Biology Teachers Association of New Jersey

Our mission is to inspire and empower science educators.

October 2015- Professional Growth

Message from NJ Science Convention

Dear Members,

Professional development is at its collegial best at conventions. In NJ alone, with two major convention options, the best choice to support with your participation is the New Jersey Science Convention. This year BTANJ’s rebranding continues there.

At the NJSC, BTANJ reaches out to you personally to highlight our new Web site, promote our new look, excite you with our rich accessible professional development calendar, and share other benefits of membership in the BTANJ.

Stop off at our table and have a chat with organizational leaders quite unlike others. We are those colleagues who look forward to talking about effective professional development and especially learning about your needs.

BTANJ knows that you are the most important person in your classroom. How you advance your professional skills to meet the diverse students you welcome each diverse year is something that we can help make exciting for you.

We are working hard to bring members and future members meaningful professional development and fantastic resources. Additionally, expect door prizes at BTANJ sponsored workshops.

We have lots of freebies to share and give away at our table. Take the opportunity to connect and collaborate with friendly colleagues. Let us sustain you in your efforts to find the joy that comes from creating effective and impactful practices in your classroom.

Refresh, embolden, and inspire yourself! Erase any disconnect! Your colleagues at BTANJ are here to offer you a continuous supply of professional development within an organization of networked support.

See you soon at the BTANJ sponsored workshops shown below!

Consider clicking on this resource from KQED Mind/Shift How we will learn entitled: Never Too Late: Creating a Climate for Adults to Learn New Skills: It is a thought-provoking read!

Bunny Jaskot

BTANJ- Secretary

Registration Committee Chair, NJ Science Convention

New Jersey Science Convention

Tuesday, Oct. 13th, 8am to Wednesday, Oct. 14th, 3pm

100 College Road East

Princeton, NJ

Program & Vendor Information

Don't forget to stop by our booth to check out our new look and pick up some freebies!

Check out these BTANJ Sponsored Workshop for a chance to win prizes:

Tuesday October 13th

8-9am- Student-Centered Strategies (Kristina Nicosia)

This workshop will provide different strategies to help foster a student-centered learning environment. These strategies include using Google Calendar, checklists, and problem-based learning.

9:30-10:30am- It's the curriculum. Stupid! (Rob Richard)

Implementing NGSS is more than compliance. By dissecting the NGSS and the NJ Model Science Curricula we can develop an understanding of what needs to be done.

10:30-11:30am- Integrating Math in Biology: Opportunities for Quantitative Skills in the Biology Classroom (Karen Lucci)

Participants will learn how to use resources from Math bench and DataNuggets which provide opportunities for students to engage in quantitative skills within the existing curriculum

Wednesday October 14th

11:30am-12:30pm- Implementing NGSS for the HS Biology Curriculum (Meenakshi Bhattacharya & Tammy Smedley)

Use cross cutting concepts and science and engineering practices to align existing activities and laboratories with NGSS. Bring one lesson to modify.

12:00-1:30pm- Be a Population Ecologist (Kate Russo)

Participants will have the opportunity to mimic what population ecologists do in the filed by using simple supplies found in grocery and craft stores.

1:30-2:30pm- Modeling: A tool for Teachers and a Scientific Practice for Students (Vicky Pilitsis)

Modeling- Instructional tool or platform to build ideas? Effective uses of models to uncover ideas and build ideas in biology and environmental science will be shared.

BTANJ PD Academy

One of our goals is to provide members with relevant and ongoing professional development. As part of our "new look" we have started a Professional Development Academy. Please check out the upcoming opportunities this fall to extend your learning! The workshops are free to members (unless otherwise stated). If you have not already done so, please complete the needs assessment so that we can offer more workshops!

Happy Learning!

New Teacher Corner

Written By: Victoria Bartley

West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North

As a novice teacher of two years I seek out professional development experiences that provide me with rich opportunities to grow as a practitioner and leader. I see PD as professional growth and collaboration with peers. Last year I had the opportunity to join a Statewide Community of Practice (COP) that was the most influential, mind changing PD experience. The COP is a group of science teachers dedicated to changing their teaching practices and aligning with the NGSS. When a group of individuals come together with a common goal and a positive mindset, great things can happen.

The first few meetings started slowly. Mostly consisting of getting everyone "to drink the koolaid." We discussed problem based learning (PBL) and shared examples. A singular PD opportunity can get you this far, at best. Usually in a PD, where everyone is on different levels of understanding, it is a struggle to even get everyone to embrace a new method. Negativity clouds the room because teachers have become callous to the "new and upcoming technique." Sometimes it is because they don't want to put the time in to change and sometimes they may think it is a new teaching trend that will go away soon enough. Either way, the majority of the experience is spent struggling with the resistance. This is why I felt so at home in our COP meetings. After a short while, we were all on the same page and wanted to really do something great.

Later in our COP meetings, we began brainstorming ideas and creating actual unit plans to use for our classes. It didn't matter that we didn't all teach the same subject. Ideas were bounced around the table until gold was struck. It was wonderful being in a room of professionals that all wanted to be better at their craft and joining forces to do so. Now we meet twice a month to continue building a repertoire of meaningful lessons and curriculum documents that support them. Every time I leave a meeting with them I feel inspired and rejuvenated that I can be a great teacher. It is an amazing feeling. Tell me, do you ever feel like that after a PD? If so, don't stop. Stay on that path and keep striving to be better.
Big image

Self-Paced & Online PD Opportunities

Google Training- Guided training paths designed just for educators.

