January 01, 1900

Professional 'celebration' focuses on science, global awareness

There won't be a Ferris wheel, cotton candy or caramel apples, but the Celebration of Teaching and Learning, dubbed the World's Fair for Educators, will deliver two days of exciting and informative offerings. This year the national professional development conference, sponsored in part by NYSUT and its affiliate in New York City schools, the United Federation of Teachers, will focus on science and global awareness in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite, launched Oct. 4, 1957.

With a host of workshops modeling how to effectively integrate science and global issues into the classroom, this event promises to be a useful and timely professional development opportunity for educators, said Maria Neira, NYSUT vice president.

Scheduled speakers include former Vice President Al Gore, who will discuss climate change and his environmental best-seller, An Inconvenient Truth; Meet the Press anchor Tim Russert, who will host a town hall meeting; and keynote speaker Mel Levine, co-founder of All Kinds of Minds, a nonprofit institute that addresses differences in learning.

Last year at the first celebration I saw thousands of teachers gaining valuable insights into strategies they could implement, said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi. This year's theme of science and global awareness is precisely what our teachers need to help our students understand the scope of complexity of the global community.

NYSUT's Education & Learning Trust will distribute materials about its professional development services at the event. ELT instructor Kevin McIntyre, a retired teacher from Washingtonville in Orange County, will present a workshop on strategies for engaging students in scientific inquiry, a key component of state science standards.

We heard from our partners at the New York City Department of Education and NYSUT that science and social studies   particularly courses with an international focus   are priority subjects for students and teachers alike, said Ronald Thorpe, vice president at Thirteen/WNET. Public television has delivered quality programming and educational content in those two areas from the beginning. So this theme was a natural fit for the celebration.

The Celebration of Teaching & Learning takes place March 23-24 at Pier 94, The UnConvention Center, at 12th Avenue and 55th Street. For information, visit www.wliwcelebration.org.

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