CSTA would like to thank Peter A’Hearn, 2013 Conference Co-Chair and lead organizer of the Pool Party event for recording and producing the video. CSTA also thanks the MESA program at the UCR Bourns College of Engineering for organizing, conducting, and providing the materials for the event.
by Jessica Sawko
2014 will be a very busy year for the Next Generation Science Standards in California. On November 6, 2013, the State Board of Education took action on the issue of the middle school learning progression that they had left undecided at their September 2013 meeting. Their decision was to accept the revised recommendation that California adopt the integrated model as developed by the Science Expert Panel (SEP) as the preferred model for California middle grades science instruction, and to reconvene the SEP to develop a discipline specific model based on the domain specific model in Appendix K. The SEP is meeting on December 4 and 5 to begin this task. Once the SEP completes their work (estimated March 2014) school districts will be able to evaluate both – and choose between the integrated and discipline-specific models based on which they think will best serve their students. No further State Board action will be required to adopt the alternative discipline-specific arrangement. I encourage you to read NGSS for Middle Grades: Tips for Implementation – Step 1, Don’t Rush for tips and information.
2014 will bring a number of opportunities for science teachers to become involved in the NGSS implementation process: Learn More…
by Jill Grace and Marian Murphy-Shaw
Since April 2013 when the national version of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) went public, California has been working at a steady pace to move from lead contributing state to active implementation. CSTA members and other readers of California Classroom Science may be the best informed educators in the state on NGSS at this time. This article is intended to aid middle grade teachers in communicating up-to-date information to your colleagues in science education and the educational leaders you work with.
The number one point which science education leaders, the California Department of Education (CDE), professional learning providers, and the NGSS Achieve group are all making is not to rush, there is no hurry, that 2016-17 is the probable target for full implementation. As with Common Core implementation, a sequence of events, resource preparation, policies, and teacher awareness and transition support will all occur over the next few years. Now that you can breathe again, here is a rundown of common questions and next steps to consider as you start the work towards toward NGSS implementation. Learn More…
My First Science Conference…How Did I End Up Here? Reflections of a Non-Science Person Teaching Elementary Science
by Cheryl Romig
OK, so here’s my dirty laundry. I actually chose my major in college based on the number of science classes I would have to take. I can vividly remember lying on the dorm floor, college course catalog spread out in front of my freshman year, counting science classes and crossing off potential majors if I had to take more than two. That was my limit… two classes in four years would surely send me over the edge. Learn More…
by Susan Gomez Zwiep and Jody Sherriff
Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are integral to the development of new knowledge in science both by students in the classroom and by scientists in the field. The new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA provide a new opportunity for science teachers to integrate ELA into science instruction in ways that mirror and support scientific thinking.
Consider this scenario: when you start a new unit about density and buoyancy think about what activity or series of observations might engage your students’ curiosity. As you introduce the unit, the goal is not to “teach” but rather, to get students talking so you can assess their prior knowledge. If you are someone who typically begins by reading part of the textbook or reviewing important vocabulary, resist these urges for now and instead start immediately with a hands-on activity. Learn More…
by Robert Victor and Robert D. Miller
Our evening twilight map for December depicts the sky about 44 minutes after sunset from southern California and 48 minutes after sunset from the northern reaches of the state. In early December, we find Venus near its brightest and highest, in the southwest; the Summer Triangle of Vega-Altair-Deneb, high in the west; and Fomalhaut, mouth of the Southern Fish, just east of due south. As December opens, the only bright objects in the eastern sky in mid-twilight are Capella the Mother Goat star in the northeast, and Aldebaran, eye of Taurus, very low in ENE. Learn More…
Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementation planning for the Next Generations Science Standards and finalizing its new strategic plan. If you are interesting in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration.
