September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Consider Supporting CSTA with an End of Year Donation

Posted: Friday, December 11th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

I don’t know about you, but I get greeting cards, mailing labels, wrapping paper and even holiday ornaments in the mail – all from organizations hoping that I will open my checkbook and make an end of the year donation. That ploy doesn’t usually work for me.

Instead, I choose to donate to organizations whose goals and missions align with mine. I like to give to organizations which do good work and spend their money wisely. CSTA is one of those organizations and it is why I am giving an end of year donation. I would like to invite you to consider doing so as well.

CSTA has a small paid staff and a huge volunteer staff. In spite of a relatively small, carefully monitored budget, CSTA manages to do some pretty impressive work.

Let’s look at some of the things which CSTA did this past year.

  • Development and delivered of the NGSS Statewide Rollout Symposium (Do you know that every single presenter, session author, and workshop leader is a volunteer?) These 2-day symposium reach more than 2,000 teacher leaders/administrators each year. (Work done in collaboration with the California NGSS Collaborative: California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, California Department of Education, California Science Project, and K-12 Alliance/WestEd)
  • Participated as an active observer in the California Science Curriculum Framework development process
  • Coordinated and supported more than 20 Framework Review Sessions across the state (November- January)
  • Hosted 2015 California Science Education Conference (Sacramento in October)
  • Participated in the 2015 STEM Symposium (Anaheim in October)
  • Co-hosted an NSTA/CSTA NGSS Summer Institute (Anaheim in July)
  • Co-hosted CASCD/CSTA NGSS Workshops
  • Represented the voice of science educators and influenced policy decisions at State Board of Education Meetings including the areas of accountability and assessment
  • Participated on the statewide California Alliance for NGSS Steering Committee
  • Participated on the statewide California Alliance for NGSS Communications Workgroup
  • Represented science teachers as a member of the California State Team to the Achieve hosted NGSS Network Leadership Conferences
  • Involved >75 members on CSTA committees
  • Published >165 articles in California Classroom Science
  • Hosted a Leadership Development event at the 2015 California Science Education Conference in efforts to help foster and nurture future leaders

PrintThis work is all done by and for our members. Membership dues and conference revenue cover some of the costs associated with doing business. The rest has to come from elsewhere. These are busy times for science education in California – and the nation. As CSTA is being asked to do more and more their budget is stretched pretty thin. A gift to CSTA can be earmarked to support a specific project (scholarships for the conference, support for future leadership development, support of primary science teacher professional learning) or it can go towards the general fund. CSTA works all year to support you as a professional, please consider joining me by making a gift to support CSTA.

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and a 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…

Written by Guest Contributor

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.