NSELA Newsletter - February 2014

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Navigator Newsletter
February 2014

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A Message from NSELA President, Darlene Ryan

dryanBoston is a city of history and rich expectations for learning. What better place for the 2014 NSELA PDI? Remarkably, we are experiencing a benchmark in the timeline of science education this year with many states implementing or preparing to implement the Next Generation Science Standards. This benchmark is both historical and a stage for great learning for both educators and students.

Leading the Way for the Next Generation is the theme of our professional development institute on April 2, 2014 in Boston. Educators at all levels will engage in personal learning with prominent science educators to:

  1. Deepen understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with a specific focus on the use of science and engineering practices to promote understanding of the disciplinary core ideas in science,
  2. Explore challenges regarding the transition to the NGSS and will experience professional development and instructional tools to support classroom instruction,
  3. Become more familiar with leadership strategies and competencies required to support colleagues in the implementation of NGSS.

NSELA 2014 Election Results

The 2014 NSELA elections results are final. Congratulations to our newly elected Board members!

Elizabeth Mulkerrin - President-Elect
Christine Royce - Treasurer
Michelle Hughes - Region B Director
Kirsten Smith - Region E Director

The new Board Members will begin their terms on April 3 at the Annual Membership Meeting in Boston. Thanks to all of our NSELA members who support the organization by participating in the online election process.

The NSELA Elevator Speech

I recently attended a conference session that focused on developing a clear and concise message – all in 15 seconds or less. This type of “elevator speech” is a person’s first impression in delivering an important message to a stakeholder or potential client. Try it now. Create an elevator speech that completes these sentences.

  • A person should join NSELA because …
  • NSELA is a great organization because …
  • NSELA has made a difference in my life by …

Marketing professionals also suggest that effective messages focus on the “why” or “how.” We often focus on the “what” in our messages which often does not include any personal or reflective aspects. Personalizing your message to others is more effective.

As a leadership organization, we often have many opportunities to interact and influence other people. Think about your elevator speech to an emerging leader or a new colleague in your work setting. You’ve got 15 seconds to make a difference. Make it count.

Dr. Kenn Heydrick - NSELA Executive Director

Registration Now Open for 2014 Summer Leadership Institute

colorado-springsReady for the next step? Lots of changes lie ahead as the NGSS are adopted and/or embraced by many states. Getting to know the standards is step one. For many the next, and burning, questions are: 1) What do these standards mean for instruction; and 2) How can I help move the standards into everyday practice?

Over the last 2 years NSELA has provided many opportunities to get to know the Framework and the Standards. At this year's Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) in Colorado Springs we will be engaging with those two burning questions. To help us build an understanding of NGSS for classroom instruction, Rodger Bybee will serve as our guide through his book Translating the NGSS for Classroom Instruction. For the leadership side of our questions, Kendall Zoller will help us build leadership strategies and mindsets so that we are better prepared to guide the work back in our home schools and districts. Along with Rodger and Kendall, ideas for diversifying our approach to professional development will be shared and participants will receive live updates from national leaders of the standards, assessment and implementation work.

Interested?  More information and registration options are online.

NSTA Hosts Virtual Conference on NGSS

Join NSTA for an intensive one-day virtual conference on Saturday, March 8 to learn how to integrate the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS ) into your K–12 classroom. This web-based professional learning opportunity will feature interactive sessions on modeling, explanation and argumentation, and engineering, plus breakouts by grade level and discipline.

Teaching Critical Thinking Using "Anti-Thinking" Skills

(Editor's Note: This is a three-part series submitted by NSELA member Tricia Easterling)

Many science teachers want to teach "critical thinking" skills or "habits of mind" to their students yet are not entirely sure where to begin or how make students interested. This brief series will elaborate on seven separate attributes of critical thinking and introduce a counterpart, the anti-thinking skill, for each one. If we define critical thinking as the "consistent evaluation of information from an accurate, logical and credible perspective" we can see that this and other habits of mind are a set of skills that can take a long time to develop. What if some of these skills were broken down into manageable parts using student friendly language? More importantly, what if students could easily see what would happen if they didn't use these productive patterns of thought? 



Upcoming Events

4/2/14 - Professional Development Institute, Boston, MA

4/3-5/14 - NSELA Events at NSTA Boston

6/24-27/14 - Summer Leadership Institute, Colorado Springs, CO

60 Seconds to Safer Science

Waste Not, Want Not

In a chemistry class, each student dumped chemical products into plastic-lined trash containers. Problem was, so did students in other lab classes. One day the trash container started to smoke and flames erupted. No science teacher or supervisor wants this scenario in their school science labs!

OSTA Seeking Presentation Proposals for their Fall 2014 Conference

The Oregon Science Teachers Association is looking for presentations for their 2014 Fall Conference on Science Education in Gresham, Oregon on October 10-11. Share your expertise by submitting a proposal in one of the following strands:

  • Connections to the CCSS in Math and ELA
  • The Scientific & Engineering Practices
  • Engineering & Technology Education for the Future
  • All Standards – All Students!

Submit a proposal or find out more about the conference at the OSTA website.

ETSU Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub Showcases NGSS Guidemap Posters

Tennessee is one of the 26 lead state partners providing leadership  to states for the purpose of adoption of NGSS. The ETSU Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub website, is showcasing a series of posters showing correlations between the current Tennessee Department of Education Curriculum Standards in Science Education (TNCSSE) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  The sequence of 18 posters serves as a series of guidemaps.

Unique PD Opportunity -  Archaeology in the Upper Mississippi River Valley

Walking beside thousand-year-old burial mounds, flaking raw stone into tools, learning how potsherds tell us about human behavior, and understanding how humans adapt ¬our 2014 NEH Summer Institute features all this and more.

The Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse will offer a three-week NEH Summer Institute on July 14–Aug. 1, 2014. Individual projects will help participants tailor the content to their own teaching areas. NEH Summer Scholars receive a $2,700 stipend to help offset their expenses.

Application and other information on the Institute is available online. The deadline for applications is March 4, 2014.



The Navigator newsletter is a service to the NSELA membership.  Publication of events and resources in this newsletter do not necessarily imply endorsement by NSELA.


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