September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …?

Posted: Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

On November 3, 2016, the California State Board of Education (SBE) accepted the recommendation of the California Department of Education (CDE) and the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) to adopt the draft Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (CA Science Framework) with the IQC recommended edits from the second 60-day public review period (a pre-publication version of the Framework with the edits incorporated is expected to be released in the early part of 2017). California science educators have waited for this document since 2013 when the SBE adopted the California Next Generation Science Standards. However, now that the Framework is here, many are not sure how to use it effectively.

While members of the IQC, Science Curriculum Frameworks and Evaluation Criteria Committee (Science CFCC), and many members of the CDE and SBE have read the entire CA Science Framework, few others will read it cover to cover. Understanding the structure of the Framework and its intent will help readers get the most out of the document.

The CA Science Framework provides guidance on the implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) to teachers, administrators, parents, and other educational stakeholders. It also provides guidance for the integration of the CA-NGSS with other state adopted standards. It is important to note, however, that the CA Science Framework is not the last word on CA-NGSS implementation. The Framework does not replace high-quality professional development, such as the California NGSS Rollout Symposia, that provide in-depth understanding of the CA-NGSS and the shifts that are necessary for teachers and students in the classroom.  

Whether your role in CA Science education is as a teacher, coach, or administrator; whether you consider yourself a novice or expert in CA-NGSS, you should read Chapter One: Overview of the California Next Generation Science Standards. This chapter provides context for all the other Framework chapters by explaining not only the architecture of CA-NGSS, but the key instructional shifts. The Overview Chapter is essential for setting the stage for the those that follow.

The grade-level and grade-span chapters emphasize the key instructional shifts as well as the three-dimensional learning that is emphasized in the CA-NGSS. New features of the CA Science Framework include the use of snapshots and vignettes in all chapters to demonstrate the implementation of standards in the classroom. When reading grade-level and grade-span chapters, readers will notice that Performance Expectations (PEs) are bundled into coherent instructional segments. These bundles are not the same as those found on the Nextgenscience.org website and many do not match those that are being used by the CA-NGSS Early Implementer districts. The message is this: as professionals, teachers will decide how to bundle PEs, Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), or Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) in any way that makes sense to them and to their unique student populations. The bundles shown in CA Science Framework are simply meant to be examples.  

Once the grade level or grade span chapter is read, two other chapters will be immediately useful when implementing CA-NGSS – Chapter 7: Assessment of Student Learning and Chapter 9: Instructional Strategies for the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools Kindergarten through Grade Twelve Teaching and Learning in the Twenty-First Century. The assessment chapter provides ideas for assessing students three-dimensionally while the strategies chapter provides information on sequencing lessons, engaging student thinking, teaching the nature of science, incorporating engineering and more.  

Other Framework Chapters explore Equity and Access, Instructional Resources, and Implementing High-Quality Science Instruction. There are also five supporting appendices, two glossaries, and a Science Resources section. This link will take you to all the CA Science Framework Chapters and Appendices.

Resources:

SBE November 2016 Meeting Agenda – Item 9

CDE Framework Presentation

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th-grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is Past-President of CSTA.

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Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

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…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

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

Posted: 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. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: 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. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

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

Posted: 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. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.

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

Posted: 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. Learn More…

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From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.