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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 76 posts for Physics! Blog!

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

Whiteboard Face-Off

Next up in whiteboarding modes: The Whiteboard Face-Off (aka Board Meetings*). When we have a Face-Off, every group is whiteboarding the same problem. No one presents. Instead, we sit on the tables (bringing in our circle and keeping people from just doing more work in the packet and skipping the discussion) and all share our … Continue reading

The Right Thing, Said Once

Prologue: I have been doing a lot of thinking this year about what I’ve learned so far about teaching physics (and about teaching high school students in general) both as general reflection and as part of solidifying my thoughts in preparation to look for a new physics teaching position for next school year. Occasional conversations … Continue reading

Building the Constant Velocity Model

Here’s a binder. And the handshake. [As they walk in, I’m handing out their binders (with materials, labeled dividers, spare graph paper, their names on the sides) and shaking their hands as we make the transaction. I’ve seen some discussion in various places online about the appropriateness of shaking students’ hands on the first day of school. … Continue reading

Empirical Force Laws: Spring Force Experiment

In the middle of our Balanced Forces unit, we do a couple of experiments to come up with equations for some of the types of forces we’ve been talking about while drawing qualitative free body diagrams. We tend to do them at the same time and to post-lab them together. I covered the gravitational force last … Continue reading

Empirical Force Laws: Gravitational Force Experiment

In the middle of our Balanced Forces unit, we do a couple of experiments to come up with equations for some of the types of forces we’ve been talking about while drawing qualitative free body diagrams. We tend to do them at the same time and to post-lab them together. I’ll split them over two … Continue reading

Energy Pie Charts

The stage is set. We started building the energy transfer model (ETM), and we’ve talked about the flavors of energy. We are ready for a new representation to help us start thinking about energy storage in a system. In a day or two, we’ll be using energy bar charts, but first, we’ll get used to … Continue reading

Physics Objectives 2013

Here are my updated lists of objectives for the year (subject to change/grow as the year unfolds depending on how the pace goes). As always, feel free to borrow and modify these objectives for your own classes. The Model Building page on this blog collects my posts about my paradigm experiments, the graphical representations we use, … Continue reading

All-year Goal-less Problems for Physics Class

So. Josh* took my Honors Physics exam review activity and expanded it into something bigger and better. As I was reading his post, though, I started thinking about my regular physics classes. They would really like something like that. Of course, I also had to make it my own. I am curating a set of … Continue reading

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