April 27th, 2010 Bob
INSPIRE, NASA’s Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience, encourages students to become the next generation of explorers, by pursuing an education leading to a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). What does this provide students?
1 Online Learning Community (OLC)
· A place for student to interact with peers, NASA experts and STEM education specialists.
· Chats and discussions boards for students and parents to explore professions and opportunities at NASA.
· Grade appropriate activities and resources for parents to champion their students’ education and career goals.
· Opportunity to apply for Summer STEM Experiences
2 Summer 2011 STEM Experiences
· grade-appropriate, expense paid, summer STEM experience. Must first be a member of the OLC
How do students apply? https://inspire.okstate.edu
When do students apply? May 3 – June 30, 2010 for Academic Year 2010 – 2011
Who should apply? Current 8th – 11th grade students
For more information, please refer to <www.nasa.gov/education/INSPIRE>.
April 19th, 2010 Bob
Project Discovery is an interactive field trip produced by Instructional Television (ITV) and South Carolina ETV. Now in its seventeenth year of providing quality programs for students, the educational series takes students to visit interesting and exciting places, providing an opportunity to explore and learn from historians, scientists, naturalists and other experts!
Designed for upper elementary, middle and high school students, this special program will be broadcast LIVE on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day from Congaree National Park to give us the opportunity to learn about the conservation and preservation of one of the oldest and largest tree canopies in the world!
Join host Bette Jamison and naturalist Rudy Mancke with special guests from the National Park Service and SC Department of Environmental Control (DHEC) as we take students on a virtual visit to this “Biosphere Reserve,” an international designation received because of the uniqueness of the Congaree National Park – a place of towering trees, primeval forest landscapes and diverse plant and animal life.
We’ll share swamp stories, learn the history of this national landmark, and experience national and state champion trees and astonishing biodiversity as we explore the largest remnant of old-growth floodplain forest remaining on our continent and talk about its conservation to keep it here for all of us and future generations.
Students are invited to e-mail questions to “Wireless Warren” before the program so Rudy Mancke and guests can answer during the LIVE broadcast: email@example.com
The interactive, hour-long field trip is scheduled for broadcast on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010, Noon – 1 p.m. It will be broadcast LIVE on OETA. Please check with your local cable or satellite company for information about how to receive the program. Once you record the program, you can use the tape for an unlimited time. The only rights restrictions are that you cannot edit or sell the tape. The program is presented and distributed by SCETV/ITV (South Carolina Department of Education). An e-mail address is included for you and your students to use to submit questions before the program.
April 18th, 2010 Bob
Sponsored by the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association, the Oklahoma Science Safety Summit is designed to focus on the topic of safety in science classrooms and will bring sharp focus to needs, practices, and responsibilities of teachers and schools. This is designed as a Trainer of Trainers workshop and will provide the tools and knowledge to enable participants to lead the yearly training required in every school district in Oklahoma.
Science Laboratory Safety: A Training of Trainers (Grades K–12)
A one-day session, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This session is designed to help teachers and administrators understand the Oklahoma science safety laws and requirements for Oklahoma public schools.
Participants will use a laboratory checklist to analyze safety conditions in their schools and receive materials designed to assess and support laboratory safety in elementary, middle, and high schools.
In this session, you will:
- Analyze sample laboratory and classroom facilities.
- Determine responses to common laboratory accidents.
- Learn how to select and maintain appropriate science safety equipment and materials.
- Engage in activities that lead to an understanding of current safety laws, rules, and regulations.
- Analyze events that lead to common accidents and determine how to respond to them.
Presenter for the summit is Jim Collins of the Charles Dana Center at the University of Texas.
Jim’s extensive research in safety practices and procedures in Texas resulted in a recentstrengthening on the Texas state laws regulating school safety and safety practice in Texas. His work includes the Texas Safety Standards for Kindergarten–Grade 12 and An Analysis of Laboratory Safety in Texas.
Go to the Dana Center (http://www.utdanacenter.org/sciencetoolkit/safety/) for more information about the science safety toolkit.
July 30 – Howell Hall (science building) on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma,
Edmond. Download a campus map here.
