Students Owning the Assessment Process Through Rubric Creation

Ah, rubrics.  The favored tool for assessment by teachers.  Loved for their wonderful detail and their range of performance levels, rubrics are a great way to communicate expectations to students. Just like other teachers, I love a good rubric.  There's just one problem ... I'm really horrible at making them. I'm so horrible, in fact, that I've… Continue reading Students Owning the Assessment Process Through Rubric Creation

Bringing Science to Life

At the start of the year, I asked my students to define science.  Here are some of their responses ... Cool, huh?  They have a lot of great ideas!  Many of those ideas center around hands-on activities, which is awesome and definitely a huge part of science (in the classroom or out of the classroom).… Continue reading Bringing Science to Life

Student Perspective on the Shift to Standards-Based Grading

Last week, I had a very enlightening conversation with my students.  My district is transitioning to a standard-based report card next year, which includes the removal of letter grades from our system.  I have been using standards-based learning and grading in all of my sixth grade science classes throughout this current year, so my students are… Continue reading Student Perspective on the Shift to Standards-Based Grading

Siemens Science Day

Today, the sixth grade science classes at Caruso Middle School were visited by fourteen amazing volunteers from Siemens Healthcare as part of their Siemens Science Day program. Volunteers led a lab activity on the dangers of antibacterial soap, which fits perfectly in our current unit on microlife. Testing the bacteria Students replicated the work that… Continue reading Siemens Science Day

Hour of Code

Today, students (and teachers!) participated in Hour of Code.  If you aren't familiar, Hour of Code is part of Computer Science Education Week and encourages people of all ages and ability levels to have fun with coding!  Or, in the words of a few students today ...   Here are some other things I've been… Continue reading Hour of Code

Random Acts of Awesome

I've always considered myself lucky to work with such incredible young people.  Not a day goes by where they don't do something that amazes me and really shows how phenomenal they are.  However in the last few weeks, I experienced an onslaught of crazy cool things ... it can only be described as a few weeks crammed… Continue reading Random Acts of Awesome

What It Felt Like to Have a Blank Grade Book

It was ten days until the end of the quarter, and my grade book still did not have a single grade in it.   The grades were coming, so I was starting to breathe a little easier, but still ... eight weeks in and not a single published grade.   At the start of the… Continue reading What It Felt Like to Have a Blank Grade Book

Announcing the Launch of

For the past several weeks, all ninety-three students in my sixth grade science classes have been working toward one common goal ... to create their own website. Finally, it's ready to be shown to the world!  I'm so pleased to announce the launch of ...   Their purpose in creating the website was to… Continue reading Announcing the Launch of

Exactly What We Want

A couple of weeks ago, my students were doing research on different types of animals.  One student came up, chuckling, to show me his computer screen.  I stood there, staring at it for almost a full minute, before I realized what he was laughing at.  Once I got it, he eagerly took it around to… Continue reading Exactly What We Want

Science is for Everyone …

Before teaching, I spent five years doing chemistry work in the labeling industry.  I always had a very mixed reaction when I would tell people what I did.  People would make the immediate connection to their school science classes and then proceed to tell me that they either loved science or they hated it. After… Continue reading Science is for Everyone …