Congrats, Pioneer Class of 2015

I'll preface it with this- I had hoped that I would have seen you folks graduate. I started with you, you were my first group of students, and you all hold a special place in my heart. Life is messy. I started writing this speech when you were freshmen. Dear Graduates, Faculty, School Committee Members, Families and Guests, I'm going to be facing you, Graduates, because you are the reason … [Read more...]

My Speech to the Pioneer Valley Regional School District School Committee regarding funding.

2/11/2014 Hello, I am Jason DeFuria, a third year science teacher at Pioneer Valley Regional School and a member of its technology committee. I am here to speak with you tonight about the state of technology throughout the school. Pioneer Valley Regional School is currently saddled with outdated hardware, software, and infrastructure, meaning the school lags behind when it comes to technology. … [Read more...]

The Importance of Open-Source Education

After completing a course on how to implement technology into the STEM disciplines, I realized that education must be open source.  So much of what we expect students to know needs to be open source, along with all of the labs that we complete, all of the worksheets we have, and all of the activities we run with our students.  Why is this so important?  It makes the education … [Read more...]

The transition in Public Education

Yesterday, we had a big meeting due to NEASC accreditation.  The task was to look at the strengths and needs of the school, which had been boiled down to a list of 7 strengths and 7 needs.  It was really interesting to see this list, and with this list try to figure out if they were indeed the 7 greatest strengths and needs.  This list had me thinking a lot about what education … [Read more...]

Moodle to study for midterms!

Last weekend, I spent a vast majority of my Saturday making quizzes for my students to review for their midterms for my class.  The Moodle system is powerful, but not very intuitive, at least from a teacher’s standpoint.  But, providing the practice quizzes was more of a priority than the backend follies with Moodle in its current form. I made four quizzes, one quiz for each of the … [Read more...]

Biology Recap 1/10, 1/11, 1/12

In the double block this week, we used microscopes to look at two different types of cells.  We used Compound Light Microscope to view Elodea (Plant) cells, and Human Cheek (Animal) cells.  There is a particular way to use the microscope.  We received the microscopes with the stage lowered, and the scan objective selected. You carried the microscopes back to your seats with one hand … [Read more...]

Biology Recap- 1/9/2012

I’m starting a daily Biology recap about what I covered in Biology class.  We covered some major themes, including unicellular (one-celled) versus multicellular (more than 1 cell).  Most multicellular organisms are made of many specialized cells. The next theme we talked about was Cell Theory.  Cell theory is made of two main facets: Cells are the units of structure and … [Read more...]

If you fail to plan, plan to fail.

If you fail to plan, plan to fail. -George N. Parks There is so much beauty in these words that speaks so much truth.  Being prepared is important for so many life situations, and George Parks’ starred thought captures it beautifully. It’s amazing to me how often people fail to plan for things in life, and leave so many variables in the air.  I’ve always been a planner, and have … [Read more...]

Teaching Innovation

The classroom has changed since we have learned more about how information is encoded in the brain, allowing more insight into classroom activities that encourage learning.  Most teachers now realize that lecture doesn’t work, and we need to have engaging activities for students.  Students should be part of a collaboration of active learning, and working on activies that promote the long … [Read more...]

First Year Lessons, Part I

I’ve been teaching for the last 3 and a half months, and there’s tons of things that I’ve picked up.  As a teacher, you are always constantly a student as well.  I am constantly changing the way that I teach introductory biology to reach more of my students.  I like to think of teaching as a constant evolution towards perfection, where we are keeping the traits that make us good … [Read more...]