Author Archives: DaynaJD

About DaynaJD

I'm a high school science teacher who has a love of all things science, science fiction, fantasy, Disney and nerdy.

Not Adult Enough

Every once in a while I feel like I’m not Adulting correctly. Yes, with a capital A. I look around at other women in their 30s and see their nice blouses and nice pants and nice shoes. I’m just sitting over here in my Disneyland t-shirt, jeans, and Converse. Never mind the fact that I own my house and have a good job. I wear graphic tees as a 33-year so clearly my life isn’t put together.

It’s weird how we compare and judge ourselves. I am, by most standards, a pretty successful person. I hold 2 degrees and am earning a third. I have a decent paying job that allows me to pay my bills and still go to Disneyland when I want. I have friends and family who support me. I have students who like me (even if my class is hard). I have peers who respect me.

And yet, when I go out and see other 30-something women I judge myself because of the outfits I like to wear when I’m relaxing. I compare myself to them and think they are “more successful” than I am. I think they are more put together than I am. I think they’ve figured it all out. There is no reason for this other than the fact that these other women are wearing a pencil skirt and blouse with a belt. That’s literally the only thing I have to go on. It’s like my brain says, “Wow, that woman is wearing black slacks and a really nice top. She must have her shit together.” It doesn’t make any sense.

I do also think it’s a bit of worry about how others are viewing me. Maybe they look at me like I’m this girl-child who hasn’t figured anything out. “Look at this chick. Who wears graphic tees into their 30s?” *Scoff*

The thing is, though, I guess I don’t care enough to really change my behavior. I like the clothes I wear. I like displaying my nerdom. I like finding fun designs and showing them off. I’m actually pretty comfortable in the things I wear out.

I also want people to think that I’m adulting correctly. Because I am adulting the shit out of my life. When I’m not watching Disney movies or playing video games, of course.

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How to measure oxygen

I wanted my honors chemistry students to see how chemists of old discovered the make-up of water using test tubes, batteries, and pushpins. The process would allow students to measure the amount of gas produced in each test tube and see it was a two:one ratio. All of this sounds great. Until I tested it out for myself…

The brass pushpins made hydrogen gas ok, but I couldn’t get oxygen. The silver ones worked a little better, but I still wasn’t able to produce oxygen gas. I tried salt water, I tried baking soda in water. I tried vinegar in water. I spent 3 straight mornings not grading or helping students, but trying to figure out this stupid lab. Jus when I was ready to give up, I found a site that reminded me graphic conducted electricity. So I made graphite water electrolysis devices.

Step one: poke holes in plastic cups.

Step two: insert pencil lead into said holes.

Step three: Use paraffin wax to secure the pencil lead.

Step four: Make thirteen more so that every pair can have one.

Step five: Test it to make sure it works

Step six: Cry when your 3rd hour class breaks the lead on half of them and you have to spend half of your lunch fixing them.

Step seven: Find out how much this set-up costs on Flinn Scientific and add it to you list for next year.

All and all I don’t think a single student got the 2:1 ratio of hydrogen to oxygen but they had a lot of fun setting it up and breaking apart the water. We’ll leave discussing just what the heck happened to Monday when I’m less frazzled from helping them set up the stupid thing correctly.

Oh, and if anyone knows a better solution to use besides salt, baking soda, or vinegar, please let me know in the comments!


Loss

I was going to write a blog post about Disneyland, seeing as how my Disney season is starting.  But then something happened and I couldn’t write about how happy I was.  My friend took his life.  I wasn’t prepared for it.

I don’t think anyone is really prepared for when their friend takes their own life.  It’s a shock to everyone because they seemed fine.  They make plans with people, reach out, try new things.  They has just hung out with people.  They were going out with people the next day.

I don’t know what happened and I won’t pretend to understand.  I know I can’t understand what he was going through.  I know I can’t understand how other people closer to him feel.  I know that I miss my friend.  I know that there is so much I want to tell him.