Dates: Friday July 30,
Time: 9 am until 4: pm (8:30 Registration and continental breakfast)
Cost: $50 per person. Purchase orders to OSTA are accepted. Space is limited to a maximum of 30 participants. All participants receive a copy of a CD of Safety Kit resources, continental breakfast, lunch, and a 1 year complimentary new membership in OSTA (not good toward OSTA membership renewals).
Registration Deadline: July 23, 2010
Online Registration is Open NOW!
Register Securely Online
If you prefer to pay for Registration by check or Purchase Order you may print and mail in the online form or use the registration form on the Conference page on this website.
April 18th, 2010 Bob
Online registration for this year’s BioBlitz! at Kaw Lake is now open! The inventory will be Friday Oct 8th 3:00 p.m. until Saturday Oct 9th at 3:00 p.m. with base camp at Camp McFadden on the western shore of Kaw Lake. If there is sufficient interest, we may also hold a camp fire discussion on Saturday evening.
There are a few changes to this year’s registration procedure. Please read carefully the following information before registering –
Online preregistration is open from April 12 – October 3. Cost is $5 for students, $15 for non-students.
Late on-site registration will be more expensive: $10 students and $25 for non-students.
You must register by September 20 to be guaranteed a t-shirt.
Everyone must register individually, including students (except children 5 and under – they may attend for free).
BioBlitz! will only be cancelled or postponed in the case of severe, dangerous weather. BioBlitz! will be held if it rains. There will be no refund of registration fees in the event that BioBlitz is cancelled or rescheduled. Your registration fee will be considered a donation to the BioBlitz! and used to organize future events.
2 nights tent camping at Camp McFadden during event (bathhouse with showers available to all participants)
Friday night picnic
Saturday morning early, light breakfast
All educational activities held during weekend
Cabins and RV hook-ups are available at an additional cost. There are six cabins that sleep 10 people for $35 per night. There are six electric RV sites (no sewer) for $15 per night. If interested, please contact me to make reservations. These are available on a first-come first-serve basis.
Also, if you would like to participate as a BioBlitz! educator by leading an activity or helping with the Junior Biologist program, please let me know. We would love to have new people helping to make BioBlitz! fun and educational.
To register and for more information go to: www.biosurvey.ou.edu/bioblitz/BioBlitz.html
Hope to see you in October at Kaw Lake!
April 13th, 2010 Bob
Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22, 2010) at your school! This year’s historic event is a great opportunity for your students to learn about and take action for the environment. Register for Earth Day Network’s free online Educators’ Network at earthday.org/education to receive environmental education curricula and other resources to celebrate Earth Day. Be sure to tell them what you’re doing at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Where We Got Our Green – Earth Day 40th Anniversary Curriculum Unit Explores the History of the Environmental Movement
Now that Earth Day is turning 40, it is the perfect time to reflect on how much our world has changed since the advent of the environmental movement.
But when exactly was that event? When did environmentalism begin? How have humans impacted the environment, and how has the environment impacted humans? If you want to explore these questions, check out Earth Day Network’s newest resource, a free online comprehensive curriculum unit on the history of the environmental movement. They’ve divided the environmental movement into five eras – Pre Conservation, Conservation, Modern, Environmental Justice, and Sustainability. This thorough resource will provide you with images, videos, maps, graphs and more to fill you in on where we’ve come from and where we’re headed as a global movement. Hundreds of pages of background information and lesson plans for use in and out of the classroom, as well as references to multimedia resources and extension activities are also freely available from the Educators’ Network.
April 8th, 2010 Bob
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Oklahoma City is hosting its fourth annual Aviation Career Education (ACE) Camp and we would like for your students to participate. ACE summer camp academies are one-week educational programs providing aviation education opportunities to your students. Our program will be conducted as a partnership with the Metro-Tech Aviation Career Center (our co-host), Will Rogers World Airport, Wiley Post Airport, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), The Oklahoma Radio Kontrol Society (TORKS) and many others. Activities are described in the attached flyer. The ACE Camp will be held from June 21 through 25, 2010, 8:00 to 5:00 daily. The camp will be based at Metro Tech’s Aviation Career Center (5600 S. McArthur Blvd, Oklahoma City); however, there will be many off-site activities.
