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Every Friday on Twitter, Tweeters will make recommendations based on their personal experience of exceptional people to follow on Twitter. As an educator, if I follow those recommendations I will almost certainly improve the quality and quantity of tweets I get on education since educators are the people who I follow for my own Personal Learning Network. Each of these tweets of recommendation will be tagged with the telltale hashtag #FF. This identifies them as such a recommendation and allows the hashtagged tweets to be aggregated.
In the evolution of Twitter it has become possible for each tweeter to create lists of people being followed into categories. Lists could be created for math teachers, or Administrators, or organizations. This would allow a tweeter the ability to aggregate tweets from a specific list dealing with a specific area of concern. It is another method of organizing information. These lists may be found in the profile of the Tweeter. A unique spin-off of this is that anyone can access anyone else’s profile giving access to those lists, as well as the ability to follow those very same people. If I have a great person that I follow offering great information, I might access that person’s lists to follow the same people they do. Their specific lists will focus my efforts even more.
Today, ever-trying to share good stuff, I decided to link out what I call “My Stalwart List” on an #FF tweet. It is a list of those, less than 100 people, from my big list of 2,000+ that I follow, who offer me up my best sources of education information. This is my personal Crème de la crème Twitter List. I shared that Link with my 29,000 followers, nice guy that I am. It was that act of sharing that brought my list to the attention of one of my female tweeters, a fact that I never even considered. I must admit to oblivious ignorance on this observation she made. My list was predominantly, male oriented.
How could that be? Of the 83 educators on my Stalwart list, only 23 were women, 28%. I asked, in a profession dominated by women, why do I have so few on my most influential list? I could understand it if I was dealing only with administrators because that is skewed in favor of men. The percentage of male administrators is not representative of the percentage of males in the education profession. It definitely exceeds it. Is it that Twitter itself appeals to males more than females? Could it be that women offer information more sparingly than men do? Could women be more passive when it comes to engagement in discussion on Twitter?
When I made my list up, my only consideration was who provided the most and best information and sources to me on Twitter. I never considered male or female, only tweeter. Do differences in men and women display themselves in the way each approach Twitter (The Venus and Mars debate)?
Thanks to Jennifer Borgioli @DataDiva I will never look at these lists the same. My #FF recommendation would be to follow her. She does vigorously promote gender awareness. The next big thing should be Educators of color on Twitter. Are they truly represented in the numbers that offer an equal share in the Social Media discussion on Education? I think not!
In Iowa House File 2380, the section on competency-based education states, "the rules shall allow a school district or an accredited nonpublic school to award high school credit to a student upon the demonstration of required competencies for a course or content area, as approved by an appropriately licensed teacher. The school district or accredited nonpublic school shall determine the assessment methods by which a student demonstrates sufficient evidence of the required competencies."
The Iowa Senate education reform bill offers similar language. It is a bold and appreciated step in moving the educational system in Iowa forward. I just have a few questions as we move from a time-based to a competency-based system.
We no longer need the CBE "credit" waivers, correct? That's an easy one. But . . .
How do we determine how much credit to award a course, if it is no longer measured in time? This is a critical question to me. If teachers and districts are allowed to create credit-bearing courses based on competencies, how will the DE track and monitor the number of courses? This poses a concern for the annual curriculum accreditation process, as a district could 'inflate' the number of courses offered by reducing the number of competencies within each course.
It also opens up new opportunities, as we might be able to introduce new courses or mini-course for our students. In a competency-based system, I am excited that we can open up new opportunities of learning for our students. But the issue remains. Until there is a common definition of "competency" and a common process to create courses based on competencies, has the Iowa Legislature opened up a Pandora's box for the Iowa Department of Education?
I trust we can solve this problem. I just hope others are recognizing it.
Anatomy & Physiology Course Syllabus
Collins Academy High School
Instructor: Mr. Robert Thollander Jr.
The course, Anatomy & Physiology, is aimed at providing students with an overview of the anatomy of living things while challenging them to employ critical thinking skills in order to relate prior scientific knowledge to the concepts learned in class. They will be pushed to develop new knowledge by analyzing course information and applying the information learned to their individual interests.
