Friday, December 18, 2009

Vote for YOUR choice!

The Human Spark Digital Photography Contest has closed and the judges have made their decisions. Now we need YOU to vote! Please take a look and choose your favorite.

The top choice will be awarded at the Red Carpet Premiere Party for THE HUMAN SPARK at Arizona Science Center on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm. Admission to Arizona Science Center is free for this event (ages 12 and up only please). For location and parking details click here.

We will announce the winners of "What's Your Spark Arizona" Digital Photography Contest. You will get to see the winning photographs in addition to the top ten from each category. Plus Jared Lipworth, Thirteen/WNET's Director of Science Programs will show clips from the series and offer a behind the scenes look at the show.

Please pre-register for The Human Spark Red Carpet Premiere Party. By pre-registering, you are eligible to be in a drawing for special items from Eight Educational Outreach including DVDs, complimentary passes to Arizona Science Center, and other gifts from Eight - Arizona PBS. To pre-register click here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How are you celebrating Inclusive Schools Week?

December 7 through December 12 marks the 8th annual National Inclusive Schools Week celebration. How are you celebrating?

Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network (ISN) at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), which is held each year during the first week in December. Since its inception in 2001, Inclusive Schools Week has celebrated the progress that schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population, including students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preference and other factors. The Week also provides an important opportunity for educators, students and parents to discuss what else needs to be done in order to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children.

This issue is near and dear to my heart for several reasons:
  • My teaching background is in special education. I taught for 10 years as a high school special education inclusion teacher and proudly spearheaded work at the secondary level in team teaching and supporting regular education teachers who were willing to open their classrooms to all types of learners. As a new teacher I learned quickly that being able to work with any kind of student is a gift and a talent, not just a label related to certification. Many many teachers provide incredible inclusionary clasrooms without ever being asked. They are a blessing each and every day to their students!

  • I married a special education teacher. He has a wonderful sense of humor and never lets students quit on themselves. He sees parents for who they are and goes out of his way to communicate with them and help them help their student see their disability as an opportunity rather than any sort of roadblock. Plus he was a wonderful partner in 2 national special education grants we were able to bring to our school - thank you Beacons of Excellence and R.I.S.E.R.!

  • I am a parent of a son with a learning disability. A wonderful young man of 14, he was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia in 1st grade much to the chagrin of his teachers. His father, my husband, and I both advocated for his testing and placement despite the fact that the teachers said they NEVER place a 1st grader in special education for reading difficulties. I tried so hard to not be "one of those parents" but in the end - it was the best decision for him and for our family. He now is in a full inclusionary schedule as an 8th grader making honor roll grades. Yes, sometimes it IS important to place first graders in a program with an IEP!

So you can choose to celebrate quietly and just hug a student you struggle to teach or offer to stay after and tutor them, or better yet, help them to help themselves as they apply for colleges.

You can choose to do a little learning and develop disability awareness yourself. Have you seen the kinds of resources each of the following has to offer?

Or... consider celebrating in a big way. Find out what is happening with Inclusive Schools Week 2009 and get involved!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Science DOES Matter!

NSTA: SCIENCE MATTERS: A successful Saturday, December 5 event in downtown Phoenix! Thank you NSTA for inviting Eight Educational Outreach: ASSET to be a part of this incredible day. Over 600 parents, children, teachers, students, and just general science lovers gathered for a science pep-rally-of-sorts. Bill Nye the Science Guy shared his thoughts, along with NSTA Executive Director, Francis Eberle, and Eight General Manager, Kelly McCullough.

Ruff Ruffman from FETCH!
and Sid the Science Kid greeted children of all ages. Hands on activities were available for all to take their hand at science experimentation. Pop Fly was a huge hit from WGBH Design Squad. Thank you so much to Boeing Employees of Arizona for their help with Sid the Science Kid's Super Fab Lab and Eight volunteers for their help with showcasing high tech and low tech ways to explore wind with Curious George, Adaptive Curriculum Activity Objects, and Masters of Disaster! FETCH! volunteers helped us with a motion picture activity with low tech tools like rubber bands.

Colleagues from AzTEA showed digital microscopes and IDEAL highlighted the online course from Central Arizona Project. Club ASU and ASU's Ask a Biologist also found ways to engage scientists of all ages.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Very Busy Afternoon!

There is a LOT to do to get ready for Science Matters tomorrow! Are you coming?

Find out more and make plans to bring everyone with you!
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