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What are NESTA members working on?

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  • 28 Feb 2024 5:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are you presenting at NSTA Denver Convention in March?
        Let us help you get the word out!

          SHARE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR NSTA ACTIVITY!

        Deadline for inclusion on webpage is Friday, March 15th.

  • 15 Feb 2024 7:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you to all our membership support… in our shortest, but busiest month! A few notes with perhaps an inspirational message to share. 

    February is here and that means it is a full-throttle effort for our team to provide the outreach and support to which we have all dedicated energy and our hours.  I truly hope to see/meet some of you at NSTA, Denver. Our organization will be hosting our Friends of Earth Science Reception to celebrate all the hard work (100% volunteer) completed by our educator members and affiliates and pa. 

    In the age of “Teachers pay Teachers”, our organization bucks against the tide to simply ask, how can we help? What does your classroom need? I’m so proud of our efforts to maintain and uplift the collegial sentiment of sharing and community among educators. 

    To that end, I’m happy to say, please stay tuned to your INBOX as February and March will bring forth several opportunities to learn, participate and collaborate. A perfect time to bring authentic scientific investigation to a classroom near you!  Need a jumpstart?  Our Curious Cloudy Connections project will be up and running again this April,  Hope you will join us!

    Thank you for your shared commitment to excellence in space and Earth science education.  Together we affect change not only in individual classrooms but throughout the entire community.

    Natalie Macke

    President, NESTA


  • 19 Jan 2024 5:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Reflection and Celebrations!

    2024: It's time to exhale. But wow, what a year it has been. The number of volunteer hours from our NESTA team, the impactful workshops, outreach efforts, and collaborative engagements are truly inspiring. Educators from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and geographic regions, all work together, volunteering their time to sustain the goals of our community.  

    As many of you know, I’m not new to NESTA, but I am new to the leadership team. Why did I jump on board? Simple, I truly enjoy collaborating and learning new things and I believe in the goals of our organization. Through a bit of a learning curve, I always felt supported by the team and happily made new friends along the way.  

    I'd like to take this opportunity to thank one of my new friends, Parker Pennington (our NESTA Treasurer) for all his dedication and hard work to make sure that our finances are back on solid ground. NESTA was thrown some curveballs with unexpected challenges, but thanks to Parker and his willingness to stick it out through financial batting practice, he hit it out of the park. Thank you, Parker, for your willingness to sift through boxes and work countless hours to get it done. Now NESTA is ready to move forward with confidence.  

    With great appreciation for my NESTA family,

    Natalie Macke

    NESTA President

    Community: Roots that anchor, branches that support.

  • 30 Dec 2023 9:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Big Holiday Wishes during the month of December.  This is the month when we all have an opportunity to finalize obligations  (or perhaps start to do so...)  from our first semester.  I'm excited about the work we've accomplished this past month..  Some things to look for!

    1.  Some new images on our homepage including our first announcement about NSTA, Denver (lots more about thant will be coming these next months)
    2. Updates and new formatting of our Leadership and Community pages and daughter pages.  I think it will be easier to navigate to find and acknowledge our team!  -Please let us know if you catch a typo or mistakes please :)
    3. MUCH time... has been spent archiving previous NESTA PD events.  I'll be sending an email blast to share that soon!  Lots of great nuggets to use in your classroom there.  
    4. MUCH time... has been spent ensuring that NESTA is ready for the future by ensuring our finances are in order :).   It's been quite a learning curve, I'm proud of what we've accomplished.

    So what's next!!!  We NEED your HELP.  Our outreach is expanding and some great opportunities are planned, but we are all volunteering our time and like you have our own obligations with family and teaching.  Please contact me (nmacke12@gmail.com).  Like you, my obligations at school have increased these past years so we all need to find new and creative ways to pitch in to achieve our community goals. 

    LOOKING FORWARD TO AN EXCITING YEAR AHEAD! 

    Your NESTA President,
    Natalie Macke

  • 15 Nov 2023 6:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Teachers, much like anyone else, revel in the comfort and stability of established relationships, be it with colleagues, students, or the educational community at large. These connections form the bedrock of support, collaboration, and shared experiences that enrich both personal and professional lives.  I always begin to exhale a bit during the month of November, as classroom routines have now been established, and relationships with my students have a bit of a history on which we can build.  So does that mean we coast to the end of the year?   Well, of course not.

    Teachers, driven by a passion for lifelong learning and growth, often seek fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and diverse networks that can invigorate their teaching methods and broaden their horizons. To that end, I'm super-excited that NESTA was asked to host a coffee hour by our new friends at the American Association of Physics Teachers, AAPT.  I cherish the enthusiasm of our NESTA community to immediately volunteer to help, support, share and collaborate with new friends.  Many physical science teachers are now being called upon to cover the Earth and space science curriculum standards at their schools.  So on November 27th, I invite you all to join in on the conversation to help our collegues with their newfound challenge.  (Sign-up Here).   The event is free and open to the public.  We anticipate this to be just the first chat that opens doors to a much longer conversation.  