I want to tell him that I love him.  I’m sorry I hadn’t reached out in a while.  We get busy, there is stuff to do, he’ll be there tomorrow or next week or next month and I’ll see him then.  I would like to have one more conversation with him.  We used to have these great conversations when we were in high school.  The kind of conversations that only 16 year olds can have.  We used to have great conversations when we were older too.  I will miss the great conversations that could have been.

I want to tell him that I even though I didn’t talk to him often, I thought about him.  We had been friends for more than 17 years.  That kind of friendship doesn’t just go away.  Even if we didn’t speak, he was in my thoughts and memories.

I want to tell him that I’m angry.  So many people loved him and cared about him.  But I know that wouldn’t have made a difference.  Sometimes, there are things that can’t been seen because they can’t be felt.  Sometimes, we get to this place where the end seems to be the only way out.  That doesn’t make me any less angry.

I want to tell him that I miss him.  And that I’m sad that he is gone.  I went numb when I was told, but after the numbness came the tears.  Sometimes, I wasn’t sure I could every stop crying.  True, we hadn’t talked in months, but I never thought I would never be able to talk to him again.  Even now, I don’t want to believe it.

Mostly, I want to tell him that I will remember him.  I will remember the good times we had together.  I will remember the laughter and the smiles.  I will remember the sarcasm.  I will remember when he was there for me when I needed a friend to lean on.  I will remember him.  I will miss him.  I hope you are resting in peace, my friend.


Flipping the classroom

This year I decided to experiment with my classroom a little bit.  I don’t like to lecture.  I find it boring and can see when the students just tune out.  So this year I decided I am going to flip my classroom.  So far so good.

So what does a flipped classroom look like.  Instead of students being bored to tears with a lecture every day in class and then going home and struggling with homework, we do the opposite.  I let them be bored at home and watch videos or read notes and we do the homework part in class where they can get more help.  This approach allows students to take their time with their notes, go back and re-read/watch the parts that were confusing, and jot down things that they need help with while at home.  Then they come to school and do the practice, lab, or activity in class to get a deeper understanding of the materials.

There are pros and cons to flipping the classroom.  The biggest con is the fact that some students will not actually watch the videos or read the lessons.  So far, I have found that a small number of students fall into this category.  I tie their lecture notes to a small participation grade which helps motivate students into doing their part.  I also make sure that what they are learning at home directly ties into what we are doing in the class the next day.  So far, students seem to understand the need to come prepared to class.  The other major con is the actual learning outcomes.  Much of the research about flipped classrooms is behind paywalls, which means I can’t access it as a teacher (which is its own problem in education and other fields).  The articles I do have access to touch on this problem but do not explore it directly, so I’m not sure if flipping the classroom is actually an effective way to reach students.  Alls I can do is look at how it affects my students and see if I want to continue next semester.

The pros are pretty great though.  I have time in class to help students when they are stuck on problems.  I have time to do more labs and hands-on science with students.  I have my students up and doing things or working together or actually doing chemistry in the classroom.  Those are all things that have been shown in multiple studies and reviews to help students (Carini, Kuh, & Klein, 2006; Chen et al, 2014; Lazonder & Ehrenhard, 2014; Jong, Linn, & Zacharia, 2013).  The more assistance and feedback students receive from their teachers, the better they do.  And if having them work more in class means I can give them better feedback, than I will continue to flip my classroom.

Flipping the classroom is definitely a difficult thing to do.  It requires lots of work on my end to create short videos for my students.  But it’s something I am going to continue doing for this semester.  I can look at test data and student data to see if this method works for my population of students.  Because in the end, it’s all about doing what is right for students.


Here we go again

School has started!  Tables are in groups, white board markers are ready, seating charts are made, and syllabus have been read.  We are officially back to school.  Happy end of summer, fellow teachers.

