Mrs. Eagle and I attended our first NSTA (National Science Teacher Association) convention this past week. We had been planning this since August, but still were a bit surprised when we realized that it was this past week because things have been so busy and crazy at school. Sort of like Christmas creeping up on me (I still have pumpkins on my porch.) Mr. T is done with his student teaching so I was thrilled to be back in the classroom with my kids, but disappointed that I only had three days and then I was off again to the conference in Birmingham.
In any case, we got up way early on Thursday and drove down, registered, and started hitting the sessions we'd checked off as being of interest. We had two goals for this conference - 1) get more ideas on literacy and science and 2) get ideas on the new standards we'll be teaching in two years. The state has dramatically changed our standards so we'll be losing matter and weather and gaining genetics, rocks, minerals and some earth science, and simple machines. We'll also be looking at a new textbook beginning next year so we wanted to see what was out there currently.
The sessions were, for the most part, exactly what we needed. I can honestly say that we brought away at least one good idea (often more) from each session we attended with the exception of one that was geared a lot more towards high school teachers. Some of the vendor sponsored sessions were exactly what we needed as they highlighted products we weren't currently familiar with.
And of course all the free stuff was pretty cool too.
Mrs. Eagle won a $50 forensic lab kit. I didn't win anything but we were given copies of new textbooks, t-shirts, rock sets, cotton seeds, and more. In fact, there are about 3 huge bags in the trunk of my car with all the goodies that were given out to the folks at the conference. Of course we also shopped quite a bit (who can resist a stuffed Einstein doll?) and picked up some books on simple machines, minerals, famous scientists, and more.
We noticed that one of the trends many of the book publishers were featuring were modules, rather than textbooks. We actually liked this idea because most textbooks are geared towards a single branch of science. For example, most states consider seventh grade the year that life science is taught so there's lots of life science books geared towards this grade. However, as you probably figured out, we teach a little of this, a little of that, and finding a book that is a perfect fit is a pain. However, these modules would work out really well. Each grade level could use the books in the set that works for them. We'll have to see if this idea flies when we actually go through the textbook adoption process next year.
In any case, we arrived back home on Saturday afternoon. I have a ton of laundry to do, I haven't read blogs in a week, Christmas gifts to wrap and get ready to mail out, plus cell projects to grade.
And I can't wait to see the note from my sub!