September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

CSTA Region 1 – February 2016 Update

Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2016

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Here we are a month into the new year – how are your resolutions holding up? I recently had a wonderful conversation on this topic with a very thoughtful science education colleague. She shared a science education idea for a resolution. I decided to give it a try as well as share the idea here.

In the past, she recounted, she would take teachings from a book like “Good to Great” or “The Speed of Trust”, etc. and focus her efforts for a year on one of the themes for self improvement. This year she decided to focus on NGSS! Her resolution is to look for and make use of Crosscutting Concepts.

We thought about that together, and while some CCC’s like Patterns are easily found and used from years of practice teaching science, others like Structure and Function seem worthy of more careful consideration. I am a month into this and finding my awareness of CCC’s all around me has increased. I am able to consider them as driving themes for the way the world works and then use certain DCI’s, from a variety of disciplines, as examples of what a given CCC “looks” like. Funny thing – that translates pretty quickly into good conversations at work about how to design NGSS learning experiences without always starting from a discipline specific topic. Give it try – if you have not already – and maybe resolve to look more deeply at NGSS as a way to see the world. After all, that is what we are all working to help our students learn to do.

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Those of you within reach of Sonoma to Monterey counties should check out the Science Schmooze February calendar of events. It is a fabulous resource for teachers and gives opportunities for weekend family fun centered around science.  Check out events from Moss Beach Low Tide Walks to Coastal Paleontology at Point Reyes this month.

Those of you in the southern range of Region 1, especially in smaller schools where you may teach both math and science, might like to know about how to teach to the increased rigor, and certainly application to science, of 6-8 statistics.

Making Statistical Connections in Middle School: Facilitator Training

The most recent California Mathematics Content Standards have incorporated statistics and probability standards in grades 6-8. The California Mathematics Project (CMP), in partnership with the California Mathematics Council (CMC) and the California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE), has developed a series of modules for middle school teachers to support the teaching and learning of statistics and probability. This facilitator training will take a close look at the modules, instructional guides for facilitators, and the materials available for use with teachers, focusing specifically on grades 6-8. The training will be held on February 29-March 1, 2016 in Fresno. Participants will receive access to the statistics modules in iBook or PDF format, as well as Facilitator Notes and Teacher Resources.

To register online, go to http://ucla.in/1Qwgjiu.

For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/a/cmpso.org/statistics/

Contact Ann Park with any questions: apark@gseis.ucla.edu

Also from Region 1 this month, the Center for Mathematics and Science Educationat CalState Sacramento has a series of workshops.  To find out more: http://www.csus.edu/mase/sem_inst/sirc.htm

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.

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CSTA Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There are time and energy commitments, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 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.

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.