News and Events in Region 2
by Eric Lewis
It’s unbelievable that August is already upon us. In San Francisco Unified, school starts in just two weeks; so much for summer!
As you are all gearing up for the coming school year, take some time to think about what parts of your curriculum you’re hoping to improve and what parts of your curriculum you’re going to throw away! I know we are all guilty of reusing some of our old activities and labs – and we should, since much of it is great. That said it’s our duty as teachers to meet the needs of our students. Sometimes that means putting ourselves into situations where we’re the learners and our students are the experts.
When possible - and appropriate - use some new technology in your classroom. I’m not just talking about using a video projector or a document viewer. I mean to actually create an assessment for students based on a video that they created. KQED QUEST’s media-making toolkit could help out with planning this kind of thing! Or, have students participate in creating blogs or in making slideshows to illustrate their knowledge. Of course, our schools provide us with only so much allowance for materials, and we only have so many computer labs to use…but, how are we going to create the learners, problem solvers and creative thinkers of tomorrow if we’re still assessing students on facts and skills that are based on last year’s (or last century’s) technology?
Please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our region’s offerings! Also, encourage your colleagues to join CSTA. I’m hoping that we’ll have the opportunity to grow our organization and expand to meet your needs and your colleague’s needs. To that end, please feel free to email me directly so that I can represent your questions and concerns with the CSTA board as a whole.
Good luck with the start of your school year! I look forward to seeing you all down in Pasadena for our next CSTA conference from October 21 – 23!
Eric Lewis, email@example.com
Fintastic! Sharks Program at SF Main Library w/ QUEST
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the SF Public Library Main Branch
QUEST’s Emmy-award winning “Great White Shark: Meet the Man in the Gray Suit” will be screening at the SF Public Library as a part of a special program put together by Kati Schmidt, at the Aquarium of the Bay. Chris Bauer, the producer of the segment, will be a panelist. He’ll also be at the kids program.
Aquarium of the Bay’s Fintastic! Shark Discovery Program
Tuesday, August 2: Main Library Branch Special Program!
- 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Kids programming at the Children’s Center
- 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Film screening and discussion surrounding threats to sharks and Assembly Bill, AB 376
Museums on Us® Weekend at the Chabot Space & Science Center
Through Chabot’s participation in the Museums on Us® program, Bank of America Cardholders receive free admission during the first full weekend of every month (August 6 and 7). Present your valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card at the Visitor Services desk for one free admission.
- Each Bank of America cardholder is allowed one free general admission on any eligible MOU day.
- Admission is non-transferable and for the cardholder only.
- Any valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card is acceptable. Photo ID is required along with the card.
- The program applies only to the first full weekend (consecutive Saturday and Sunday) of every month
- Not to be combined with other offers
Exploratorium Free Day
There is always free admission to the Exploratorium on the first Wednesday of each month (August 3); however, due to capacity limits, groups of 10 or more are required to make reservations or will not be admitted. The Exploratorium is located in San Francisco in the landmark Palace of Fine Arts building in San Francisco’s Marina district, off Highway 101 near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Enjoy Nature in the Bay Area – go on a hike!
There are so many amazing places to hike in the bay area. Check out these websites to get inspired!
http://www.bahiker.com/northbayhikes/ringmountain.html (this is one of my personal favorites up in Marin!)
Free EXCELLENT Science Lessons and Other Resources
If you’re hoping to add a few new labs or activities this year, be sure to check out SEP Lessons. This is a great free resource that is maintained by SEP at UCSF and has contributions from many teachers and scientists.
Also, be sure to check out the Exploratorium’s Educator Resources. The Exploratorium is always adding on new resources so you never know what you’ll be able to find. Check out one of my personal favorites: The Secret Lives of Flowers.
Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office and is CSTA region 2 director.
by Jessica Sawko
2014 will be a very busy year for the Next Generation Science Standards in California. On November 6, 2013, the State Board of Education took action on the issue of the middle school learning progression that they had left undecided at their September 2013 meeting. Their decision was to accept the revised recommendation that California adopt the integrated model as developed by the Science Expert Panel (SEP) as the preferred model for California middle grades science instruction, and to reconvene the SEP to develop a discipline specific model based on the domain specific model in Appendix K. The SEP is meeting on December 4 and 5 to begin this task. Once the SEP completes their work (estimated March 2014) school districts will be able to evaluate both – and choose between the integrated and discipline-specific models based on which they think will best serve their students. No further State Board action will be required to adopt the alternative discipline-specific arrangement. I encourage you to read NGSS for Middle Grades: Tips for Implementation – Step 1, Don’t Rush for tips and information.
2014 will bring a number of opportunities for science teachers to become involved in the NGSS implementation process: Learn More…
by Jill Grace and Marian Murphy-Shaw
Since April 2013 when the national version of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) went public, California has been working at a steady pace to move from lead contributing state to active implementation. CSTA members and other readers of California Classroom Science may be the best informed educators in the state on NGSS at this time. This article is intended to aid middle grade teachers in communicating up-to-date information to your colleagues in science education and the educational leaders you work with.
The number one point which science education leaders, the California Department of Education (CDE), professional learning providers, and the NGSS Achieve group are all making is not to rush, there is no hurry, that 2016-17 is the probable target for full implementation. As with Common Core implementation, a sequence of events, resource preparation, policies, and teacher awareness and transition support will all occur over the next few years. Now that you can breathe again, here is a rundown of common questions and next steps to consider as you start the work towards toward NGSS implementation. Learn More…
by Susan Gomez Zwiep and Jody Sherriff
Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are integral to the development of new knowledge in science both by students in the classroom and by scientists in the field. The new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA provide a new opportunity for science teachers to integrate ELA into science instruction in ways that mirror and support scientific thinking.
Consider this scenario: when you start a new unit about density and buoyancy think about what activity or series of observations might engage your students’ curiosity. As you introduce the unit, the goal is not to “teach” but rather, to get students talking so you can assess their prior knowledge. If you are someone who typically begins by reading part of the textbook or reviewing important vocabulary, resist these urges for now and instead start immediately with a hands-on activity. Learn More…
My First Science Conference…How Did I End Up Here? Reflections of a Non-Science Person Teaching Elementary Science
by Cheryl Romig
OK, so here’s my dirty laundry. I actually chose my major in college based on the number of science classes I would have to take. I can vividly remember lying on the dorm floor, college course catalog spread out in front of my freshman year, counting science classes and crossing off potential majors if I had to take more than two. That was my limit… two classes in four years would surely send me over the edge. Learn More…
In this past month the newspapers, magazines and television shows have been commemorating the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Kennedy inspired a generation to volunteer, to do for others and to give back to their nation. He asked Americans to step-up and to do more. As we remember and celebrate that spirit of serving, I ask you to consider what you can do for science education.
Over the past couple of months CSTA has been promoting opportunities for you to become more engaged in California science education. I have talked to people who have applied to serve on the California Department of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission and the Framework Focus Groups. Lots of you have thought about the workshop proposals you will submit for the 2014 NSTA Long Beach Area Conference – in Collaboration with CSTA! (Remember that the deadline for submission is January 15, 2014.) Learn More…