September 2014 – Vol. 27 No. 1

Science and Math: Working to Connect NGSS and CCSS

by Peter A’Hearn

All science people know that there is a strong connection between science and math, so finding the connections between the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core Math Standards should be a no brainer. Last year, Palm Springs USD conducted a dozen Science/Math lesson studies to explore the connections. We found many strong connections and also identified some challenges in putting the two sets of standards together. Learn More…

NGSS Early Implementation Begins!

by Lisa Hegdahl

Galt Elementary School District embraces change. (Photo by Lisa Hegdahl)

Galt Elementary School District embraces change. (Photo by Lisa Hegdahl)

On Sunday, August 3, 2014, 120 teachers, administrators, and other science specialists from eight California school districts and two California Charter Management Organizations, converged on Stone Brewery in San Diego. The meet-and-greet reception and ice breaker transitioned into brief speeches by K-12 Alliance Statewide Director Kathy DiRanna, Senior Vice President of Content Research and Development for Achieve Incorporated Steve Pruitt, and California State Board of Education member Trish Boyd Williams. Everyone in the room could feel that they were about to be part of something very special. I was fortunate to be one of many in the crowd that night. Below are some of my impressions of the days that followed. Learn More…

Get Ready for October’s Two Eclipses

by Robert C. Victor

There are two eclipses in October 2014. First up is a total lunar eclipse in the predawn hours of Wednesday, October 8. (Set your alarm when you turn in for the night on Tuesday, October 7.) Owing to the unfortunate timing of this lunar eclipse during early predawn hours, the event might not be widely seen by elementary school students. The brief total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015, centered on 5:00 a.m. PDT, may be somewhat more convenient to observe. The lunar eclipse on the evening of September 27, 2015 will be just about perfect for public viewing in California, with the Moon in partial eclipse as it rises around sunset; in total eclipse during 7:11-8:23 p.m. PDT; and out of the umbra by 9:27 p.m. Learn More…

Integrating Common Core into Everyday Teaching

by Joanne Michael

If your school is anything like mine, math and language arts have recently been overhauled to meet with the Common Core Standards. Just as everyone seems to be getting their heads slightly above water with the changes, in comes NGSS, flipping the standards around and creating more panic. What?! We need to somehow integrate more science into our lessons? With the new curriculum that I am barely understanding in the first place? How am I supposed to do that?! Learn More…

Bridging Science and Math with Classroom Engineering

by Kristin Sargianis

The Next Generation Science Standards, recently adopted in California, highlight the connections between science and engineering. As children design solutions to engineering challenges, they naturally apply their science content knowledge and engage in science practices. However, engineering also provides meaningful opportunities for children to apply what they are learning in math. Learn More…

ELA in My Science Class? Wait..What?

by Jill Grace

For many science teachers, the thought of having responsibility for the language development of students is a sobering prospect. Burned into my memory are the comments of many of my single subject peers in my credential program that could be summed up with the phrase, “I’m teaching science, not reading, that’s the job of the language arts teacher,” clearly unhappy over the prospect of having to take a course on reading and writing in the subject area. Over the years, these words still echo in staff meetings, on discussion boards, and even over meals between colleagues.

From day one, I was shocked by this mentality. Learn More…

Shifting Priorities: Teaching Students to Defend and Not Just Identify Answers

by Sinead Klement     

todo

While still in the thick of teaching each school year, I prepare a list of things I want to do better the following year. Many times, I focus on little procedural changes that might help keep the room cleaner or help save valuable class time. Other times it is just about tweaking my lessons to add something cool I learned at a workshop or found online. This year, however, I am preparing for a massive shift in priorities. For years my focus has been on making science hands-on and of course FUN, but if I am being honest, it has also been on preparing my students to take a 66 question multiple-choice test in April. Learn More…

Supporting Common Core ELA Standards in the High School Science Classroom

by Jeff Orlinsky

Hello CSTA Members, my name is Jeff Orlinsky and I am the CSTA High School Director. I am a biology teacher and have been teaching at the same school for the last 27 years. During that time, I have watched a lot of “educational reforms,” and the roll out of the Common Core Standards is just the next chapter in my career. My science department is just beginning to feel the impact of the Common Core language arts standards in the science classroom. Learn More…

