September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Onward: A Pre-Conference Event for District-Level Science Coaches, Science Leaders, and TOSAs – Year 1 and 2 Tracks

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

The excitement is building for this year’s California Science Education Conference, being held in Sacramento. As your CSTA Region 1 Director, I am truly looking forward to TK-12 science teachers from the many northern counties in this large region is present. Even more exciting is the Pre-Conference Onward! which premiered last year at the conference in Palm Springs. If you were not there last year get ready! If you were there please and you would like to take your learning to the next level – register for the Year Two track today! Learn More…

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

Supporting and Enhancing NGSS Implementation: A Tale of Two Principals’ Efforts

by Ron Rammer, Judi Hayes, and Barbara Woods

Two principals. Two schools. One district. One challenge: What does a principal do to support teachers as they implement student-centered, phenomena-focused, inquiry-based science instruction based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for every student? This is the tale of a middle school and an elementary principal and their journey of lending the needed support to enhance NGSS implementation at their sites. Learn More…

Shift Happens: Finding What Matters As a New Leader

by Rachael Tarshes

For those of us who have found ourselves in a position where we recently left the classroom and are now leading the NGSS charge for our districts, it can be challenging finding one’s place. In my situation, I am the third Project Director for San Diego Unified’s CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative grant. The initiative is just now wrapping up its third of four years. With our large team of over 70 teachers representing about 65 schools, I found myself in a position where I had to quickly get to know all the names, faces, context needs and wants of 70 teachers. I had been on the initiative’s smaller *Core Teacher Leader group and my 8th-grade lesson study team, where I had been happily working the last two and a half years without a perspective on the greater needs of the team as a whole. I really needed to learn about all the people on the team, and to do so very quickly, because it’s about the people first, not the change. Learn More…

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

Is This a First: Young Female Teens Propose California Water Conservation Legislation?

Meet the La Habra Water Guardians from the Optics of their Teacher Moderator, Dr. P.

by Susan M. Pritchard, Ph.D.

You have just won the 2016 Lexus Eco Challenge as one of four First Place Winners in the Middle School Category across the nation! Now, what are you going to do … go to Disneyland? No, not for four of the six La Habra Water Guardians, Disneyland is not in their future at this time. Although I think they would love a trip to Disneyland, (are you listening Mickey Mouse?), at this moment they are focused big time on one major thing … celebrating the passage of their proposed legislation: Assembly Bill 1343 Go Low Flow Water Conservation Partnership Bill and now promoting the enactment of this legislation. Learn More…

Summer Learning for Students and Teacher

by Dr. Joseph Calmer

Summer time is a unique time for us; we don’t have work, but we work. This year, I found myself working with UCLA’s Science Project at a three-week science summer camp for K-8 students (I was the 7-8 teacher). Even though I was “working” for the organization, I wanted to work for myself and find out what I can do for my actual classroom that will start this fall. I took back a few things that both inspired and shocked me. Learn More…

CTC Seeking Educators for Science Standard Setting Conference

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and Evaluation Systems group of Pearson are currently seeking California science educators to participate in a Science Standard Setting Conference for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) program. Each standard setting panel is scheduled to meet for one-day, in Sacramento, California. The fields and dates are listed below:

Multiple Subjects Subtest II (Science), Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Physics, Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Chemistry, Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Science Subtest II: Life Sciences, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Science Subtest II: Earth and Space Sciences, Thursday, October 5, 2017
Science Subtest I: General Science, Friday, October 6, 2017

The purpose of the conference is for panel members to make recommendations that will be used, in part, by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in setting the passing standard, for each field, in support of the updated California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).

Click here to nominate educators. If you are interested in participating yourself, complete an application here for consideration.

Eligibility:

Public school educators who are:

• Certified in California
• Currently practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above. 

College faculty who are:

• Teacher preparation personnel (including education faculty and arts and sciences faculty)
• Practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above, and
• Preparing teacher candidates in an approved California teacher preparation program.

