June 2015 – Vol. 27 No. 10

California STEM Learning Network Launches Policy Brief “Science Education and Local Control” and LCAP Toolkit for STEM Advocates

by Chris Roe

The California STEM Learning Network and the Lawrence Hall of Science have partnered to create a new toolkit to help educators, parents, students, community partners, and business leaders participate in the development of their school district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). Learn More…

2015-17 CSTA Board of Directors Election Results

CSTA is pleased to announce the results of the 2015-2017 Board of Director elections. The winners of the election are below. CSTA thanks all candidates and members for their participation in the elections. These directors terms will begin on July 1, 2015 and conclude on June 30, 2017.

President-Elect

Jill Grace

Jill has a broad teaching background that provides a common experience between herself and CSTA’s members. She has been a middle school science teacher for ten years and prior to that she was an elementary science specialist. Outside of the classroom, she has spent a significant amount of her time working in teacher professional development. For the past two years, Jill has served as the Middle School/Jr. High School Director on the CSTA Board of Directors. Learn More…

Register for the 2015 California Science Education Conference!

by Casey Passmore

california_science_teachers_association_large_cropped

With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (including Literacy in Science!) and the Next Generation Science Standards, science education is finally becoming more of a priority for many school districts. Now is a great time to start planning to attend the California Science Education Conference in Sacramento, Friday, October 2 – Sunday, October 4. Registration is open and hotel reservations can be made now. Learn More…

Update on the New Science Curriculum Framework – Opportunity for Public Review Coming Soon

Dear Fellow Science Teachers:

I want to bring you an update on the 2016 Revision of the Science Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve. As you know, the California State Board of Education adopted the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve (CA NGSS) as our new science standards in September of 2013. Since that time, many educators in various capacities have been busy adapting and interpreting the CA NGSS to form a draft curriculum framework. The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) is the appointed state body tasked with overseeing this process. This started with the development of the guidelines that came out of the Science Focus Group meetings and has most recently been the work of two groups. The first is the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CCFC), a group made up of twenty educators from all areas of education and from across the state. A majority of the Science CFCC are K-12 teachers. The other group working steadily on this process is the writers from the California Science Project. The Science CCFC has read and reviewed multiple versions of the draft framework and given in-depth meaningful feedback to the writers. The CCFC’s task was formally finished on May 21, 2015. Learn More…

Draft Primary Evaluation of Essential Criteria for Alignment (PEEC-Alignment) – Ready for Public Review

NGSSLogoThe first draft of the NGSS Primary Evaluation of Essential Criteria for Alignment (PEEC-Alignment) is ready for public review. This document is meant to help developers and reviewers of instructional materials answer the question: “do the materials contain or exhibit the essential features of a program aligned to the NGSS innovations?” Educators, Administrators, Publishers, and Curriculum Materials Developers are all encouraged to review and provide feedback on this draft of the NGSS PEEC-Alignment by visiting this page by July 1, 2015. The PEEC-Alignment document focuses on the innovations set forth in NGSS and their implications for instructional materials. If the program under review seems to be adequately aligned to the NGSS innovations, it could then be reviewed for the presence of other key components of instructional materials – some of which are also described in the PEEC-Alignment document – as well as for any other criteria that are relevant in a local context. Learn More…

Legislative and Budget Deadlines Spur Action in Sacramento

by Jessica Sawko

State_CapitolLast month, Governor Brown made headlines with his proposed 2015-16 budget revision (a full copy is available here) which calls for an additional $6.1 billion in Proposition 98 funding for K-12 and community college education, bringing the total investment for 2015-16 to $83 billion. The proposed budget holds potential to support the implementation of California’s Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), but as currently proposed, a great deal of work will need to be done on the local level to insure adequate investments are made in implementation of new state-adopted standards. This is because the $3.5 billion in funding included in Governor Brown’s budget proposal for new standards implementation is “discretionary.” This means that while the Governor and Legislature are encouraging districts to use the proposed $3.5 billion in funds for professional development, teacher induction to beginning teachers, and the purchase instructional materials and technology to advance the implementation of NGSS, Common Core, and ELD standards, districts will not be required to do so.  Learn More…

Primary Science Comes Alive with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), California Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and English Language Development (ELD)

by Valerie Joyner

Join your primary colleagues for the wonderful opportunity to learn about Next Generation Science Standards. You’ll learn how NGSS aligns with 21st Century Skills, links to CCCSS and supports ELD. Teams of 3-5 teachers/administrators from your school/district are encouraged to apply for this amazing workshop. Space is limited so apply now!