California’s Science Curriculum Framework Revision and Education and the Environment Curriculum

by Will Parish

As you may already be aware, California’s Science Curriculum Framework revision process is well underway. This topic is of keen interest to me on two levels: as a former high school Environmental Science teacher (and former member of California’s Instructional Quality Commission), and as current Executive Director of Ten Strands—a San Francisco based nonprofit whose mission is to ensure that all California’s K-12 students have access to high quality, standards-based environmental education. Learn More…

Writing for Conceptual Change

by Joey Noelle Lehnhard and Beth Callaghan

In addition to developing scientific habits of mind and critical thinking skills, we know that writing can also be a powerful way to increase our students’ understanding of complex scientific concepts. The Common Core State Standards ask that starting in 6th grade students, “Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.”(CCSS.WHST.6-8.1) In addition, NGSS Practice 7, “Engaging in Argument from Evidence,” asks that starting in 3rd grade, students:

  • “Compare and refine arguments based on an evaluation of the evidence presented.”
  • “Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in an explanation.”

Learn More…

Getting Started in Skywatching (for School Year 2014-2015)

by Robert C. Victor

Telescope

The 2014-2015 school year has begun, and it will be a great one for astronomy! There will be exciting opportunities to have students observe the sky, keep journals, recognize patterns of change, ask questions, interpret what they see, and develop writing and mathematical skills. Students will learn to observe, describe, model, and predict some patterns of the movement of objects in the sky. For connections to Common Core, examine the NGSS performance expectations ESS1.A and ESS1.B Disciplinary Core Ideas.  Learn More…

Integrating the Common Core Literacy Skills in Science Classes

by Heather Wygant

Student_Writing

By now, all of you should know that Common Core-ELA is not just for English teachers; all teachers need to integrate writing into their classrooms: especially the sciences! We’re in luck though, because in science we commonly use two main types of writing that align well with Common Core-ELA: informational and argumentative. So how do I make sure my students are actually using Common Core writing strategies?   Learn More…

Summary of Sky Events for the School Year 2014-2015

by Robert Victor

Your students can receive much inspiration from direct observation of nature. As you present astronomy, we encourage you to include opportunities for direct observation of the heavens. Here, we offer a summary of sky events for the school year 2014-2015 and beyond, to assist in planning your instruction.

Saturn

Teachers who want students to view Saturn’s rings through a telescope at a convenient early evening hour should plan a sky watch for September 2014. In October, Saturn will be sinking low into the southwest evening twilight glow, not to return to the early evening sky until mid-May 2015. By May, sunset occurs quite late, which might discourage some parents of young students from bringing their children to a sky watch. Yet the presence of three planets most impressive for telescopic viewing will make sky watching in late May through June 2015 very attractive, in spite of the late hour of nightfall. Learn More…

The Power of Linking Science to Common Core

by Laura Henriques

If you are like me, there are significantly more things you would like to do in your class than time allows. Finding ways to link my science instruction to other curricular expectations is one way for me to ‘buy’ time. This sometimes means that I grade an assignment for multiple purposes – I am looking at students’ understanding of science concepts and content and also looking at their writing. Students may even get two grades on the assignment. Learn More…

Where Will You Be in December?

by Laura Henriques

I sure hope you answered that question with an enthusiastic “I’ll be in Long Beach for the conference” sort of response!

Come join your science education colleagues for three to four days of professional learning. The conference, hosted by NSTA with some input from CSTA, will take place on December 4-6. With a couple hundred workshops, lectures, short courses and field trips, this is the place to be! You can peruse the schedule on-line and get a sense of some of the outstanding sessions awaiting you. The keynote speakers will address a range of topics that include linkages between science and Common Core ELA, STEM, and science education moving forward. (Go online today to verify your membership or join CSTA today – CSTA members can register for the conference at the NSTA Affiliate Member rate and save $90 on their registration!) Learn More…

50_CSTA_logo_SmallMake your tax-deductible donation to the 50th Anniversary Fund today!

