This tag is associated with 10 posts

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

Whiteboarding Mistake Game: A Guide

The Mistake Game (which I’ll describe in more detail in just a moment) has become the default mode of whiteboarding (problems, not experiments) in my physics classes. I’ve written about it before (old links at the bottom of this post), but felt like I needed to write again, now that I’ve been using it almost … Continue reading

Student views on SBG (January 2012 edition)

This is my second year using this different grading paradigm (if you aren’t familiar with my flavor of grading, read: Conjunctive Standards-Based Grading). I’ve made some tweaks from my first run last year, and it feels like an established system that just happens in physics here (rather than a crazy new experiment). I’m hoping/planning to … Continue reading

Effort vs Luck

Now that we are out of September, my students have enough work to do outside of class that I don’t need to assign any specific homework. Still, this view of in-class and out-of-class work is a huge paradigm shift for my students. Do they still have physics homework if there’s never anything “due” or that … Continue reading

Whiteboarding with Mistakes

Today was my first day of whiteboarding with one of my Honors Physics classes. My plan was to use The Mistake Game from the very beginning this year. I suspected it would help set the tone of normalizing mistakes and make students more comfortable. Brief interlude about the general structure of whiteboarding in my class. … Continue reading

Usefulness of Test Corrections

I’ve always had my students do test corrections. When I used to award points, I would give some out (or “back”) for doing good corrections. I asked my students to complete them without consulting peers (though they could use their notes and could talk to me). They also had to make a statement for each … Continue reading

Conjunctive Standards-Based Grading

I’ve had a lot of requests lately to explain my grading system, so I thought I would outline it in as much detail as possible here. I learned this summer that what I do is apparently called “conjunctive¬†scoring”. That is, students cannot compensate for a low score in one area (say, their understanding of forces) … Continue reading

What should I know going into Honors Physics?

So, you’ve decided to take Honors Physics. I’m so excited for you! You probably already know that it’s going to be challenging, and you might be a little nervous since you don’t know what to expect yet. What should you know before you get there? You should know that you learn by making mistakes. You … Continue reading

How to Practice Physics (By Really Trying)

I want to do a better job of teaching my students how to practice physics. When I tell them which skills need work (see the SBG tag for more details), I want them to have some ideas about what it looks like to practice those skills. We say practice, not study: practice definitely means there’s … Continue reading

The Mistake Game

Whiteboarding sessions have been stagnating in one of my regular physics classes for a while. The class has a lot of loud, goofy personalities, and tends to lose focus when their group isn’t presenting (or, honestly, even when their group is up front). At the same time, that class has been crushing the other section … Continue reading


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