As California educators strive to provide a twenty-first century education for all students, there is nothing more important than a strong foundation in science education. The time to nurture and develop this foundation is at the beginning, as students enter primary grades. It is essential for the youngest of our students to develop scientific literacy and interest from the start. As we focus priority on our youngest students, there are few missions more urgent to long-term educational goals than equipping primary grade teachers with science content knowledge and pedagogical strategies to kindle the love of science in their students and set a course for lifelong learning. Learn More…

Cup of Tea

by Leah Wheeler

Have you ever felt like your time is split between too many subject areas in your classroom and you’re torn on how to teach all of the content? As a 5th grade teacher in a self contained classroom, I have always struggled with integrating curriculum in my classroom instruction. Through my participation with the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS) Early Implementation team in Galt, I have learned how to take the science and engineering practices (SEP) and incorporate them into the other curricular areas using simple modifications to my instruction.

Instead of looking at science and engineering practices as only part of the three-dimensional learning of NGSS, I try to think of ways to incorporate them into other content areas, so I can create bridges for learning.  For instance, inspired by the Boston Tea Party after my students studied the American Revolution, students engineered crates to hold tea. Learn More…

Maintaining Summer Engagement

by Joanne Cozens Michael 

Sunblock and beach towels, car trips that stretch out too long, and visits with friends. While summer can be a relaxing, wonderful time to unwind and rejuvenate, too often our students go far in the opposite direction, causing August/September to be a month of solid review of concepts from previous years before diving into new information. Although we cannot escape that entirely, keeping students engaged in learning new things via fun experiments throughout the summer can be a great way to keep their young brains going! Learn More…

Engaging Your Students with the NGSS This Summer

by David Sloan

Many of us will use this summer to engage with the NGSS so we can bring new experiences and examples into our classrooms in the fall.  We are always looking for those examples, but the opportunity to travel to different places and experience new ecosystems is especially great during the summer.  We come back to the new school year invigorated with new ideas to bring into our science instruction, only to find that our students have lost some ground during that same break.  Learn More…

Summer of Science Through Social Media

by Adam Hermann

Hermann1Student energy levels are rising, birds are singing, and strawberry season is in full swing, which can only mean one thing. Summer is upon us! It is an exciting time of the year for many, but students in particular begin looking ahead to a break from formal education. No more homework or long bus rides, no more sack lunches or single file lines, and much more time to play with friends. As students begin to look ahead, we as educators have the opportunity to utilize social media to help introduce a different style of science education: Self-directed. Learn More…

Celestial Highlights for June 2015

by Robert Victor with twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller

Venus and Jupiter in the west are closing toward their spectacular pairing on June 30, while Saturn climbs in the southeast in the early evening. These three naked-eye planets, all showpieces for telescopic observation, should make a star party in June an exciting learning opportunity for students, so we hope you will make it happen! 

From late June until the new school year begins in September, there are many strikingly beautiful events involving the Moon, planets, and stars, some at dusk and some at dawn, plenty to keep students well engaged during summer vacation. We describe some events of summer and early fall, so you can keep your current students involved in sky watching, and can make plans for your new students to catch the spectacular events of early fall, in the first couple of months of the 2015-2016 school year.

Learn More…

My Last Words . . . Thank You!

by Laura Henriques

This is my last column as your CSTA President. I thank you for the trust you placed in me to serve as President. It has been my privilege to serve the organization. I am most appreciative of the members who have taken steps to get more involved in promoting high quality science education in California.

