What are you going to do this summer?

Next year is going to be an interesting year of change. I have been teaching multiple sections of an academic physics class at a science magnet school for 7 years. Next year I will not be teaching that class. Its due to a curriculum change (going from a 2 year physics/AP physics sequence to a one year double scheduled AP physics) so its not a problem. In fact I’m looking forward to it in a way as I felt I was getting stale. I love Modeling Physics, its clearly the best thing that has happened to my teaching. On the other hand it comes with a fair amount of curricular material. Add in 7 years of my own material and I’ve fallen into a comfortable rut of tweaking, fine tuning, and polishing without ever really re-examining my teaching apparatus.

So now I get to spend the summer planning for one class of Active Physics, and 2 classes of physical science (which I have not taught in the past 2 years). Of course I’m fired up about planning for the new double blocked physics class but I figure I can channel some of that energy into Active Physics and physical science and use them as testbeds of new methods.

Other then the purely mechanical aspects of planning my real tasks are to incorporate some of the things that are firing me up right now.

– Dan Meyer’s thoughts on design in teaching (with perhaps a nod to Tufte although I am using his ideas more for enhancing my research students’ presentations)

– Ruminations on Thomas Guskey’s ideas from a recent workshop. From a physical point of view is was a terrible professional development since it consisted of him talking in front of a PowerPoint. But the ideas (and the fact that he is a good speaker) were enough to carry the day. I really like the separation of academics and behavior, his thoughts on the need for purpose first, and the perils with current grading systems.

– (not really a completely new topics) Glasser’s choice theory and quality schools. I have no idea if his ideas will still interest me but I found them inspiring when I got into teaching and they mesh with some of the standard’s based thoughts of Gaskey.

Even just those 2 and a half things are more then enough so I’m forcing myself to stop there.


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