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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
Recent posts

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

The Creator's Guide to the NEW Flipgrid Camera

  With all of the new updates that were released to the Flipgrid Camera in August, I updated The Creator's Guide to the Flipgrid Camera. You can access it at My favorite new addition is the ability to add Backdrops to the camera. This is a built in green screen where users can choose from a gallery of backdrops or upload their own image! I won't spend more time in this post because I'd rather have you check out the guide and then play around with the new camera! So again, check out the guide at and share it as you see fit.

National Board Certification Post 3: Culminating Assessment

  The final part of portfolio 2 National Board Certification is explaining the culminating assessment of the unit and reflection on the unit as a whole. Portfolio 2 focuses on differentiation in instruction. In this post, I'm presenting the culminating assessment for the energy unit in my physics class and a reflection on the unit as a whole. Culminating Assessment The culminating assessment for the unit on energy assessed 3 key outcomes: 1) Analyzing Energy Data 2) Applying Mathematics to Energy Data 3) Constructing Explanations Related to Conservation of Energy. Students were given 6 different choices for how they would like to demonstrate mastery of these 3 outcomes: 1) Traditional paper test 2) Flipgrid Bingo 3) Energy Simulations 4) Virtual Labs 5) Evidence Presentation 6) Infographic. These options were designed with learner preferences and student feedback surveys of preferred modes of expression. All assessments covered the same outcomes but in a different format. The tradi

National Board Certification Post 2: Analysis of Instruction and Student Work

  As a part of Component 2 of the National Board Certification process is a portfolio documenting Differentiation in Instruction. This portfolio is intended to demonstrate how instruction is differentiated in unit. In the last post I documented how I designed instruction in a unit to meet the needs of different learners. In this post, I'll focus on analyzing that instruction including student examples. I have removed student names to preserve their anonymity. Analysis of Instruction and Student Work The major outcome that carries across all three of these activities is being able to conduct investigations and analyze data related to the law of conservation of energy. In all 3 activities students are looking at phenomena and relating it to the law of conservation of energy. In order to do this, students are asked to identify the forms of energy present at different points during a process.  In activity 1, students are working with only gravitational potential energy and kinetic ener

National Board Certification Post 1: Planning Instruction

As I embark on the National Board Teacher Certification process, I am using this space to post some of my work and thoughts. Component 2 of the process is a portfolio documenting Differentiation in Instruction. This portfolio is intended to demonstrate how instruction is differentiated in unit.   There are multiple pieces to the portfolio to document the process and the results including Instructional Context, Planning of Instruction with Activity Samples, Analysis of Student Work with Samples, and Description of the Summative Assessment. In this post, I'd like to focus on the Planning of Instruction. Before I do that, though, here is a little snippet from the instructional context. The class that is being featured is a general physics course with 25 students. The students are in grades 10 and 11. Their ages range from 16 to 18 years. Twenty one of the students were in-person learners and 4 were attending virtually. This is a general algebra based introductory physics course. The

National Board Certification Post 0: Back to the Lab Again

In 2019, I had big plans of working on my National Boards. I began researching and determining exactly what the process entailed. I put together documentation of what goes in each part of the portfolio. I mapped out important deadlines. But then, 2020 happened and everything got put on hold.  About a month ago as summer was approaching, I decided that the timing would be right to start again pick up where I left off, which was at the beginning.  So, this is the one professional related task I will be working on over the summer. As I go through the process, I hope to use this blog as a place to reflect and share my progress in the process.  So this is not so much of a blog post as it is a way to hold myself accountable to truly start the process and post updates to the blog.  So, here we go...