We have had a lot of changes recently: i) a new Learning Management System, piloted last year and in place this year; ii) a new modified block schedule, piloted for one week last year and in full swing this year; iii) a new science curriculum, organized in earnest last year, and implemented this year; iv) AP Biology on offer for the first time (and I’m teaching it); and v) a complete overhaul of the school vision and mission statements. Suffice it to say, it’s already a busy year with many adjustments to make.

I hit the ground running with the Next Generation Science Standards in Biology 12, and I have no regrets. This past week we spent time on the NGSS HS-LS1-2, working on learning the hierarchical organization of the human body, getting to know the interrelatedness of body systems, and developing models.

With the modified block schedule I was able to set the students up with background information, collaboration time, and presentation time. The schedule is presented in the graphic, below (autonomy details from Pink, 2009). The 5-minute model presentations that took place today were some of the best examples of collaboration, cooperation, communication, and creativity I have seen in my eight years as a high school teacher. My biggest challenge will be keeping pace with what best serves these eager learners!

Week 2: HS-LS1-2 schedule, August 2015
Week 2: HS-LS1-2 schedule, August 2015

Reference:

Pink, D. (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.

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