September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

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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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…

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

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Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

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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

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

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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

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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

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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.