Teaching has been awesome lately. Now that robotics is over, I have much more time to focus on my teaching and it pays off in the classroom. In Biology, we are studying cells. Today we poured our own nutrient agar plates using sterile lab procedures. The students took it very seriously and followed directions well. While waiting for the agar to set (it turned from liquid into a gel like solid), we did some introductory stuff with the microscopes. Again, the students were tentative and took good notes and asked great questions and participated positively. For the last 15 minutes of class, the students were given cotton swabs and told to go swab areas of the school where they thought bacteria might grow. They were directed on proper inoculation techniques and off they went. At some point in the day, one of the students decided to swab one of the teachers beards. Then a different student got a different teachers beard. Later, the students decided they wanted to swab all of the beards of all of the male teachers to see who would have the most bacteria grow from the samples. So, in the last class of the day, they got all of the male teachers to provide samples. We are going to have a contest.
It was so awesome to watch my students get excited about science and to come up with a way to apply science to something that's fun and interests them!
In my 8th grade class today, students were just working on a worksheet packet (not as fun, but we did a bunch of labs last week) and I saw many students get up to go look at the periodic table that hangs on the wall of the classroom. This may not seem like a big deal, but months ago these students didnt even know what a periodic table was and now they are using it to complete assignments without even being directed by me to use it. They know what information is on it and how to go about using it. It just seems like all of the teaching I've done this year is all coming together very nicely these last couple weeks. I'm very proud of my students and, to be honest, very proud of myself as well. I feel like I am a better teacher than I have been in the past, like I'm really putting together solid lessons with activities and lab that are interesting and help make the information relevant to the kids.
Then after school, we went shopping for my birthday present from Avery and I got the best pair of replacement slippers ever. They are just right and just what I wanted. I've had those old ones for several years now and I'm sad to see them go, but it's time. And they had wool string at the store that we went to too! I was thinking that I wasnt going to be able to find any for the lab that we are doing tomorrow and that I was going to have to modify the lab instructions, but there it was. Everything just went well today.