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The Physics Classroom has been around for a long time. And since its inception, it has been evident that one group of users that have been frequently helped by its presence include new teachers, cross-over teachers and teachers-in-training. These teachers in particular are earnestly searching for intelligible methods of presenting information to students in an understandable language and hunger for engaging activities to incorporate into their lesson plans. As the author of The Physics Classroom, I understand this. I understand this because I too have been a teacher-in-training, a new teacher, and (on a couple of occassions) a cross-over teacher.

For me, the transition into teaching was facilitated by discussions with many colleagues in my own school and the surrounding metropolitan area. I am fortunate enough to be a member of a very active and professional science department at a suburban Chicago high school (Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois). On a daily basis, I am surrounded by 10 other physics teaching professionals who are passionate about their work and their influence on students. We work together in teams to improve the various features of our physics programs. On any given day, I might have a rich, 30-minute discussion with a colleague on a topic related to pedagogy or physics demonstrations or physics curriculum or the engagement of students in physics labs or...

I recognize that my experience is not the norm. The 30-minute discussion which I may have on any given day might be the only discussion which some teachers have during the course of a semester or a year or even a career. While the department which I am immersed in offers copious amount of dialogue, enrichment and professional development, many teachers find themselves in an entirely different environment - an environment characterized more by isolation than by connectedness. In such an environment, being a new teacher or a cross-over teacher becomes doubly difficult. But thankfully, the presence of a world wide web changes all this. Information is readily available and the walls of classrooms within our schools are more transparent. Teachers can access ideas, download curriculum and dialogue with other teachers across the country on a 24/7 basis.

The Physics Classroom website hopes to provide such connectedness by complementing The Laboratory with the Lab Blab and Other Gab blog. All teachers - regardless of the amount of experience - are invited to follow along and participate in the blog. The blog will be devoted to a discussion of the features of effective physics labs, the nature of scientific inquiry, the use of laboratory notebooks and journals in the physics classroom and ideas for engaging physics labs. Each month, a featured article by a veteran physics teacher will appear in the blog. Additionally, teachers will have an opportunity to ask questions, answer questions, contribute thoughts and propose successful ideas. It is hoped that the blog becomes an avenue for connecting teachers who are passionate about doing lab.

It is no longer necessary that a semester, a year or a career pass before a rich discussion takes place between you and a like-minded colleague. It's time to talk. Please come join us at the...

Lab Blab and Other Gab blog

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