• Welcome to Mrs. Gastler's Chemistry Page!
     
     
    This chemistry class is not your parents’ chemistry class.   We follow a teaching method called "Student-Paced, Mastery-Based" and it is awesome.
     
    Student Paced means
    • Students work at a pace that is best for them.  
    • If they need to work on something a little longer, they do.
    • If they want to get through something faster, they can.
    • If they want to work by themselves, they do.
    • If they want to work in a small group, they can.
    Mastery Based:
    • Students must score at a 70% on quizzes and tests.
    • Students will retake quizzes and tests until they get a 70% or better.
    • Students will not be able to move forward to the next objective or unit until they have met this 70% or better requirement on all quizzes and test
    I am very excited about this method of teaching and in the short time I've been doing things this way (a sum of 3 months at the beginning of the school year) I am amazed at the effect it has on student learning and retention.  I know there are still bugs to be worked out and hiccups along the way, but even so, the improvement I see in the performance of my students is definitely worth it.  Below is a list of frequently asked questions.  If you have any additional questions that I haven't addressed here, please let me know.  I will be happy to answer them.
     
     
    What does the class look like? 
    It looks different depending on the day.  
    Sometimes students work together or individually on unit objectives. When students come to class, they start where they left off last time and continue working at their pace to move forward.   They watch videos, work on homework questions, or take quizzes. During class, I move all over the place, grading assignments, answering questions, providing additional help, and making sure students are working on something for class.
    Sometimes we work together on a lab activity or have discussions.  During labs, I lead the class in preparing for the lab and then monitor students while they complete it. During discussions, I get the discussion going with a demonstration or question and then guide students with questioning.
    We use Schoology to manage all of the assignments, activities, and quizzes and to hold students accountable to the 70% minimum.  
     
    So you are not teaching them?!?
    Well, not all at the same time, no.  I don't expect them to figure it out on their own though.  I have recorded videos of our lectures.  They are exactly what I would have said to the class in a traditional setting.  The advantage for me is that I do it once instead of once every block.  The advantage for the student is they choose when and where they watch the videos.  This ensures that student are ready to learn.  In the traditional setting, students stop paying attention for a variety of reasons and miss out on what I'm saying.  With a video, students can start and stop the video, replay the video, pause and ask a question about the video, thereby not missing any of the information.  The videos are also shorter than a traditional lecture allowing students to learn small chunks of information and master it a little at a time.  In addition, student have access to videos made by all three chemistry teachers who often explain things in different ways.  So if one explanation isn't working, students can watch one of the others. 
     
    How fast should my student go?
    This will depend on what they know and their work habits.  A suggested schedule for each unit is posted in the classroom.  If we were doing things together at my pace, this is what we would cover.  I encourage students to keep up with that schedule.  Students are expected to work in class but are welcome to work anytime outside of class also.  
    There are certain activities that must be completed as a class, likes labs, quizzes, and tests.  These will be done on particular days regardless of where a student is on the schedule.  
     
    What if my student gets ahead?
    We have 4 units that must be completed in a semester.  Once a student has finished those four units, they are encouraged to treat the class as a study hall with weekly assignments to keep the content fresh until the final (No, students can't take the finals early). 
     
    What if my student falls behind?
    Schoology shows my students' progress to me so that I can monitor their pace.  I check their progress before each class period and make a list of students who are getting behind and focus extra attention on them to help them catch up.  When a student falls behind, they will begin to see zeros in the grade book for the assignments that they have not yet completed.  Zeros are not entered into Schoology, but blank assignments in Home Access are counted as zeros. As soon as that assignment is completed the blank will be replaced with an updated grade.  If you check Home Access and want to know if you student has made up any of the missing assignments, please email me. 
    The deadline for completing work will be the day of the final.  Students who still have zeros at that time will no longer be able to replace them to save their grade.  
     
    Gee Whiz - I just looked in Home Access and saw a gajillion assignments!!  
    Yeah, sorry about that.  Since we are doing things mastery based, every objective has at least notes, homework, and a quiz that must be completed.  To hold students accountable each of those must be in the grade book separately.   
     
    What if my student is having trouble mastering an objective?
    Students are limited in the number of attempts to get that 70% on a quiz and test.  Students can get more attempts by working with me first to figure out what they don't understand so that they can be successful in the future.  Typically they will have plenty of time to ask questions and get help during class.  I also have study hall first semester and I get here about 8 am on A-Days and 8:30 on B-Days and stay until 4:30 or so.  We can meet any of those times to work on it together.  Students can also come during another of my class, but will have to get permission from me on the day they would like to do this.