March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

Region 2 – News and Events

Posted: Thursday, August 1st, 2013

by Eric Lewis

As August is quickly approaching, I’m sitting on a train heading from New York to Boston.  From there I’ll head to Europe for a bit before I return to San Francisco.  Summer will be ending early this year for me as I’ll be going to training on Complex Instruction for a week, and then to San Diego (thanks Region 4!) for training at the San Diego Zoo.  Shortly after that we’ll be gearing up for our own districts professional development days – our first in YEARS to be centralized, content-focused, and provided by the district’s professional development minions.

In my travels, I’ve been struck at how well our region does science.  There are pockets of other science-rich areas where I traveled, but nothing like what we have in the Bay Area.  When in NYC, I was struck by all the museums and urban renewal that has been going on.  NYC is incredible, but the California Academy of Sciences and the Exploratorium hold their own against any of the NYC museums. Also, if you didn’t see this – the Exploratorium has indicated that any CA teacher is now free to visit the museum at no charge.  (But be sure to request your free admission here!) Between free days, field trip venues, professional development opportunities, and sponsored workshops, science teachers in our region are in great shape with resources at our own area museums.

As the school year approaches once again, I recommend taking some time to review your past year of teaching and identify a few ways that you can improve your lessons and try something new.  I often get push back from teachers – not necessarily the most senior teachers – about changing curriculum and trying new teaching techniques.  And, since I’m not afraid of push back, I still urge them to change up their curriculum a bit.  I know that it can seem difficult to do  – and we’re not paid to do the half the work that we do as it is – but I still think that it is worth it to the whole school community to continue learning something new and trying out new teaching methods.  Engaged and happy students are WAY easier to manage in class!  For new teachers this is relatively easy – pretty much everything you do is new.  But for those that have been teaching for five or more years, I think it is so essential to take advantage of professional development offered through your districts or accessible through online media.  For example, engage your class with more media.  KQED has amazing resources to engage students and to help support classroom discussion and argumentation about scientific ideas and issues in OUR region! You can also look at PBS LearningMedia to get access to even more curriculum and media to strengthen your curriculum.  And, don’t be afraid if this doesn’t work smoothly the first time – it may take a few tries to get the timing right and for students to understand what you expect of them.

I hope that some of you were able to submit your ideas for workshops for this year’s Education Conference in Palm Springs in October!  Please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings and don’t forget to encourage your colleagues to join CSTA.  I’m hoping that we’ll have the opportunity to grow our organization and expand to meet your needs and your colleague’s needs.  To that end, please feel free to email me directly so that I can represent your questions and concerns with the CSTA board as a whole.

Eric Lewis, lewise2@sfusd.edu

There are many, many science opportunities in the Bay Area.  Some big things to remember:

Free Entry Days at:

Bay Area Discovery Museum, First Wednesday of the month

UC Botanical Gardens, First Thursday of the month

Oakland Museum of California, First Sunday of the month

California Academy of Sciences, Free days on selected Sundays:  September 29th, December 8th

Exploratorium, Free Days, Selected days:  September 29th, October 13th

Star Parties:

Houge Park Star Party, August 2nd

San Mateo County Astronomical Society Star Party, First Friday of the month (NOT in July or August)

Super-cool Science Parties:

Night Life, Thursdays, 6-10 pm, at the California Academy of Sciences

After Dark, First Thursday of the month, 6-10 pm, at the Exploratorium

For additional events in our region, please reference the VERY comprehensive calendar compiled by the Bay Area Science Festival. 

 

Written by Eric Lewis

Eric Lewis

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office.

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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.

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