Something for Nothing!
Posted: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
by Rick Pomeroy
By the time this article hits the e-waves, you will have missed one of the great opportunities to get something for nothing. Well maybe not nothing but definitely for free. With a little planning, you won’t miss the next chance.
By now, you maybe wondering, “What is he talking about?” You guessed it, short course and workshop proposals for the 2012 California Science Education Conference to be held October 19-21, 2012 in San Jose. It has been the policy of CSTA to offer members free conference registration to the lead presenter of each short course and each workshop offered at the annual conference. As I have eluded to in the opening paragraph, the deadline for submission of proposals for 3 and 6 hour short courses was midnight, January 31, but the deadline for one-hour workshops isn’t until March 6. This means that you still have a chance for a free registration to the 2012 conference (approximately $100 value).
For many attendees, the offer of free registration makes the difference between being able to attend the conference and not attending. From what I have been told, this is not just a monetary issue, though $100 is nothing to sneeze at. Presenting at a conference is an example of professionalism. Sharing what you do and what you have learned, is one of the highest forms of service that teachers can perform. Some administrators recognize the value of your involvement in a conference as a presenter and thus are more likely to approve of and in some cases support your conference attendance.
Like lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants and other professionals, teachers need, and should willingly participate in, professional development on a regular basis. Updating your skills, staying abreast of the most recent changes in your content area, and networking with other professionals are the strategies that all professionals should participate in. As a presenter, you are not only giving back to your peers, you are demonstrating to parents, administrators, and community members your commitment to high quality science education. Highly committed professional teachers are the leaders at any school site. Administrators should recognize these contributions and the value that your work adds to the overall school, culture. Just as we have learned that there is more to learning math and English than practice problems and worksheets, there is more to being a teacher than showing up each day and delivering a lesson. Engaged teachers commit themselves to life long learning, to taking the extra time (and often the extra personal expense), to continue their education both in content and pedagogy, to insure that each and every day represents the best that they can offer.
If you have an idea, a lesson, or a strategy that you feel your fellow teachers could use, please consider submitting a workshop proposal by the March 6th deadline. Demonstrate to your principal that, despite difficult budget times, changing curricula, and uncertain staffing, that you are a committed, professional, science educator. Help them realize that the return on investment for allowing participation in the California Science Education Conference is higher quality instruction, improved morale, and positive growth for the future.
To review the proposal submission process and forms, go to the CSTA website, http://cascience.org/csta/conf_wsprop.asp.
Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
by Jessica Sawko
In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.
At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
by Carol Peterson
1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!
Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award
The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?
The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt
Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…