Tuesday, November 28, 2006

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference

I attended the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) conference with Judy, Kristen in Baltimore, Maryland from Nov 1- 3, 2006. The conference is a great way to keep in touch with other science teachers and to see what is current in the areas of teaching. The conference offered a keynote speaker and over a hundred break out sessions designed to introduce new ways to teach concepts and explore ideas. I attended on session on the inquiry teaching in science, NOAA – Education and Discovery Center, and effective teachings in bio technology. Some of the sessions dragged on a bit, but most were very interesting and worthwhile. Brady Barr gave an excellent presentation on Kids in Science and how they make a difference. Brady is a resident scientist for National Geographic. He specializes in crocodiles and is a leader in the field. His presentation brought a real view of science in the field and how kids come up with great ideas and can have a share in finding and researching animals. Conferences are a way to stay in touch with your discipline. You have the time away from the classroom to hear your contemporaries speak and to reflect upon your own discipline. I always come back from a conference loaded with fresh, new ideas that I am eager to try in the classroom. It keeps me connected with other teachers in the field of science. This past conference was especially unique for me. I was able to see several former science teachers form Gilman School, an independent boys school in Baltimore, where I taught 19 years ago. It was great to see them and reconnect after a long time of teaching. They are still in the business, like me. We agreed that the kids keep us going year after year, else why teach?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

NMSA Convention

While at the recent NMSA Convention in Nashville, I attended a session on single-sex classes in the middle school. The presenter, a middle school teacher from South Carolina, sent a copy of his power point which contains interesting bits of information and specific strategies for teaching boys and girls. If you are interested in viewing this part of his presentation, let me know and I'll send you a copy.

We Need Grant Applications!

Hey, everyone,

We need people to submit applications for the over $20,000 worth of grants we have available for next year. Put on your thinking caps and come up with some great ideas - we have lots of money available!


Gregg's 2006 ISACS Conference Sessions

The 2006 ISACS conference in St. Louis was wonderful. There were many big name speakers - including Matt Montagne! Here is a summary of my favorite sessions:

Advisories In Action - Two teachers from a school in St. Louis presented an excellent workshop on improving a middle school advisory program. This was a timely session since we are looking at updating our program. Their program is based on the book, The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, by David Niven, PHd. The high interest activities were developed by the teachers. The program is based on positive psychology or learned optimism which is the most popular course at Harvard. It's the best middle school advisory program I have seen.

Modern Dads: What Schools Need To Know About the Next Generation of Men - A great session on how to get dads more involved in school life. I have noticed that our parent education program attracts a lot of moms. Should we design programs around the needs of dads? John Badalament spoke about modern fatherhood. He would be a great parent education speaker for USM sometime in the future.

Sexuality Education - Author and teacher, Deborah M. Roffman, spoke about this difficult topic. In her book Sex & Sensibility she attempts to help us reshape the ways in which we deal with our children, from toddlers to 20-year-olds, with respect to sex and sexuality. She offers ways to see, ways to listen, and ways to talk and behave so that our children learn how to make wise and happy choices about all things sexual. ic. I have a couple handouts if interested. Her website: http://www.sexandsensibility.net/home.html

Mirror Neurons - Noted brain researcher and professor, Robert Sylwester, spoke about human mirror neurons. Dr. Sylwester thinks this is the most important scientific discovery since DNA. He feels much more will be discovered and written about mirror neurons in the future. He also believes this research will have major educational implications. Dr. Sylwester loves to get emails from students interested in learning more about the human brain. He would be a great person to contact for science projects etc. If interested, I have an easy to read handout on this topic.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Montagne's ISACS Conference Presentation Summary

All-in-all, this conference went quite well. I traveled down on Thursday, Nov. 2nd and made it to the Gateway City in time to join Ward and the crew for a nice dinner in town. The drive surprised me a bit in that it took me much longer than I anticipated (this is probably due more to the fact that I took the wrong turn on I-90 toward Chicago!) Next time I’ll be sure to fly!

Unfortunately I presented at the 1:30-2:45 time slot and did a repeat at the 3:00-4:15 slot. After anticipating 40 participants in the first section and 35 in the second, I was a little disappointed that only 9 showed up during the first session and 5 in the second. Even though attendance was lower than I had hoped, I thought the sessions were lively and the participants seemed to be appreciative of the offering. We had a nice talk about the pros/cons of contemporary communication technologies such as myspace, IM, blogging, etc. We moved into cyber bullying and finished with the story of Ryan Halligan. This story strikes me in an incredibly powerful way each time I see it (and I must have seen it over 10 times now). Now I’m back at USM and ready to start discussing the topic of “Digital Citizenship” with our students during advising sessions.

Additional Resources:
-My entire presentation is pretty much online at: http://2006isacstalk.wikispaces.com/