Dillo Press

Online Volume 4
January, 2007

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.

Another CAST has come and gone! Our strand was very successful. Most of the workshops were packed and one even had to
move outside so they wouldn’t have to turn anyone away. Wichita Falls was great. The people were friendly and really wanted to help in every way they could. Everything was well-planned and organized. It was fun, as well as educational. To all of our TCES members who helped with the booth, presented, or helped with the luncheon a GREAT BIG THANKS. Working together we certainly get things done.

Our luncheon speaker was terrific. Russell Graves is a wonderful photographer and teacher. We need more like him. He definitely motivates and carries the learning to a higher level for his students. Visit his website and find out more about what he does and look at the beautiful photographs there.

We also presented some awards at our luncheon. It is an honor to be selected to receive a TCES award, so start thinking of someone you can nominate for next year’s awards. Please read the article in the Dillo about our awardees this year.

Now we need to turn to the Symposium. Our Symposium is coming up in January. This will be our 10th Annual Symposium. Please read the article in the Dillo and visit our website. The theme for this weekend is Science, Literacy and Language.

As President, I would like to welcome two new officers who were elected at our luncheon meeting. Roberta Marshall, a 5th grade science and math teacher for Fort Worth ISD, will be our new Vice President and Patty McLelland, a District Instructional Specialist for Science in Round Rock, will be our new Executive Secretary. Both will take office on June 1, 2007.
TCES is working to improve science in Texas. We need you. Please join us.





Patsy Magee, Beaumont Independent School District Science Supervisor

Patsy started working with elementary teachers the day she took the job as supervisor. Having been a high school science teacher she realized the importance of science education beginning at Kindergarten. Under her leadership the district received a grant from the National Science Foundation to implement inquiry in all the classrooms. Teachers were trained at the Exploratorium and brought back to train all the science teachers in our district. Hundreds of teachers received this training and we began to see a difference in the way science was being taught from Kindergarten through twelveth grade. Patsy is always available to the teachers. Very seldom will you find Patsy in her office. She is always on a campus visiting classes. Teachers know that if they need help Patsy is there to help. Our district is very lucky to have a supervisor who cares so much about elementary science.

Chris Castillo-Comer, Director of Science, Texas Education Agency

Chris was formerly with the Urban Systemic Initiative in San Antonio. She taught in the San Antonio ISD as a middle school science teacher prior to assuming the position of Director of Science for the TEA.

Chris has been a strong supporter of elementary science teachers. She is also a great friend to TCES, giving freely of her time to address our group at CAST and at our annual Science Leadership Symposiums. Our membership benefits from the information she shares each time she addresses our group.

D'Ann Douglas, formerly a teacher in the Beaumont Independent School District, now a trainer for the JASON Project sponsored by the National Geographics Society.

D'Ann has served for two years as President of TCES, and as such has led the Board
through the strategic planning effort. Under her direction, the Board has
reviewed and revised the TCES By-laws in an effort to streamline and clarify
the document that directs the organization's procedures. Prior to serving as President, she held the positions of Area Director for Areas 4 and 5, and the position of Executive Secretary. As such, she maintained the membership records.

Marsha Tharp, Crockett Elementary, San Angelo, Texas

Marsha is a 5th grade teacher who has over 25 years of classroom experience. She has taught in San Angelo since 1996. She has been instrumental in developing science curriculum for the district. She is an active ITM for the ESC XV Regional Collaborative (of the TRC) and has done numerous conference presentations including “What’s in Your Genes?” at the 12th annual meeting of the TRC this past summer and at CAST 2006 in Wichita Falls. She is the Co-Director for Areas 18 and 19.

Marsha was also fortunate enough to be the recipient of the Carl and Dorothy Lohman Award. The winner of this award is determined by a drawing held at the TCES Luncheon which occurs at each CAST.

DILLO (Development In Leadership and Learning Opportunity) AWARDS
Four persons in attendance at the annual luncheon are always given cash, plus membership. This money is intended to be used for travel to science conferences or to buy materials or resources. These winners were determined by drawing.

