May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

CSTA and NSTA Team Up to Provide Professional Development for California Science Educators

Posted: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

by Laura Henriques

The end of the school year is almost upon us! As we finish teaching our last units, pack up our classrooms, and send students out to do exciting science and STEM adventures it is time to think about our own professional learning.

The theme for this month’s California Classroom Science is related to summer opportunities for educators and kids. Summertime brings opportunities for us to be in the role of student, letting us learn new things. We have time to reflect on our practice, work with colleagues, and improve what we do. We can read for our own professional growth (if you have not yet read the K12 Framework for Science Education or the NGSS and related appendices summer could be a perfect time for that). We can attend workshops and institutes. Museums and informal science institutions run a wide range of programs. As you peruse the articles in this issue you’ll find just a few of the options available. Look around your area to see what’s offered. You will be surprised to find so many exciting opportunities. County Offices, California Science Projects and other support providers will be hosting workshops and professional learning opportunities to help us become more familiar with NGSS, linkages between Common Core and science, and the role of engineering in our classrooms. See what you can find to help you begin to transition NGSS into your teaching practice.

CSTA has been actively involved in helping create and provide learning opportunities as well. In May we co-led three NGSS Rollout Workshops with colleagues from California Science Project, K12 Alliance/WestEd, County Offices of Education, and the California Department of Education. More than 700 science teacher leaders and administrators from San Joaquin, LA, Orange, Riverside, and surrounding counties attended these workshops. The workshops will be repeated in the fall in other parts of the state (San Diego, Fresno, Redbluff, and the San Francisco Bay Area). You can find out more about the fall workshops on the NGSS Rollout Website.

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As part of CSTA’s professional development plan leading up to the Long Beach NSTA Area Conference on Science Education – in Collaboration with CSTA, we are offering webinars and a summer professional development program around NGSS and Common Core. Educators will have the opportunity to participate in a webinar on June 17, a day-long workshop in July (July 21st in Foster City/San Mateo and July 25th in Anaheim). There will be additional webinars in the fall and a culminating experience at the joint conference in December. There are multiple ways for you to participate in these learning experiences. It’s our hope that you’ll be able to do the webinars, the summer workshop and the follow-up at the conference but we know that some of you will only be able to do the summer components (workshop and/or webinars) while others will only be able to attend the workshop in Long Beach. The intention of creating the extended learning opportunity is to allow you time to learn new things, practice them in your classroom and then come back together to expand upon what you learned. The workshops and webinars will be led by Kathy DiRanna and Cynthia Passmore. These two women are fantastic presenters and I know you’ll learn lots by attending! Kathy will help you dig into NGSS and Common Core integrations while Cynthia will be help you explore Science & Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts during the face-to-face workshops.

Speaking of the December Conference…. Registration is now open! I know that many of us are able to encumber funds from this year to pay for next year’s conference or we need to know about the costs in order to have it built into the school professional learning plan for next year. You can find information about registration and housing options at the conference website. One thing you will notice is that your conference registration is reduced by $90 if you are a CSTA or NSTA member. If you are not yet a member of CSTA now is the time to join! By joining CSTA for $50 you’ll end up with a net savings of $40 on conference registration. This year only, you can join both NSTA and CSTA for a 20% discount. All the various membership options are available on the CSTA membership website.

Finally, a quick reminder about the Superintendent’s STEM Symposium: The 2nd annual event will take place in San Diego, September 22-23, 2014. This event will also offer a variety of workshops and speakers to help us consider STEM education in California. Another offering of the Statewide NGSS Rollout Workshop will be held in conjunction with this event. Registration for the STEM Symposium is now available. If you have a great workshop to present consider submitting a proposal as they are still seeking a few more sessions (you need to do it quickly though).

Have a great summer. I hope we all have at least one really great science education learning opportunity that impacts what and how we do our jobs each day!

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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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. 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.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

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