How do you put students into groups? How do you grade group projects? What do you do with class clowns and students who are “free riders”? Explore the pro’s and con’s of different grouping and grading methods.
Demonstrations are great if everyone wants to learn and is paying attention. In years past this has always been an effective method of delivering content because the students were engaged. This semester I have a particularly distracted bunch of students. I show them a demonstration and then have them go make what I demonstrated. Over and over again I have to repeat instructions and explain things that I already demonstrated and explained thoroughly. I was perplexed for a while at how to solve this problem. I finally approached it by making them accountable for what they saw in the demonstrations through a combination of note taking, competitions and grades based on their ability to apply their notes from the demonstration they just watched to produce the desired results.
One day I was asking my students a question while they were taking notes, I kept asking the question over and over because no one was responding which was unusual for a pretty talkative class. Finally after they all stopped writing I noticed that they would then be able to answer my questions. I cut to the chase that day and asked every class how many of them could listen and take notes at the same time. Most of them said they couldn’t. I was in disbelief. I thought that I had done them a favor by giving them just fill in the blank notes but apparently they still were not absorbing what I was saying beyond the notes. We all learn better through story associations. This means that if we hear a story or example it helps us remember a concept or term. They were totally missing out on all my explanations, examples, and stories because they could not take notes and listen at the same time.
Food Inc. (DVD): If you haven’t watched this documentary I would highly recommend it!
In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults
Save money and boost nutrition through a school yard garden, part of national trend to focus on eating local, whole foods. “Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.”