Explanations of NSTA Teaching and Learning Resources
NSTA Web Seminars are 90-minute, live professional development experiences that use online learning technologies to allow participants to interact with nationally acclaimed experts, NSTA Press authors, and scientists, engineers, and education specialists from NSTA government partners.
The NSTA New Science Teacher Academy is creating web seminars that will only admit New Science Teacher Academy members. In this way, you will get your specific questions answered and be involved with the presenter. In addition, we are also going to create a couple of web seminars based specifically on information received from the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy members.
You are welcome to take part in web seminars that are not specifically designed for our group. NSTA web seminars are specific and structured professional development experiences.
NSTA New Science Teacher Academy members who participate in those web seminars specifically designed for our group ( New Science Teacher Academy), will receive a certificate that gives a complete log of your time and description of the program. Depending upon your specific state and local requirements, your district may be able to give you professional development credit toward your certification or CEUs.
This format presents a couple of interesting opportunities for new teachers. First, there is the benefit of receiving content information from the experts. Second, the ability to use, as a student, an interactive technology which will become a more common way to process information, both in and out of the future classroom. In addition, this also presents an opportunity to observe the techniques and real reflections of other instructors.
SciLinks® are useful links for science educators including lesson plans, online activities, etc., that can be grouped and sorted by topic. The links are located by a cadre of web spotters who search the worldwide web for resources on particular topics. They are then sent to teacher-webwatchers with expertise in given fields and grade levels to review the web pages against eight rubrics. This team correlates each of these submitted sites against the National Science Education Standards (NSES). Finally, NSTA staff takes the approved web pages submitted by the teacher-Webwatchers, who edit the information for accuracy and consistent style
This is one of those resources that I kick myself for not finding soon enough as a teacher. You are probably familiar with it if you have a SciLinks® textbook, but don’t think it is only for users of such a text. SciLinks® is an excellent way of looking at a particular topic and coming up with a number of resources on the topic that have already been screened for quality and can be organized by type of lesson. One of the things I did commonly as a teacher was look at other resources and cut and paste to make the lesson I wanted to create. I believe this is an excellent source of information for creating the lesson you want.
If you have a SciLinks textbook, I recommend logging in with your NSTA Member ID and creating the account to use with your textbook. The two logins are necessary as they give you different types of search and retrieval capabilities.
A SciGuide is a valuable classroom resource for science teachers interested in integrating the web into their teaching. Each guide consists of approximately 100 web-accessible resources (URLs) that have been aligned to the National Science Education Standards (NSES). Within each SciGuide, the web resources are assembled in a thematic structure with custom-developed lesson plans, reflective teacher-generated vignettes, and authentic samples of student work that demonstrate how the resources may be effectively utilized in the classroom.
This is an excellent resource if you are looking for the “total package.” If you are looking at a topic for the first time, but have no idea of how to start, this is an excellent resource. This source provides a lesson plan, which can fit your schedule needs. The lesson plans could be used individually to address a part of the topic that you most want to focus on and range from one to three days in length, or they could be taken collectively and provide instructional resources for a week or more. Although more limited in the actual topics, the topics are broad enough to be potential subject matter for many different courses like biology, earth science, chemistry, or a general and physical science.
Science Objects challenge teachers to explore and explain real world phenomena rather than simply delivering the content in text or presentations. Science Objects are founded on the principle that learners must be challenged with a problem, observation, data, etc., in order to develop scientific understanding. Science Objects present problems, phenomena, demonstrations, and simulations utilizing five phases of inquiry-based learning cycle: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.
These are lessons “for the teacher.” Their design is such that it helps you to increase your content knowledge in a developmental and interesting fashion. However, as with most lessons you receive as a teacher, there is always something for you to take with you to your classroom. Sometimes these “take homes” are things you should do, and sometimes they are things you should not do. Fortunately, the approach to the SciPacks lessons are things you should do. They display intricate questions, that even in a multiple choice format, force you to consider what is going on in the whole scenario. In addition, you must possess a thorough understanding of the information in order to answer them successfully.