Just two years ago, when I was taking over as President I challenged you to become more engaged and involved. This has been a rallying call of mine since I joined the Board of Directors. There are big changes happening to science education in California and we need lots of people involved if we hope to realize the promise of those changes. The CSTA Board of Directors does a great deal but they cannot do everything. As an organization, however, we can make a huge difference! In August 2013, in one of my first columns as President, I urged you to consider baby steps towards leadership. I revisited that theme again by encouraging you to see what you could do for CSTA and how to “lean in” and lead by example. Many of you accepted the challenge – thanks! Those of you who know me (or who have read my columns) know this is an important theme for me. A full twenty percent of my CCS columns were devoted to the topic, I talk about it in leadership forums, and I have been known to twist a few arms to get colleagues engaged. Learn More…

california_science_teachers_association_large_cropped
Register Today!

Register by June 30 and save $.


 Implementing Next Generation Science Standards

In Anaheim on July 9 – click for details.

Region 2 June Events

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 East Bay, 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

Café Inquiry, Firth Thursday of the month, 6pm, at Café Borrone, Menlo Park

Action for California Condors

Wednesday, 06/03/15 6:30 PM Oakland Zoo

For more than 20 years, and through joint efforts, Ventana has lead the way to save the California Condor from extinction by treating them for lead poisoning caused by ingesting food shot by lead-based ammunition. Oakland Zoo is now one of only a few zoos that partner with the California Condor Recovery Program to medically treat wild condors. Come learn how Ventana Wildlife Society and Oakland Zoo take action to help.

For more information: http://www.oaklandzoo.org/Lectures.php Learn More…

Federation of Earth Science Information Partners Is Seeking High School and Community College Science Educators to Join Their Community

The Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) education committee is inviting regional educators to join us at the ESIP summer meeting at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove California this summer.

The ESIP educator’s workshop will start at 1pm Wednesday 7/15 and end at 3pm Thursday 7/16 and includes a poster session and community reception Wednesday evening. Educators are encouraged to stay overnight at Asilomar to maximize opportunities for interaction. Most workshop sessions will be focused on using Earth Science data to inform instruction.  Learn More…

New, FREE DIY Lake Science App

LakeScienceAppPlunge into the fun science of lakes, rivers, creeks, and ponds with a new, free DIY app that lets you investigate freshwater ecosystems anywhere you live. DIY Lake Science explores Earth’s freshwater, and its importance to all life on our planet, in 12 hands-on STEM activities.

Created by UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, in collaboration with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) and the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Vermont, the new app for the iPad and iPhone takes you outdoors to find what’s below the surface of bodies of freshwater. The app’s field adventures include making a viewscope and looking for underwater plants and animals, and crafting a Secchi disc and measuring how clear or murky a body of water is. Using such tools helps show how scientists test water quality, monitor pollution, track the populations of species, and even discover new life forms. Learn More…

LATEST POSTS

CSTA Releases 2013-14 Annual Report to Members

CSTA is pleased to release its 2013-14 Annual Report to Members. This Annual Report is prepared for the benefit of members to report on the programs, activities and financial condition of the organization.  While the detail about programs, activities and financial condition represent a look back at the past fiscal year, the other components of the Annual Report provide a look to the future.  As a result, the Board of Directors and Strategic Initiatives represent that look to the future by providing members with the most up-to-date information about the organization and its goals for the future. Access the Annual Report online.

FREE STEMposium for K-8 Teachers

California is on the cusp of major change in science education and with change comes hundreds of opportunities to attend conferences that promise to ease your pain and feelings of drowning in new information. With so many opportunities and so little time, it is important for teachers to choose conferences that will get them the most benefit for their time. Teachers need real resources and strategies they can use immediately without having to turn their current classroom structure upside down. This summer (June 22nd-26th) University Charter Schools and California State University Channel Islands will be hosting the Ventura County STEMposium where teachers can not only experience lessons as students, but will then immediately implement that learning by planning a STEM event for K-8 students. This was the brainchild of the UCS’ Science Lab Coach, Ann Ransom, whose vision is to make STEM activities less intimidating to teachers who may have limited experience or knowledge in implementing them. Many multiple subject teachers are uncomfortable with teaching in the STEM areas because they lack the resources or believe science is a subject they can’t successfully access. With the help of Ransom’s Director, Charmon Evans, the pair were able to secure a generous grant from CSU to make the 5-day Institute a FREE opportunity to educators. Learn More…

Top Posts & Pages

Upcoming Events

Archived Issues

Subscribe to California Classroom Science
(monthly email)