September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

My Dream Vacation

Posted: Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Rick Pomeroy

While travelling this weekend, I got to thinking about what makes vacations special. Vacations either take you to places you have never been before or to favorite spots where you know the people and the activities. People often take vacations with friends, sharing new and exciting activities and places to eat. They often find themselves talking and visiting long into the night, solving life’s problems and renewing friendships through personal, not electronic, contact. Vacations are a chance to get away from your daily work responsibilities and the ever-present emails and questions that the job throws your way. Some people take vacations to see plays or sporting events, some hope to hear inspiring speakers or to shop for cool and exciting stuff. In essence people take vacations to get away from their daily grind and to see and do the kinds of things that they enjoy.

Imagine if you could do all of these things and they were tax deductible to boot (check this out with your tax consultant). THAT would be a great vacation. CSTA’s California Science Education Conference (CSEC), from October 21st -23rd is all of these things and more. Located in Pasadena, CA for the first time, this year’s conference will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center. Despite the new venue, there will be many things that are familiar to even the most casual CSEC attendee. There will be an exhibit hall with many of the vendors and exhibitors that you look forward to talking to each year.  The Conference Committee has arranged three days of workshops where you get to talk to friends and colleagues about new ways to do those activities we all enjoy in our classrooms. There are speakers to help give new meaning and relevancy to your curriculum and there are field trips to museums, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a special opportunity to visit the SOFIA aircraft used by NASA for the study of stratospheric infrared astronomy. Finally, we will have an opportunity to hear presentations by futurist Jim Brazell, Food Sleuth Shirley Corriher, and ways to make a difference in our eco-footprint by Ed Begley Jr.

If this sounds like your type of dream vacation, be sure to plan to attend the California Science Education Conference. For more information, visit the CSEC website (http://www.cascience.org/csta/conf_home11.asp) by October 7th to take advantage of the remaining registration deals. For those of you traveling from outside the Pasadena area, hotel rooms have been reserved at a special conference rate if booked through the CSEC Conference Housing service @ http://www.conferencehousing.com/csta/Pasadena/.

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


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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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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 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.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.