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Call for Articles

Eric Haller, Peel District School Board, Editor of the OAPT Newsletter

It’s the start of another school year and the OAPT is once again looking for submissions for the newsletter. The newsletter is made possible by volunteers who contribute their thoughts and ideas for others to use in their classrooms. Many of our writers are Ontario high school teachers, however some of our writers teach in university, work abroad, work in science outreach, have retired, or have even left the teaching profession for some other career that involves physics. We have numerous writers who pen something for us regularly, but we are always on the lookout for new writers as well (writing for us looks great on a resume).

If you’re interested in writing for us but are looking for inspiration, a topical theme in education at the moment is of course climate change. Destreaming is relevant now too, students who took the destreamed grade 9 science class last year are now taking streamed grade 10 science classes, which has left some gaps in their education, which could be discussed in an article. Many school boards are handling the streamed grade 10 science courses differently as we wait for the grade 10 destreamed curriculum to be released, with some boards still offering SNC2P, and other boards forcing students to take SNC2D. The James Webb Space Telescope has been operational for some time now, some readers might want to know how we can incorporate its findings thus far into our classrooms. And there’s a total solar eclipse coming for some Ontarians on April 8th, 2024, which many teachers will want resources for. A lesson, or possible field trip ideas, would be great to help teachers take advantage of this [roughly] once-in-a-lifetime event. In addition to those topics, many teachers are incorporating indigenous stories, knowledge, and history into their science lessons now, and there is a growing demand for resources to help teachers continue to do so in a meaningful, and respectful way. If none of those topics sparked your interest though, we are always looking for our mainstays, like the following:
  • Physics education research
  • An interesting lesson, demo, activity, or project you did with your students
  • How you teach physics differently than other teachers
  • How you assess students differently than other teachers
  • Some resource, equipment, software, or website you found useful for teaching physics
  • Social justice issues that pertain to physics (correcting the gender imbalance, disrupting systemic racism, indigenous science, practices and physicists…)
  • A lesson you did which incorporated interesting historical events and perspectives
  • Explanations of big, new physics announcements, and how to make it accessible for students
  • Professional development opportunities for physics teachers
  • Something that another physics teacher did or wrote about that inspired you
  • A book, film, show, etc., that is about physics or involves physics
  • Preparing students for careers in physics
  • An interesting field trip you took your physics class on
If you want to brainstorm an article, or have already written an article you think would be good for the newsletter, you can email me, Eric Haller, the editor of the OAPT newsletter. Please reach me by going to https://oaopt.wildapricot.org/contact and clicking on the email link next to my name. Alternatively, emailing me at the address I listed above or using the Contact the Newsletter form work as well. If you are thinking about writing an article for the newsletter, we accept and publish articles year-round, so they can be sent in whenever is convenient for you. Please keep the following guidelines in mind when writing articles for the newsletter, to make it easier for us to publish them on our website.

  • Organize your article like so:
    • Title of the article
    • Your name and job (school, school board)
    • Email address for contact
    • A snappy opening paragraph that would go before the “Read More …” link (it’s what the readers see in their email)
    • The rest of the article, including images, files, video, etc.
    • References (see below)
    • Tags (see below)
There is no limit on how short or long an article can be, write however much you like on a subject.

To speed up publication, please follow these guidelines:
  • Avoid fancy formatting, as the newsletter is essentially a blog. We can manage simple lists, but not nested lists and titles. Do not use colours or fancy fonts.
  • Ensure what you wrote is your own to avoid plagiarism. Cite anything that is not yours, like sentences, ideas, and images. If you are using Creative Commons content, such as a photograph or illustration, include all the necessary information for the license (including links if required).
  • Illustrations and photographs must be your own work or legal for us to publish, such as Creative Commons and Public Domain images. The educational exception that allows for limited use in the classroom does not apply to publications such as the OAPT newsletter.
  • Any diagrams, tables or photos for the article should be sent to us separately as .jpg or .png image files, and their sources should be cited in the article itself. Larger images (2000+ pixels wide) are better, when viewed they will be scaled down for readers with smaller screens. Pictures with adults’ or students’ faces can be used if the media releases are on file; in general if you are using your own photos it is safer to obscure your students’ faces.
  • If you need to show lengthy equations, use a screenshot to capture them. If your equations are short and simple enough, writing them in plain text is okay.
  • You can include links to other websites in your article, please type out the URL in full for us in your article instead of hyperlinking it to a word or sentence.
  • We can include videos in the articles. If you are supplying your own footage, you can upload it to YouTube and we can embed it into the article, or you can send the file to us and we will use Vimeo to embed it ourselves. Any videos we share must be legal to share.
  • If you want to include lesson materials for readers to use (for example, a .pdf), you can send us files, which we can embed in the article.
  • Consider including tags for your article to make it easier to find for other readers. Tags include words like ‘forces’, ‘pedagogy’ or ‘careers.’ For a full list of tags that have been used in the past, check out the newsletter’s website, scrolling down and looking at the margin on the left.
  • If you are citing sources in your article, please use the APA format. Include in-text citations, which typically include the author, a comma, and the year of publication, all in brackets, like this (Knight, 2004). If it is a direct quotation, the page number should be included as well, like this (Knight, 2004, p.17). If it’s been a while since you’ve done APA style referencing, checkout one of the many online citation tools that can do it for you, or check out https://apastyle.apa.org/. At the end of the article, include a list of all the references you used, for example, see below.

Knight, R. D. (2004). Five easy lessons: strategies for successful physics teaching. San Francisco: Addison Wesley.

To access an up-to-date version of this document in the future, you can find it at http://newsletter.oapt.ca/Writing_For_Us/
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