    Make time to care for your professional journey.  Embrace a balance between nurturing those respected, longstanding relationships while propagating new connections that bring with them both excitement and inspiration.  I hope you'll join us :)

    Natalie Macke
    NESTA President

  • 15 Sep 2023 7:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Merriam-Webster dictionary defines vocation as a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action.  Tom Ervin embodied education as a vocation.  His passion and personal contributions to a community will have impacts far-beyond the years he spent physically among those with whom he connected. 

    Teaching is not merely a profession; it's a vocation that shapes the future. We are architects of knowledge,  mentors, and the catalysts for change in society. Participating in professional organizations, such as NESTA and the Boy Scouts, Tom Ervin understood the impact that community can have on empowering others and fostering excellence in education. 

    I hope to lead our organization with the same dedication as Tom and will always remember him for his good humor, support and most of all those times when he would make the effort to remind us that each of our contributions (regardless of size) is what brings us together as a community.  It is this community that will motivate, rejuvenate and remind us all that we are not alone on our journey.

    I will miss my NESTA friend, but will carry his spirit onward in my actions.  NESTA will be remembering Tom Ervin in our upcoming Fall issue of The Earth Scientist.  If you have any memories you would like to have included, please share them with our editor Peg Steffen (nestaearthscientist@gmail.com) or simply send along to me and I will be happy to share.

    While we look back at a life well-served, I too look forward to a new school year with new opportunities.  If you would like to be more involved with the goals of NESTA (large or small), please reach out.  

    Feeling at peace and looking forward.

    Natalie Macke
    NESTA President
    nmacke12@gmail.com


  • 15 Aug 2023 10:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    August is here and some are already back in the classroom or perhaps like me you are preparing activities to engage students that foster a sense of excitement and inquiry for your classes.  We each have the unique opportunity and challenge to set clear expectations and goals these first days.  But more importantly, we need to establish a sense of community in our classroom by developing connections and facilitating collaborations among a large number of diverse learners. 

    To efficiently learn about my students, I use a "Get to Know Me.." questionnaire as one of my first assignments.  I have learned to include three short open-ended questions.  The first simply is an optional question that allows students to share with me whatever they think I should know. It always amazes me, what they choose to share when provided a blank script.  The second, the students share a question that they would they like to have answered as a result of taking my class.  This sets the tone, that each learner arrives with their own understandings that I intend to acknowledge.  Lastly, and more specific to our discipline, prompts students to share any personal connection or sensitivity to a Natural Disaster or event.  The recent devastating and fatal fires in Hawaii certainly prompt a teachable moment about Earth systems, but I also need to prepare for the human connections and the emotional toll that these events incur.  While the beginning of the school year provides a unique opportunity to establish expectations and elicit excitement, I must also prepare for engaging the social-emotional needs of my students.  

    Earth systems learning always includes direct or indirect conversations about impacts to families and communities.  Fire, flood, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes are all abrupt and devastating.  Many of our students are anticipating more of these events will occur as a result of Earth's warming climate.  I'm reminded about that from a number of my student's questions gathered from my "Get to Know Me.." form.  

    Some actions I will use to better understand the social/emotional connections of my students:

    1. Look to the professional resources available to me, such as the guidance department or child-study team.  Ask about my student roster and find out what services are available to support students emotional reactions to your classroom topics and discussions. 

    2. Reach out to parents ahead of time to share the topics I will be tackling in class and encourage them to ask their child at home about their reaction to the class topic and discussion. 

    3. Use formative assessment methods such as exit tickets and journals to not simply prompt for information, but instead inquire about personal reactions and/or affective empathy.  These can be used to engage students with important metacognitive tools.  

    While I truly look forward to the beginning of each year my heart hurts for the Hawaiian community. If you are interested in continuing this discussion, please reach out.  I'm happy to help you connect.   I wish you each of you the best start of new school year!   

    Onward to 2023-2024!
    Natalie Macke
    NESTA President
    nmacke12@gmail.com




  • 15 Jul 2023 9:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Summer happenings are here.  It's time for lots of personal distractions peppered with well-intentioned work.  I hope everyone has use this relatively quiet month to reflect and restore.  In that spirit, this will be a short message to quickly share a few NESTA happenings to share. 

    1) Kudos to Peg Steffen for a full-throttle effort working on Spring and Summer editions of The Earth Scientist.   Both are NOAA-sponsored issues that will be coming to members mailboxes in the upcoming months.  

