This year we're getting in-service credit for collaboration time with other teachers.
Mrs. Eagle and I find this to be extremely amusing because we collaborate all the time anyway and now we're getting credit for it. It's like getting paid to eat chocolate.
Which isn't a bad idea, come to think of it.
Anyhow. A few years ago we made laminated vocabulary cards, with one card with the word and another card with the definition. The idea is the kids would get a plastic baggie with these cards in them, lay them out on their desks, and sort and match them. We called this activity word splash, but I'm others out there have a different name for it. In any case, it took forever to make these cards; we copied them onto colored paper, laminated them, cut them out, and sorted them into the baggies.
And our students promptly made a huge mess of them.
Our idea was to spend some time on these cards this summer and get them put back into some semblance of organization. However, what with Mr. Eagle's accident, and Mrs. Eagle spending most of her summer with him at the hospital, this was the first chance we'd really had to work on them.
So today we took my plastic shoeboxes for of baggies and cards, Mrs. Eagle's plastic bags and baggies with cards, and the latest, greatest copy of our Scope and Sequence for the year and attempted to get these all organized.
Oh good gracious.
It would help if our scope and sequence unit numbers didn't change every year. It would also help if it didn't skip and hop around the book like a deranged hamster. For example, we have a unit that includes material from "chapter 3, section 1, chapter 3, section 3, and chapter 11, section 1". ARGH. Some units include information from 4 different chapters. It's maddening.
We did finally get them somewhat organized. Sort of. At least the boxes I keep them in are labeled, and we put aside in a "not tested" box all the words we aren't going to use this year because they aren't necessary. Every year we learn a bit more what's expected and every year we change and tweak. Of course rumors are abounding that they're going to be "reviewing" our standards at the state level so things will probably change yet again.
In the meantime, we're trying to come up with ways to help our kids on vocabulary, keeping in mind that we're losing ten minutes a period with our new schedule this year. A lot of the vocabulary techniques that many teachers in language arts and reading use with great success are a bit unwieldy and not as effective with science vocabulary which tends to be a bit technical. Try doing a Frayer model for "endoplasmic reticulum". So, we're leaning towards more vocab crosswords, word searches and word splashes. We'll just have to find the time.
In the meantime, if any of you fellow science teachers have any great ideas, let me know!