To help you make the most of the professional development opportunities available at the San Antonio conference, the Conference Committee has planned the conference around four strands that explore topics of current significance, enabling you to focus on a specific area of interest or need.
Use of assessments to measure students’ understanding of science concepts is becoming increasingly important for science teachers across the country. Administrators and policy makers use assessments to determine how well their schools are preparing the next generation. Student learning is effectively measured when curriculum, instruction, and assessment are aligned. A variety of assessment strategies can provide feedback to inform teaching and learning. Assessments should be used to adjust course content and rigor, teaching techniques, and learning strategies to improve student science achievement. Moreover, assessment data should be used to craft appropriate professional development and student interventions. This strand will deepen participants’ understanding of assessments and their impact on teaching and learning.
One of the primary roles of elementary teachers is to build a strong foundation for science. Research indicates that many elementary educators feel unprepared to deliver effective science instruction. Foundational practices in the elementary classroom, laboratory, and field include building background knowledge, teaching scientific and engineering practices, integrating content, and developing scientific literacy. This strand will expand participants' implementation of research-based best practices for teaching science.
Special student populations—including limited English proficient, special education, economically disadvantaged, and culturally diverse—are traditionally underserved in science instruction. In order to meet student needs, teachers must have the tools necessary to effectively differentiate and accommodate for individual needs. This strand will strengthen participants' knowledge of differentiated instruction, Response to Intervention, federally defined subpopulations, accessibility to a guaranteed and viable curriculum, and children's rights and safety in special populations.
As educators we must prepare all learners for a future we can only imagine. Appropriate and effective technology must be integrated with instruction to support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning. The use of technology enhances students' scientific and engineering practices, and fosters the development of scientific literacy. This strand provides opportunities for science educators to experience appropriate use and integration of technology in teaching and learning, and increases their confidence in incorporating these tools into their practices.
For a list of sessions for each strand, click on the links above.