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Week of December 1, 2008

Table of Contents

Science Notebooks in the Elementary Classroom

Elementary teachers know that learning science involves both the process of thinking and the ability to communicate those thoughts. One of the most effective ways of demonstrating this is through the use of student science notebooks. The earlier students learn to keep records, the better they will be prepared to make this a natural part of their science activities.

Classroom teachers tell us that Using Science Notebooks in Elementary Classrooms is a “must-have” resource for the development of scientific inquiry, literacy, and reasoning skills. This book makes the case for using science notebooks strategically—promoting hands-on observing, recording, and reflecting—and demonstrates how best to do so.

Connecting language arts to science through expository writing, the book presents proven techniques such as scaffolds, sentence starters, discussion starters, and other writing prompts to encourage students to build on current knowledge. Every step of the process is examined: introducing notebook writing to the class, creating questions to explore, making predictions, recording observations, making and defending claims, and using the notebooks to provide targeted student feedback. Also included are chapters on the specialized needs of English language learners, offering specific strategies to increase proficiency and fluency in both science and language.

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Out-of-Field Teaching Persists in Key Academic Courses, Especially in America's High-Poverty and High-Minority Schools

In America's secondary schools, low-income and minority students are about twice as likely as other students to be enrolled in core academic classes taught by out-of-field teachers, according to an analysis released last week by The Education Trust. The report analyzes data from the 2003–04 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, and compares it with the data states reported that year under the No Child Left Behind law.

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Catch Up on NSTA Podcasts

Are you curious to know who has the Lab Out Loud hosts so smitten with science? Listen in as they discuss science, communication, and role models with Kirsten Sanford, Ph.D. (aka Dr. Kiki). And if you missed it, a previous episode featured a chat with Ed Begley, Jr., about science, the environment, and his show, Living with Ed. Ed reveals his wife Rachelle is the person who kept him from turning his 1930s bungalow into an environmental bunker. Today's fresh new episode is When Good Chemicals Go Bad (of particular interest to those of have encountered—or left behind—a bottle labeled "Methyl Something").

Also, don't forget Blick on Flicks, which podcasts about once a month. Prof. Blickenstaff's reviews also appear in NSTA Reports—in print and online.

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Give the Best Gift of All—the Gift of Membership in NSTA!

With the holidays approaching, now is the time to give the gift of resources that will help the science educators in your life be the best they can be—gift membership in NSTA. You can download the gift application.

Your generous gift of an NSTA membership is an investment in the professional growth of your favorite science educator. Each membership includes a subscription to one grade-specific journal and NSTA Reports, a 20% discount on NSTA Press® books, up to 40% off conference registrations, award and professional development opportunities, and much more. Each new member will receive an acknowledgment letter indicating that his or her membership was a gift from you. Click here for more information, and happy holidays!

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Don't Forget About the Best Conference on Science Education This Season

On-site registration in Cincinnati, beginning Dec. 3, will open doors to professional development for all science educators. Take advantage of workshops and sessions for teachers in every grade band and discipline.

Consider a NASA symposium, Discover the Universe; or the Nature of Hope, a presentation by Thane Maynard from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Jerry Bell from the American Chemical Society will talk about Understanding the Energetics of Dissolving for high school teachers. Think of what you might learn at Engaging K–8 Science Students with Hands-on Investigations and Inquiry, Supported by Science Literacy Skills and Quality Resources. Preschool to middle level teachers might select Using Trade Books from the Science Bookshelf in Inquiry Learning. To Be or Not to Be Science, That Is the Question is a workshop for those interested in informal education.

The list is varied—more than 450 events to choose from. The opportunity to nurture your passion at this NSTA regional conference shouldn’t be missed. We hope to see you this week in Cincinnati, Ohio!

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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 the price of the December featured book, Start With A Story: The Case Study Method of Teaching College Science.

NSTA is offering more Web Seminars in the months ahead. Visit the website for more information and to register to attend these FREE 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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