The winners at the 2006 CAST in Wichita Falls were: Pam Maloney, Roxanne Minix-Williams, Gayle Evertson, Jennifer Wright

CAST (Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching) is always a wonderful time for elementary science teachers to get together. This year was no exception. TCES was a visible presence at CAST. Our booth in the exhibit hall was staffed throughout the conference, thanks to many of our members who volunteered their time to tell participants about our organization. Attendees stopped by to hear about TCES, join the organization, purchase their TCES t-shirt or pen, and get their copy of HATs (Hands Across Texas). This year, HATs was not sold as a hard copy, but was a CD filled with 5-E lessons, correlated with the TEKS, and focused on the inquiry approach to science instruction. Thanks to all of you who joined or renewed your membership.

TCES sponsored two all-day science strands for elementary teachers, ten workshop sessions in all. Earth science was the focus for these workshops. Unfortunately, some of the sessions filled and people were turned away.

The TCES luncheon was a tremendous success with 120 people in attendance. Great food, wonderful networking with friends both old and new, and a plethora of door prizes. The guest speaker was Russell Graves.

Russell and his family live a lifestyle that keeps rural traditions close. By trade, he teachs agricultural science at a small high school where he's won numerous awards for his teaching including being named Texas Agriscience Teacher of the Year in 2001, 2003, and 2006 – a feat never achieved by anyone else. For him, it is an honor to help young people find a sense of purpose and see them achieve their goals and, along the way, help them earn thousands in scholarship dollars because of their affiliation with his agricultural science program. However, in addition to teaching, he is an incredible wildlife photographer. Visit his website http://www.russellgraves.com/gallery.html to see some of his beautiful images.

Russell left the group with these questions: Can you remember the movies that won Academy Awards for the last 5 years? Can you remember the songs that were number one during the last 5 years? Can you remember one or two or more teachers in your life that made a difference for you? That's why he teaches. He can make a difference. All teachers can.


The TCES Luncheon has long been known for its opportunity for teacher visiting and sharing, its wonderful speakers, its acknowledgement of teachers and administrators with its awards, and its terrific door prizes. Those door prizes would not be possible without the generosity of the companies that provide them. TCES thanks:

Dinah-Might Adventures, LP
Sleek Software/Incredible Tutor
Musically Aligned
Carolina Biological Supply Company
SALT Productions, Inc.
Arbor Scientific
Texas State Aquarium
McNan Biologicals
Bill Nye, The Science Guy - Disney
Dante Press
Dana Center - University of Texas
Texas A&M Floating Classroom Program
ETA / Cuisenaire
Supporting Science
SJB Productions
Ward's Natural Science
Science Kit & Boreal Laboratories
SK Elementary
Howell Furniture
Clee & Associates


The membership voted at CAST for the new Vice President and Executive Secretary. These officers will assume their duties as of June 1, 2007.

Vice President
Roberta Marshall is a 5th grade science and math teacher for Fort Worth ISD where she has taught for more than 15 years. She is trained in ELL and Gifted education. As a FWISD Digital Classroom teacher, she models the use of technology in her curricular areas. Her hobbies are hiking and geocaching, camping, dog agility, and reading. Roberta has also presented sessions at CAST and has been the editor of Hands Across Texas. She was given the Rebecca Sparks Award in 1999.

Executive Secretary
Patty McLelland has been a member of TCES for the past five years. She is a District Instructional Specialist for Science in Round Rock, Texas. She has just completed her 20th year in education and has taught various grade levels at the elementary level. Before accepting this district level position, she was teaching first grade and loving every minute of it! She became a Science Facilitator five years ago after her mentor, Dr. Barbara ten Brink, introduced her to the world of science. She
works with teachers from Kindergarten to the 12th grade level, but her primary focus is elementary science. This past year she became a part of the Texas Regional Collaborative System. She served as an Instructional Team Member for the ACC Regional Collaborative. She will be serving as an ITM as well as a Co-Project Director for the 06-07 school year

This is a message that was sent by Shirley Neeley Commissioner of Education for forwarded from Chris Comer at TEA

I am writing to inform you of some recent events that merit your immediate attention. Our nation and the education community have experienced yet another series of tragedies. On Wednesday, September 27, in Bailey, Colorado, a man held several female students hostage at gunpoint and killed one girl before killing himself. On Friday, September 29, near Madison, Wisconsin, a principal was shot to death at school by a student. Today (Oct. 27), in Paradise, Pennsylvania, a man, targeting female students, apparently entered a school and shot three students to death before killing himself. According to reports, at least seven other students were wounded in the attack.

