Bond with James

Monday, March 1, 2021

A Few Devices I've Used During Remote Learning


In the video above, I switch between using the integrated software with external devices such as the Logitech HD Webcam C270 and Blue Microphones Snowball iCE.  Students immediately noticed the difference in quality between the two video and audio methods. According to the students, I no longer sounded like a "robot" but a "professional podcaster." Audio quality is and continues to be important in the remote setting, especially for my students who are non-native English speakers. Additionally, the Zoom call's auto-captioning function provides a more thorough closed captioning experience using the Blue Microphone Snowball iCE compared to the internal microphone. Some of my students sometimes have difficulty with their audio, and the only way they have access to the lesson is through closed captioning. Therefore, I need a microphone that can effectively capture and convey a high voice quality to the students.   


The use of an external webcam, such as the Logitech HD C270, provides my students with a clearer image to view and connect with me personally. In the clip above, the integrated webcam quality is grainy and adjusts poorly to changes in lighting.  Students noticed the difference when I made the switch to the Logitech HD C270 webcam as they reminded me of a blemish on my skin 😅😂and mentioned that they appreciated being able to view a clearer image as I taught. While many of the students leave their cameras off during the Zoom call, I hope that the webcam's clearer image will allow students to feel comfortable approaching me when we return to in-person instruction. 


**While this is a sponsored blog post, I only take on projects that support student learning or my

ability to make instructional content accessible to students.


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Density Lab (Acrylic Cylinders): Observe & Record Data!

This virtual lab focuses on observing and recording data from a density experiment. It is recommended that the individual rewind or pause the video to allow time to accurately and precisely record each measurement. When finished, calculate the density for each of the purple (acrylic) cylinders.

If you're a teacher using this in the classroom, you may want to create a Pre-Lab questionnaire. I normally have students create their own data tables. This lab is straightforward and is a great starting point for developing that particular skill. However, in case you're wondering, you could have students create something like this:


The purple cylinders are composed of acrylic. The true value provided with the activity set was given as 1.17 g/mL. If you Google the acrylic density, it is listed as 1.18 g/mL (or 1.18 g/cm^3).

I forgot to mention this in the video. Depending on your grade level and population of students, you should direct students to take the average of the values and use that to compare to the true value of acrylic. When creating a Mass vs. Volume graph, instruct students to draw a line of best fit. The graph will be a straight line. Of course, obtaining accurate and precise data from the video will be affected by various factors (e.g., human error 😂🤣). However, I recorded data and calculated the density by watching the video, and my measurements were fine. Moreover, you could use the video as an opportunity to discuss recording accurate and precise measurements (i.e., significant figures/digits).

I hope this helps you and your students while we navigate distance learning during this COVID-19 era.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Back to School with Distance Learning

An overview of my Canvas course setup begins at 1:32.

The school board pushed the start of the school year back by three weeks and we will start with a distance learning program. As of now, I know the board sent in a request to extend remote learning by an additional 4-weeks. However, I do not know what the current status of that request is. Given my experience with creating blended learning activities for my students, the shift to creating distance learning material wasn't too difficult. However, my main issue lies with particular teaching strategies that I regularly employed in a face-to-face format.

In the event that we do go back, my focus is not to decorate or fix up my classroom because we most likely will not go to a regular schedule that involves students moving around. However, I'll speak about this in another vlog. Also, I will be able to show more of my Canvas distance learning setup and/or answer any comments people have about this particular vlog.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Teaching at Title 1 Schools | A Week in the Life of a Teacher



This week's vlog includes a 7-minute teaching warm-up and transitions into my reflection of the week; as well as my feelings about working and teaching at title 1 schools. 



When I first started A Week in the Life of a Teacher vlogs (17-18), I filmed and incorporated teaching clips in my videos. I did this because there had not been, to my knowledge, another teacher vlogger that had (consistently) done so. I also wanted to use my vlogs to share ideas and also reflect on my own teaching. I've spent a majority of my career working with or teaching at title 1 schools and I wanted to see where I could develop to support all students.

However, teaching Pre-AP chemistry for the first time in 8 years combined with teaching at a Title 1 school and daily vlogging and editing for a weekly vlog release began to take its toll on me mentally and physically. Therefore, during the spring semester, I continued to record my lessons for self-reflection, but I didn't stress about editing hours of lessons for the A Week in the Life of a Teacher vlog.

This school year (18-19), I decided to scale back the amount of time I spent vlogging. For the most part, I record on a single day and reflect on the week or some topic that people have asked me about. I feel this schedule allows me to rest, relax, and not stress about additional work.

Although, I have made the decision to try and incorporate small segments of instruction from one lesson taught during my weekly vlog release. I this will allow me to support my original goals and provide a lens to anyone who is interested in teaching, especially at Title 1 schools.

For the record, just in case this needs to be stated, I do not believe Title 1 schools are terrible. There are multiple challenges that make teaching at a Title 1 school difficult. However, I enjoy working with the population of students that I serve and understand the commitment and dedication it takes to support them academically and emotionally.

Monday, August 20, 2018

First Week of School (2018-2019)

The Facebook post can't even describe how tired I was after my first week back to school. However, I had a great first week. 

You can check out a bit more through my 2018-2019 First Week of School vlog.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

7 Tips for New Teachers

Did you hear that?  It was the sound of summer vacation speeding past us like a race car on the Indy 500! Many teachers started or are about to begin their 2018-2019 school year.  If you weren't aware, check out Facebook or Instagram for hundreds of posts about classroom hauls, makeovers, and tours. Don't worry, mine will be coming soon!

With that said, my latest video is centered around new teacher tips because it is one of the most common requests that I receive. I also thought it would be great to release this New Teacher Tips video along with the BIG 2018 Secondary Science Giveaway that I am participating in. [...more below the video]




I am fortunate to have an opportunity to collaborate with a fantastic group of secondary science teacher-authors.  We have come together to give away four (4) $100 Teachers Pay Teachers gift cards.  Additionally, many of us are hosting our own giveaways. Therefore, you the chance of winning hundreds of dollars worth of prizes.

I will be giving away two (2) of my Chemistry Blended Learning Stations Bundle. You can check out several of my vlogs on YouTube where I've shown and talked about the implementation of the stations in the classroom.  Students are engaged and challenged throughout each stations activity set; they're all great activities to use during a formal evaluation.




Here are the rules: 

  1. Hop from blog to blog (links at the bottom). Each blog has a secret word.  
  2. Gather the secret words to create a sentence. 
  3. Correctly type the sentence in the right order to enter the collaborative giveaway (it does not matter which teacher-authors blog you submit).  My secret word is: 12. torch 
  4. For my giveaway, follow the instructions in the KingSumo Giveaway.

Bond with James Giveaway


Secondary Science Collaborative Giveaway 
a Rafflecopter giveaway