Sunday, November 27, 2016

You Could Win a $10 TpT Gift Card! (and you have 26 chances!!)


Two important opportunities for you

It's coming tomorrow!!  TpT Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) sale, 20% off everything in my store, but plus another 10% off sitewide, bringing everything 28% off!


In honor of this sale, and because I am very thankful for you, my fellow teachers and TpT followers, I I have a $10 TpT gift card to raffle off for use on any of my resources.

This is $10 to use on any resources that you think will help you.

This is a great chance to purchase a new resource that you want to try, or a more expensive resource that would really benefit from the discount.

If you are not a science teacher, or are looking for some resources with broader uses, I would recommend a few of my bestsellers

Tarsia Puzzle Template Set #GiveBackFriday   or 50 Exit Tickets (Formative Assessment)

If you are a science teacher, then I would really recommend that you use this opportunity to take advantage of some of my bigger money saving bundles, which are discounted even more deeply for this sale. You can really get a phenomenal deal.  Here are a few suggestions: 

Weathering, Erosion, and Deposition Unit Pack   Biology Formative Assessment Full Year:Google #GiveBackFriday  Human Body Systems Bundle

Or even a "Buy My Store" growing bundle - where you have access to all items of that subject area, and any future items in that subject

Buy my Store - Biology   Buy my Store - Earth Science 

Enter below, and then click on the graphic at the bottom for many more chances to win gift cards and prizes at other websites.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Angela Congrove Willyerd's photo.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Year Long Formative Assessment Bundle Complete - You have so many options!!

Formative Assessment tools in the high school biology classroom

The Importance of Formative Assessment

Formative assessment is a very important topic to me.  When we are up at the front of the room teaching, it become easy for both us, and our students, to think that they understand what we are trying to teach.  Then nod and say they understand, and we believe them. No one is being deceptive, but its hard to determine.  

I think it is critical to use formative assessment very frequently.  That may be assessments of prior knowledge when starting a topic, or an assessment during or at the end of a lesson.  I have written before several times about formative assessment, in terms of warm ups, bell work, tickets out, or even station work that reviews and assesses knowledge on a few lessons at a time.  You can read those earlier posts  here, or here :) I think the particular way in that you choose to do formative assessment depends on your classroom routines and structure, but it is SOO important, for both yourselves and your students to have frequent checks on their understanding.

Grading Formative Assessment

When my school started using chromebooks, I made my daily warm ups in Google Forms.  I wrote here, about how I was able to grade work efficiently.  Whether you grade formative assessment for completion or only for effort is a topic for a whole other post (or several).  In my district, I found that students were less likely to complete it and take it seriously if it wasn't graded, but I never gave less than half credit unless refused to do it.

So How Can I Make This Easier For You? 

Does it seem like a lot of work to make up formative assessment questions on an almost daily basis?  It is!  But the good news is, the work is done for you.   I have created a year long bundle of formative assessments.  These are available in a large bundle of 10 units, 18 assessments each, and a bonus pack, or individually.  Here are a few points of information: 
  • The units are correlated to my year long Biology Course Objectives, to ensure that all objectives are addressed.
  • Each slide or form has 2-5 brief questions that should take students approximately 3-8 minutes to complete.
  • Each unit is available in Google Forms, Google Slides (to be projected or used as digital task cards), and PDF
The full preview and description is here



Because of all the options available, the teacher (you) has a lot of easy options for differentiation.  

I hope these are a helpful to you as you work with your students. Please feel free to email me with any comments or suggestions, or to comment below.  I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Teaching Ecological Succession

Strategies for Teaching Ecological Succession

How I use the 5E's model to teach Ecological Succession, includes helpful resources

I was asked to write about how I teach ecological succession.  Ecological succession is a simple topic, but for some reason students have a difficult time sometimes with the finer points, or remembering the vocabulary. 

Let's start at the beginning

What is succession?  

It is defined as "the progressive replacement of one community by another until a climax community is established." (dictionary.com).  In terms of science, it refers to barren land, which has never had life, or land where the life has been wiped out, gradually developing an ecosystem, until there is a stable ecosystem in that place (climax community).

So how do I teach it? 

In general, I believe it using the 5E's model.  This is a small topic, so I might only spend 1-2 class periods on ecological succession, but I still follow that basic model.

It is helpful when planning to think about where students are likely to get stuck.  In my experience, students get stuck on the difference between primary and secondary succession.   Students also get stuck on the term 'succession;' they can't come up with the term, or even select it on multiple choice. 

The 5E's Model: Ecological Succession

If you aren't familiar with the 5E's model, a good basic summary of the steps is here.  Below I will give an example of how each step could be applied to teaching about ecological succession, even on a short time frame.

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