At the start of the course, students’ prior knowledge will be assessed and the first unit is designed to ensure a strong foundational understanding of the sciences that inform anatomy. They will review the tenets of biology, chemistry, and environmental science, among other sciences, in order to prepare them for the study of Human Anatomy. Students will be asked to demonstrate an understanding of plant and animal adaptations, and systems of the human body, as well as examine the ways that scientists draw from the natural world in order to address human problems. Learning opportunities will focus on reading, class discussions, analytical writing, conceptual diagrams, and experiments. Students will be assessed through Socratic seminars, written responses to in-class discussions and readings, and diagrams and illustrations demonstrating their understanding of the course subject matter.
During next part of the course, students will be challenged to engage more deeply in class discussions and debates. They will be strongly encouraged to share their knowledge and understanding of complex scientific concepts and to demonstrate critical and analytical thinking skills through writing assignments, discussions, and short presentations. Students will be asked to draw connections between abstract concepts, support their ideas with data and evidence, summarize scientific knowledge and present this information to their peers, and begin researching topics for their final projects. Assessment will take place through a challenging written-response exam, in-class discussion, and presentations, written responses to readings, and conceptual diagrams.
Students will begin their final projects during third and final part of the course. The open-ended nature of the project will challenge students to conduct independent research, critically examine sources, analyze data, and draw connections. Students will be asked to choose a topic for their final project that will integrate a personal interest (such as cancer prevention or HIV/AIDS awareness) with their knowledge of anatomy. They will be required to conduct research, employ scholarly sources such as journal articles, and present their findings to their instructors and peers. At the onset of the research process, students will individually with the instructor to outline the topic of their presentation, develop guiding research questions, and set goals for their project.
Students will spend a great deal of time during the forth quarter researching and preparing for their final projects. In addition, they will be tasked with additional readings, writing assignments, and short in-class presentations. Students will be expected to understand scientific concepts, but will also be pushed to draw connections between abstract subjects, present and support their ideas with confidence, and apply knowledge of the sciences to everyday life as well as complex social problems.
By the end of the course, students will demonstrate a deep understanding of the role of the sciences in society, the ability to consider ethical issues in the sciences, and the maturity to measure the risks and benefits of scientific advancements. The course expectations are set from the beginning so that, as a group, these young people will show a deep sense of caring for other human beings and an intuitively sensitive and curious consideration for the diverse perspectives of the many people involved in any scientific endeavor taken in our society.
This course strives to give students with diverse learning styles multiple opportunities to access and demonstrate mastery of the material. Specific strategies include open answer tests (ie short answer), flexible groups, research projects, tiered assignments, creative projects, student-driven discussions, student-interest based teaching, in-class structured work time, primary document analysis, among others.
Students in this course will be intentionally given freedom to make informed choices about how to express their knowledge through creative thought, experiments, and debates. Their observations of the world around them will be respected and valued. Subsequently, students’ ideas will be molded and shaped to become tools to be used to understand how the world works independently of existing knowledge. Most assignments will provide an opportunity for each student to make mistakes, evaluate their own progress, correct their mistakes, and engage with the process of learning in an encouraging and fun environment.
Students will be challenged to accept that they might not have all of the answers and will be given guidance on how to appropriately use available resources to develop informed opinions and theories on how our universe functions. They will take on the role of politicians, economists, scientists, religious leaders, and news anchors in order to develop a full picture of the participants and stakeholders of real world scientific research. Students will be challenged to work both independently and collaboratively to demonstrate complex concepts. They will also work collaboratively to combine fragments of information into sophisticated and complex ideas.
Examples of Essential Questions that Seniors Should Be Able to Answer
Upon completion of the course, students should be able to answer the following essential questions:
How do genes, cells, organs, and systems work in concert to keep the body working correctly?
What happens when there is a malfunction at one of the above levels?
How do researchers design studies to learn about how the body works? What questions do they ask?
How do medical professionals translate research study results into the medical practice?
What careers are available in the sciences? How do you get there from here?
How does society decide what types of research and treatments are ethical?
How can you be an informed consumer of medical information and practices?