September 2014 Events in CSTA’s Region 1

by David Pummill

pic_mapSacramento Zoo
3930 West Land Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95822
Phone: 916-808-5888
Saturday, September 13, 2014: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Deaf Awareness Day
Join us for a special day for our deaf and hard of hearing community sponsored by NorCal Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The Zoo will have ASL interpreters on site for the event.

Saturday, September 27, 2014: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Red Panda Day
Learn about Red Panda conservation! Kids and adults can become “Red Panda Rangers” after stopping at various stations and completing activities.

Pacific Coast Air Museum
One Museum Way, Santa Rosa, CA 95043
Phone: 707-575-7900
Wings Over Wine Country Air Show
Saturday & Sunday, September 20 & 21, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Join us for the premier North Bay family fun event!
Held at the Charles M. Schulz– Sonoma County Airport, Santa Rosa, California.
Sit in the cockpits of our vintage aircraft, and learn about the history of where and how they were used from the crews who have lovingly restored them. We feature one or two historic aircraft each Climb Aboard Weekend. More opportunities to “Climb Aboard” this fall can be found online. Learn More…

September 2014 Events in CSTA’s Region 2

by Minda Berbeco

pic_map

Free Entry Days at:

Bay Area Discovery Museum, First Wednesday of the month
UC Botanical Gardens, First Thursday of the month
Oakland Museum of California, First Sunday of the month

Super-cool Science Parties and Lectures:

Nerd Nite EastBay, Last Monday of the month

Nerd Nite San Francisco, Third Wednesday of the month

Night Life, Thursdays, 6-10 pm, at the California Academy of Sciences
After Dark, First Thursday of the month, 6-10 pm, at the Exploratorium

Highlighted Events in September:

Legends and Myths of the Prairie Wolf
Wednesday, 9/3/14 10am-12pm
Muir Woods National Monument
One of the most adaptable mammals in the world, the coyote is widespread not only in range but also in mythology and folklore. Learn why the coyote is such a successful survivor and the topic of so many stories. This family-friendly, two-mile walk is easy to moderate with some steep hills. Cost: Free w/reservations. Learn More…

Call for Public Input on New Accountability Rubric

Accountability in California is undergoing dramatic changes. The Pubic Schools Accountability Act (PSAA) Committee is considering college and career readiness indicators to be included in API calculations for secondary schools (among other changes), and under the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)  LEAs were required to develop Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) that outlined how they would spend the money allocated to them to address the eight state priorities. LCAPs are now in the hands of County Offices of Education to review and approve, and the next critical step in the process is to develop the LCFF evaluation rubric (see information about those rubrics below).

This call for public comment is an excellent opportunity for science teachers to add their voice to the conversation and to encourage that the LCFF rubric includes an accountability for science. State priority #2 is for implementing California’s academic standards, including the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and math, the Next Generation Science Standards, and the English language development, history social science, visual and performing arts, health education and physical education standards. State priority #7 is for insuring all students have access to classes that prepare them for college and careers, regardless of what school they attend or where they live. Both of these priorities make it clear that students should be provided with access to a high quality science education. Learn More…

