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So, I had a couple of these written concerning things like education and the 2020 election, government and education, the need to reassess everything, and then… COVID-19. Therefore, I put the other ramblings in a folder that I will never be able to find again (lucky for you), and have been thinking about the one thing that is on all educators’ minds – alternative delivery. We’ll get to that topic shortly. I’m sure that many of you are also worried about your students and their families – are they safe, do they have enough food, etc. Those, honestly, are much more relevant questions, and ones that even I (a college professor) am having. I hope that your school districts and your communities are able to address some of these concerns. I know that many students rely on their teachers for stability, care, and compassion. I feel that it is important that we remain in contact with the students as individuals. Fortunately, this did not occur in September, when we are just getting acquainted with a new batch of students – we know our students, their personalities, their needs. So, here is a short (maybe long, I’m winging it) list of things –
As you use already prepared materials or prepare your own materials, please keep good notes on what you use, how you use it, did it produce the results you wanted, what would you do next time. I think it is important that we, as educators, have a location where resources are compiled – and that these resources are searchable and have been reviewed by other educators. More on this topic later…
- Rick Farrer
December CAST Ramblings
Happy Holidays Science Educators! I am sitting in my living room surrounded by the chaos of the end of the Thanksgiving holiday and the beginning of the Winter Holidays. I am thankful for my friends, family, fellow CAST board and CAST members. My family participated in a hockey tournament over the Thanksgiving break and I believe we had 9 hockey games over 9 days. It is a good thing I like watching my boys play!
If you had the opportunity to attend the Colorado Science Conference this year, I bet you would agree that it was great professional development! As always, they put on quite an event and this year, I believe it was one of their best. I loved getting to participate in a few professional development sessions while also manning the CAST booth throughout the day. As an elementary educator, I was particularly pleased with the amount of options for K-6 teachers. I have been attending the conference for about 5 years now and the amount of options for elementary educators has continued to grow every year. I also had the opportunity to deliver several awards to some amazing science educators during the Award Ceremony. What a stellar group of science teachers we have here in Colorado!
As we look forward to the New Year, try to think of what you want to improve upon in education. I look forward to being your new CAST president and also plan on attending a few classes that will benefit my school and class. I plan on attending a few EleSTEMary classes (if you haven’t tried one of these yet, you have got to go to one!), will participate in the Space Foundation’s 36th Space Symposium as a Teacher Liaison for the 9th year in a row, and plan to reach out to CDE and Maya Garcia for ways that I can help Elementary teachers with the transition to the new Science Standards. What are your New Year’s Resolutions?
November Board Ramblings
By: Autumn Rivera, Region III
Greetings Science Educators! It’s a beautiful fall morning in Glenwood Springs and I am enjoying taking a quiet moment after such a crazy week. Our quarter just ended and we are in the midst of conferences. Congratulations to all who survived Halloween in schools this year. I’m not sure about other grade levels, but middle school and Halloween are always fun, but exhausting!
This year in science in my district a huge focus in middle school has been on breaking down the new 2020 Colorado Standards into specific grade levels. The Colorado Academic Standards were sixth, seventh, and eighth, but the new 2020 standards are just middle school. It is a daunting task, but our science leadership team, through the help from Maya Garcia at the Colorado Department of Education, has done an awesome job of planning our transition. I was proud to be apart of a team that focused on thinking about what was best for students and their learning. If any other fellow middle school teachers are looking for support, Maya is amazing! We were so grateful for her help!
I am also busy getting ready for the Colorado Science Conference this week. Every year I am excited for this conference as it brings time to check-in with old friends and make new ones. It also is an opportunity to push my instruction and learn new best practices to add to the classroom. As a science teacher of 15 years, I can all to easily find myself keeping the status quo, but attending the Conference always ensures I am filled with new ideas to try! Thanks to all those who have put in countless hours to make this conference a success every year. Make sure you stop by the CAST booth to say hi and I look forward to seeing everyone there!
Happy Autumn CAST! We hope your school year is off to a wonderful start. This is a busy time for science teachers with report cards around the corner and the Colorado State Science Conference on Friday, November 8, 2019 at the Denver Merchandise Mart. Remembered to get registered for the early bird special by October 18th where your price will only be $60, after that $75 ... either way it's a wonderful deal. Register at... www.coloradoscienceconference.org This year the theme is our periodic table which celebrates a 150th anniversary. Another highlight of the Colorado Science Conference is the awards given to many distinguished teachers from across the state. Please join us at 1:00 during the conference to honor these teachers for their state awards. A free dessert reception will be part if the celebrations.
Speaking of awards, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics or Science Teaching is also looking for nominations. This is the year for elementary science and math teachers to be nominated for this most prestigious award. Consider nominating a colleague, teammate, or other outstanding elementary teacher. Self nominations are also welcomed. go to www.paemst.org and complete the brief nomination.
We encourage you to get involved with your state science organization and join the CAST board. Please let us know if you are interested in getting involved. Thank you for being part of CAST! We look forward to seeing many of you at the Colorado State Science Conference.
DeLene Hoffner, Past President of CAST and current Region II Elementary Director
Hello, and happy Labor Day, Colorado Science Educators! As a new school is getting underway, I just want to take a moment and say THANK YOU for everything you do for Colorado students. Your efforts, in and out of the classroom, make our state a better place and help students from pre-K to college have a better experience in the sciences! The more teachers I meet, the more I am amazed at the dynamic, incredible things that are happening in science classrooms all over Colorado. Keep it up!
