January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Next Generation Science Standards Update: Looking Forward to 2014

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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: (more…)

NGSS for Middle Grades: Tips for Implementation – Step 1, Don’t Rush

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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.  (more…)

Science Literacy: Writing, Reading and Oral Language in CCSS

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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. (more…)

My First Science Conference…How Did I End Up Here? Reflections of a Non-Science Person Teaching Elementary Science

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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.  (more…)

Ask Not What CSTA Can Do for You, Ask What You Can Do for CSTA

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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.) (more…)

Student Teacher Voices at the California Science Education Conference

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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 (more…)

IQC Removes Recommended Minutes from Draft ELA/ELD Curriculum Framework

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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. (more…)

2013 CSTA Conference Cardboard Boat Race

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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.

Region 4 News and Events: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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(more…)

Region 2 Events for December 2013

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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, lewise2@sfusd.edu

There are many, many science opportunities in the Bay Area. Please visit here to see a year round calendar of events in our area. Some events to remember: (more…)

Celestial Highlights for December: Venus at its best before its January departure from evening sky.

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Source: Abrams Planetarium A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11. http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Source: Abrams Planetarium
A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11.

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. (more…)

Announcing the 2014 Clean Tech Competition: “A Solution to Pollution”

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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 30, 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. (more…)

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