May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Preservice Teachers: Opportunities for Professional Learning at the CSTA Conference

Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

If you work with preservice teachers, we have a great opportunity for you to pass along to them. If you are a preservice teacher, we’ve got a great opportunity for you!

Next month CSTA will be hosting the 2015 California Science Education Conference in Sacramento. The conference will have more than 200 workshops, multiple lectures and keynote speakers, an amazing exhibit hall filled with the latest science equipment, instructional materials, and resources from commercial vendors and informal and non-profit partners. The three day event, October 2-4, includes something for everyone.

NASCO

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Here’s the part that will be particularly attractive to our preservice teachers. Volunteer at the conference and you will get free conference registration! What a deal! You volunteer for four hours, join CSTA at the student member rate of $25, and you get access to the entire conference (other than your volunteer shift).

Don’t want to give up four hours? Preservice teachers get a great registration rate for the conference as well. $90 for the entire conference, $45 for the weekend.

Conference Banner

You may be reading this and wondering, why should preservice teachers attend a conference like CSTA? There are many reasons we should encourage preservice participation.

  • Attending the conference will help them recognize that learning doesn’t end when they are finished with a degree or credential. Learning is continuous. Even better, when they see us there, they will see that teachers and university faculty participate in lifelong learning. This is important for everyone, but especially elementary teacher candidates who need to teach multiple subjects. At the conference they will see sessions by and for preK-5th grade which highlight the importance of science, demonstrate ways to integrate science with Common Core, and engage students in meaningful ways.
  • Attending the conference and joining CSTA are ways to help prospective teachers start their professional careers. They will start networking with others who are passionate about teaching science. When preservice teachers apply for teaching jobs, their early and ongoing participation in their own learning, beyond the required courses in a credential program, make them stand out.
  • They will learn new things! 45 hours of a science methods class is not enough hours to address everything. Our students have different needs. As much as we are able to differentiate, we know there are areas which we can’t fully address in a single methods class. The conference, with its wide variety of sessions, can help round out our class. There will be workshops related to Next Generation Science Standards – the policy issues and timelines, informational sessions about what NGSS is and how to make sense of the new standards, and numerous sessions that address the three dimensions of NGSS. There will be sessions for each grade level and disciplinary area – something that is really hard to do in a methods class that prepares K-8 teachers or all areas of high school teachers. There will be sessions to help us learn new science content, teaching methods, and out-of-classroom learning opportunities.

How can we (professors of credential students) encourage our students to attend?

  • We can require students to go (easier to do if you are near Sacramento) and cancel a class meeting in exchange for attending.
  • We can waive an assignment for students attending the conference (or give them a conference related assignment in place of an existing assignment).
  • We can remind students that all conference attendees have the option of earning 1 unit of upper division credit by attending 12 hours of conference sessions and doing written assignments.
  • We can share our own experiences with our students, letting them know how much we get from attending professional meetings and conferences. Sharing our excitement about the conference and learning opportunities goes a long way to encouraging them to attend.
  • We can tell them about the resume building potential of a conference. While that is not the reason I want them to attend, it might get them there. Once there, I know that they will find the experience to be beneficial.

Please pass this information along to preservice teachers you know or with whom you work. Research has shown us that the best teachers are professionally engaged. Let’s start our soon-to-be colleagues on that path. See you in Sacramento!

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and a past-president of CSTA.

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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.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

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