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Upcoming Events

Sep
21
Sun
2014
8:00 am California STEM Symposium and NG... @ San Diego Convention Center
California STEM Symposium and NG... @ San Diego Convention Center
Sep 21 @ 8:00 am – Sep 22 @ 2:30 pm
Invest in California STEM Education:  Innovate, Integrate, and Inspire! The Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, in cooperation with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls,[...]
Sep
24
Wed
2014
9:00 am Next Generation Science Standard... @ RCOE Conference center in Riverside
Next Generation Science Standard... @ RCOE Conference center in Riverside
Sep 24 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
As part of the NGSS Awareness Series, this workshop will focus on the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 science education and the development, intent, and design of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)[...]
6:00 pm NightLife at the Academy @ California Academy of Sciences
NightLife at the Academy @ California Academy of Sciences
Sep 24 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Every Thursday night a new adventure unfolds.  Set out with friends on a journey to the stars and to the depths of the sea with a cocktail in your hand and wonder in your eyes—[...]
Sep
26
Fri
2014
12:00 pm Forestry Institute for Teachers + @ UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center
Forestry Institute for Teachers + @ UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center
Sep 26 @ 12:00 pm – Sep 27 @ 2:00 pm
FORESTRY INSTITUTE FOR TEACHERS ALUMNI! It is not uncommon for participants to tell us that we want more at the end of a FIT session – HERE IT IS!! FIT+ is a professional development educational[...]
Sep
27
Sat
2014
8:00 am Project WET workshop
Project WET workshop
Sep 27 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
COACHELLA VALLEY EDUCATORS! The Living Desert and Coachella Valley Water District invite you to an interactive day of investigation and hands-on activities that will enhance your ability to provide education about this valley’s most precious[...]
9:00 am Volunteer: National Public Land... @ National Monument Visitor Center
Volunteer: National Public Land... @ National Monument Visitor Center
Sep 27 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Wilderness Walks Join Americans coast to coast as a national volunteer. A trail improvement project at the Santa Rosa Wilderness’ Cactus Spring Trail can use your help! Back Country Horsemen will participate too. Wear sturdy[...]
9:00 am Walk For the Wild and Wilderness... @ Rancho Santa Ana Botonic Garden
Walk For the Wild and Wilderness... @ Rancho Santa Ana Botonic Garden
Sep 27 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Wilderness Walk This easy walk of 1.5 miles will wind through the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s 86 acres of native California plants, shrubs, and trees. Then join other hikers at the Wilderness Fair featuring[...]
Sep
30
Tue
2014
8:30 am Introduction to the Next Generat... @ Central USD, Room 4
Introduction to the Next Generat... @ Central USD, Room 4
Sep 30 @ 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
This full-day workshop will highlight the many shifts required of both teachers and learners under the Next Generation Science Standards.  In the morning session, participants will engage in an overview of the NGSS and its Three[...]
Oct
1
Wed
2014
all-day Free Entry Day at the Bay Area D... @ Bay Area Discovery Museum
Free Entry Day at the Bay Area D... @ Bay Area Discovery Museum
Oct 1 – Oct 2 all-day
Free Museum admission all day, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sponsored by ScholarShare https://www.scholarshare.com Museum website: http://www.baykidsmuseum.org/ Share/Email:More
6:00 pm After Dark: First Thursdays @ Exploratorium
After Dark: First Thursdays @ Exploratorium
Oct 1 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
After Dark: First Thursdays @ Exploratorium | San Francisco | California | United States
A ticket to Thursday evening adult-only hours does not guarantee admission to special programs with limited seating. Tickets for limited-capacity programs will be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. Please Note: Adults Only (18+)[...]

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NGSS PD Coming to Fresno, Covina, and Fairfield

CSTA_CASCD

Updated September 4, 2014

CSTA and CASCD have teamed up to bring you and your curriculum developers a one-day professional learning opportunity. Both CSTA and CASCD members may register at member rates. Event dates and location are:

Introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards: A Paradigm Shift in Teaching and Learning
This full-day workshop will highlight the many shifts required of both teachers and learners under the Next Generation Science Standards. In the morning session, participants will engage in an overview of the NGSS and its Three Dimensions. During the afternoon sessions, participants will be invited to experience either a K-5 or 6-12 session. Each of these sessions will further explore the NGSS with an emphasis on the impact it will have within K-5 and 6-12 classrooms. Learn More…

Earth Science Events Shake Things Up for October!

by Cindy Pridmore

Earth_Science_Week_LogoEarth Science Week occurs October 12-18 this year, and the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has a website packed full of information and online resources! Last year at CSTA’s 2013 conference, I was surprised at how most teachers I spoke with were not aware of this national and international event and all the resources associated with it. There are so many ways to get your kids involved and lots of online materials, activities, and contests outlined on the AGI website. This year’s theme is “Earth’s Connected Systems,” which aims to engage everyone in exploring the ways that geoscience provides insight into natural change processes. Learn More…

Call for Volunteers: Sharing your Writing Expertise and Talents!

by Minda Berbeco

Megaphone

When is the first time you knew you loved science? Was it a great science teacher, an intriguing article in the local paper, or just sitting sea side wondering about the many animals living in the water just feet away. For me, it was a ridiculous, but informative book about the giant squid and other mysteries of the deep. Learn More…