AMNH Seminars on Science- Offers 13 online courses with access to cutting-edge research and world class scientists.

PBS TeacherLine- Self-paced courses on teaching and learning in the digital age.

ASCD- Browse online course offerings from the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development

Pearson- Self-paced course "Your Next Gen Classroom: K-5"


From HHMI: All HHMI educational materials are free online for anyone to access. They also ship DVDs to educators in North America (Canada, Mexico, the U.S., and its territories).


From iBIOLOGY: The best iBiology popular microscopy videos.


Hosted by Michael D. L. Johnson, PhD, Science Sound Bites is an initiative of the Postdoctoral Leadership Council at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Geared to connect both in language and level of detail with secondary school STEM teachers and students, these casual interviews reinforce current science standards and provide much-needed examples of how scientific research applies in the real world. Find additional links to Home, Resources, and Professional Development .

The Climate & Environmental Change Teen Summit - eams of 5-8 students (grades 8-12) and their advisors are invited to participate in a series of activities to

enrich their understanding of climate change science. Students will join together with Rutgers graduate students and faculty on the Rutgers Cook Campus to discuss climate change research and gain exposure to career and research opportunities in climate change related sciences. As part of the summit, students will also engage in

planning and implementing climate change related service projects in their local communities. For more information about the Summit, check out the event website at or the attached flyer.

2016 Shore Bowl - The Shore Bowl is a regional academic competition for high school students (grades 9-12) that focuses on ocean-related topics. These topics include the biology, chemistry, physics and geology of the ocean, as well as navigation, geography, and related history and literature. The Shore Bowl will be one of 25 regional competitions hosted around the country. The winners of each regional competition will get an all expenses paid trip to compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams at both the regional and national levels. For more information, check out the Shore Bowl website at or the attached flyer.

Nominations Due September 30 for Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards

This is a reminder that nominations for the 2015 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards are due by the close of business on Wednesday, September 30 to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards (GEEA) Program recognizes outstanding environmental performance, program and projects throughout the state. The awards honor individuals, businesses, institutions, communities, organizations, educators, youths and others who have made significant contributions to environmental protection in New Jersey.

Nominations can be submitted in these categories: Clean Air; Healthy Ecosystems; Water Resources; Land Conservation; Healthy and Sustainable Communities; Healthy and Sustainable Businesses; Innovative Technology; and Environmentalist of the Year. Environmental Education is divided into two categories – one for adult-led education initiatives and one for projects that are student-led or have succeeded because of a high level of student involvement.

The GEEA Program is sponsored by the DEP, the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and the New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology, in partnership with the New Jersey League of Municipalities. Award winners will be honored in December. To download the 2015 application and other awards information, please For information about the program, please contact DEP employee Tanya Oznowich at (609) 984-9802 or

New Website for Environmental Education and Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were adopted by the New Jersey State Board of Education in 2014. According to the North American Association for Environmental Education, “The NGSS represent an unprecedented opportunity for the environmental and sustainability education community…The good news is that NGSS is strong on environmental content, much stronger than what is being taught now in the vast majority of schools throughout the nation.”

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education are working with the NJ Department of Education to help build capacity for NGSS delivery statewide.In 2015, ten full-day NGSS workshops were held at various locations and reached almost 300 environmental education (EE) providers and teachers. The tips, guidance documents, resources, slides and sample lessons gleaned from these workshops are now available at a website being administered by DEP.

The new EE-NGSS website is designed for all formal and non-formal environmental educators who want to ensure that their lessons and programs support the NGSS. In addition to featuring resources about EE and NGSS, it is a platform for exchanging and showcasing re-designed lessons, models and best practices. To learn more, go to .

Big image

National Association of Biology Teachers Conference

Wednesday, Nov. 11th, 3pm to Saturday, Nov. 14th, 3pm

1 Sabin Street

Providence, RI

Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE) Conference

Friday, Jan. 22nd 2016 at 7am to Saturday, Jan. 23rd 2016 at 4pm

900 Scudders Mill Road

Plainsboro Township, NJ

Deadline for ANJEE Conference Workshop Submissions Quickly Approaching

The Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE) is seeking presenters for its 31st annual environmental education conference to be held on Friday, January 22 and Saturday, January 23, 2016. ANJEE is accepting proposals for workshops and presentations related to this year’s conference theme, “Environmental Education: The Next Generation.” The conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Princeton Hotel and Conference Center in Plainsboro, New Jersey. Proposals are due on September 30 (but if you are seeing this for the first time you have until Friday, October 2).

As ANJEE enters into its third decade its members continue to cultivate environmental literacy in the next generation of citizens. We, as ANJEE members, are preparing the next generation of teachers and students for new ideas and technology; new leadership and policy; and new challenges and action. We are drawing on the wisdom and resources of the past, along with the energy and ideas of today’s professionals and youth, to realize a brighter future for all. The Next Generation in Environmental Education will engage and activate entire communities, schools, groups and businesses in the service of sustainability, justice and opportunity. ANJEE invites all of us to be part of this exciting work to come.

ANJEE is seeking workshops that address the needs of all institutions and communities that are involved with Pre-K through adult environmental education and share a concern for New Jersey’s sustainability. ANJEE conference presenters and participants include classroom teachers, park interpreters, environmental education specialists, administrators, youth leaders, government employees, environmental advocates, scientists and others who believe that education and environmental literacy are keys to a thriving world. If you would like to submit a workshop/presentation proposal please go to Questions can be sent to