Much of last summer was spent dreaming and scheming about what I would like to see in my AP Bio class this year. I knew that I had the luxury of the course being yearlong and I knew that I wanted to flip this class, but beyond that I had a lot of imagining to do. The thing of which I was most certain, was that I was going to get myself out of the front of the classroom and place the responsibility for learning squarely on the shoulders of the students. Mounds and mounds of research have shown that students retain much more material when they teach each other as opposed to passively listening to me yammer. This is the principle upon which I decided I would base my classroom.
From the very beginning of the year I made a concerted effort to get the students in as many situations as possible where they were forced to work with one another. Thankfully, the students were willing to jump in and participate and here we stand 3/4 of the year done, and the class is a very cohesive unit. I will not be so presumptuous as to say that we are one big happy family, but I would wager that the students of AP Bio know their classmates much better than they know their peers in other classes. Furthermore, they have learned to collaborate in such an effective manner that they always turn out products that amaze me.
The intro for this edition of the week in review was inspired by the submissions of Niya Carrington and Jarrett Bumidang. Both mentioned the collaborative nature of the class. At this point, I feel as though I have had little to do with the classroom environment, but I'm glad we have come to where we are. So, reflecting on the week of 3/18-3/22 Jarrett and Niya have the following to say.
Our AP biology class has clearly grown into a close unit of friends and classmates. Early in the year, Mr. Kite had encouraged us to work with new people and grow closer. The relationships we have formed with one another have helped us succeed and endure through this hard course. As a result, there is almost never a day that we don't work in groups in Mr. Kite's AP Biology class. This week was not different. We "jigsawed" and helped one another learn about diseases of the nervous system. We also worked in small groups to answer riddle like questions that focused on concepts we learned in class. Together, we earned extra credit (THANK GOD). We were also introduced to our new quarterly project. We easily chose our groups and were assigned the topics to teach about. Most students were hesitant to teach topics, but we were all ready to attack the challenge. We ended the week with with a game of Jeopardy to study for test. It opened our eyes and showed us how much more we needed to study. As usual, the week was interesting and not boring.
This week in AP Biology the class did a case study called Planet Soma wherethe class was held hostage and we had to do a little research and answer questionsabout neuronal signaling. We were split up into groups to answer a set of questionsand Mr. Kite even offered extra credit. But the catch to that was that every grouphad to present their answers to him and every group had to have the correct answerfor the ability to gain the extra credit. It got a little tense when the juniors had toleave class and we only had half of the class left to answer the questions. Soeverybody had to work together to answer some of the other group’s questions. Butat the end of the day we had great teamwork and the class was set free from theGlialiens and we earned the extra credit.That Tuesday we had a substitute and the class wasn’t able to accomplish anywork because it wasn’t posted on Edmodo. So we were only able to answer conceptquestions from the book and catch up on other schoolwork. Wednesday we read anarticle that talked about brain damage and how head injuries and concussions play abig role in causing this. We had mini group discussions about the article andeverybody had a chance to give their opinion. We than began to discuss our 4thquarter project and everybody was able to figure out who they were working withand what topic they were going to do.On Thursday we worked in groups to answer questions from the book andwe were given the option to start on our quarter projects or catch up on videos.Then finally on Friday we played a game of Jeopardy review for on upcoming test onMonday. The game of jeopardy let some people that slack on videos like myselfknow that we had some serious studying to do over the weekend.