Day 4- more practice.

I think the order of the drawing practices need to be clearer. How do I present isometric and orthographic views to be more aligned with the principles of Modeling Instruction? I like how we did the mat plan discussion, but maybe not so much so as a Schoology discussion. Perhaps creating a packet as we do for Physics would help with the organization and the flow of the practices.

IMG_0371This time around, everyone seems to be doing much better. The lines are straighter and it’s beginning to look more like the 3D models. At first our lines were going in different directions and made it difficult to see the models, but after some practicing, it looks great! They’re also having an easier time seeing the front, right side, and top views from the isometric drawings. I like that they’re collaborating together and checking each other’s work.

I’m very curious and excited to see how their buildings are going to look. One of the students gave me a great idea to do a photo scavenger hunt. I think San Francisco has so many interesting buildings. But I also do recognize that not all the students live or work in San Francisco, so it might not be possible. Maybe I can just make a more generic architect photo scavenger hunt.

I might have to redo all the sample photos so that the front is much clearer. I think one of the drawings had both sides shaded and students had a hard time determining which was shaded more.

Next class, we will take Schoology Assessment. I want to find a program that will allow me to draw or redraw these photos so that the students have a better version…or maybe one that’s not available on the Interwebz.


Day 3- 3rd time’s the charm

Update on the LMS malfunction

I tried emailing students daily what we did in class and what the homework is. I also placed important due dates for them. Tried to make it as clear as possible…once again…to me. We found out in class that no one reads their emails. So here I am, learning Google classroom right along with them. I made a classroom for each Physics block during my lunch. Some of the students are giving me pointers. My homework this weekend is to learn Google classroom. Any help is welcome.

Google slides- Introduction

It actually turned out way cuter than the previous class indicated. Students really put in a lot of work into their introductions. So much so that I think I might start each class by playing the video of their slides. Because they have their first and last names on it, I don’t think I can embed the video. However, students were looking around the room to see who the person was…and then yelling across the room to ask about the thing that they shared in common. My objective of the freshmen getting to know each other was met.

Invention task

We had students work on the Physics Invention Tasks: Popcorn Popping Index, Fastness Index, and The Steepness Index. We talked about showing students that an index is really a unit rate. They struggled through counting. Every year I forget that I have to tell the students that the individual tick marks makes up a block. It’s not a big deal, but it does add a great deal of frustration to their learning. I think I’m okay with giving them that much information. We put the follow-up questions on a separate page. I think that maybe we should just include it in the already large packet, or keep the questions together. I didn’t like the logistics of the students having to move between the worksheets. More than one packet seemed to be a bit overwhelming.


Is the buggy moving at a constant speed?

This is my third year doing this curriculum. The first two times I did it, it didn’t work so well because I forgot to give the students the buggy. Since the students were genius, they figured it out anyway…we just took a lot longer. This year, I let Block 4 use their phones as timers AND the buggy. I saw a lot of Instagramming…but not of Physics. So the next two blocks, I took away their timers. Bonus: they were able to get the concept better. The majority measured their buggies to go from starting to a point and seeing if it did that every time. The minority put a tick mark for every “1-Mississippi.” Then they showed that the distances were indeed equal. There were quite a few that didn’t understand what we meant, so I’m going to have to go over that next class.

Day 3- Perspective

Agenda: FCI, Class Expectations Document, Finish iso/ortho intro, mat plans, HW: discussion

Makers took the FCI today. I was mostly interested to know how well they retained their physics content knowledge from freshman year. I’m curious to know which students are in the honors programs and how the curriculum was taught. Basically, I want to know how much more was retained (or not retained) using the Modeling Instruction. One of my colleagues dropped by and noticed a name that she had as a freshman. He scored a 87%! Block 1 averaged to be a 46% and Block 3 averaged to be a 41%. That seems to be pretty good considering they had Physics freshman year…I think.

MHT Expectations.png

Students wrote in the document what they expected of each other (including the self) for the year. Respect is the theme, but I think we need to redefine the meaning of respect. We will have conversations about phone use and dress code mostly.

There seemed to be a lot of confusion on perspective surrounding the iso/ortho drawings. Students were given the front, right, and top views of a structure. Then they had to draw the iso picture plus the orthographic views in the standard format. Identifying the front from the ortho views plus shading it in for the iso views proved to be a bit tricky. Block 3 didn’t finish and get to the Mat Plans on time. So I’ll have to cover that for them next class.

Block 1 started the mat plans. There was some discussion between students about whose structure was correct. I think I’m going to include an answer key that shows a different structure than the one the majority drew. Teaching perspective is somewhat new to me. I’m totally open to any tips from anyone!

Day 2 Physics

Our Learning Management System is still malfunctioning, and it only did that for incoming freshmen and transfer students…our most vulnerable! Instead of relying on our LMS to work and the students learn how to submit work, I thought I’d try something I learned from #MERIT18. Author of The EduProtocol Field Guide, Marlena Habern, did an exercise with us that required the use of templates on Google slides. I thought that this was going to pretty well. The directions seemed clear…to me. We crashed and burned. Students began creating slides, deleting other people’s works…then someone started making multiple copies of the slides. At one point, a class of 17 had 40 something slides. I think this could work, but I would have to pre-assign the slides to the students with their names.

