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Week of June 30, 2008

Table of Contents

Elementary Teachers Not Well Prepared in Mathematics, Says NCTQ

A new report released last week from the National Council on Teacher Quality says that the majority of undergraduate education schools they studied fail to adequately prepare elementary teachers to teach mathematics.

The report found that:

  • Compared to other countries, the expectations for mathematics knowledge that aspiring teachers must have before they are admitted into a teacher preparation program are exceedingly low.
  • The exit tests administered by states to award a teaching license assess virtually the same math used on admission tests. In other words, the math knowledge needed to get out is little more than the math knowledge needed to get in.
  • Across the United States there is no consensus on how institutions should prepare elementary teachers in mathematics.
  • Few education programs cover the mathematics content that elementary teachers need. State regulation and guidance for the preparation of elementary teachers is haphazard, further compounding the variation in institutional requirements.
  • The nation's goal of building the foundation for algebra in elementary grades is not evident in the preparation that elementary teachers receive.

Additional information:

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Teachers Use Diversity as an Asset in the Classroom

Can students learn science before they are proficient in English? Can a student's cultural background support learning in science?

Teaching Science to English Language Learners is a "must read" to address these and other pressing questions teachers face when working with students of diverse cultural backgrounds. The title includes an introduction to research on this important subject, 22 chapters covering classroom case studies, and teachers' reflections.

Mastering the principles outlined in the book will give any teacher a broad base of knowledge from which to draw and implement in instructional practices. As the authors note, "The vision of science teaching and learning put forward in this volume is one in which English language learners have as much to teach their fellow students as they have to learn from them."

To read a sample chapter or to purchase, click here.

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Attend the Sally Ride Science™/NASA/NOAA Climate Change Conference

How has the Earth's climate changed in the 25 years since Dr. Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, first viewed it from above? What changes are predicted over the next 25 years? How can educators incorporate this information into their daily lessons in interesting, meaningful ways?

This July, Sally Ride Science™ partners with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to present a two-day educator conference on climate change. "Earth Then, Earth Now: Our Changing Climate" will focus on understanding climate change and celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ride's first space shuttle mission.

The conference, to be held July 23–24 at the NOAA Science Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, is open to K–12 educators, runs from 8:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on July 23 and from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on July 24.

NASA will underwrite a portion of the conference fees to enable more educators to benefit from this exciting opportunity. Participant registration will now be $20 and includes the featured talk by Ride, workshops, lunch, and classroom materials. Registration also includes a reception on the evening of the 22nd at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in honor of Dr. Ride's first space flight. Limited travel assistance is also available.

For more information, contact Sally Ride Science at 1-800-561-5161 or visit the conference web page.

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Rejuvenate Your Science Classroom and Yourself

Are you searching for the perfect way to have some fun while enhancing your career as a science educator? NSTA's Conference on Science Education in Charlotte is the solution. Join us Oct. 30–Nov. 1, 2008, for an informative getaway. You will build your content knowledge, hear the latest in cutting-edge research, participate in hands-on workshops, and also enjoy social functions, field trips, exhibitor giveaways, and networking events. Save the most on conference registration when you register by September 19.

  • Journey back in time to experience everyday life in Pompeii the day before it vanished. Discovery Place, Charlotte’s premier education center for science and technology, is featuring “A Day in Pompeii.”
  • Don’t miss the NSTA Exhibit Hall, with more than 500 of the world's leading science education companies and organizations, showcasing the most current products and technologies. Bring a friend and an extra tote to help carry all the giveaways you can take back to your classroom.
  • Get to know your colleagues as you Brave the Waves at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Participants will explore the hiking trails, rock climb, or sit back and enjoy the scenery at a café overlooking the park.
  • Make your conference experience count! Document your professional development with an NSTA transcript of attendance. Earn one graduate credit with 12 hours of program attendance through Framingham State College.

Take advantage of this unique educational escape. To register, visit www.nsta.org/charlotte.

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Elementary School Principals Wanted!

NSTA publishes a monthly e-newsletter, Scientific Principals, just for elementary school principals. It's filled with useful tools, tricks of the trade, and tips for better science teaching in the classroom. "Elementary principals play a uniquely important role in instruction," explains David Beacom, NSTA Associate Executive Director and Publisher. "They are hands-on leaders, mentors, and administrators. This newsletter offers the kinds of information principals can use on a day to day basis and in the long term, strengthen science teaching and learning in the early years." To view past issues or to sign up for this complimentary, monthly e-newsletter, visit the Scientific Principals archive page.

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And Don’t Forget…

Visit our member services web page to ensure that NSTA has your current contact information.

Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off of the June featured book, Lingo of Learning.

NSTA is offering more Web Seminars through the summer months. Visit the website for more information about these upcoming professional development opportunities.

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


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