Every year, I want to tell my new students so much.  I want to tell them that I am there for them, truly.  I want them to succeed and I want them to understand and I want them to try their very best.  I also want them to fail and I want them to struggle and I want them to say that they don’t get it.  I want my students to experience what it is like to have a super easy time with something.  I want them to experience what it is like to have to struggle like hell to get something.  I want my students to experience life in all the nitty-gritty (but not too nitty-gritty because they are just 16 after all) that I can offer.

This may sound weird, but I tell all of my students that they will fail at some point in my class.  I don’t mean that they will get an F.  I mean that they will not do something as well as they thought they had.  They will have to give up on something they didn’t want to.  They will not meet their expectations.  I tell them that because I want them to know that failure is not the end.  Yeah, I know that quiz was hard and you got a C on it when you wanted a B.  What are you going to do about it?  Yeah, I know you didn’t understand the instructions and got a B instead of an A.  What are you going to do next time?  Because I think that when someone fails is when they really start to realize what they are made of.

I also let my students know that it’s okay to be wrong about something.  I’m wrong somethings.  I mess up and do things incorrectly.  And, you know what, that’s ok.  I’ve made it this far and to crashed and burned out (mostly).  I think we don’t let students fail enough.  I think we don’t let students try to pick themselves up without help.  I think we put the safety net too high.  Oh, there is a safety net, to be sure, but maybe we can let them try to figure out how to fall correctly before showing them that the safety net is there (maybe that metaphor got away from me a little, but you know what I mean).

So students, I really do adore all of you.  Yes, all of you.  But I am going to be harsh and hard and enforce things that you don’t like.  I am going to push you and push you because I know you can do better.  And I am going to help you out to the best of my ability every time.

Welcome to Ms. Doskocil’s class of 2017-2018.


Just the Right Amount of Excitement

I recently went to a movie theater and watched Cars 3, which was excellent but not the point of this story.  At the theater, I saw a poster for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and just about lost my mind.  I was so excited.  I took a picture of the movie poster.  I walked out of the theater giddy.  I was practically bouncing.

Maybe I was too excited.

I’ve had this happen to me before.  There is a button at the end of the new King Kong movie (not the Peter Jackson one but the new new one) that showed some of the other giant monster legends, i.e. Godzilla, Mothra, the cray Hydra looking one, and I literally squeed like a teen-age girl at a One Direction concert.  The person I was with casually (and in no way disrespectfully) commented that I was maybe a bit too excited about the new brand of giant monster movies coming out.  This got me thinking: what is “too excited”?

I have many fandoms: Disney, Kingdom Hearts, Zelda, and The Dresden Files to name a few.  I get excited when I see that something new is coming out or that something is being redone in an interesting way. (BTW, I don’t care what you think, that Dresden Files TV show was awesome!  Damn SciFi channel for canceling it!).  Sometimes I get really excited about things.  But I’m not sure that I’ve ever been “too excited” about my fandoms.  I’ve been exactly as excited as I want to be.  My level of excitement is proportional to my interest in the thing.  I’m not really sure when this “you’re too excited” thing started.  Do people say that to sports fans?  “You’re too excited about the Patriots winning?”  Or is it just this thing that is reserved for “geeks” and our fandoms.

I’m not going to worry about being too excited for the new Star Wars movie, or the new Star Wars land in Disneyland.  Or any of the upcoming events in my life.  I’ve got the right kind of excitement going on.


Bite Somebody Else book cover released!

Yaaaaass!

Author Sara Dobie Bauer wrote a book called Bite Somebody about awkward vampire Celia.  I wrote about it here.  Among the crazy cast of characters is Imogene, a vamp with a serious crush on the 80’s and a badass attitude.  Now, Imogene looks to be the star in Bauer’s newest book, Bite Somebody Else.  Below, in all her glory, is Imogene on the newly released book cover.

BiteSomebodyElse_final_wrapRGB

Looking forward to reading about the shenanigans of Imogene, Celia, and Ian when the book is released June 20th, 2017.


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Sara Dobie Bauer

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