Please nominate two or three of your 7th and 8th grade students that would most benefit from a program like ours. Students who are especially interested in aviation would make good candidates, regardless of their academic standing. However, nominated students must show initiative, have good attitudes and be good citizens. And because there are several private aviation camps available to those families who can afford them, this is a great opportunity for those who can’t. Our camp is fully funded by sponsors, donors and volunteers, so there will be no cost to the selected campers and their families!
Each nominated student also needs to complete an application form. Your nomination letter and their application will be the basis for our selection. Nominations and applications must be received by April 30, 2010. You may mail or fax the nomination/application packets.
Letters to parents will not be sent out until the final selections are made; therefore, if you think any parent of a nominated student will have
reservations about allowing their child to participate, we are asking that you contact the parents prior to nominating their child. If you are unable to do so, please do not let that stand in the way of a nomination.
You will find a flyer with more details about all of the exciting activities planned for the camp and the student application at the web site www.ospe.org/acecamp. Your nomination letter should be no more than one page and should address why you think this child should attend the Aviation Career Education Camp this year.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to phone or e-mail: (405) 954-9305, Melissa.M.Graffigna@faa.gov.
April 6th, 2010 Bob
Over on the left column of this page are RSS feeds from other science education websites that I find interesting. The NABT BioBlog is an effort on that list started and operated by a small group of members of the National Association of Biology Teachers with the intent of using the interactive nature of a blog to share their perspectives on science education. There is a wide range of perspective from the folks who contribute to the BioBlog. Some folks talk about their interactions out in nature ( I particularly liked a recent posting by Rich Benz, an Ohio biology teacher who recently went fly-fishing, but got far more from not catching his quarry). Others talk about their classroom experiences or what they learned at a conference. Several regular contributors are really adept at using technology to build new ways of teaching and learning. These posts are VERY interesting indeed.
One recent post featured Jenks teacher Sue Millican who is an acquaintance of regular BioBlogger Robin Hayden. Read Robin’s post here.
I really liked the article and what Sue and her students are doing. I also like the example being set by the BioBloggers. Like OSTA, NABT is a member driven and member dependent organization. Too small to have an extensive staff, NABT depends on active and involved members to do the heavy lifting in the organization. One of the great benefits of doing this work for the organization is the opportunity to meet people like Robin and Sue and share experiences, techniques, and perspectives. And this benefit ends up in making a difference in the lives of youngsters.
Go check out the article and the BioBlog. While you are at it, have you gone over to the OSTA NING? This is a social networking tool that hands you the opportunity to build relationships and interact with other OSTA members. Once again, it is member driven and member dependent . Give it a look today. It will only become useful when we get a member base large enough for folks to interact.
April 6th, 2010 Bob
In June of last year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the Race To The Top (RTTT) initiative as a series of competitive grants to states as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Forty-one states, including the District of Columbia (and Oklahoma), submitted proposals to the first round of the Through Race to the Top.
In the program announcement the U.S. Department of Educations (USDOE) gave the following description: “We are asking States to advance reforms around four specific areas:
Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;
Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;
Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.
Awards in Race to the Top will go to States that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform. Race to the Top winners will help trail-blaze effective reforms and provide examples for States and local school districts throughout the country to follow as they too are hard at work on reforms that can transform our schools for decades to come.”
Last Week, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that Delaware and Tennessee have won grants in the first phase of the Race to the Top competition.
“We received many strong proposals from states all across America, but two applications stood out above all others: Delaware and Tennessee,” Duncan said in announcing the winners. “Both states have statewide buy-in for comprehensive plans to reform their schools. They have written new laws to support their policies. And they have demonstrated the courage, capacity, and commitment to turn their ideas into practices that can improve outcomes for students.”
Delaware will receive approximately $100 million and Tennessee $500 million to implement their comprehensive school reform plans over the next four years. As with any federal grant program, budgets will be finalized after discussions between the grantees and the Department, and the money will be distributed over time as the grantees meet established benchmarks.
The U.S. Department of Education will have about $3.4 billion available for the second phase of the Race to the Top competition.
“We set a very high bar for the first phase,” Duncan said. “With $3.4 billion still available, we’re providing plenty of opportunity for all other states to develop plans and aggressively pursue reform.”
