Breaking News

Breaking News

While I am writing about teaching strategies, I might as well toss out another favorite. I love to give students a complex challenge and a seemingly impossibly short amount of time in which to complete said task. I’ve found that it generally raises the bar, forces students to think on...
Start an Argument

Start an Argument

“Should the government regulate the number of children that families are allowed to have?” This is the question that I’ve posed to every biology and environmental science class I’ve ever taught. I cannot count the number of conversations that have sprung from this simple prompt. We’ve talked about human rights,...
Dear Edmodo ...

Dear Edmodo …

I love you … really I do. You were my first education management platform. With you I confidently introduced my students to the paperless classroom. I’ve used you to disseminate information, collect homework, facilitate classroom democracy, give shout outs, and flip my classroom. For the past 2 years I’ve been...
Highlight Reel

Highlight Reel

Somehow a new year has begun and I am left wondering, as always, where the time has gone. Three weeks ago I bid farewell to my Disease and Society class and am now left with only memories. For the past couple of years as I’ve kept this blog I’ve been...
The Color of Your Skin

The Color of Your Skin

What questions come to mind as you consider the map below?     Average Life Expectancy for New Orleans, LA With this map and question I began the final unit for Disease and Society. This investigation was to be an adventure for both myself and my students. To this point...
Public Service Announcement

Public Service Announcement

Last year while working on the creation of the Disease and Society class I found myself deep in the semester and running out of ideas. One day during a class discussion a student made some comment about sexually transmitted diseases. At that moment, a lightbulb began to flicker on. What...
You Have No Right v2

You Have No Right v2

Freedom and the rights of the individual. Two fundamental tenants of the American way of life. One of the beauties of our country is that, for the most part, people have the ability to choose their own path through this world. Unfortunately, this ideal sometimes collides with the principals of...
The Nobility of Teaching

The Nobility of Teaching

noble |ˈnōbəl|: having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals: A couple of months ago I was selected as a finalist for Durham Teacher of the Year. As part of the process I was given an intense packet of questions to answer. The question over which I...
Education Needs More Artists

Education Needs More Artists

As a young child I spent most Sunday mornings sitting in a church pew next to my parents. Now as you might imagine, Sunday sermons were not the most stimulating environment for the 10 year-old version of myself. Entertainment was a must, and in those prehistoric days iDistractions did not...
Ask and Tell

Ask and Tell

The best way to get someone’s attention is first by getting to know the person. – Abbi Williams Let’s start by stating the obvious. I’m a nerd. Information of all sorts makes me happy in some way or another. If I am not learning then what am I doing with...
Welcome to Lab 207

Welcome to Lab 207

In a sunny corner on the second floor of City of Medicine Academy sits lab 207. Everyday students meet there to investigate the world around them. It might be a bit of stretch to say that students are always awe-struck by the information that they receive, but 207 is a...
Latest entries
APES Legislation Review

APES Legislation Review

Stand and Deliver

Stand and Deliver

If I’ve learned nothing else over the course of the past couple of years, it’s that in order to move ahead you must say “yes” when opportunities are offered. Three weeks ago I was asked if I had any students that might be interested in presenting at the NC New Schools Student STEM Symposium. I’d...
The Devices of Memory

The Devices of Memory

For the past several years I’ve had the pleasure of teaching both AP Bio and AP Environmental. Two years ago the College Board acknowledged the need for revision in the AP Biology curriculum. So, they decided to rewrite the whole thing, focusing on process and thinking over memorization. Not to say that students don’t need...
Short and Sweet

Short and Sweet

Rather than a long, drawn-out musing on some topic or other before getting to the students’ week in review submissions, I think we are just going to jump on in. Reporting on the week of 3/24-3/28, Kayla Whitt and Georgia Ritz offer the following thoughts on the week that was. Enjoy! Kayla Begins: During the...
A Skill to be Practiced

A Skill to be Practiced

On a day-to-day basis, I throw lots of strange tasks at my students. Things like jigsaw discussions, 30 second idea pitches, intimate debates, short-time video productions, and on the spot skits have become second nature. Once we reach this point in the year, I’m always amazed at the products that can be produced in a...
The Freedom to Explore

The Freedom to Explore

I began teaching AP Biology 5 years ago. In those early days I had a 50 minute class period to work with and an intelligent, but less than eager group of students. Those first couple of years it was all about banging through as much material as quickly as possible. I did a lot of...
Adapt and Overcome

Adapt and Overcome

This semester has been all about adaptation. I’m not talking about the natural selection sort that we learn about in AP Bio, I’m talking about the type employed by teachers trying to make it through. Though, upon further consideration, maybe they are one and the same. Anyway, this semester we’ve been beset by all sorts...
The Things that Transpire

The Things that Transpire

As I noted in my last post, the past couple of weeks I’ve not been in class very much. As was the case with APES, AP Bio soldiered along mightily. I love that this class has gotten to the point where they can run the show without me. My role has become that of chief...
Sustainable Systems and Dashing Deer

Sustainable Systems and Dashing Deer

After a couple week hiatus, the week in review is back. I must say that the past few weeks have been educational for me. First I had the opportunity to serve as a teacher ambassador at the Institute for Emerging Issues Forum Teachers and the Great Economic Debate. My plan following the forum was to be back...
Let it Snow!

Let it Snow!

Last week … well … we weren’t … what would you say? In school. Maybe a little bit, but not so much. For a fuller recount of the havoc wreaked upon our schedule last week, check out this week’s APES post.  Let’s just suffice it to say that we had one full day of school...
Gotta Push Through

Gotta Push Through

If you’ve kept up with the news at all, you are probably well aware that the South was effectively closed last week. Apparently there was a bit of a storm. Now, I will do my best not to be one who passes judgement, but an early release, 2 snow days, and a delayed start for...
Round and Round

Round and Round

The second semester has finally begun and with it the frenzy that is AP Environmental Science (affectionately known as APES). While I love this course and this class, the pace is brutal to say the least. Oh to have the glorious year of time that I have with my AP Biology class. Maybe one of...