Nominations for the following positions on the CSTA Board of Directors are now being accepted:
- Intermediate (3-5) Director
- High School Director
- 4-Year College Director
- Region 2 Director*
- Region 4 Director*
Directors will serve a two-year term beginning July 1, 2014, and ending June 30, 2016. Learn More…
by Rick Pomeroy
As a life member of CSTA, I have not missed a California Science Education Conference for as far back as I can remember. The networking and professional development that I get each year by attending is hard to beat anywhere. As a supervisor of teacher education, I have encouraged my student teachers to attend the conference for the past 5-6 years. Each year, they come back charged up and ready to implement a wide range of new strategies. This year, I asked them to share some of their thoughts immediately after the conference ended. The quotes below are what they said:
“At the conference I learned how much teachers care about their students. It’s not done for the glory or for personal gain. Every presenter wanted to share their work and help every other teacher at the conference. Teaching is a community effort and it is all for the students. Everything teachers do is geared towards students and it was refreshing to see so many teachers excited about bringing new ideas into their classroom for the students.” PG Learn More…
In 2014 CSTA is partnering with the National Science Teachers Association to produce the NSTA Long Beach Area Conference in Collaboration with CSTA! (There will be no California Science Education Conference in October 2014.) The event will be held December 4-6, 2014 at the Long Beach Convention Center. Proposals for workshops and short courses are now being accepted. The deadline for submitting a proposal is January 15, 2014. Visit http://www.nsta.org/conferences/sessions.aspx to get started today.
The 2014 Long Beach Area Conference is open to all science educators. To help you make the most of the professional development opportunities available at the Long Beach conference, the Conference Committee has planned the conference around three strands that explore hot topics science educators will face in 2014. Learn More…
In this past month the newspapers, magazines and television shows have been commemorating the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Kennedy inspired a generation to volunteer, to do for others and to give back to their nation. He asked Americans to step-up and to do more. As we remember and celebrate that spirit of serving, I ask you to consider what you can do for science education.
Over the past couple of months CSTA has been promoting opportunities for you to become more engaged in California science education. I have talked to people who have applied to serve on the California Department of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission and the Framework Focus Groups. Lots of you have thought about the workshop proposals you will submit for the 2014 NSTA Long Beach Area Conference – in Collaboration with CSTA! (Remember that the deadline for submission is January 15, 2014.) Learn More…
by Eric Lewis
Happy Holidays everyone. Please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings. Don’t forget to encourage your colleagues to join CSTA. I’m hoping that we’ll have the opportunity to grow our organization and expand to meet your needs and your colleague’s needs. To that end, please feel free to email me directly so that I can represent your questions and concerns with the CSTA board as a whole.
Eric Lewis, email@example.com
by Jeanine Wulfenstein
The holiday season has arrived! Region 4 is bustling with activity as students prepare for the final crunch of the semester and families prepare for holiday celebrations. The weather has turned cold and students are hunkered down in their studies in an effort to solidify their semester grades. Teachers across the region are making connections for student learning and assessing student progress on the science standards.
Throughout the month of December, there are professional development opportunities available for teachers to continue to hone their science skills. For teachers looking for a better way to teach your students about the Milky Way, UCSD is hosting a hands-on workshop from 10:00 to 4:00 on Saturday December 7th highlighting the “Galaxy Garden” which uses living plants (built to scale) to help students visualize the vastness of our galaxy. For more information contact http://sdsa.org/resources/science-alliance-e-news/2013/attachments/galaxy-garden-flyer. Learn More…
Registration is now open for the 2014 Clean Tech Competition!
Visit www.cleantechcompetition.org to register a team today.
This year’s theme, “A Solution to Pollution” challenges teams of student innovators to design a clean technology solution to this real-world problem. We are also excited to announce that the competition has expanded its reach, and will now be open to students globally. There will be one finalist event, held in New York on May 31, 2014, where the top 10 teams from around the world will meet to present their solutions to a panel of expert judges. Finalist teams will also be invited to enjoy several days of fun and educational activities including networking, sightseeing, cultural events, the chance to present their projects at the United Nations. Learn More…
by Jessica Sawko
The California Department of Education and the Instructional Quality Commission are currently in the midst of developing the new ELA/ELD Curriculum Framework to facilitate implementation of the Common Core standards. This curriculum framework, like all other subject matter curriculum frameworks, provide guidance to teachers, administrators, and parents on how a standards-based curriculum is implemented in the classroom. In addition, the framework provides guidance to developers of instructional materials. Chapter 12 of the draft framework included recommended “daily time periods intended to set levels of content and curriculum for publishers of instructional materials.” (p. 18) While these minutes were provided as a recommendation to instructional material developers, rather than as a mandate of instructional minutes in ELA. CSTA joined many other subject matter and educational organizations in their concern that these recommendations could ultimately be translated by administrators and others as the minimum recommended times for instruction. Learn More…