As the similarities between the incidents in Bailey, Colorado and Paradise, Pennsylvania demonstrate, acts of violence such as these have the potential to induce others to commit similar acts. We must never let our guard down when it comes to the safety of our students and we must be particularly vigilant during the times surrounding such incidents, when the potential for copycat acts is at its highest.

It is very important that all of you take the time to remind your school principals about the need to take potential threats to student safety seriously. I urge you to review your school district’s security procedures and to encourage your faculty and students to immediately report any possible threats or suspicious behavior. Since these most recent incidents involved perpetrators entering campuses with weapons, you may wish to consider additional steps to ensure that weapons and unauthorized individuals are not entering your campuses.

The Texas School Safety Center may be able to assist you in your violence prevention and security efforts. The Center’s website is http://www.txssc.txstate.edu/txssc.htm. Additionally, Governor Perry has authorized me to inform you that in the event of an imminent threat to any of your campuses, he will provide any necessary state law enforcement resources to assist local law enforcement with ensuring the safety of your students and faculty.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.
Shirley Neeley, Commissioner of Education

from Carol Lutsinger

The Rio Grande Valley Science Association’s Nineteenth Annual Mini CAST will be held on February 3, 2007 at Pharr-San Juan- Alamo High School. Make your plans now to attend this outstanding event. The RGVSA is noted for its outstanding, nationally recognized speakers and this year’s guest will be astronomer Dr. Frank Summers.

In case you didn’t know, your volunteer TCES Region One and Two director is also a Solar System Educator. I am available for public presentations about the Stardust mission to retrieve pristine comet samples. I may be contacted via email at carolutsinger@att.net or telephoned at 956-459-5713. I have been presenting professional development for a variety of venues including Region One Service Center, Brownsville, McAllen, and Edinburg ISDs, as well as several charter schools. The public events include International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen, the Amazing Skies event at the Brownsville Children’s Museum, and special events at the Brownsville Public Library and Los Fresnos ISD elementary schools. Of course, since I am in a classroom during the day, these would need to be in the evening and within a driving distance!

If you are interested in learning about putting more SPACE into your science curriculum and integrating across the curriculum, we need to talk!

Begin a Celebration of International Polar Year with your students!
NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science offers the Arctic and Antarctic Activity Book in their ongoing series of regional children's activity books. The series' goal is to begin the process of forming an environmentally aware citizen population, and encourage future careers in marine sciences.

This activity book, produced for the International Polar Year of 2007-2008, is for K-5th graders. The 25-page book is filled with information about both poles, along with facts, drawings, mazes, find-a-word puzzles, connect-the-dots, and other activities about organisms and life in the coldest areas of the world.
To download the activity book and to learn more about the series, go to their website at: http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/education/welcome.html#kids
NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
1305 East West Highway, Rm 8110
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (301) 713-3020
Fax: (301) 713-4353
Email: nccos.webmaster@noaa.gov

Marilyn Cook

If you can’t get to Antarctica with your students this site is worth a look. My students are having fun and learning also!
Go to http://www.utmsi.utexas.edu/staff/fuiman/TeamFuiman/Kiersten%20(Bird%20Island%20Trip)/antarctica%20adventure.htm
and follow Kiersten Madden, a doctoral student at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute who is studying foraging behavior of fur seals. She has a page of questions and answers as well as journal entries about her research on Bird Island, South Georgia.