It’s been a busy summer for me, personally, and for science education in Colorado! I was lucky to get to attend the ChemEd conference in Naperville, IL, to present at a few workshops and to learn from some incredible chemistry educators from all over the world. If you teach chemistry, I can’t recommend either ChemEd or the BCCE (Biennial Conference on Chemical Education) conferences enough! Your CAST board and I have also been in close touch with the Colorado Department of Education, so that we can bring you updates on the roll-out for the 2020 state science standards. Through our work with Maya Garcia, the science content specialist at CDE, we believe that the growth in state science education is positive and headed in the right direction!
As you start your school year in your classrooms, don’t forget to check with CAST on opportunities for professional development, as well as grants to help you purchase supplies, training, or other exciting science material for your students! We have many grants and awards available for everyone from pre-service teachers to lifelong educators, and many will be opening for nominations in the next several weeks, to be awarded at the Colorado Science Conference in November.
Speaking of CSC, don’t forget to clear your schedule and request a sub for Friday, November 8th! This is the largest science education conference in Colorado, with workshops on everything from NGSS implementation to gamify-ing your classroom. This is a great opportunity to network, learn, and develop new ideas in your practice as an educator. Also held during the conference is our annual CAST general membership meeting, during which we’ll be discussing changes to the constitution and by-laws, as well as discussing exciting upcoming events for CAST This year’s keynote speaker is a long-time chemistry education rockstar, Lee Marek, from the Chicago area. Lee has been a talented high school and college chemistry educator, as well as a regular guest on the Tonight Show with David Letterman, sharing his passion for chemistry demonstrations. It’s sure to be an exciting, inspiring event!
Greetings, CAST members and guests! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, I know that we at CAST have a LOT to be thankful for this year!
Firstly, THANK YOU to everyone who attended the Colorado Science Conference on November 9th, it was a huge success! I’d also like to give a big thank you to all of the presenters, the CSC Planning Committee, and to my fellow CAST Board Members who were all a large part of why this year’s conference was such a success. This year’s conference was filled with amazing things such as Temple Grandin’s inspiring keynote address, the incredible award winners, but for me the most incredible thing was just walking through the presentation hallways and seeing all of the engaged, powerful talks going on! Everything from the power of virtual/augmented reality in the classroom, to fun ways of engaging students through “Escape Classrooms”, to the exciting future of science education in our beautiful state of Colorado. I was moved by how eager everyone was in the rooms I passed, both to learn and to share learning with one another. I am excited to see where the future takes us!
It’s an auspicious day for science, with the Mars InSight lander having successfully made its way 300 million miles to settle gently onto the flat surface of Elysium Planitia on our ruddy-colored celestial neighbor. Even with my students riled up and struggling to focus after their weeklong holiday, I was moved by how inspired and excited they were to learn about and watch the landing today. It’s that inspiration, in our students, in our classrooms, that will truly be the fuel that takes humanity farther than it has ever travelled in the next century. Thank you for everything that you all do to ignite and fan those flames of excitement about science in your students!
Sincerely yours in science,
Ryan Johnson, CAST President
Welcome to the CAST Blog. Several members have requested that the "Ramblings" be revived. So...board members will periodically be sharing their thoughts and musings on a regular basis.
CAST Presidential Ramblings, July 2018
Hello, CAST members!! Thank you for all you do for science education in Colorado, and for our science scholars of all ages! My name is Ryan Johnson, the current President of CAST. I am a chemistry educator at Doherty High School in Colorado Springs, and am honored to serve on the CAST Board of Directors to further the message of the importance of science education in our beautiful state. Together with the amazing Board of CAST and the new President-Elect, Jami Seabolt, I am excited to continue to work with and for you to bring powerful development and opportunities to science educators throughout Colorado.
As CAST is a chapter of the National Science Teachers’ Association, I had the privilege of attending the NSTA National Congress on Science Education this past month in Little Rock, Arkansas, and wanted to report back to you all a little on the issues surrounding our profession from our colleagues across the country. This meeting takes place annually for chapters and associated groups of NSTA to come together, address any pressing matters, and direct the goals of NSTA for the coming year. As a fairly new member of CAST, and my first time to the National Congress, it was a bit overwhelming, to be honest! But it was a wonderful opportunity, and I enjoyed working with affiliate members from states ranging from Oregon and Washington, to Mississippi and Louisiana. It was heartening to hear of the struggles and successes that other chapters are encountering throughout the country! I learned about the practices of many other state organizations, and am very excited to bring some of those ideas back to Colorado with me, to help connect with you, our members, and all science education professionals throughout our state. The favor I need from you is for you to go GET someone, another science educator from your department or your school, and bring them to CAST! Bring them to the Colorado Science Conference in the fall, or to a Region meeting, or have them follow us on Twitter or Facebook! So many people have never even hear of CAST and what we offer, so speak out!
How often have you heard a colleague, or maybe even yourself, utter the phrase “I am just a teacher”? I know I’ve probably done exactly that before, either to a friend or to myself. It’s easy to minimize ourselves and our incredible profession because so much of what we do is behind the scenes, working late in the classroom, or endless grading at the kitchen table in our homes. I would challenge you all to change that paradigm. We are NOT “just teachers”, we have the awesome opportunity to help kids bridge the gap between “I can’t” and “I CAN!” We are the ultimate change agents, and need to harness our position to speak up and out for science education. We cannot be curmudgeonly, grumbling about low pay, about ignorance, or that our administration doesn’t get it. We have to show what “professional” looks like and teach curiosity, inside and outside the 4 walls of our classrooms!
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