Yes, a science teachers' conference IS the place for early childhood teachers

I’m looking forward to the NSTA Regional Conference in Portland, Oregon, in November,  a cornucopia of a conference so full of interesting presentations that each of my time slots is double (sometimes triple) booked with workshops and fieldtrips. Being over-scheduled assures me that I have an alternative session if one is canceled or looks like it will cover familiar material. Here’s a sample of where I hope to be on Thursday, Friday and Saturday….
Thursday November 20, 12:30–1:30 PM, Family Science Day Session: Starting Them Early: Science Learning in PreK and Early Elementary
Discover innovative resources and best practices designed to lay the foundation for lifelong science learning. Appropriate for educators of pre-K to early elementary school.
Presenters: Anne Gurnee (Southwest Charter School: Portland, OR); Mia Jackson (David Heil & Associates, Inc: Portland, OR)
And then from 2:00-3:00 PM I’ll be presenting a workshop session with Marie Faust Evitt (writer and teacher at Mountain View Parent Nursery School in Mountain View, CA) on
Winter Observations—Birds, Wind, and Melting
Discover hands-on, standards-based preK–2 activities that incorporate observing animal behavior, counting, exploring the nature of materials, and using children’s literature. Work through (and take home) three lessons that include making bird-shape rubbings, playing games with air, and trying to melt chocolate, beeswax, ice, and rock.
Please introduce yourself if you stop by. Mention this blog and I’ll give you extra chocolate!
Friday November 21, 8-9 AM, The Science of Children’s Literature
Browse the many learning centers that WSU preservice teachers have developed using science-themed children’s literature, and try out the hands-on activities.
Presenter: James R. Williamson of Washington State University
Saturday November 22, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM, Fight Bac! Integrating Food Safety into Your Elementary Classroom
Explore the free FDA hands-on curriculum that integrates science and health standards while teaching students about the importance of hand washing and food safety.
Presenters: Laurie A. Hayes (Center for Advanced Research and Technology: Clovis, CA); Susan E. Hartley (Navarro High School: Geronimo, TX)
As an East Coast gal I find it stimulating to visit a different geographic region, much as children’s knowledge about how the land looks expands while on a local fieldtrip. On a 15-minute bus ride across the Potomac River from Virginia to Washington, D. C. I was given an education in how important fieldtrips are, both the travel and the destination. As we crossed the bridge I said to my 5-year-old seatmate, “Look out the window Joseph”, and he said, “Cool! It’s a big swimming pool!” Thinking he would understand that it was a continuous river of water if he saw the water on the other side of the bridge I said, “Look out the other window,” and Joseph said, “There’s two of them!”
Visiting Portland will develop my thinking about how children relate to new landscape and how they incorporate new knowledge into their existing framework—about waterfalls for example. Here in Virginia at the boundary between two physiographic provinces, the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain, a waterfall is significant because it marks the Fall Zone, that boundary where the harder rocks of the Piedmont end and the sediments of the Coastal Plain begin. Few of my students have seen waterfalls. I’ve heard that the Columbia River has many waterfalls where tributaries join it, as a result of the hardness of the volcanic basalt flows, the manner in which the basalt fractures, and erosion by the Columbia River over much time. I wonder if the waterfalls are the fieldtrip destination of students from the City of Portland and what children think when they see them?
Hope to see you in Portland,

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