The Armada Project is seeking Master Teachers for ocean, environmental, and polar research.
The ARMADA Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides K-12 teachers an opportunity to actively participate in ocean, polar, and environmental science research and peer mentoring. Master Teachers develop ways to bring the fruits of their research experiences, including scientific data, methodologies, and technology into their classrooms. They share their experience by mentoring new teachers in their school district and by presenting their results at National Science Teachers Association National Conventions.
The ARMADA Project 2007/2008 application is now available at
Teachers applying to join the ARMADA Project as a Master Teacher must have at least five years of full time teaching experience and be a certified secondary science teacher or an elementary teacher actively engaged in teaching science.
Applications must be postmarked no later than February 5, 2007.
If you have any questions, please email armada@gso.uri.edu or contact
project staff at:
ARMADA Project
Office of Marine Programs
Graduate School of Oceanography
University of Rhode Island
Narragansett Bay Campus
Narragansett, RI 02882


Visit http://www.travel2learn.com to learn about two exciting ways for teachers and environmental educators to travel to the Amazon Rainforest.

1. Sign-up for the 15th annual Educator's Amazon Rainforest Workshop on scheduled June 30 - July 9, 2007. Co-sponsored by Selby Botanical Gardens, this 10-day event is a professional development opportunity for teachers to work side-by-side with a spirited faculty of scientists. Experience a 1/4 mile Rainforest canopy walkway, get involved in a village service project, and see how indigenous cultures use the forest for medicine, food, and shelter. Academic credit and an extension to Machu Picchu are available. Land cost for this educator workshop is $1998, plus roundtrip airfare.

2. You can TRAVEL FREE during our 8-day Student Amazon Rainforest workshops in June and July 2007, while giving your students and their families the benefits of educational travel to one of the most diverse environments in the world and participate in a life changing Service Learning project in a village along the Amazon River. Bring a group of 6 and travel with all of your expenses paid. Land cost for students & families is $1898, plus air.

For expedition information or funding ideas call Dr. Frances Gatz at 1-800-669-6806, email fgatz@earthlink.net or visit the website

Texas students in grades 4 through 12 are invited to enter the ninth annual Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest.
Contestants must create an illustration of an officially recognized state fish and write a one-page composition about its behavior, habitat and conservation. One Texas winner will be selected from each of three grade levels: 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. Those winners will then compete at the national level for best of show and art of conservation stamp honors. Deadline for entries is March 31, 2007.

Texas entries are judged at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. For details on the contest and how to enter, go to the contest Web page. http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishart

“Wildlife Forever strongly believes conservation education will ultimately determine the future of our fish and wildlife heritage,” said Wildlife Forever president and CEO Douglas H. Grann. “The State-Fish Art Contest is a fun and innovative way to introduce America’s youth to the wonders of our natural world.”

The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is a facility of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department that incorporates a visitor center, educational programming and a production fish hatchery. It is located 75 miles southeast of Dallas and is open Tuesday through Sunday. For more information call (903) 676-2277 or visit the TFFC Web site.

2007 Professional Development Institute - Register Today!
March 28, 2007 in St. Louis
Leading Professional Development in Science Education
Join us for a day focused on the best practices in professional development for science education reform. Register today and learn more at http://www.nsela.org/calendar/calendar1.html

2007 Summer Leadership Institute - Save the Date!
June 28 - July 2 at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California
The Rising Tides of Science Education: Preparing Our Students for Global Leadership
Program details and registration will be posted online as it becomes available at http://www.nsela.org/calendar/calendar.html

Also be sure to visit the NSELA web site for other services and resources including:
Professional Development Opportunities - http://www.nsela.org/employment/employment.html
Career Postings - http://www.nsela.org/employment/employment1.html
The Science Educator - http://www.nsela.org/publications/publications4.html
Read articles from previous issues or submit an article yourself.
Subject: Teachers and the National Park Service
If you teach in Colorado, Texas, and Arizona, the National Park Service would like to offer a very special opportunity to you through a program called Teacher to Ranger to Teacher (TRT). The intent of the TRT program is to give teachers the opportunity to work in a national park, become park ranger for eight weeks, and develop lesson plans based on their experience for use in their classroom the following year. This challenge has been developed so that teachers can help us to provide opportunities for all Americans to connect to their national heritage as embodied by national parks. The TRT program focuses on teachers from schools with diverse student populations, students who have had no experience with national parks or little opportunity to explore the relevance these areas can have in their lives.

If you are interested in the Teacher to Ranger to Teacher program and would like to be a Teacher-Ranger, or would just like additional information, please visit http://www.nps.gov/wupa/forteachers/trt.htm

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