LaToya Pugh knows firsthand how challenging it can be for busy teachers to find the resources they need. She previously was a classroom teacher, and now is an instructional science advisor. In her new role, Pugh is determined to provide science teachers in her district with tools to support them in effectively delivering science instruction.
Pugh: The NSTA Learning Center has become an asset to me as an instructional science advisor. I use the Learning Center to find science lesson plans for teachers in my district. In addition, I access the Learning Center to find articles for my teachers about best classroom strategies, whether that involves classroom management strategies or ways to teach content.
As a teacher you are engulfed with so much to do, you don’t have a lot of time to find resources. I use my NSTA membership and the Learning Center resources to increase my own pedagogy and to enhance the science instruction of science teachers in my district.
For example, I post questions on the NSTA community forums to get feedback. I’m trying to roll out Picture-Perfect Science Lessons with a small cohort of teachers in my district. I find it so helpful to be able to post a question to the NSTA discussion boards asking, “How is this being used in your district?” or “How successful has it been for your teachers?” Getting that feedback from other teachers has been beneficial to me in creating my implementation plan for this cohort.
In addition, the NSTA webinars are so valuable, especially the ones centered on NGSS. Our state is in the process of creating science standards based on NGSS. The webinars have allowed our teachers to see what NGSS is and how our original standards will evolve in the next couple of years. I like being able to chat with the presenters and other participants during the webinar and get ideas and links to additional resources, which has made me a better instructional science advisor. The webinars help me learn what I need to do for my teachers and what information I need to take back to my district.
How else has your NSTA membership helped you in your position?
Pugh: Literacy is essential in our district, and I create collections of articles in the Learning Center focused on literacy in science education. I never realized that the NSTA journals include literacy lessons from Picture-Perfect Science Lessons and other trade books and authors. Now when a teacher says, “I need to incorporate more literacy in my classroom,” I can go into the Learning Center and pull out ideas for that teacher. I have multiple collections of articles in the Learning Center, ranging from “writing in science” to “inquiry-based lessons.” I created a collection of articles on STEM, as well, that I can provide to principals who want to learn more about STEM.
Creating those collections and being able to access these journals and all the activities and the webinars are great. NSTA is a huge support and is there for teachers, administrators, and science educators across the world.
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Jennifer Henderson is our guest blogger for this series. Before launching her freelance career as a writer/editor, Jennifer was Managing Editor of The Science Teacher, NSTA’s peer-reviewed journal for high school science teachers.