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Our profession is filled with individuals willing to share their experiences, their time and their "trials" to assist their colleagues in improving classroom practice. It is here where we share your colleagues questions and experienced educator's responses.  We invite you to share your thoughts through your posted "Comments".

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  • 26 Jun 2018 8:06 AM | Kathaleen R. Burke

    Dear STANYS,

    Of the many retirees in NYS, how do I find those who want to participate in NYSSLS implementation by training to do PD ? I want to meet you in November! Let's start talking now. - John Cunningham

    Dear John, 

    Thank you for asking a question that is timely as well as timeless.  When I first became the Retiree DAL I made recruitment of more retirees one of my main goals.  I have managed to get SARs in almost all STANYS sections but I’m not sure if that is a result of my constant requests or changes in leadership at the Section level.  Two years ago I realized that many of our leaders in STANYS are retirees and I counted the number of Executive Board members as well as Directors and realized we are a major support group for the organization.  I also found out from a survey that we conducted during the Conference Luncheon that many retirees volunteer extensively outside of the field of science.

    So, given that context, I have two main responses to your question.  I invite comments from members and especially hope that the Retiree SARs will comment on the website.

    My first response is cautionary.  Casting a wide net is not necessarily going to bring you retirees that have the necessary knowledge and/or experience to train on NYSSLS.  I suggest we concentrate on people who “show up”. Group emails have not resulted in volunteers, but I have a list of current retirees emails that I could share with the Retiree SARs and possibly use  to contact people individually about their interests.

    My second response is the STANYS Leadership is actively involved in implementation efforts at the state level and recently shared the NYS Roadmap with us. I suggest we invite a member of the STANYS Leadership Team to present an update and opportunities for us at our Luncheon during the November Conference.  We could also make recruitment of volunteers the theme of the DAL/SAR Retiree Table in the Convention Center.

    A recurrent theme for the retirees has been “Sharing the Wealth”.  Retirees are a vast and deep resource for science education.  Finding ways to match the people to the projects is an ongoing effort and one we can continue to work on.

    Please comment on the suggestions and keep the conversation going. 


  • 06 May 2018 3:37 PM | Darlene Devendorf (Administrator)

    Dear STANYS,
    I have been told that I must begin every class with a “do - now” in the form of an “essential question”. I find this to be very time consuming, both in creating the question and collecting the papers, correcting them, grading, recording grades and returning the papers. The students do not engage in this start-up and hand in low quality responses. Can you suggest some ways to make this process more productive?

    Dear Classroom Colleague,
    It’s always good to look for better ways of doing things that consume a lot of your time and do not produce any evidence of student growth or learning.
    I’m going to tell you what has worked for me and teachers I have mentored and then I’m going to open this up to others who will add their thoughts. Please let us know what works for you so we can share your ideas with others.
    The key element in implementing new strategies is to get student buy-in. Students need to see that the “do - now” question is important and useful. It’s essential that it relate to the work for the day. It should build on student experience either in class or in their lives outside school, and foreshadow future work. For example, when I introduce my Ecology Unit’s first activity I ask students to record in their notebook a response to these questions: “How might you handle an unwanted pet, such as a turtle? What is the most humane and responsible thing to do with these animals?” These questions build on real life experience, directly relate to what we do in class that day and foreshadow our work on human impact on the environment. Once students see the connections they usually engage more thoughtfully.
    Regarding efficient use of your time and collecting evidence of student growth I suggest these responses be recorded in a place that the students will revisit so they can actually see how their understanding changes. I used a notebook where all their work was recorded. Some teachers use a separate journal that students can take home without fear of losing all their classwork. The responses were not corrected every day. They were called in on a regular basis for teacher comment. Regardless of your particular way of managing this approach it’s important to note that it works because it assesses meaningful growth and understanding, which is all any of us want to spend our time on.
    Expect some more suggestions soon and be sure to let us know how they work out.


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