This week, I am attending the annual professional development institute of the North Carolina Science Teachers’ Association. This yearly event focuses on providing two full days of professional development for K-2o science educators and pre-service teachers in the form of general sessions, concurrent meetings, exhibit halls and more. The learning sessions are provided by university educators, classroom teachers, vendors, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. There are sessions for everyone. The focus of the 2009 institute is sustainability. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from my Personal Learning Network (PLN), it’s that sharing is power. So, here I am – wanting to share some snip-its of the goodies that I learned today. There are links, resources, tips and ideas. There are even a few questions that I may or may not have had answered today.
The current NSTA president, Pat Shane. She focused on the 3Rs of Science Teacher Retention: Resources, Respect, & Renewal in her keynote address. While many things she talked about were noteworthy, here are a few that really stuck out to me.
- What do Bones, NCIS, House, CSI have in common? Not just shows about science – focus on problem solving and collaborative teamwork!
- Are you in first 3 years of teaching science? Apply for the NSTA New Teacher Academy. Get a mentor, sponsorship to national conference, etc.
- There are things we know, things we know we don’t know, & things we don’t know that we don’t know. The latter is why we need on-going professional development (this applies beyond science, obviously).
Food MASTER is a Food, Math and Science integrated curriculum unit designed to teach students in grades 3-5 about food, energy, food safety, nutrition and more. The hands-on lessons cover various levels of inquiry. It was developed as part of a SEPA grant and is being “test driven” across North Carolina. I am excited to follow its development and see how I can incorporate the resources into my classroom, especially since it thoroughly covers one of the four main science goals in fourth grade.
Picture Books and Novels. Oh My!
This session focused on using literature to enhance science instruction. tItfocused on building math and literacy skills through science using trade books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Mr. Brown Can Moo. Can You?, and The Cloud Book. We explored various ways to expand learning using these mediums. A list of novels can be found HERE with linked science standards included. There are also many interactive learning simulations HERE that can be utilized in conjunction with picture books and novels.
The Environmental Protection Agency provided many ideas and resources for providing sustainable education.
- Sustainability resources for students
- Environmental Kids Club
- Air Pollution What’s the Solution
- Air Quality Resources
- Pollution Simulator
- Climate Change Tool Kit for Teachers
- General Environmental Ed resources from EPA
What To Do with Your Rock Kit
*The North Carolina Geological Survey provides rock samples from across North Carolina for teachers at no cost. This year, they also offered additional professional development for finding ways to use your rock kit in the classroom.
Much of what I got here is still in a folder and I haven’t really been able to dive in yet. I will say that one thing that excited me is the amount of resources available from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. There are historical maps, transportation maps from state archives, and more – all for free!
I am looking forward to more learning tomorrow and presenting my own sessions on interactive whiteboards and social media for teachers. I will be sure to share more!