September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Do You Have a Growth Mindset?

Posted: Monday, October 19th, 2015

By Lisa Hegdahl

As our administration shared with us the traits of people who don’t give up in the face of challenges, my mind could not help but think of the parallels to teachers implementing NGSS. Coincidentally, I had spent the day at a Technical Assistance meeting for the Core Leadership team for our district’s CA NGSS Early Implementation group. As Early Implementers, we have had struggles, successes, and more struggles, all the while learning and growing as educators. Giving ourselves permission to fail and not be perfect, all Growth Mindset qualities, are critical to the process of learning how to provide NGSS 3-dimensional learning experiences for our students.

What Kind of Mind Do You Have?

Cool graphic, isn’t it? It appeared at the top of the agenda provided at my school’s September Leadership Committee meeting. Our district enjoys being on the cutting edge of California education, so this image was a reminder to us to persevere as we struggle productively. Created and used with permission by Reid Wilson @wayfaringpath icon from thenounproject.com

Growth Mindset – Trying NGSS in Your Classroom

You don’t have to be a teacher in a CA NGSS Early Implementation district to be, as Kathy DiRanna, statewide director for the K-12 Alliance, said in a September 2, 2015 EdSource article, “…bleeding on the cutting edge..” of NGSS. Many teachers have already begun to try components of NGSS in their classrooms with varying success.  These teachers want to challenge themselves and know that as they struggle, they learn. As they learn, they come to believe even more strongly that they can do anything. Mastering the teaching of NGSS is just a matter of time.

Growth Mindset – Attending NGSS Professional Development

If you attended the California Science Education Conference in Sacramento during the first weekend of October, it is a good bet that you have the Growth Mindset. You attended workshops, field courses and listened to focus speakers because you believe that you can accomplish anything, including NGSS Implementation, if you persevere.

This year’s annual California Science Education Conference may be over, but CSTA continues to provide California educators with opportunities to grow in their understanding of NGSS. In addition, each month CSTA publishes professional development opportunities across the state in California Classroom Science.

Upcoming Opportunities to Increase Your Understanding of NGSS

  1. Dates & Locations for the remaining NGSS Transition Phase, Rollout II
  • Fresno Workshop: October 15-16, 2015
  • San Marcos Workshop: October 22-23, 2015
  • Red Bluff Workshop: November 2-3, 2015
  • San Jose Workshop: November 9-10, 2015
  • Camarillo Workshop, December 8-9, 2015
  1. Look for the CA NGSS Rollout #3 Workshops coming in 2016!
  1. California Science Education Conference, Palm Springs, October 21-23, 2016

Growth Mindset by Reviewing the California Science Framework

The Science Framework Public Review sessions are coming! The Science Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve (Science Framework) will go into its first public review period November 17 – January 19. I encourage you to attend one of the CSTA hosted Science Framework review sessions being offered throughout the state or consider hosting your own CA Science Framework Review Session in your area. For details, keep an eye on the CSTA website, California Classroom Science and the Science page of the California Department of Education website. The Framework provides in depth information about NGSS and its practical application in the classroom.

No matter your role in science education, having the Growth Mindset will prepare you for the many challenges that lie ahead as California Implements NGSS.  Embracing the traits such as perseverance, learning from failure, and challenging oneself can make the difference in succeeding with moving implementation forward or making little progress. Regular collaboration with colleagues through professional development and CSTA membership will help to make the task less challenging.

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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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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.