September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Greetings from Your New Director in Region 1

Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

I wanted to begin my new term as CSTA Region 1 Director with a brief introduction and then some highlights from our region. I am Marian Murphy-Shaw, I currently live about as far north in California as you can get, in Mount Shasta City. I am entering my 15th year with Siskiyou County Office of Education as an Educational Services Director. Prior to that I taught for 10 years in grades 5 through 12 both in Siskiyou and Alameda counties, I worked as an intern on a controlled life support system at NASA Ames and proudly attended Mills College, then CSU Eastbay (Hayward State back then). I have to take a minute here and thank my Hayward faculty advisor Dr. Stronck for introducing me to CSTA!

Back then I never pictured myself on the CSTA Board of Directors, and I want to remind other educators to consider joining the board – especially classroom teachers. It is a great connection to science education, fabulous colleagues, and is not exclusive to any type of experience. Just do it! I enjoyed my prior role as secretary and look forward to this new role communicating with and about CSTA Region 1.

Region 1 is huge. It includes Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolomne, Yolo, and Yuba Counties! I look forward to hearing from CSTA members and our many science colleagues in this vast area about events, projects, science centers, STEM partnerships, you name it! Share with me please, and we can let science educators Pre-school through college know what is happening in their region.

Back to school time (August through September) is a hectic time for teachers as well as exciting. Planning your year is a big part of that- whether it’s field trips or your own professional learning. Below are some resources to help get you started. Some events in our region may still be a few months away, but in order to plan for them, get your subs, and coordinate with others you may attend with, now is the time to start planning so you can get to the events you see as best serving your students and schools. Science professional learning will be coming at us fast and furious, so get ready!

Far North NGSS Roll Out 2 – November 2-3, 2015

Scheduled for Red Bluff at the Tehama County Department of Education, this is the furthest north of the 8 currently scheduled events statewide. Please limit your district teams to 4-6 people. This will allow for additional districts to participate as space is limited. Ideally, teams should include an Administrator or Curriculum Leader in addition to Teacher Leaders. These sessions build on last October’s NGSS Symposium 1, so teams are encouraged to bring teachers who attended that event.
Register online

Leadership Matters! Symposium #1– September 2, 2015

“Ignite Learning with a Growth Mindset”
Presented by: Jennifer Lawson, Ed.D. and Emily Diehl
The Mindset Works company is based on “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck, Ph.D.

The growth mindset, the understanding of intelligence and abilities as qualities we can develop, has been shown over and over to have powerful ramifications on student motivation and learning, and school success. Participants will explore several tools, resources, and strategies to deepen their understanding of mindset’s role in schools as well as how to:
1. change their mindsets and
2. cultivate growth mindsets in students.

Breakout for Teachers: Applying Growth Mindsets in K-12 Classrooms
In this session, teachers will explore teaching and assessment practices that cultivate growth mindsets. Teachers will view resources and models and work to apply the concepts to their specific teaching assignments.

Breakout for School Leaders: Leading Change with a Growth Mindset
In this session school leaders will learn about what it takes to begin the journey of creating growth mindset school cultures. Administrators, Coaches and Teachers who influence and lead are all encouraged to attend and work to apply these concepts to their specific assignments and needs.
Register online with the Tehama CDE

Located in Bidwell Park in Chico, CA the Chico Creek Nature Center provides an excellent and accessible opportunity to teach valuable lessons of the natural world and the need for stewardship of the environment. For over thirty years the center has provided quality educational programs on the natural systems of Bidwell Park to elementary school students and the general public, using Bidwell Park as a classroom. Our Naturalists on staff bring academic backgrounds in sciences to programs aligned with standards established by the California public school system. Call (530) 891-4671 for more information or to book your field trip today!

Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding, CA offers a wide variety of educational programs that will fascinate your students with exciting hands-on activities that correspond with California state curriculum. More than 14,000 visitors a year experience our school tour programs, from northern California, western Nevada and southern Oregon, to learn about the Sacramento River region, science, art, history, forestry and horticulture. For more information about California state curriculum requirements or to schedule a field trip call 530-242-3108

ScienceWorks, located in Ashland, OR offers an experience for school groups like no other in far northern California and southern Oregon. The Field Trip Program is designed to spark student interest in science, support instruction of content and process standards, and provide a fun, multi-sensory environment that encourages discussion and collaborative learning. ScienceWorks staff members and trained volunteers guide students through a program that includes labs, demonstrations and team investigations. We hope to see your class here soon! You can start your trip registration online. If you have any additional questions that were not addressed here, please feel free to contact us at 541-482-6767 x226.

Bay Area Science Festival – October 22 –November 7, 2015
Though technically Region 2 many of you are close enough to make use of this resource.

The 5th annual Bay Area Science Festival returns this fall with over 50 events throughout the Bay Area. Be entertained, be educated, and fall in love with science all over again. Over 200 science, technology, and engineering organizations will present the fun and excitement of science through hands-on, interactive exhibits, science-themed performances and demonstrations, and family-oriented entertainment. Participating organizations range from leading research institutes and universities to high tech companies, museums and community organizations. Full festival schedule will be released on 9/8/15.


Workshops for Science in the River City (SIRC)
Location:  Sacramento State University
6000 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95819

Thursday, October 15, 2015 –  4:30-6:30
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 –  6:00-8:00
Tuesday, December 8, 2015 –  4:30-6:30
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 –  4:30-6:30
Tuesday, February 23, 2016 –  4:30-6:30
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 –   4:30-6:30

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.