September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

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

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

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. (more…)

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. (more…)

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

Tuesday, August 29th, 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. (more…)

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

Monday, August 28th, 2017

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. (more…)

Summer Learning for Students and Teacher

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

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. (more…)

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

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

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. (more…)

Shift Happens: Finding What Matters As a New Leader

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

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. (more…)

Technology Partners with Citizen Science

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

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. (more…)

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

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

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! (more…)

CTC Seeking Educators for Science Standard Setting Conference

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

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

2017 Award Winners Announced!

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

by Lisa Hegdahl

Each year, the California Science Teacher Association’s Awards Committee has the honor of selecting the year’s Award winners from a slate of talented candidates. CSTA’s awards program solicits award nominations from the CSTA membership and the Board of Directors. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. (more…)

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