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Kelly O'Shea

I teach high school kids physics at an independent day school in NYC. Less homework, more thinking. Follow @kellyoshea
Kelly O'Shea has written 74 posts for Physics! Blog!

AAPT High School Physics Teacher Camp

I’m so excited that I get to share this news. I’ve been working with a few of the people I met at AAPT in MN on a new, experimental addition to the summer meeting. We’ve been talking about how to make AAPT national meetings more useful, attractive, and worthwhile for high school physics teachers. Workshops are … Continue reading

Physics 10 Course Handout with Advice from Former Students

One of the classes that I am teaching this year is a one-trimester class for sophomores on E&M topics (a very basic class because of the short amount of time and because the students haven’t taken any mechanics). I get to teach it four times this year (twice in the first trimester) as every 10th grader … Continue reading

SBG One-Minute Student Conferences

My current school works on a trimester system. In fact, most of my classes (and all of my science classes) this year only meet for one trimester. For my grading practices, that has meant having to rethink some of the components that have been most successful for me in the past. I’ve definitely worked on … Continue reading

Graphical Solutions for Forces and Kinematics (Workshop Recap)

I gave a workshop with Mike Pustie in NYC in June and with Casey Rutherford in Minneapolis in July on using a graphical approach to solve kinematics and force problems. I wrote a bit about the content involved in my preview post, and I wanted to follow that up here by making the slides and … Continue reading

Free, Unofficial Workshop during AAPT in July

Graphical Solutions for Forces and Kinematics On the Sunday of the AAPT summer meeting (July 27th), Casey Rutherford and I are offering a free, unofficial1 workshop on using velocity graphs and force vector addition diagrams to solve kinematics and force problems. I was really lucky to get to also work with Mike Pustie earlier this month to … Continue reading

Mechanics: 3 Fundamental Principles

So you’re thinking in terms of physical models now instead of in terms of chapters, units, or equations. Now what? Is there a high-level ordering of these ideas? How are they connected? Are there common themes? One activity that I’ve done to help students build higher-level organization into their thinking is concept maps (which I … Continue reading

Drawing accelerated position-time graphs

During our PLC chat this week, we talked at one point about how long it takes for students to become completely consistent in drawing motion graphs. My experience has been that students become confident relatively quickly in drawing the velocity-vs-time graphs (having switched their brain into thinking through v-t graphs), but still sometimes struggle to draw … Continue reading

SBG with Seniors

Here’s the problem with Standards-Based Grading (SBG) and seniors: their first quarter grades matter. In my usual approach to grading, the quarter grades are just snapshots. Since they weren’t (at my old school) and aren’t (at my current school) put on transcripts, I have felt free to use them as moments for students to check … Continue reading

Physics Soul-mates

The day-to-day work in my class happens in at tables in an “individually together” manner that I described in the Whiteboarding Mistake Game: A Guide post. Quick summary of “individually together”: Students work at tables on problems in their packets. They mostly work on their own, take a moment to consult and debate with the … Continue reading

Offside Assessments

Or, No More Cherry Picking (and How to Stop Doing That) The Goal of Standards-Based Grading (SBG): Use standards to give students specific, useful feedback that will help students know what to practice to improve their understanding and performance and you (the teacher) know how to help the students and what to keep testing. The … Continue reading

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