September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Congratulates California Math and Science Teachers Receiving Presidential Honors

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today congratulated two California teachers who are among the 108 educators nationwide recently announced by President Barack Obama as recipients of the 2013 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The California science awardee is Scott Holloway, a college prep and Advanced Placement physics teacher at Westlake High School in the Conejo Valley Unified School District. The California mathematics awardee is Marianne Chowning-Dray, who teaches Algebra II/Trigonometry and Advanced Placement Calculus BC at Eastside College Preparatory School, an independent school in East Palo Alto. (more…)

Making the Leap from the Classroom to TOSA

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Kirsten Franklin

After 25 years as an elementary teacher, I decided to take the leap two years ago to become a TOSA (teacher on special assignment) to support K-12 teachers in my district in science and the common core state standards.  There is no specific handbook for doing this, but luckily, there have been great local and state resources to help. I have relied mainly on the trainings and guidance received from BaySci, a San Francisco Bay Area Science Consortium headed up by the Lawrence Hall of Science that my district has been part of since 2008. Membership in CSTA and NSTA, Twitter, reading the NRC Science Framework and the NGSS performance expectations over and over have also helped me to build understanding and confidence in the content and pedagogical shifts. Wrapping one’s head around the NGSS definitely takes time and multiple exposures! (more…)

What Does It Take to Get Kids Outdoors?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Lori Merritt

Our environment faces many challenges. Human behavior has greatly contributed to these negative changes. Children will be inheriting a world with many environmental problems and need to be prepared to face them. In order for children to care about the environment and have positive environmental behavior they first need to have experiences outside in natural environments (Chawla & Cushing, 2007; Handler & Ebstein, 2010). Unfortunately, children are spending less time in nature, making them less connected to their natural environment. In Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, nature-deficit disorder is described as “the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses” (p.36). In order for our students to be healthy, and environmentally proactive members of society we need to lead them outdoors. (more…)

Me? A Leader? In Science?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Barbara Woods

To move work forward in any kind of initiative, it takes all sorts of leaders. It can be especially powerful when leaders emerge that don’t necessarily consider themselves leaders, at least at the outset. In the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District’s (GJUESD) efforts to move the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into implementation with a gradual district-wide roll-out, this leadership mix has proven essential to the work. (more…)

Conversation with a Leader in Science Education: Maria Chiara Simani

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Minda Berbeco

Maria Simani, Physicist and Executive Director, California Science Project

Maria Simani, Physicist and Executive Director, California Science Project

CSTA promotes and supports leadership in science education as part of its mission to promote high quality science education. This newsletter regularly features contributions from emerging and established leaders in our CSTA community. For my article this month, I elected to spotlight a leader in California science education to share with our readers about the path of leadership. Teachers are inherent leaders, so it’s no surprise that I was able to find a really great person to chat with about her leadership positions. Maria Simani is the Executive Director of the California Science Project, a statewide network that provides professional learning to science teachers. If you are a science teacher in California, chances are high that you have been involved in one of Simani’s programs, or know someone who has. A tough job, but an incredibly importance one, Simani sat down with me a few weeks ago to talk about how she got into science education leadership and what makes her love every minute of it. (more…)

S.F. Bay Area Science Events for July 2015

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Minda Berbeco

Free Entry Days at:

Bay Area Discovery Museum, First Wednesday of the month
UC Botanical Gardens, First Wednesday and Thursday of the month
Oakland Museum of California, First Sunday of the month
CuriOdyssey, July 8th

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

(more…)

The Practice of Teaching Science

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Lisa Hegdahl

About 10 years ago, at an after school meeting, our presenter posed the question, “Why did you become a science teacher?” Each of my colleagues gave answers such as, “I wanted to affect the future”, “I loved working with children”, and “I wanted to stay young”. As it came closer for my turn to share, I was in a panic. The truth was, I became a science teacher as a way to get out of a dead end job that had long hours and paid next to nothing.

I have often thought about that day and about the noble motives for entering our profession expressed by my colleagues. Perhaps only those of us who truly have some kind of selfless calling should endeavor to be science teachers.   My reflections led me, however, to the conclusion that it is not important how people answer the question, “Why did you become a science teacher?” but how they answer the question, “Why do you continue teaching science?” I continue teaching science because I love it. (more…)

Better Together – California Teachers to Convene Across the State on July 31st

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Mei Louie

Across the state, California teachers are driving innovation in the classroom and shaping our students’ futures. To support their critical work, a coalition of California colleges and universities is inviting teachers to unite on Friday, July 31, 2015 to build powerful networks, share successful classroom practices and access effective resources to implement state standards.

Thirty-three California campuses are opening their spaces and inviting an estimate of 20,000 teachers to participate in a one-day event. Teachers will have a unique opportunity to hear about proven best practices from nationally renowned speakers, fellow teachers, and leaders in education. The free convening will be led by teachers, for teachers, and will help towards building a powerful lasting network of peers. This is a chance for teachers to come together to collaborate in hope of creating a better future for California students. Teachers will walk away with concrete tools to immediately use in their classrooms to implement the California Standards including the Common Core. (more…)

What Will You Be Doing on July 9th?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

Lots of us will be at the NSTA Summer Institute in Anaheim. This year’s Institute will focus on NGSS. CSTA is collaborating in sponsoring the event being held in California.

Image_1_HenriquesThe full-day institute starts with a general session presentation by NASA astronaut Barbara Morgan. Participants will then break into elementary and secondary level groups. The day includes hands-on experiences designed to help you conceptualize and experience the shifts associated with NGSS instruction. Formative assessment issues will also be addressed during the institute. NSTA carefully selected the presenters and you are in for a really good day.

The elementary sessions were designed with these framing questions in mind.

  • What does the shift toward NGSS look like for teaching?
  • How can instruction in science support learning in mathematics and English language arts?
  • How can I manage the shift toward three-dimensional learning?
  • How can I change my teaching so that students are engaging in collaborative sense-making about phenomena?
  • How can I assess my students while teaching science to inform my next teaching steps?

The secondary sessions were designed with similar, but slightly different framing questions.

  • What does the shift toward NGSS look like for teaching?
  • How can I adapt my instructional materials for NGSS-aligned instruction?
  • How can I support the productive discourse needed to engage students in the practices of the NGSS?
  • How can I create and use formative assessment tasks that integrate practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts?

Register now! CSTA members receive a discount on the registration cost.

The event is being held in Anaheim at the Sheraton Hotel (if you are going to spend the night(s) be sure to mention that you are part of the NSTA Housing Block).

Do you know what else is near the Sheraton Hotel? Disneyland! Remember that your CSTA membership gives you discount on Disneyland tickets. So go ahead, bring the family – spend time doing NGSS and then spend some time at Disneyland and California Adventure. Summertime in SoCal doing science and having fun .… what could be better?

See you there. Remember to stop by the CSTA table to get your CSTA member ribbon!

 

 

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