December 2018 Reflection

New Year

I figured this is the time of the year for a reflection of accomplished both professionally and personally.  It is also a time for looking ahead.  I went back and looked at all my reflections for 2018.  I looked at all the projects I have completed, new ideas I have tried, philosophies of what I want my classroom look like and how much writing I have done.  Here is a short synopsis of 2018.


2018 started with changes in my classroom setting based off of the book How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci.  I added a couple of Scentsy pots to my room to explore the Sensazione of smell.  Sensazione is still one of my favorite changes I have made.  I have tried several different types of fragrances.  Each one has produced a unique response from students.

Wine tasting, do I need to same more.


Procedure and Routines

Procedures and routines are one I feel are always under constant development.  I still use my SMART board along with a Google slide which has the days objectives; however, I still need to improve on what I want the students to do during the time required to take attendance


Improved Note-Taking

I am still improving my note-taking expectations for the students with their input.  I still require them to sketch but have made changes to the Cornell method of note-taking.  Students wanted more room to draw, and I removed the summary section to accommodate their request.


Meet and Greet at the door has become an expectation of myself and the students look to enjoy the interaction.


NETA and Dr. Joe Sanfelippo

I have made a point to brand my classroom, my students and our curriculum using Instagram and Twitter.  If you are not telling your classroom story about the fantastic things your students are doing, who is?


Flippity is used this site at least twice a week.  A must have in the classroom.  Flippity has everything from random name picker, group maker to the progress indicator.  Several excellent templates that work with Google Apps.

Grading, we still working on this challenging subject within our building and district.  It looks like we are heading toward standards-based grading and I am ok with that, but again, lots of research is needed to see how this looks.


What do you think?  What makes you say that?  I have added these phrase to my regular vocabulary in my instructional strategies.  The students are starting to figure it out.  They have to have some idea, some research before they ask a question.  I try not to give them the answer even though at times it would be easier for them and me.


Friday Reflections has given me some of the genuine feedback from students.  I see why you have us do this.  It required students to look at what they have accomplished and then put it in their own words.  Middle school students want to share, and this gives them a platform in which to do it.  As a teacher, you can see what points, information or ideas have stuck with the learner.  Very powerful.


One of my favorite parts about the journey is telling my students that I am a student!  I share learning.

Animal Project

Figure 1 Students giving feedback via Google Form Rubric

This last month students had to create an Animal project as a culminating activity for our ecology unit. The students had to pick five animals, ranking them in order of choice from one to five and research. Next, the students had to do some preliminary research on each of their five choices. Each student was required to find two books about each of their five animals, then record three facts about each animal along with recording the books ISBN number. This was their first attempt at completing a research project in which the students could not simply copy and paste from a website. We made them site each source they acquired using EasyBib. We taught them how to use EasyBib, why we need to use it, so that the authors get their credit and how to properly format each citation.  This year the students helped develop a rubric which I then reproduced in a Google Form which calculates the students final score out of 50 possible points.  This method allowed students to get feedback from all classmates instead of just two.  Similar to our validation day, students had to present to the class via Google slides and a SMART board.

Students had to give evidence of their research, cite it correctly from multiple sources.s

Student presentation evaluation form using Google Forms:

Teacher presentation evaluation form using Google Forms:


Public Service Announcements – (PSA) Update

The public service announcement project wrapped up at the end of this semester.  The project was a huge success.  The students did such a good job that our Superintendent asked to see some of the finished projects.  We were also featured as the classroom of the week in our local paper.

I am proud of all that the students accomplished and with their feedback I look forward on how this project can grow.  I challenge them to make an impact outside of the four walls of the classroom and they did!  Look for our PSA for invasive species on Twitter and on our YouTube channel,


Progress on Professional Goals

My first Goal from the Marzano framework is from Domain 1 designing question 1, element 1 through 3, which is a successful continuation of professional learning communities.  I choose to celebrate success by posting images of student engagement and work using social media, in particular, Instagram and Twitter.  This is growing, and students are now tagging #7BScience events they find out in the community.

My second Goal from the Marzano framework is from Domain 1 designing question 2, which is reflecting on learning.  I am using Google Forms to develop a way for students to reflect on the week of learning.  I am also developing topic reflections using FlipGrid.  I want the student to reflect on what they have learned and how it can be applied in daily lives.  The only problem with FlipGrid has been some hardware issue using older iPads.  Uploading video has been much smoother using the newer Chromebooks.

My final Goal is from the Marzano framework is Domain 1 designing question 3, which is improving student learning.  I choose to review content.  I am using review sheets for critical material and having students develop their own review games using Quizlet.  I also let students develop review games using Scratch coding.  I gave the students some base code to start with and they had to develop the scoring and question for the review.  This has been a great way to add to my goal of one hour of code.

West Point Community Growth in Collaboration

Collaboration is defined as the act of working with someone to produce or create something or in our communities case, active listening and sharing as a group to reach the desired goal.

Psa working in small groups, Advisory group, job alike group

I feel our group for research is too big and therefore not effective at collaboration.  There is a sweet spot for the perfect number in a group.


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