The slide template I made for the students. I could have probably emailed them the Google form, but it didn’t work out. I thought I’d try something new.

The first two days of Physics are usually pretty uneventful. Our agenda consisted of taking the FCI, going over course syllabus, etc., and of course our slides. I also have to figure out how to make students more comfortable with sharing a picture of themselves. I also need to figure out a way to make the class more of a sharing community. There are definitely some bumps to get through in the first couple days, but it will get there at some point!

Day 2- MHT

I could not for the life of me remember what we did last year on Day 2. Luckily, Past Mariflor thought ahead and documented it in a planner and daily slides. However, some of those notes didn’t make sense. So once again, I’m glad I’m doing this blog now. Luckily, I’m teaching two blocks of this class now so I can make some necessary adjustments. Here are two agenda items I came up with. I was able to tweak it for Block 3.

Tinkering Block 1 Tinkering Block 3
  • Prayer Sign-Up
  • Class Survey
  • Isometric & Lined Paper

*setup prayer slides sooner; show how to use iso dot

  • Prayer Setup
  • Safety Contract
  • Course Syllabus
  • Intro to Iso/Ortho
    • Iso Drawing #1
    • Iso/Ortho Format

I like how I did the prayer sign-up this year. Instead of using Google docs, the students made their own slide. It saves me time AND they get to really design it. I really liked how it set a calming atmosphere at the beginning of class too. I will need a better way of presenting the Safety Contract and Course Syllabus. I really hate doing it, but it’s necessary. Next year, I’ll find a way to make it more entertaining.

Introducing the isometric graph papers and its nuances was much better than passing out the paper and asking students to draw on it. We drew shapes on the lined paper first. At this point, I wanted students to just draw lines that result in a 3D looking object. Some took longer than others. We moved onto the Isometric/ Orthographic Drawing Format. I did that by having them look at three orthographic views. They have to build it with the blocks, and then draw it in the iso/ortho format. We didn’t finish this exercise. I need to think about a better way of introducing the concept of drawing 2D and 3D. Should I draw 3D first and THEN 2D or the other way around? I found a pretty good resource for orthographic projections: Intro to Orthographic Projection.


Day 1- 12th and 9th graders

The Quiet. 

The room before everyone came in. There are still plenty of things to fix/ take care of. It takes a while to really call a place your own when you inherit a classroom. My first classroom took me 8 years to really make mine! It was also a really great moment to just collect myself, some thoughts, and say a little prayer. The beginning of the school year is always exciting, and glad I was able to take some time to give thanks.

Making, Hacking, & Tinkering

This year, the seniors tore through the planned activities. I started the class off with a video on teamwork I found from TEDtalk. Here’s a link to the video: Tom Wujec’s TED Talk on “Build a tower, build a team”. I found it interesting because of the level of success did not immediately correlate with the level of education. Rather, success of the marshmallow challenge seemed to more correlate with attitude. I will have to emphasize process and a growth mindset. Last year, it took a bit longer to complete the build challenge. I got the build challenge from my colleague who first taught the course, so not sure where she got it from. I need to find out where she got it from so that students can continue to build once they’re done. One group interpreted the build a bit differently. Most groups took their photo like this:

How most groups sent in their build. 

One group sent in their photo a little differently:

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 3.13.29 PM
How one group sent in their photo.

All the groups submitted their group photo and their build to a common Google document. I really like how this group interpreted the build clues. This group worked together and made sure everyone’s voice was heard. None of the clues stated which cube had to be on “top.” Then at the end of the class, students filled out an index card to say what they liked and didn’t like about their time here. All the students wrote community as one of their top favorite things about the school. What they didn’t like ranged from dress code to waking up early, standard high school stuff.


I’m so grateful for the rockstar teacher, Mrs. F. She mentored (and continues to mentor) me in my first year. She came in and helped set up for the stations. With it being my third year, I felt pretty comfortable with what we had to do. However, I really should have practiced the stations again. I forgot how to do some of them…including the pulling the tablecloth one. I did it three times today, and my antiperspirant was really put to the test. I think some of the students caught me on video completing the task, but I do have one of a very eager student!

The goal of the Physics Learning Team is to have the freshmen walk away excited about learning Physics. We didn’t spend very much time doing explanations. Rather, we had them play and explore the Laws of Physics through eager eyes. It gets so intimidating toward the end of the year, maybe I can show them this video as a memory of their first day of high school….remember when you thought Physics was fun?

Here are a couple of photos of students completing the station rounds. Bonus: A photo of Mr. Murphy demonstrating gravitational potential energy. 

Anyway, I’m excited for the year!





Day 1 of the 2018-19 School Year

Summer of Travel and Naps is official over! As much as I’m going to miss my daily nap schedule and all the wonderful trips I’ve taken, I’m super excited to be back! I’m not sure if it’s because I took a lot of time over the summer for myself or if it’s the awesome Professional Development completed at KCI, but I am ready.

