May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Science Geek Vacation – Be There!

Posted: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

by Rick Pomeroy

In the last issue of CCS, Greg Potter shared some ideas about how to become the best science teacher that you can be. His recommendation that you attend professional conferences is a great one and, luckily, the next opportunity is right around the corner. On October 25-27, CSTA will be hosting the California Science Education Conference in Palm Springs. If you have never been to a science teachers’ conference, this one is going to offer you more in three days than many methods classes can offer in a full quarter or semester. To sweeten the deal, there is a special reduced price for CSTA Student Member conference registration.

The California Science Education Conference will be three days of non-stop workshops, field courses, short courses, exhibitors, and events all focused on science education. As a supervisor of science education, I encourage my students to attend. Despite the fact that it is a full day’s drive from Northern California, it is worth every minute of the experience. There are very few opportunities so close to home where you can immerse yourself in science education as completely as you can while attending this conference.

Everything at the conference will have a California focus. For the price of registration there will be workshop sessions, focus speakers on special topics, and keynote speakers on hot topics in science education. There are evening events and an exhibit hall with many of the top vendors of science equipment, supplies, text materials and enrichment opportunities. When you check the online conference program, you will see workshops and session on integrating the California Common Core Standards, both Math and English Language Arts in science classes, as well as sessions about NGSS. There will be strands of workshops focused on life science, physical science, environmental science, biology, chemistry, physics, earth and space science. There is a good mix of sessions focused on science teaching in primary grades and upper elementary, middle school, and high school. There are even a few sessions that will appeal to college or university faculty. If that is not enough, there are workshops focused on engineering, cross-disciplinary teaching, pedagogy, classroom management, teaching with data, and even project-based learning.

Short courses (three-hour programs) and field courses (off-site programs), are both available for an extra charge. All in all, the California Science Education Conference is your go-to place for a booster shot on science and science education. While you are there, watch for special events specifically for preservice teachers and opportunities for preservice teachers to meet and greet. My students have found that one of the very best things that they take away from the conference is their interactions with preservice teachers from other programs. Meeting others in the same situation that you are is a great way to gain a better understanding of your place in the future of science education in California.

My students often ask for advice on what to do or how to negotiate the conference. Having attended this conference for many years, I always make the following recommendations: Wear comfortable walking shoes and comfortable clothing. The conference is a reasonably relaxed atmosphere where everyone is on a science “geek” vacation. Make sure that you bring business cards or stickers with your name, school address, and email address on them. There will be many opportunities to enter drawings and request information from exhibitors, presenters, and speakers during the conference and it is much easier to have a card or mailing sticker with this information than to have to write it out every time. Look at the program and plan your experience in advance.

When you plan your schedule, try to have two or three possible choices for each session time. Go to the session that interests you the most. If after you arrive you find that it is not what you were expecting, it is ok to get up and leave and go to another session. If you do this, leave quietly and enter quietly. Put your cell phone on silent and if you get a call, go out in the hall to talk. Take an extra duffle bag or suitcase to pack your swag for the trip home. There will be lots of samples and cool things that new teachers can use. If you are driving, you might consider bringing a mailing tube about 1 meter long. This will be great for making sure that any posters or maps that you get arrive back at home without being squished or folded. Don’t feel obligated to sign up for and pay for short courses this first time you attend the conference. There are plenty of free workshops for you to attend this year. Next year when you have a paid teaching position, sign up for some of those (of course if your school or some other organization is paying for our attendance, go ahead and sign up if you want). Try to make it to the evening events. These will be great places to socialize with lots of other preservice and in-service teachers alike. On Friday night, there will be a ticketed event at the Renaissance. It is a combination pool party and cardboard boat contest. This one is definitely worth the price of admission ($10 – and includes $10 worth of food). Finally, go and have a good time. I tell my students that this is a very acceptable reason for taking a day off from student teaching. Attendance at professional conferences is sign of a committed educator and an opportunity that should not be missed.

I am looking forward to the conference. Feel free to find me while you are there and let me know about your conference experience. As past president of CSTA and a member of the conference planning committee, I am very interested in hearing your opinions.

Powered By DT Author Box

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.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

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