I like the interactive graphics and believe they could be used with a projector to demonstrate concepts to your own class. They could also be used in what I like to call a reflective prediction scenario, where you ask the students “what will happen if” and then discuss their predictions and the results.
SciPacks are five- to ten-hour discrete learning experiences teachers can use to quickly enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept. Teachers can access any topic “on demand” at any time from any computer connected to the internet. Topics are based on the science literacy goals in the national standards (NSES, Science for All Americans, Benchmarks, and the Atlas of Scientific Literacy) and tied to state standards.
The SciPacks are bundled Science Objects with the added bonus that the person using SciPacks is able to ask questions to experts. When you take the science object quizzes and miss a question, there is an explanation as to why an answer is correct. If you have purchased a SciPack, and you need further understanding, you will have an opportunity to ask questions to an expert. These units are designed with continuing education needs in mind, and end with an assessment of what you have learned. When the assessment has been satisfactorily completed, the program generates a certificate of achievement signed the by the NSTA Executive Director.
Freebies for Science Teachers
Freebies for Science Teachers contains links to websites that offer online activities, hands-on activities/materials, information, and resources in a variety of formats from online videos to podcasts. Each link includes a brief overview of what the site provides.
The Freebies section is a diverse collection of many different resources that may start out as a web page, but move out from there to provide contacts for instructional materials, posters, organizational memberships and many other opportunities. It is not a mere collection of plain informational resources and I doubt many of us would ever find these items on our own accord. I urge you to take a look here when you are planning for the future. A word of caution: It’s easy to get lost in time in a place with so many interesting assets.
NSTA Online Discussion
NSTA lists are group e-mail discussions that allow members to exchange information in a peer-to-peer forum. NSTA members who subscribe (at no extra cost!) can now select from 12 topic areas: biology, chemistry, computer science, Earth science, elementary, environmental science, general science, physical science, physics, and technology education, new teacher, and retired teacher. The lists remove geographical boundaries from member communication and are available to you—right now—wherever you are. Ask questions and share information about topics that are important to you and receive answers you can use from others with firsthand experience.
If you want to keep up on what people are talking about in your discipline at the practitioner level, this is a good place. I was involved in the chemistry e-mail discussion group for years, and I still enjoy watching the current topics and discussions. The discussions allow you to get insight from a wide variety of people that a small or quiet science department in your own school might not provide.
Reading List for New Teachers
Bybee, R. W., Ed. 2002. Learning Science and the Science of Learning: Science Educators' Essay Collection. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.
Curwin, R., and A. Mendler. 1988. Discipline with Dignity. Alexandria, VA. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Glasser, R. 1989. Building Classroom Discipline. N.Y: Longman, Inc.
Glasser, W. 1998. The Quality School and The Quality School Teacher. NY: HarperCollins.
Froschauer, L., and M. Bigelow. 2012. Rise and Shine: A Practical Guide for the Beginning Science Teacher. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.
Keeley, P., F., Eberle, and J. Tugel. 2007. Uncovering Student Ideas in Science: 25 More Formative Assessment Probes, Volume 2. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.
Kwan, T., and J. Texley. 2003. Inquiring Safely: A Guide for Middle School Teachers. Arlington, VA : NSTA Press.
Kwan, T., J. Texley, and J. Summers. 2004. Investigating Safely: A Guide for High School Teachers. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.
Roberts, D., C. Bove, and E.H. van Zee. (Eds). 2007. Teacher Research: Stories of Learning and Growing. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.
Sprick, R. 1985. Discipline in the Secondary Classroom. West Nyack, N.Y.: Center for Applied Research.
Tauber, R. T. 1990. Classroom Management from A to Z. Chicago: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Wong, H. K., Wong, R. T. 2004. The First Days Of School: How To Be An Effective Teacher. Mountain View , CA : Harry K. Wong Publications, INC.