May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 3 – Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions Regarding NGSS

Posted: Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Dean Gilbert

In order to clarify the ambiguities and misconceptions that may exist regarding the document, Next Generation Science Standards, I have developed this simple chart that lists what the NGSS is and is not.

What We Know NOW NGSS IS …

  • a document that describes the performance expected after instruction is complete.
  • the end summative assessment product for what all students should know and be able to do.
  • a document that lays a foundation for what all students need to know.
  • a state-led effort to develop a new set of science standards, managed by Achieve, Inc. and derived from the National Research Council document, A
  • Framework for K-12 Science Education:  Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas.”
  • a document designed to provide greater emphasis on depth over breadth in studying a subject.
  • a document that presents science as it is–a combination of what we know (disciplinary core ideas and cross cutting concepts) and how we know it (practices).

What We Still Do Not Know NGSS is NOT…

  • a scope and sequence for instruction.
  • a curriculum ready to be taught.
  • a document intended to limit how much science students are to learn.
  • a document that describes how to teach.

The timeline for California is as follows:

  • Public Testimonies:
    • April 30, 2013; 3-5pm- Santa Clara COE (Webinar)
    • April 30, 2013; 3-5pm- Orange County Dept. of Ed (Live onsite webinar)
    • May 2, 2013; 3-5pm- Riverside COE (Live public meeting)
  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction Torlakson- Presentation of new Science Content Standards for California to the State Board of Education (SBE)- July 2013.
  • SBE has until November 2013 to adopt, modify, or reject

If adopted (with or without modification) the next steps:

There is current legislation (SB300- Hancock, for the development of a new Science Framework to begin February 2014 and finalized by December 2015.  If legislation is approved, CDE will solicit writers for a new California Science Curriculum Framework; this is the document that will CLEARLY guide the development of curricula and instructional resources, assessment plans, guidance for professional development programs, in-service, pre-service and teacher licensing standards, and criteria for adoption of instructional materials…our “HOW TO IMPLEMENT” Guide.

As for Instructional Materials, we will not see new instructional materials up for adoption until January 2018 (based on our current timeline.)

There is also pending legislation to suspend API and testing for non-ESEA courses (i.e., Science, History/Social Science) for 2014.  Any ESEA testing (science elementary, middle and high school–or our 5th, 8th and 10th grade science tests) stays until ESEA is re-authorized or goes away.  End of course exams at the high school in science are not part of ESEA, and therefore those go away if the legislation is passed.

So…My advice to you- RELAX, TAKE A BREATH!  The adoption-awareness -transition-implementation-evaluation process will be a long journey.  I truly believe our Science leaders at the state level are firmly grounded and focused on the development of a quality, hands-on K-12 science program for all our children of California.

Some additional web resources:

Superintendent Torlakson’s  Assessment Recommendations regarding science.  AB 484 (Bonilla) http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_484&sess=CUR&house=B&author=bonilla which is still in legislation, and has not been signed into law, addresses most of his recommendations from page 48 in the document, Recommendations for Transitioning California to a Future Assessment System.

SB 300 (Chaptered) – New Science Standards

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0251-0300/sb_300_bill_20111008_chaptered.html

SB 300 Current Session/Proposed legislation

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_300&sess=CUR&house=B&author=hancock

Written by Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert is the science coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, and a member 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.