March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

California Science Education Conference – The Total Cure for the Teaching Profession: Support, Improvement, and Inspiration

Posted: Thursday, November 1st, 2012

by Yilmaz Kara

Today, many teachers find themselves in hard situations. They may want to have some outdoor activities or field courses with their students but do not know where to start. They have heard lots about the new standards but nobody has explained how they are different or new. It would be good to know cool and engaging activities being done by the teachers who have the admiration of their students. Maybe they are searching for educational materials to use in the classroom or laboratory, but they don’t know where to find them. Some teachers are just burned out, having taught for so many years that they have can’t find the inspiration that brought them to the classroom in the first place. You can find cures to all these kinds of situations and more than others at the CSTA conference.

The CSTA conference was an amazing educational conference with a wide variety of participants ranging from teachers, teacher candidates, school district administrators, academicians, producers of educational materials, and professionals from other educational organizations like NSTA or ASTE, and even a visiting researcher like me. You can enjoy many workshops including activities that can be easily transferred from the classrooms or laboratories of the experienced teachers to your classrooms and all the professional events are linked to each other. For example, you can meet with the experts who produce different educational materials and get informed on how to adapt them for your classroom. Useful handouts, books, CDs or DVDs, and many other instructional materials are available, some for free. In addition to the workshops, many educational resources await you at the large exhibit hall. If you get bored from the indoor activities, field courses are just for you. Focus speakers are waiting to share their opinions on hot topics of science education. Information sessions are available for pre-service and beginning teachers about support programs and scholarship information. The conference even included meal events to enable the participants to meet and talk and find new friends. Conference attendees were friendly and welcoming. There was a warm, family feel and it was exciting to see this vibrant group of professionals.

This was my first science teacher conference. In my country, teacher professional development is rare. Some teachers are able to volunteer to do inservice with university faculty, but most are left on their own. It was amazing to me to see so many science teachers paying their own money to come to this conference.

Incidentally, I need to warn you about some of the side effects of the conference. For example, you could forget how much effort you exerted while getting from one presentation to another. It was so much fun and you learned so much that you probably did not notice your tiredness. You will also have to become familiar with the bewildered but eager looks on your students’ faces when you start to do the fun and cool activities that you learned at the conference. And, you will start to hear from parents about how their children keep talking about the new activities. Your friends will not understand why you are looking to some “chemical free” or “organic” products on the market with a waggish smile after the Jeff & Jeff show (handouts available online – follow the link), “Using the Misuse of Science to Teach Chemistry and Biology.” You will be preoccupied and wistful after the conference because of all the sessions that you wanted to attend but you could not. Unfortunately, there is no way other than waiting until next year’s CSTA conference!

Yilmaz Kara is a visiting scholar at CSU Long Beach. He is a scholar of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, assistant researcher and  Ph.D. student at the department of secondary science education in Karadeniz Technical University, and member of CSTA.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.

For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Marian Murphy-Shaw

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From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.