Is “skill” and “ability” inherited or a consequence of environmental factors?
How does a basic knowledge of chemistry help you explain biological processes?
How does DNA code for the continuation of species?
How does variation in organisms lead to change over time?
How do humans contribute to the biosphere?
Objectives and Outcomes of a Senior Science Course:
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
Specific Objectives and Outcomes of Anatomy & Physiology:
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to (correctly perform 50 out of 71):
Note: These are directly from pre-nursing and pre-pharmacy, and pre-med entrance exams.
Senior Anatomy & Physiology will also be structured around the Illinois Common Core Standards and College Readiness Standards listed bellow.
Common Core Standards:
Upon successful completion of this course, students will:
a) CCSS Reading Standard 1 (RI.11-12.1.): Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
b) CCSS Reading Standard 1 (RI.11-12.1.): Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
c) CCSS Writing Standard 1 (WHST.11-12.1.): Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
d) CCSS Writing Standard 9 (WHST.11-12.9.): Draw evidence from informational text to support analysis, reflection, and research.
e) CCSS Science and Technical Standard 1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
f) CCSS Science and Technical Standard 2: Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
g) CCSS Science and Technical Standard 5: Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas.
College Readiness Standards:
Upon successful completion of this course, students will:
a) IOD.24-27.i: Compare or combine data from two or more simple data presentations (e.g., categorize data from a table using a scale from another table).
b) IOD.24-27.ii: Compare or combine data from a complex data presentation.
c) IOD.24-27.iii: Interpolate between data points in a table or graph.
d) IOD.24-27.iv: Determine how the value of one variable changes as the value of another variable changes in a complex data presentation.
e) IOD.24-27.v: Identify and/or use a simple (e.g., linear) mathematical relationship between data.
f) IOD.24-27.vi: Analyze given information when presented with new, simple information.
g) IOD.28-32.i: Compare or combine data from a simple data presentation with data from a complex data presentation.
h) IOD.28-32.iii: Extrapolate from data points in a table or graph.
i) IOD.33-36.ii: Analyze given information when presented with new, complex information.
j) SI.24-27.i: Understand the methods and tools used in a complex experiment.
k) SI.24-27.ii: Understand a complex experimental design.
l) SI.24-27.iii: Predict the results of an additional trial or measurement in an experiment.
m) SI.24-27.iv: Determine the experimental conditions that would produce specified results.
n) SI.28-32.i: Determine the hypothesis for an experiment.
o) SI.28-32.ii: Identify an alternate method for testing a hypothesis.
p) SI.33-36.iii: Identify an additional trial or experiment that could be performed to enhance or evaluate experimental results.
q) EMIER.24-27.i: Select a simple hypothesis, prediction, or conclusion that is supported by two or more data presentations or models.
r) EMIER.24-27.ii: Determine whether given information supports or contradicts a simple hypothesis or conclusion, and why.
s) EMIER.24-27.iii: Identify strengths and weaknesses in one or more models.
t) EMIER.24-27.iv: Identify similarities and differences between models.
u) EMIER.24-27.v: Determine which model(s) is (are) supported or weakened by new information.
v) EMIER.24-27.vi: Select a data presentation or a model that supports or contradicts a hypothesis, prediction, or conclusion.
w) EMIER.28-32.i: Select a complex hypothesis, prediction, or conclusion that is supported by a data presentation or model.
x) EMIER.28-32.ii: Determine whether new information supports or weakens a model, and why.
y) EMIER.28-32.iii: Use new information to make a prediction based on a model.
z) EMIER.33-36.i: Select a complex hypothesis, prediction, or conclusion that is supported by two or more data presentations or models.
Instructional Resources and Materials:
Our primary resource will be Human Biology written by Sylvia Mader. We will also be using several fiction and nonfiction texts, including but not limited to, Julie of the Wolves, Science World, Ishmael, A Reason for Hope, The Story of B, and The Nature of Life. In addition, we will use a variety of supplemental materials including articles, handouts, movie clips, Internet resources, and excerpts from non-fiction books and/or novels. Students will receive supplemental materials on a regular basis and are responsible for reading and organizing them in their class binders.
