I decided to try to teach my current science standards through climate change for this semester. It has been very slow going as I am going for a deep conceptual understanding of the science concepts. Currently we have been working through conduction and we will be moving to convection and radiation. The kids are doing well with the concepts but are struggling when I try to tie them to another large concept such as climate change. I am wondering if that is a byproduct of having been taught in an isolated manner before, never having to apply across disciplines within the science realm. I know I use to teach my content in isolation before and I now see that was wrong. Trying to teach science in a truly integrated fashion is difficult. What a challenge and it is pushing me out of my comfort zone! This is going to be so worth it.

My other big adventure this year just started today. I just couldn’t resist to try one more thing and when my administration gave me he green light to be innovative and a risk taker, I felt like I had just been given a new toy! Well, I have now dubbed Friday’s in my room Fantastic Fridays (unless a better name comes along). The basic idea of Fantastic Friday’s is sorta, loosely, somewhat tied to Genius Hour. I really wanted something like that but could not wrap my brain around it. I decided to spin it this way for my students. I found six different science competitions (Lexus EcoChallenge, Siemens We Can Change the World, DuPont Essay, Exploravision, eCybermission and another one about home energy conservation). The students were to decide on one of those six to enter and will go through the process. I am giving up every Friday to them to let them work on these. Today we started with an intro and expectations. The kids really got into it and had me excited! I hope this level of enthusiasm stays and carries through the year for them. I am tempted that when they finish the competitions that I will allow them a true Genius Hour experience.

This is a year I think that will help transform me as a teacher. I am really trying to help my students see that the learning is the important goal, not the grade. We shall see if it works. This has been a tiring but well worth it beginning to the school year.

Thanks for reading.