In my third year of teaching here at SHC, I’ve inherited a classroom that I can call home. Days of the traveling teacherhood is over (for now I’m assuming). I’ve got to finish cleaning it up before they start have orientation meetings on Monday. Eek! The walls were repainted and everything looks so bright and shiny! I guess I’m just really excited about starting the year.

I’m getting a clearer idea of how Tinkering will be run this year, and I’m less nervous about using the Modeling Instruction method of teaching Physics. I’m trying to figure out how I can apply that same methodology in Tinkering.

This year’s theme is AccompanyIt’s humbling to think about all the students that I will ask to accompany me on this year’s journey to learning science. Well, here we go! Stay tuned for Day 1 of Physics and “AP Legos.”

Day 9 #MERIT18

iMovie Trailers

I really do have a love-hate relationship with iMovie. I had to use it to create videos to apply for my California Teaching Credential (CTC), but the software changes very often. When things change this often, I spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos and crying…then learning…and more crying. Eventually, I have to put a product I’m halfway happy with. Because of this, I’m not that big of a fan. The people in my group were delightful with working together. Everyone who had an idea was heard. Sharing the cameraperson duties was encouraged. Editing was pretty seamless. I personally think our final product was very cute.

Presentations: IPEVO

All the presenters have been fabulous so far and IPEVO continues the excellent presenters tradition. They are to be remembered for their awesome products and the yummy cupcakes! I loved hearing about Wishpool. Even though their product was super affordable, they made it even MORE affordable by offering it to teachers who wish for them!

Spreadsheet Thoughts

I have a mug that says I [heart] Spreadsheets. I used them all the time when teaching middle school. The critique I received from it was that it was too difficult for students to comprehend. There is no skill mastery needed in completing Spreadsheets. After having to put together a fundraising tracker for my dance company, (and close to breaking down) I realized that it was important for the next generation to visualize numbers and their meaning. I’ll probably write a whole separate blog post about this topic.


On Day 1, I knew that I was walking into a room full of talented educators. Today, I found out just how talented they are. Every single person that went up to present made me want to take their class. If the lesson presented today was a peek into a whole year with these teachers, I would be blessed to be a student in their class. Each educator asks students to address privilege and how global views affect their present lives. I know I was totally having mild panic attacks about today, but it didn’t seem so bad after all. The program does an excellent job of selecting educators who are empathetic, talented, and genuinely care about students. One of my first tweets about #MERIT18 was about disorganized I was with all my tasks. Lisa replied with: “Be the teacher you needed.”

Today, I was able to more clearly see the teacher I needed..the teacher the students need now. If there was a school who only employed MERIT alumni, those students would be some of the luckiest students in the world.

Day 8 #MERIT18

Who Are You?

Well, @fel_ski and I ended up in one of the most awful traffic jams that I can remember in my commuting life. PLUS to this is that we thought of starting a Voxer chat with @LisaTeachesTech to communicate about us being late. We learned how to use the app while we were stuck in the jam. Another fun little thing we saw was a white car who had TAPED binder paper to their license plates and wore a mask. I guess people will really do anything to hide from technology?

Beth thoughtfully guided us through the Who Are You? icebreaker. I thought she did a great job of it. I found myself continuing to dislike the question. I don’t want to make “I am a teacher.” my identity, but yet that was my initial introduction to my new #MERIT18 friend. I think I need to get better at telling my story rather than just stating surface-level identities.

Are we really almost done?

I cannot believe that it’s already Day 8. The feelings of fright and panic from Day 1 has not completely gone away. Rather, it kind of evolved to a different kind of fright and panic. Instead of the unknown causing my anxiety, the looming deadlines replaced the unknown. We started off our time together using GSuite apps, and we end our time by using those said apps.

I ended up spending a lot of time #sketchnoting my thoughts because my brain is old school. I think better when I’m writing out what I’m thinking and how it connects together. I found out during my time at #MERIT18 is that I can totally use my old school thinking methods and still produce a modern-day presentation product. I am so grateful to wevideo and KCI for gifting us with the Premium capabilities for wevideo. It’s so much easier to use than iMovie.

Not a box brainstorm.png
This is my #sketchnote of my brainstorm of my #MERIT18 summer project. 

@MissMLMedrano out!

Day 7 #MERIT18

Getting things done…

When I saw today’s directives, I was sure that we were making ONE video, and it was going to happen TODAY. Turns out, we made a ton of things. I made an infographic, video, and I think I made other things.

MERIT By the Numbers

My head is spinning, and I find myself REALLY scratching my head.

TPACK- Well, now what I know what TPACK is. Technology is not the center of the lesson, but it’s just the tool. Much like the brick my Kumu Hula used as his technology. (Referencing: Hula Class + Education)

And yes, I really am freaking out a whole lot. I enjoyed the day because I was able to play with some different ways of screencasting and other things. So much information today and the only way I could cope was drawing it out. So, I present to you, my #sketchnote.

[Will insert when I can find the file…It’s been such a whirlwind, I don’t know where my images are being saved..]


Maybe you can enjoy this video I made with @bribriggs in the meantime: