2002 Archive‎ > ‎

Vol. 3, No. 34 - 16 November 2002



ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (CALIFORNIA FOCUS)

(1) Literature for Science and Mathematics Web Site

Source: Art Sussman (asussma@wested.org), California Science Education Advisory Committee (CSEAC) listserv - 14 November 2002

The California Department of Education (CDE) announces the opening of a new website, Literature for Science and Mathematics: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/scimathlit/index.html

The site's searchable database contains over 1,400 outstanding selections of literature recommended for children and adolescents related to the study of natural sciences and mathematics content.

CDE coordinated the two-year development with the assistance of many California science and mathematics teachers, library media teachers employed by public schools and public libraries, administrators, curriculum planners, and parents.

This new list updates an earlier document, Literature for Science and Mathematics:  Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, published by CDE in 1993. The new list is more comprehensive and expands reading options for all students. Many of the selected titles provide opportunities for standards-based instruction in science and mathematics. Works include fiction and nonfiction to accommodate a variety of interests and abilities. The new collection of titles also includes over 150 selections of high quality literature written in Spanish.

(2) Position Announcement:  Manager, Mathematics/ Science Leadership Office, California Department of Education

Source: Laine Smith (916-323-5851 or LAsmith@cde.ca.gov) - 12 November 2002

Duties:  Under the general direction of the Director of the Professional Development and Curriculum Support Division and the Deputy Superintendent of the Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Branch, the Education Administrator I manages the Mathematics/Science Leadership Office (MSLO). 

Responsibilities include providing leadership, managerial direction, and supervision of professional educators, analytical, and support staff for the educational programs assigned to the unit, which include: Improve America's Schools Act (IASA), Math, Science and Standards Initiatives; Recommended Literature, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve; K-12 Science Framework; District Collaborative Partnerships; the College Readiness Program (CRP); AB 1331; AB 2442; K-12 literacy; and math and science issues. Duties of the Education Administrator I also include the following:

* Directs the formulation and implementation of strategies to promote policies, programs, and priorities of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the California Department of Education (CDE) and the State Board of Education.  Consults with key CDE staff; recommends and obtains approval of major implementation strategies; proposes new initiatives, including legislation, designed to improve the programs assigned to the office.

* Oversees administrative responsibilities of the unit.  Responsibilities include the selection process of new personnel; management of the office budget; and preparation of budgetary documents, such as Budget Change Proposals, in support of the work of the unit.  Oversees contract and grant administration under the responsibility of the office; analyzes proposed legislation impacting office workload; ensures correspondence from the office meets Department standards and policies.

* Represents the MSLO in the field.  Meets with key state and national program representatives, such as district and county office of education superintendents, curriculum and program directors; makes presentations; gathers feedback and concerns; clarifies policies and procedures; promotes networking among similar programs, etc.

Desired Qualifications:  Knowledge and understanding of educational reform efforts, particularly in the area of curriculum and instruction, and a thorough understanding of the Superintendent's educational philosophy is critical in this position.  Experience working with school districts, county offices of education, colleges, universities and other education service providers would be highly beneficial.  Excellent communication abilities (both written and verbal), strong interpersonal skills, and good organizational habits are all essential.

Application Deadline: 10 December 2002

For application information, contact William W. Vasey (Director, Professional Development and Curriculum Support Division) at (916) 323-6440.

(3) Eastin Comments on Tuesday's Election of the Next State Schools Chief [Press Release]

Source: California Department of Education - 6 November 2002

URL: http://www.cde.ca.gov/news/releases2002/rel34.asp

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin today expressed satisfaction with Tuesday's election of her successor.

"I am absolutely thrilled that the voters of California have entrusted Jack O'Connell with the crucial job of State Superintendent of Public Instruction," said Eastin. "From the beginning of the campaign, Jack clearly was the best candidate for the job. As a teacher, a lawmaker, and a parent, he has demonstrated his commitment to California's children and their schools. He has played an invaluable role in the education reforms of the 1990s, helping to reduce class size, raise teacher salaries, and build more classrooms as our student population boomed.

"When I vacate this office on January 6, it will be with a happy heart and full confidence in my successor. I wish Jack all the best in his challenging new role. I stand ready to assist him in the transition to this important constitutional position."


ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (NATIONAL FOCUS)

(1) Results of NCTM Elections

Source: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)

URL: http://nctm.org/about/elections/index.htm

NCTM has elected Cathy L. Seeley of Cedar Park, Texas [http://nctm.org/about/elections/nomin-seeley.htm], president-elect for 2003-2004. Seeley will serve as NCTM president in 2004-2006.

NCTM has elected the following individuals to serve a 3-year term on the NCTM Board of Directors. Their term of service (2003 -2006) will begin at the end of the 81st Annual Meeting in April 2003.

Cynthia G. Bryant -- Salem, Missouri

M. Kathleen Heid -- State College, Pennsylvania

Mari Muri -- Cromwell, Connecticut

Anthony A. Scott -- Elmwood Park, Illinois

(2) Toyota TIME Grants Available

Source: NCTM Legislative Update - 11 November 2002

In 2003, Toyota's Investment in Mathematics Excellence (TIME) program will fund as many as 35 projects with grants worth up to $10,000 each. U.S. teachers of mathematics in grades K-12 who have ideas for innovative projects to help their students learn, are invited to apply.

Toyota TIME funding is designed to support projects that are run in individual classrooms rather than district wide. The grants are available for elementary, middle, and high school levels. In addition to funding, grant winners will be invited to an expense-paid, 3-day workshop that will be hosted during the summer following their first year as project director.

To apply for funding, qualified teachers must submit a Toyota TIME proposal that meets the requirements and guidelines described at http://nctm.org/about/toyota/brochure.asp. The deadline for the receipt of proposals is January 8, 2003.

(3) "All-USA Academic and Teacher Teams"

Source:  USA TODAY - 4 November 2002

URL: http://www.usatoday.com/html/life/academic/intro.htm

Four times a year, USA TODAY honors outstanding students and educators with the All-USA Academic and Teacher Teams. The 20 students and educators selected for the All-USA First Teams are featured in the nation's newspaper. The students--high school, two-year college and four-year college--each receive $2,500 cash awards. Starting in 2003, each All-USA Teacher First Team member will receive $500, with the balance of the $2,500 award going to the school. In each All-USA program, 40 more runners-up are named to the Second and Third Teams. They are named in the paper and receive certificates of achievement.

The All-USA Teacher Team is open to active, full-time, certified teachers and instructional teams teaching kindergarten to 12th grade at a public or private school in the USA or its territories, or Department of Defense schools overseas. Teachers must be nominated by someone willing to put in writing why the nominee is outstanding. Nomination forms for the 2003 All-USA Teacher Team will be available in January 2003. For coverage of the 2002 winners and to receive a nomination for the 2003 team when they are available, go to http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2002-10-16-more-info-request-3.htm

[Secondary mathematics teachers who won awards in 2002: http://www.usatoday.com/news/2002-10-16-allstar-first-team.htm]

Sister Alice Hess, HCM

Archbishop Ryan High, Philadelphia

Believes in hard work: "The most well-kept secret in America is that kids want to learn. My job is to trick them into working so they can learn." Over her career, her students' AP calculus passing rate is 99.9%, with around 90% scoring 5 out of 5. Creates multidisciplinary problem-solving projects; calculus teams have designed a container to transport a human heart for transplantation and a "hoagie hugger" to get a sandwich home without getting soggy. Coached Mathletes to nine straight Philadelphia Archdiocesan and Catholic-Public School championships. "I try to see through the eyes of Christ. He never gives up on us. I never give up on them." "Her students not only do well in math, they also tend to excel in life," says nominator McCormack. "I make it eminently clear to them that (my) classroom is a room for champions, that I will be content with nothing but their best and that I am ready to go to great lengths to help them learn."

Gary Piercey

Westbury Christian School, Houston

Tirelessly finds ways to help students succeed in math and life: "You can make an excuse and give up, or you can persevere. I pound it in: In anything you do, be the best you can." Created a 150-video lesson library for students, parents and fellow teachers. Won a $10,000 Toyota Time grant for an 18-lesson unit asking students to analyze possible effects of smoking. Turns math into community service projects at a private school with many students from low-income families: Students produced Math Safety Fairs and Math Candyland for younger students, painted a house for a needy family, did projects for a women's shelter, a children's hospital and the elderly. Started student-run peer tutoring. encourages pre-tests, re-tests and one-on-one help. Dresses up for skits and adapts popular tunes into math songs. "It builds rapport and allows students to understand how badly I want them to learn." Has students play Math Twister, the Math Dating Game, Dessert Pizza. Started an AP calculus program; has led academic teams to 86 first, second and third place finishes in the past two years; standardized test scores have improved steadily, up as much as six grade levels in one year. Opens every class with a prayer focused on specific students. "I am here on a mission." Says nominator Woodward: "Every child ought to be blessed by a teacher like him at least once in their lifetime."

(4) Leonid Observing Tips

Source: NASA - 14 November 2002

URL:  http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/14nov_leonidtips.htm (also see http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/10may_leonids-2002.htm)

The 2002 Leonid meteor storm peaks on Tuesday, Nov. 19th. But should you go outside on Tuesday morning? Or Tuesday night?

"That's the question I get asked most often," says Bill Cooke, a meteor forecaster at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

"The answer is Tuesday morning. No matter where you live, the hours between 11:00 p.m. on Monday and dawn on Tuesday are going to be the best for spotting Leonids."

Europeans and North Americans are favored this year. "We expect a flurry of meteors over Europe peaking at 04:00 UT followed by another flurry over North America around 10:30 UT (2:30 a.m. PST or 5:30 a.m. EST)," says Cooke. Sky watchers could see hundreds to thousands of meteors per hour.

"Try to get away from city lights," he suggests. "The darker the sky, the more meteors you'll see."

Unfortunately, there's one bright light we can't get away from this year: the Moon, which is full on Nov. 19th. Nevertheless, notes Cooke, "if there are lots of bright Leonids (as there were in 2001) we should still get a good show." High-altitude observing sites with clean, dry air suffer least from lunar glare. Cooke himself plans to watch the Leonids from a mountaintop in Arizona...

"There's no special direction you have to face," says Cooke. Leonids can appear anywhere in the sky. "But don't look toward the Moon," he cautions. "That will ruin your night vision."

When you see a Leonid, trace its tail backward. It will lead to the constellation Leo the Lion. "Leonid meteors stream out of a point in Leo called the radiant," he explains. "This year the radiant is easy to find because it's near the bright planet Jupiter." Because of foreshortening, meteors near the radiant appear short and stubby. Meteors away from the radiant are longer and more eye-catching.

Leo rises at approximately 11:00 p.m. local time on Monday, Nov. 18th. You can see Leonids anytime between then and dawn on Tuesday, but the strongest outbursts should occur on Tuesday morning...

"And finally," says Cooke, "don't forget to look for earthgrazers." Earthgrazers are disintegrating meteoroids that fly over the horizon nearly parallel to the atmosphere. They produce remarkably long and colorful tails. Leonid earthgrazers will appear mostly during the hour between 11:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18th, and midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 19th, when Leo is still low in the sky. "You might not see many earthgrazers because they're rare," says Cooke. " But they are beautiful, so it's worth a try!"

Just don't forget: Monday night and Tuesday morning. Those are the times to watch. "You'll never see anything if you go out on the wrong day," deadpans Cooke...



COMET is sponsored in part by a grant from the California Mathematics Project.


COMET is produced by:

    Carol Fry Bohlin, Ph.D.
    Professor, Mathematics Education
    California State University, Fresno
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