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Back to School With NSTA

As the 2006-2007 school year gets underway, NSTA is pleased to present our annual Back-to-School edition of NSTA Express.

What makes this issue special? For starters, we’ve tweaked the format a bit: In addition to the usual news, NSTA Legislative Update, and targeted resources, this issue is also chock full of special offers and resources you can use to start off the new school year, such as classroom materials, professional development opportunities, and more. You can even take advantage of special discounts on NSTA memberships and view the complete new NSTA catalog.

So read on, and feel free to forward this special issue to colleagues and friends. Send an e-mail to nstaexpress@nsta.org, and let us know what you think of this special edition of NSTA Express and how we can make this e-newsletter an even better resource for you this year.

Table of Contents

Back-to-School Special—Save $5 on Your NSTA Membership

When you make use of the helpful information in NSTA Express, you’re just scratching the surface of the many ways that NSTA membership gives you voice, knowledge, and a sense of community. If you’re already a member, you know how valuable that sense of community is—why not renew your membership now and save? If you’re not a member, now is the time to join! NSTA membership is the best way for you to expand and enhance your knowledge and teaching skills, to make your voice heard on important state and national education issues, and to share your expertise with other members as part of a national community of committed educators.

Join or renew your membership now thru September 30 and receive $5 off your individual regular* membership dues and take advantage of these great benefits:

  • Choose the grade-specific journal geared to your specific needs
  • Receive NSTA Reports, our monthly newspaper, printed September through May
  • Search the online journal article archive
  • Network with peers online and in real time
  • Access SciLinks® database of teacher-approved websites
  • Discover grant, scholarship, and leadership opportunities
  • Receive discounts on books and registration fees
  • And much more!

    Members: Visit http://www.nsta.org/renew and enter B2SREN7 in the source code field or download this form (http://www.nsta.org/conference/B2SREN7.pdf).

    Nonmembers: Visit http://www.nsta.org/join and enter B2SNEW7 in the source code field or download this form (http://www.nsta.org/conference/B2SNEW7.pdf).

*Discount does not apply to student or retired membership options.


Browse NSTA’s Upcoming Fall Catalog of New Books for PreK-College Science Educators—over 100 Pages of Really Good Resources!

Next week, NSTA’s fall catalog of books for science educators at all grade levels goes into the mail, just in time for back-to-school. But to give you—and our readers who may not be on our mailing list to receive NSTA catalogs—an early look at our new books (plus our Recent Releases, and titles under the categories of Teaching Strategies, Activities, Interdisciplinary, Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science and Physical Science), we’ve posted the catalog for you to page through online at http://www.nsta.org/catalog/FALL06_Catalog.pdf. To browse sample chapters and tables of contents for most NSTA Press books, visit the online Science Store at http://store.nsta.org. The new NSTA Press titles will be available in September and October, but may be ordered in advance of publication. And if you’d like to sign up to receive future catalogs by mail, visit http://ecommerce.nsta.org/catalog_signup.


Free for All from NSTA's Science Class

Every year NSTA's Science Class, our popular monthly e-newsletter, devotes one issue to the theme “Free for All” and provides more than 60 free online opportunities available by grade level, ranging from online publications and activities to catalogs of books, as well as science competitions and professional development workshops.

Elementary Edition: http://www.nsta.org/enewsletter/2006-06/member_elementary.htm

Middle Level Edition: http://www.nsta.org/enewsletter/2006-06/member_middle.htm

High School Edition: http://www.nsta.org/enewsletter/2006-06/member_high.htm


Mark Your Calendars for Upcoming NSTA Conferences

Join us this fall in Omaha (October 19-21), Baltimore (November 2-4), and Salt Lake City (December 7-9) to find new knowledge, unique experiences, the latest “tools of the trade,” networking opportunities, and old acquaintances. For full details and agendas for all area conventions, you can peruse the complete advance program online at http://ecommerce.nsta.org/2006_area_advance_program and register online at http://www.nsta.org/conferences. NSTA’s Personal Scheduler will help you create your own professional development itinerary before you arrive. Go to http://www.nsta.org/main/conferences/schedule_select.php.


What's Happening When and Where in Science Education? Check Out the Best Calendar You Could Ever Want

As you plan your fall schedule, don't forget to check out NSTA's online Calendar. NSTA compiles and makes available to all a free, searchable, comprehensive online calendar of happenings in the world of science and science education. You'll find grant and fellowship opportunities, professional development programs, university courses, seminars and workshops, awards and competitions, science events, conferences, online events, exhibits and films, and more. And you can search according to your area of interest, by grade level, and by region of the United States—plus events in Canada and around the world.

To see what's coming up in your area, visit the NSTA Calendar at http://www.nsta.org/calendar. And if you have an event that you'd like to publicize, you can use the "Submit an event" link to spread the word to the science education community.


U.S. Department of Education Offers Survival Guide for New Teachers

If you are new to the teaching field, or if you work alongside someone who is, then this book was written for you. Developed by the U.S. Department of Education, Survival Guide for New Teachers—How New Teachers Can Work Effectively with Veteran Teachers, Parents, Principals, and Teacher Educators, is an online book which includes the reflections of award-winning first-year teachers who talk candidly about their successes and setbacks, with a particular emphasis on the relationships they formed with their colleagues, university professors, and their students' parents. Veteran teachers, especially, are a powerful factor in a new teacher's experience. The book includes suggestions about how new teachers can foster supportive professional relationships and what they stand to gain from them. Check it out at http://www.ed.gov/teachers/become/about/survivalguide/index.html.