    2) I sat in at this year's National Congress on Science Education.  This yearly event brings science education organizations together in working groups to make recommendations to NSTA that provide a focus of needs that have been identified by those of us "on the front-lines" (so to speak).  The overall arching theme of the resolutions identified key needs addressing diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom.  The resolutions specifically acknowledged the following needs: (NOTE: all of the below stated are my wording/language and not the official language of the resolutions, but simply reflective of some of the ideas and focus statements)

    - Guidance with Implementation of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) in the science classroom that includes equitable grading practices.. 

    - Develop a clear and all-encompassing definition of DEI to foster "science education for all" and exemplars that showcase research based DEI strategies that equip all science teachers to support each student.

    - Professional development and assets to address the topic of neurodivergent learners and for groups such as NESTA to share information and PD opportunities about this topic.

    - Specific supports for groups like NESTA to build and support the professional community. 

    - Language, training and tools to support state associations and continued work on advocacy for hiring practices to ensure a diverse science teaching workforce.

    - Policy to address the critical need for all elementary students to have equitable access to high-quality science learning experiences in grades preK-5.

    N. Macke
    President (2022-2024)


  • 15 Jun 2023 8:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The end of another school year is finally upon us.  These past weeks have been a flurry of final assessments, student support, senior goodbyes and of course, classroom organization.    But, I'm so happy to finally be granted the mental freedom to look ahead to next year, both in terms of NESTA ongoings and continuing my professional growth.  To that end, I'll briefly share some of my summer goals with all of you and encourage each of you to reach out to continue the conversation, work collaboratively or simply cheer me on :). 

    1) My professional read this summer is Ambitious Science Teaching by Mark Windschitl, Jessica Thompson, and Melissa Braaten.  

    2) My NESTA collaboration goal is to reach to other organizations to discover how professional educational organizations can best support each other and our communities.

    3) My NESTA improvement goal is to lead a working/reframing of the Windows to the Universe website.  It's time for a visual refresh and to review and improve the content as well as its' accessibility as a resource in today's classrooms.

    4) My classroom preparation goal is to perform a complete overhaul of my Chemistry classroom curriculum.  With the support of my supervisor, I will be taking the ideas (perhaps framework) from OpenSciEd chemistry curriculum but putting my ESS expertise spin on it.  As I rummage through ideas I'll happily share out in our Facebook PLC which is collaborative space only for our members.  So, I'm happy to journal my ideas and experiences there for all of you to share your thoughts.  

    There is certainly more..  but those are my BIG FOUR goals.    Hope you all have a productive, restful and re-invigorating summer filled with family, friends, time to explore and grow. 

    Wishing you all the best!

    Natalie Macke
    NESTA President (2022-2024)

  • 15 May 2023 6:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    May flowers surely follow April showers...   This is undoubtedly a universal sign for teachers to start thinking about how the lessons learned from the past can be best used to forge a bright and productive future for their classrooms.    So, if you are like me, you find it particularly difficult to wrap up the learning from this past year in your classroom as you start to be consumed by imagining the possibility of a better classroom for next year's students.  So while reality begs to keep me grounded, this Blog entry I will indulge my sensibilities to follow the fancy of my imagination to paint a future.

    How should I focus efforts of NESTA to effect change in both my classroom as well as other classrooms to support ESS education?

    This past year I've learned that volunteer work at NESTA is not too much different than what I've learned to anticipate from my own classroom in terms of ups and downs.  But regardless of the peaks and troughs, we can count on a do-over.  So this is what NESTA summer projects look like :

    1. Window to Universe is due for an overhaul of sorts.  Time for a visual refresh and content - update.  Members are encouraged to share their insights with our team.
    2. Our NESTA website needs a bit of  refining of sorts to better address specific audiences.  This summer we will be focusing on sharing information to help student-teachers and new teachers effectively implement 3-D Learning in their classrooms.  
    3. Just when you think you have teaching down to "science"of sorts...  looks like we have to "think again".  So my Chemistry classroom is getting a makeover of sort to incorporate more ideas presented in "OpenSciEd".  Time to consider how storylines can best be used in a manner to support student investigation and learning.  Access our Facebook PLC if you want to join in on the journey.
    4. My colleague Missy Holzer and I (Natalie Macke) will  be working on a storyline for NJ/NY educators to  use NJ's unique mining history to engage students in authentic investigations about Earth's natural resources.    We'll share our work at the GeoSTEM Academy , August 15, 2023 during a NESTA co-sponsored workshop at Sterling Hill Mining Museum.    I hope you will join us!

    Thank you all for embracing my imaginations for tomorrow's classroom!  

    BEST WISHES AND PLANS,

    Natalie Macke

    President of NESTA



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