that it was not just because I walked these halls as a student, but upon my other merits that I was judged. It would be nice to have the ability to hear other peoples thoughts, every once in a while.


Private vs. Public

My wife attend a private catholic school and wants to send our daughter there too. I am very comfortable in the Littleton Public Schools system, and since I am a teacher, does it not look bad if I am sending my kids to another school? How can I convince her that LPS is just as good if not better than a catholic education?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


545 5-3

I talked to Cara today about the Newsweek article that ranks high schools according to how many students take AP tests and IB Tests per graduating student population. AHS was nowhere to be found. The top schools in Colorado were Lakewood and George Washington. So how did they come to these high rankings of mediocre schools (in my mind). Well let's say that 50% of the population drops out before graduation and of the half remaining, 50% take AP tests or IB tests, therefore that school would have a great ranking, As compared to Arapahoe with 500 graduates taking 300 Ap tests. So does someone that is moving to Colorado look at this and try to get their child into Lakewood or GW as opposed to Arapahoe? Are we seeing a shift in more and more students taking AP tests, not to get college credit, but rather because the administration wants more students to take tests, not pass them, because it would look better in this national ranking of schools?

Monday, April 10, 2006



Jessie Craig and I went to the national science teacher's Association confernce last Thursday through Saturday. Although the majority of of presentations and workshops were science in nature, there were some that were on technology. Sadly, the technology session was very lacking. The presenters talked about different systems that they use to try to get a large class to interact with the teacher. They however did not show any of the technology and just assumed that we new what it was that they were taling about. The only technology that I recognized was the clickers. It seems that the majority of speakers either are great research scientists that have great information but cannot get those ideas across, or they are great teachers and presenters, but lack in content. I believe that it is very hard to have both.
I also went to a workshop that was put on by a research institute that was trying to compile different sources on evolution into one localized site. I, nor most everyone else in the session, had ever heard of them, but it seemed that they seemed like they were trying to do good stuff. Which brings me to my next point. It seems that there is quite a gap between college and high school or research and high school. There is almost as big of a gap between high school and middle school. There is very little communication between any grade levels or buildings. If there could be more internet sites that compile information and act as a liason between different schools, I think that it would improve teaching overall.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


545 3-16

What can we do? I sit here and look at the students taking the CSAP tests and wonder, "there must be a better way". I really am getting fed up with CSAP's, maybe this year more than ever because 10th graders are now taking the science portion of the test. After discussing the test with other science teachers we concluded that 1) it had a very broad range of questions, 2) there was not a whole lot of integration between math and science, 3) it was more of memorization of facts than actively assessing the problem and coming to your own conclusion. In retrospect I think that CSAP tests are almost against everything that we are trying to accomplish. Since this was the first time science was offered I am interested to see if we are going to have to change the way our courses are taught in order for the students to do better. I think that our school and department may become like other schools that teach just to the test so that they look good in the eyes of the public, even though the students would not actually be learning. Has the Math department faced repercussions beacause of low test scores? Have changes been for the better?

Friday, February 10, 2006


545 2-10

So today's thought is... We lost in the semifinal game in basketball last night and a lot of girls were very upset. I tried to tell them that it was only a game and they should not be that upset, however I am impressed that they care enough to try to win. This shows that they want to do the best they can. So how do we as educators translate this feeling into the classroom? Where students are genuinely upset because they have not done the best they could or have gotten a bad grade. Shouldn't everything that someone does be their best work, or are there times when the best effort is not needed? If students can get by without doing their best, shouldn't the teachers challenge them more to make them care about their effort?

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