Applying for a Toyota TAPESTRY Grant Just Got Easier

Now it’s even easier to apply for a grant in the Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers program. Just log on to http://www.nsta.org/programs/tapestry and apply online for one of 50 large grants of up to $10,000 each or 20-25 mini-grants of up to $2,500.

Sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and NSTA, the program will award K-12 teachers of science with a total of $550,000 in three categories: environmental science; physical science; and literacy and science education.

Toyota TAPESTRY recognizes outstanding educators who are making a difference by demonstrating excellence and creativity in science teaching. Since 1991 the program has awarded more than $7 million to 826 teams of teachers for innovative science classroom projects. Toyota and NSTA hope these grants continue to inspire teachers and serve as a catalyst for lifetime science learning.

To apply for funding, qualified teachers must prepare an online Toyota TAPESTRY proposal according to the proposal requirements. The deadline for the submission of proposals is January 18, 2007. Visit http://www.nsta.org/programs/tapestry to start your application!


Free Documentaries Focus on First-Year Teachers

In 1999, director Davis Guggenheim undertook an ambitious project documenting the challenging first year experiences of public school teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Two films were the result: Peabody Award-winning documentary The First Year (78 min.) which premiered on PBS and TEACH (35 min.), a powerful teacher recruitment tool. TEACH and The First Year document emotional journeys, raising issues of public education through intimate portrayals of young teachers at the start of their careers. They address the tremendous need for qualified teachers nationwide and aim to inspire a new generation of teachers.

Both films, and additional resources for teachers, can be downloaded for free by going to http://www.pbs.org/firstyear and http://www.teachnow.org.


NSTA Celebrates SciLinks Milestone and Offers Resources to NSTA Express Readers—FREE—for 30 days

This summer, NSTA marked a major milestone in its web-based SciLinks program when it logged its 10 millionth search for the “best of the best” web-based science resources. SciLinks—a one-of-a-kind online system—directs students, teachers, and parents to a host of professionally selected web sites that support the teaching of science subjects introduced in science textbooks.

Launched in 2000, NSTA developed SciLinks in partnership with U.S. textbook publishers. NSTA sought a way to enhance, deepen, and extend the learning of specific subjects contained within the printed texts. To accomplish this goal NSTA organized a nationally selected team of professional educators to vet high-quality web resources and link them to specific science subjects. The program was later enhanced to allow NSTA members to conduct key word searches on various science topics.

To celebrate this important milestone, NSTA is offering SciLinks to NSTA Express readers—FREE—for 30 days. From now until September 21, all registered recipients of NSTA Express can use the key word search function to locate great resources to help you teach science this fall. To log in, go to http://www.scilinks.org/trial. Like what you see and want continued access? Become an NSTA member and enjoy SciLinks all year; to join, visit http://www.nsta.org/memapplication. To read a press release about the SciLinks milestone, visit http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2006_08_21_press.htm.


Getting Ready for the School Year: Advice for New Teachers Focus of Education Week Online Chat

Two well-known educators, Jim Burke, author of Letters to a New Teacher: A Month-by-Month Guide to the Year Ahead, and an English teacher at Burlingame High School in California; and Hanne Denney, a career-changer in her second year as a special education and social studies teacher at Arundel High School in Gambrills, Maryland, and the author of Teacher Magazine's blog, "Ready or Not,” were guests during a July 26 online chat for new teachers sponsored by Education Week. Read the transcript of the chat at http://www.edweek.org/chat/transcript_07_26_06.html.


NSTA Legislative Update: Senator Clinton Introduces Legislation to Develop National Voluntary Expectations for K-12 Science and Math Education

A good deal of activity this summer coming from our nation’s capital: in August Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced legislation that would create voluntary national expectations and a voluntary curriculum for K-12 math and science. Also this month the Congressionally chartered commission charged with developing a national action plan that would implement “an effective, realistic, affordable, and politically acceptable long-term approach” to key problems inherent in pre-K-16 STEM education convened in early August. And a key report on NCLB finds that nearly all Title I schools will face funding cuts this coming school year. Read this and more in this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update (http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2006_08_21_legupdate.htm).


Astronomers Debate Definition of Planets; Vote Next Week May Raise Number of Planets From 9 to 12

After two years of work a panel convened by the International Astronomical Union has reached a decision about the definition of "planets" and smaller "solar system bodies" such as comets and asteroids. If the definition is approved this week the number of planets in the Solar System would rise from 9 to 12, with more to come. Read more in the USA Today article (http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-08-15-planet-definition_x.htm) and an article from the Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2006/08/16/nine_no_longer_panel_declares_12_planets)


ACT Reports Significant Increase in 2006 High School Graduates Scores

Although the average ACT Score went up for the high school class of 2006, and college readiness improved in some areas, ACT reports that the majority of ACT-tested graduates are still likely to struggle in first-year college math and science courses. To read the NSTA News online story, visit http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/nsta_story.php?news_story_ID=52409.


Back to School: Education by the Numbers

A quick primer of statistics on U.S. schools: (1) Racial and ethnic makeup of public schools in 2004: 57 percent white, 16 percent black, 19 percent Hispanic, 7 percent other. (2) Public school enrollment Pre-K-12 in 2006: 49 million. (3) Average 2005 annual salaries of teachers in public schools: $47,750. (4) Sources of public spending on schools in 2003: Federal: 8.5 percent; States: 48.7 percent; Local: 42.8 percent. (5) Total 2003 education spending nationally: $450 billion. To read more, visit
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110AP_School_Statistics.html (Source: PEN Weekly Newsblast)

And Be Sure to Visit:  



Professional development courses in your future?
Online options give you a world of choice.
Take a look at these institutions offering courses for science educators!


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