The $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund is an unprecedented federal investment in reform. The program includes $4 billion for statewide reform grants and $350 million to support states working together to improve the quality of their assessments. The Race to the Top state competition is designed to reward states that are leading the way in comprehensive, coherent, statewide education reform across four key areas:
Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace;
Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals how to improve instruction;
Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and turning around their lowest-performing schools.
The peer reviewers awarded the highest scores to Delaware and Tennessee. They awarded Delaware and Tennessee high marks for the commitment to reform from key stakeholders, including elected officials, teacher’s union leaders, and business leaders. In both states, all school districts committed to implementing Race to the Top reforms. Delaware and Tennessee also have aggressive plans to improve teacher and principal evaluation, use data to inform instructional decisions, and turn around their lowest-performing schools. In addition, both states have put in place strong laws and policies to support their reform efforts.
Applications for Phase 2 of Race to the Top are due on June 1, 2010. To help states as they prepare their proposals and to continue the nationwide dialogue on education reform, the Department of Education has made all Phase 1 applications, peer reviewers’ comments, and scores available on its website; videos of states’ presentations will be posted soon.
Media outlets in most other states have made much of their state’s efforts in competing for RTTT funds. Reporting has been less robust in Oklahoma. But the information about the Oklahoma proposal (which, by the way, was an effort spearheaded by a 15-person commission established through Executive Order by the Governor in January) is available online at http://www.ok.gov/recovery/Funding_Categories/Education_&_Research/ This site sets the stage for all of Oklahoma’s Recovery Act efforts, including the RTTT application:
“Recognizing that education is the key building block for the economic health and quality of life of our citizens. Oklahoma’s Race to the Top application outlines a plan to improve student achievement by raising expectations, increasing the rigor of curriculum and facilitating effective instruction. Over 60% of the state’s school districts signed up to participate in Oklahoma’s plan, representing over 74% of the state’s schools and 80% of the student population. Fifty percent of any funds received through this competitive process will be allocated to participating school districts to implement their part of the state reform plan. Allocation amounts will be based on Title I formula shares.
Oklahoma’s application is strengthened by the input and support received from a broad group of stakeholders. In addition to a steering committee of 17 high level leaders which included union representatives, business leaders, philanthropists, teachers, school administrator representatives, higher education and career tech, workgroups of more than 60 subject matter experts advised and guided the steering committee. Governor Brad Henry has formed the Oklahoma Race to the Top Commission (http://www.sos.state.ok.us/documents/Executive/711.pdf ) to coordinate and monitor the implementation of Oklahoma’s Race to the Top plan.
Key goals include:
Have an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective principal in every school.
Raise, align and measure academic expectations through the use of Common Core Standards and provide districts with the resources and support they need to ensure that teachers can successfully implement those standards.
Develop and use data systems (P-20) to improve student learning and assure accountability and transparency at the state and local level.
Ensure that every Oklahoma school is successful and effective.
Improve instruction, collaboration and achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Key initiatives include:
Development of statewide teacher and leader effectiveness measures that include measures of student growth and other items.
Provide pool of funds for locally developed incentive compensation systems based on the results of the teacher and leader effectiveness measures.
Professional development tied to teacher and leader effectiveness.
Support and funding for the five lowest performing schools to implement aggressive turnaround strategies.
Competitive grants to districts to implement aggressive turnaround strategies.
Instructional improvement systems to enhance student learning.
Complete alignment of the state longitudinal data system with the America COMPETES Act.
Adoption of the new Common Core Standards and development of accompanying assessments.
Launching a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Coordinating Council and expand STEM summer academies.”
However, the US Department Of Education had a very critical appraisal of the application. Their reviews, along with the reviews for all other states can be viewed here: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase1-applications/index.html
Oklahoma’s application ranked #34 of the 41 applicants with an average score of 294.6 of 500 possible points. The summary of each of the five application reviewers looked like this:
(The Competitive Performance Priority 2: Emphasis on STEM rated Oklahoma’s committment to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and was scored as an all or nothing bonus).
The winning proposal from Delaware scored 454.6 ponts. Other states and their ranking include:
Phase II applications for RTTT are due to USDOE in June. These efforts have a HUGE impact on math and science education on Oklahoma. If funded, Oklahoma can see a change in direction and a very different future for our children than the path we will be on if we are not. Stay Tuned.