There is a huge emphasis on student directed learning and that meant that I would need to change the way I taught digestion. Sure, I could teach the process, all the organs and their functions to my students in a PPT and then give them a test, but that would not be very engaging, creative or student directed in any way. So, below is the new way I will be having my students learn about digestion.
Interestingly, students requested that I teach about coupons and techniques to help save money when food shopping. I happily obliged by putting together some engaging activities and resources to help students get started, but then flipped and put them in the driver’s seat to investigate and come up with solutions to their own request. See below for more details and if you have any interesting ways to teach this topic please share in the comment section below.
In the Ethnic Foods class, students study all of the regions of the world. The course begins with “Why do we Eat the Foods we Eat?” This lesson was created to stimulate the ‘investigative minds’ of students, encouraging them to ask questions and seek answers. In the study of American Culture, each region is celebrated with an authentic foods lab. This project was created to get students to understand the influence of other cultures on our own American favorites.
I spent time this past summer browsing on the internet and reading teacher comments on Twitter. One of my favorite things is to watch TedTalk videos. I kept coming across ideas that what we teach students will be obsolete in 40 years, many future careers have not been invented, how fast knowledge doubles, advances in artificial intelligence, brain research, etc. So, what’s a teacher to teach? Or more importantly, what is it that students must be able to know and do to thrive in a future world full of unknowns? You may have additional thoughts but some of mine are students must be literate, be adaptive, be problem solvers, be able to think-outside-of-the-box, use technology, communicate effectively with others, work with others, and re-invent themselves in the workplace. Then, for the first time in my long career, my school adopted a partial block schedule with the first 2 days of the school year being block days. Students need to have positive experiences so they want to come back the next day plus I didn’t want to bore them. So, I wrote the Gidgee Gadget lesson. Take a look below to see what it’s all about!
I really wanted to incorporate financial literacy into my 8th grade rotation, but didn’t know how to consolidate it and still have enough time to cover the rest of my content in 30 days . Then, I discovered the digital FutureSmart Financial Literacy Modules for Middle School through EverFi and I was immediately sold on the program after talking to a representative. The 7 modules take about a week to complete and students work through them at their own pace. You can literally hear a pin drop in my room when students are engaged in this program! We set up the class on the first day and then students have a week of class time to work. My students must receive a 70% or higher, but after the initial week, I do allow my students to continue working to improve their grade until the end of the 30 day rotation. This puts students in the driver’s seat as they are in control of their final grade! They work hard and stay on task as they know I can see everything they do! So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with a representative today….you won’t be disappointed!
The English Muffin Challenge was a spur of the moment lab! One of our school clubs had two packages of English Muffins left over from an event that they generously donated to us. In addition, I had several left over ingredients from some other labs that I didn’t want to waste. So, I threw it all together for a challenge lab! Students had 40 minutes to create an aesthetic, edible product using the English Muffin and following the parameters of the challenge. Overall, the results were successful, albeit some interesting! However, students walked away knowing they could put together a filling dish, using only available leftovers. The beauty of this type of lab is that the challenge and follow-up assignment could revolve around any food you have an abundance of and wish to use up!
A student recently asked me why scrambled eggs tasted different at their friends and relatives houses compared to scrambled eggs made at home. Great question! I decided to let my students conduct an experiment by preparing scrambled eggs with different liquids in order to discover the effects each had on the eggs’ appearance, taste and texture. Not only did this experimental lab get the students into the kitchen to teach them how to make scrambled eggs, but it was a great way to incorporate a little food science into the curriculum as well!
Occasionally, in my classes, I like to throw out little dilemma or problem situations that students must research and learn more about in order to make an informed decision. I’ve done this with baby sign language when teaching about infant language development in child development two different ways. Prior to going 1:1, I assigned this as an informational interactive foldable project, which could easily be used with interactive notebooks. I’ve also had my students use their iPads to learn more about the topic and then complete a writing assignment, applying their new-found knowledge. I also like my students to learn and share some easy signs with the class in an engaging and fun manner, where students have to use their brains and memory in addition to their hands!