 Benefits of Participation Include:
• Receive substitute reimbursement for their school (public school educators only),
• Have the opportunity to make a difference in California teacher development and performance,
• Have the opportunity for professional growth and collaboration with educators in their field,
• Be reimbursed for their travel and meal expenses, and
• Be provided with hotel accommodations, if necessary.

For more information, visit their website at www.carecruit.nesinc.com/cset/index.asp

Thriving in a Time of Change

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

Side Column Ad 2017

 

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Learn More…

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Technology Partners with Citizen Science

by Lori Walsh

On a beach walk in Carlsbad, I noticed a child playing a game on a phone while sitting in the sand. The child ignored the beauty of the waves, birds, and water to play in the virtual world. During my childhood, my days were filled exploring on bikes and swimming at the pool. My early experiences with my ‘bug box’, playing with a sand pendulum and kayaking, combined with trips to nature centers, parks, and other informal science centers inspired and created my love of everything in the natural world. These early “wow” moments eventually led to my career that is dedicated to educating families about wildlife and conservation in an aquarium. While technology has presented many advantages, it gives parents and educators a new set of challenges, and we are still deciphering how to navigate the waters. How can we harness the power and attention that technology has to immerse children in nature and inspire future conservation heroes? Our lives are irreversibly intertwined with technology and this provides us with new tools and opportunities to expose kids to the beauty they may be missing in the natural world. Learn More…

Upcoming Events

Nov
7
Tue
2017
all-day NGSS Statewide Rollout #4: Frame... @ Marina Village Conference Center
NGSS Statewide Rollout #4: Frame... @ Marina Village Conference Center
Nov 7 – Nov 8 all-day
Informational Flyer AUDIENCE Grades K-12 Educators, Curriculum Leads, and Administrators. District teams of 4 – 6 people and one administrator are encouraged. COST $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast and lunch, both days. Credit[...]
Nov
8
Wed
2017
all-day NGSS Statewide Rollout #4: Frame... @ Radisson Hotel, Fresno, CA
NGSS Statewide Rollout #4: Frame... @ Radisson Hotel, Fresno, CA
Nov 8 – Nov 9 all-day
Informational Flyer AUDIENCE Grades K-12 Educators, Curriculum Leads, and Administrators. District teams of 4 – 6 people and one administrator are encouraged. COST $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast and lunch, both days. Credit[...]
Nov
14
Tue
2017
all-day NGSS Statewide Rollout #4: Frame... @ CSU Chico
NGSS Statewide Rollout #4: Frame... @ CSU Chico
Nov 14 – Nov 15 all-day
Informational Flyer AUDIENCE Grades K-12 Educators, Curriculum Leads, and Administrators. District teams of 4 – 6 people and one administrator are encouraged. COST $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast and lunch, both days. Credit[...]
Nov
29
Wed
2017
all-day NGSS Statewide Rollout #4: Frame... @ Ventura County Office of Education
NGSS Statewide Rollout #4: Frame... @ Ventura County Office of Education
Nov 29 – Nov 30 all-day
Informational Flyer AUDIENCE Grades K-12 Educators, Curriculum Leads, and Administrators. District teams of 4 – 6 people and one administrator are encouraged. COST $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast and lunch, both days. Credit[...]
Dec
4
Mon
2017
all-day NGSS Statewide Rollout #4: Frame... @ Santa Clara County Office of Education
NGSS Statewide Rollout #4: Frame... @ Santa Clara County Office of Education
Dec 4 – Dec 5 all-day
Informational Flyer AUDIENCE Grades K-12 Educators, Curriculum Leads, and Administrators. District teams of 4 – 6 people and one administrator are encouraged. COST $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast and lunch, both days. Credit[...]
Mar
23
Fri
2018
8:30 am Understanding California’s High ... @ UCR Extension
Understanding California’s High ... @ UCR Extension
Mar 23 @ 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
Spend the first day with the writers of the California Science Framework High School chapters and experience a coherent NGSS-aligned Earth and Space Sciences Integrated learning sequence. This 2-day workshop includes a facilitated discussion of[...]

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