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I am still Mike Mohammad a.k.a Mo Physics

I am still Mike Mohammad I am not a “yeah me” kind of person, but yesterday June 4th was an amazing day for me professionally. Two years ago on June 4th, I was in a medical coma (we’ll save that story for a future post.) I am proud of my work yesterday, I just wanted to take a moment to share it and celebrate myself (which I never do.)  If you don’t know me, I have been a secondary science educator for 20+ years and have taught 7 different science courses in my career. This year, though, I had been asked to make the transition to a Teaching and Learning Specialist. In this role, I work with teachers with EdTech tools and have a specialty in our district’s learning management system Canvas. I was one of the first teachers to pilot the system and have used it extensively in my classroom to help streamline workflows. Its use also helps in college readiness as most universities in our state, Wisconsin, use it as their learning management system. Ok, enough of that let’s talk about June 4th
Recent posts

Physics is Elementary

  On Friday, I was so pleased to be able to return to one of my favorite days of the year, High-Interest Day at Brookfield Elementary School. This is a day where I have been able to bring the concepts of physics to k-5 graders. You may be asking yourself, "Elementary students doing physics?" YES! Not just experimenting, but understanding the concepts behind the physics of electricity and sound.  This is a very special day I have had the opportunity to be involved in since 2017. So, how are we able to bring the concepts of electricity and sound traditionally taught to high school 11th and 12th graders to the elementary level? There are a few keys 1) make it a hands-on experience 2) remove the mathematical calculations and make it practical. In the past, I had the luck of bringing a handful of my physics students with me to guide the elementary students through the concepts that they had learned over the course of the year. But in my new role as a Teaching and Learning Speciali

The Ripple Effect of Teaching: Beyond the Traditional Classroom

  The Ripple Effect of Teachers Last week was a big one to face the facts of my recent medical condition. For those who do not know, in mid-2022 I was diagnosed with seronegative autoimmune encephalitis. On Wednesday of last week, a pair of Launch Medical and Health Care Strand students presented a personal narrative about my experience. Their presentation was a personal narrative combining a personal interview and research on the disease.  Although the slideshow doesn’t do their presentation justice, it will give you a general overview of the narrative. They covered many aspects of the condition from the factual to the personal narrative, and the lessons learned. They did a wonderful job of capturing a human story rather than listing a clinical definition. At the end of the week, Brookfield Central High School had our annual career day. I was lucky enough to have the ICU neurologist Dr. Gregory Rozanzky who handled my care while I was in the intensive care unit attend and present t

EdCamp Still Rules

  Looking Back at 10 years of EdCamps Oh how the time flies, EdCamp Madison is turning 10 this year!  It will be held Saturday, February 3rd at Sun Prairie West High School. Which can be found at 2850 Ironwood Drive in Sun Prairie Wisconsin from 8:30 am - 3:00 pm.  Get more information and register here: https://sites.google.com/sunprairieschools.org/edcampmadwi/home   I will always remember sitting in my first EdCamp opening session at the very first EdCamp Madison and having no clue what I was in for. So, I’d like to take this space to go over some of the basic rules of EdCamp. No One Will Pitch It for You EdCamps are unconferences. By this I mean that they have a blank slate of sessions for the day. There may be a few predetermined sessions, but ultimately the session topics are determined by attendees during the pitch & plan session that opens the day. If an idea gets pitched there will be a session on it. If a topic doesn’t get pitched, there won’t be a session on it. So, it i

Words of Gratitude and Care.

To make a long story short, I missed that last 3 weeks of the 2021-22 school year. I have been on long term disability since then (we’ll save that story for when my journey back into the classroom is complete). As a physics teacher, I teach mostly juniors. So sadly, I’ve missed their senior year. I always enjoy seeing my junior students become even more grown up than ever as they find their paths and leave Brookfield Central High School and enter the world. So, I sent a short email just a little check in with all of my class of 2023 students to let them know I wouldn’t be seeing them finish their high school journey and to check in on any celebrations or frustrations.  Lainie Rowell wrote a wonderful book and hosts an amazing podcast called Evolving with Gratitude. (I hear episode 34 is a good one) I have to admit it got a little dusty in the room receiving these words of gratitude as these students became adults. Sorry if this post is more of a “yeah me” moment. But I couldn’t he

Ask Simple Questions to Start Co-Designing Instruction with Students

  At the heart of any learner centered classroom is the co-designing of instruction by teachers and students. This can seem like a very daunting tasks at first. How can I work with each student individually to design a path to outcome mastery? How can I give up all of this control of my instruction? How can I get students to buy into this process? All of these questions are valid, but they are not the questions that should be asked at the start of this process. Students and teachers who are new to this process can't expect to go full on designing individual paths from scratch. Also, there is not going to be an equal balance between teacher and students when it comes to instructional design. At the beginning of the process, it makes sense for the locus of control to still lie mainly with the teacher. As I begin the process with a new group of students every year, I solicit information from students that I use to design instruction.  There are different times that I solicit this info

Don't Call it a Comeback, Yet...

  It's been over a month since my last post so I figured I needed to get a post in. This is my first post of the school year and what a difference a year makes. Last year I felt horrible as a professional. I knew I was a better teacher than I was able to be. The fall of 2019 I really felt like I had my best semester as a teacher. I was so proud of the lessons I had created, the engagement level of students with the content. My physics classes seemed to just flow. I was able to provide feedback to students that they acted on. I was able to elicit feedback from students related to content mastery to help remediate. I was also able to get meaningful feedback about what was working in terms of style to help co-design instruction that created the best learning environment for all students.  When we came back to school in the fall of 2020, I felt like I had to provide instruction in ways that didn't match up with my pedagogy. We weren't able to do many of the hands on activities