Student Text Resources Examples
Julie of the Wolves
A Reason for Hope
The Story of B
The Nature of Life
Internet Resources Examples
Discovery News. Web. July 2012. <http://news.discovery.com/>.
TED: Ideas worth Spreading. Web. July 13 2012. <http://www.ted.com/>.
Popular Science. Web. July 2012. <http://www.popsci.com/>.
Science News - NASA Science. Web. July 2012. <http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/>.
Science News - The New York Times. Web. July 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/>.
Human Biology Online Learning Center @ www.mhhe.com/maderhuman8
Aftermath: World Without Oil. Prod. Rob Minkoff. National Geographic Channel, 2010. YouTube.
Alien Planet. Dir. Pierre Pierre De Lespinois. Discovery Channel, 2005. YouTube.
Freakonomics. Perf. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. 2010. Netflix.
The Invention of Dr. Nakamats. Dir. Kaspar A. Schröder. Perf. Yoshiro Nakamats. 2009. Netflix.
Microcosmos: Le Peuple De L'herbe. Dir. Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou.Galatee Films, 1996. Netflix.
Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment. Dir. Ken Musen. By Phillip Zimbardo. 1992. YouTube.
Richard Dawkins Interviews Creationist Wendy Wright. The Uncut Interviews, 2008. YouTube.
Field Trips and Exhibits
Guest Speakers and Workshops
Required Student Materials and Supplies:
The following materials and supplies will be needed daily:
Note: Students in Mr. Thollander’s Senior Anatomy class should also purchase a flash drive for saving important documents, assignments, and projects.
The pre-test is designed to gauge students’ understanding of basic biology, chemistry, and physics principles as well as their ability to analyze, think critically, and express their thoughts in writing.
Projects, Presentations, and Debates (S)
Quizzes, Tests, and Essays (S)
In-Class Daily Assignments and Out-of-Class Daily Assignments (Homework) (F)
Daily Participation and Whole Class Group Collaboration (F)
Dissections, Experiments, and Models (S)
Final Project (S)
Breakdown of Final Grade
Summative and Formative Assessment Examples
The final exam will test the depth of students’ understanding of the material presented and experienced over the year of the course. It will ask students think critically and apply their knowledge to solve new problems.
Expectations and Rules:
All students will be required to adhere to the Collins Non-Negotiables and the CPS Code of Conduct.
In addition, students are expected to:
Food, candy, gum and pop are not permitted in the classroom anytime. Feel free to bring water in a plastic bottle, and please try to place paper and plastic items in the recycle bins by the door.
Scope and Sequence:
The year will be divided into weekly ‘units’. Students will be tested on their mastery of the objectives of the weekly units at the end of each week.
Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: The Brain and Intro to Bioethics
Week 3: Earthworm and Grasshopper Dissections
Week 4: Cow Eye, Sheep Eye, and Sheep Brain Dissections
Week 5: Dogfish and Necturus Dissections
Week 6: Rat Dissections
Week 7: Fetal Pig Dissections
Week 8: Dissection Finals
Week 9: Primary Source Research: Bioethics
Week 1: The Reproductive System
Week 2: The Respiratory System
Week 3: Digestive System
Week 4: The Immune System
Week 5: Advances in Modern Medicine
Week 6: Human Anatomical Evolution
Week 7: Human Cultural Evolution
Week 8: The Current State of Planet Earth
Week 9: Primary Source Research: Innovation, Conservation, and Sustainability
Week 1: Developmental Biology
Week 2: Comparative Anatomy
Week 3: Biochemistry
Week 4: Physiology
Week 5: Biomedicine
Week 6: Bioethics
Week 7: Neurology
Week 8: Psychology
Week 9: Primary Source Research: The Philosophy of Medicine and Science
Week 1: Essential Question Development
Week 2: Primary Source Research
Week 3: Materials, Methods, and Procedure
Week 4: Project Proposal Due
Week 5: Research and Collection of Data
Week 6: Research/Data Analysis
Week 7: Rough Draft Due
Week 8: Peer Review, Final Revisions, and Preparation
Week 9: Final Presentations
Mr. Thollander can best be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .