July/August 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 8

Conference Deadline Proposal Approaches! Short Courses due January 31, Workshops March 4

Posted: Friday, January 4th, 2013

by Rick Pomeroy

Have you ever wondered how many workshops are really offered at a California Science Education Conference, or what the grade or subject distribution is? I do. Over the years, I have come to realize that there are a lot of workshops at each conference that I never get to see. In fact, there are things at every conference for people with vastly different teaching assignments than I have that I have never realized even existed. For example, this year at the 2012 conference in San Jose, there was a dedicated short course specifically for primary teachers. Since the majority of my work is with secondary science teachers, I would never have even thought about attending any of those sessions. I also missed most of the biology workshops, not because I have anything against biology but simply because there was something else at those times that I was more interested in.

After ruminating about my lack of knowledge about the overall picture of workshops at this year’s conference, I decided to do a bit of an analysis of what was proposed and what was offered.  Besides my curiosity, I did this as a way of encouraging you to submit workshop proposals for the 2013 conference in Palm Springs. I am hoping that by seeing what was proposed and what was accepted this year, that more members will be interested in submitting their own workshop proposal.

The data for this analysis is the list of submitted proposals. The list includes the subject matter as entered by the proposer, the grade level(s) that the session was targeted for, the subject area, and the results of the blind review (accept, decline, withdrawn). During the submission process, the proposer could select from eight subject areas. In addition, each proposer could select the grade level(s) that the workshop would apply to. Unfortunately, this data is a bit confusing with some proposers picking all grade levels from K-13 while others would select a single grade.

Subject Area Submissions: There were a total of 252 proposals submitted. Of those, 173 were accepted with the results as follows (submitted/accepted): Chemistry (16/14), Earth/Space Science (42/30), Environmental Science (25/18), Integrated Science (14/8), Multidisciplinary Science (75/56), Physical Science (31/20), and Physics (9/5). In an effort to offer a content-balanced conference, it appears that more submissions in the areas of chemistry and physics would help the conference planning committee offer something for every teacher during each of the workshop time slots.

Grade Level Submissions: As stated above, the analysis of submissions by grade level was a bit more difficult. I could have analyzed the number of proposals that listed 1st grade then the number that listed 2nd grade …… but that would have yielded a Mole of data (okay, I may be exaggerating a bit but I put this in to see if anyone is really reading this far) that would have been difficult to make sense of and which would probably not inform the general nature of this article. Instead, I tried to count the number of proposals submitted/accepted at the elementary grade level (PreK-6) the middle/junior high school Level (6-9) and the high school level (9-12).  As I said before, this data was not quite as clean as the subject matter and so I had to categorize some of the proposals into one group or another based on the grades listed by the proposer as well as the trend in the grades. For example, something listed for grades 5,6,7,8 would be counted as middle/junior high school where as something that was listed as K, 1,2,3,4,5 would be counted for elementary. The proposals were counted multiple times to check my assumptions. The results of that analysis (submitted/accepted) are elementary (45/42), middle/junior high school (42/27) high school (42/30) and other where the typical grade span included at least two and in some cases all three grade ranges (123/74). The catch-all grade span made it difficult to categorize and evaluate proposals and may have contributed to the fact that almost 50 of those proposals were not accepted.

What can we learn from this simple analysis?  First, look for those areas that appear to have low numbers of submissions. If you have a good idea in any of those areas, please consider submitting a proposal for the 2013 conference. Likewise, if you want to do something in one of the more heavily impacted subject areas (Earth/Space Science, Multidisciplinary Science) pay special attention to the grade levels that your workshop applies to as well as crafting a proposal that reviewers can’t wait to accept. Finally, when proposing a workshop, try to identify the target audience that you really want to attract. Many attendees will see a workshop listed for grades K-12 and wonder how valuable it can be for my grade level if it covers everyone.

In closing, I encourage you to take some time to craft your proposals so that they are clear on their content and the grade level standards that they address. Pay particular attention, for at least one more year, to the California Standards. We hope that these will be changing, but for now they are the rules we have to play by. Finally, think of something you have to offer that is unique, that you are passionate about, and that you have found to be successful in supporting high quality learning for your students. Take a risk and submit a proposal. If this is your first time, feel free to contact me, or any of your science colleagues for support. The goal of the conference chair and the entire conference committee is to provide you with three days of awesome sessions that you can’t wait to go home and try.

The deadline for Short Course submissions is January 31, 2013 and for workshop submissions March 4, 2013. The conference will be held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, October 25-27, 2013.

 

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Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis and is a past-president of CSTA.

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CTC Seeking Educators for Science Standard Setting Conference

Posted: Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and Evaluation Systems group of Pearson are currently seeking California science educators to participate in a Science Standard Setting Conference for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) program. Each standard setting panel is scheduled to meet for one-day, in Sacramento, California. The fields and dates are listed below:

Multiple Subjects Subtest II (Science), Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Physics, Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Chemistry, Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Science Subtest II: Life Sciences, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Science Subtest II: Earth and Space Sciences, Thursday, October 5, 2017
Science Subtest I: General Science, Friday, October 6, 2017

The purpose of the conference is for panel members to make recommendations that will be used, in part, by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in setting the passing standard, for each field, in support of the updated California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).

Click here to nominate educators. If you are interested in participating yourself, complete an application here for consideration.

Eligibility:

Public school educators who are:

• Certified in California
• Currently practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above. 

College faculty who are:

• Teacher preparation personnel (including education faculty and arts and sciences faculty)
• Practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above, and
• Preparing teacher candidates in an approved California teacher preparation program.

 Benefits of Participation Include:
• Receive substitute reimbursement for their school (public school educators only),
• Have the opportunity to make a difference in California teacher development and performance,
• Have the opportunity for professional growth and collaboration with educators in their field,
• Be reimbursed for their travel and meal expenses, and
• Be provided with hotel accommodations, if necessary.

For more information, visit their website at www.carecruit.nesinc.com/cset/index.asp

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.

CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

Learn More…

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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

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.