April 2015 – Vol. 27 No. 8

News and Events in Region 2

Posted: Monday, August 1st, 2011

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, lewise2@sfusd.edu


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.

  1. Each Bank of America cardholder is allowed one free general admission on any eligible MOU day.
  2. Admission is non-transferable and for the cardholder only.
  3. Any valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card is acceptable. Photo ID is required along with the card.
  4. The program applies only to the first full weekend (consecutive Saturday and Sunday) of every month
  5. 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/kids.html

http://sanfrancisco.about.com/od/environmentnature/tp/Free-Nature-Walks-in-SF.htm

http://www.ebparks.org/node/58

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.

Written by Eric Lewis

Eric Lewis

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office and is CSTA region 2 director.

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Update on 2015 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

Posted: Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

by Jessica Sawko

For many months our members have been requesting clear information from the state department of education (CDE) regarding the purpose of the “science CSTs” that are being administered this year in grades 5, 8, and 10 and well as how the test scores from those assessments will be used for accountability purposes. The following was excerpted from a letter from the California Department of Education released on April 22:

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress for Science

As educators from across the state begin or continue to implement the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS), questions have been raised regarding the role of the summative science assessments which students in grades five, eight, and ten will participate in during the spring of 2015.

During the transition to the new science standards and assessments, the federally required science assessments in grades five, eight, and ten (i.e., California Standards Tests, California Modified Assessments, and California Alternate Performance Assessment) will continue to be administered until an assessment aligned to the CA NGSS is developed and approved by the SBE. A new assessment is currently under development and scheduled to be operational in 2018–19.

Because the current science tests are not aligned with the new CA NGSS, the results will not be used in any accountability reports; however, the scores will be publicly available. As in prior years, AYP is based only on ELA and mathematics. Science is not included in AYP calculations.

As reported by CSTA previously, API will not be calculated for the 2014/2015 school year. More information about the suspension, what that means for reporting in 2015/2016, review this letter dated March 17, 2015 that was sent to administrators.

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.

Legislative Action Alert – ESEA/NCLB Reauthorization

Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

CSTA’s counterparts at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has been actively representing the voice of science teachers in Washington D.C. This morning they sent out this call to action:

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are currently working to reauthorize (rewrite) No Child Left Behind. Please contact your members of Congress immediately, and ask them to make STEM education a national priority. At the Legislative Action Center of the STEM Education Coalition website, you can send a letter to your elected representatives, asking them to

  • Maintain a strong focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.
  • Continue the focus on math and science as required elements of any state’s accountability system.
  • Provide states with dedicated funding to support STEM-related activities and teacher training.

It is urgent that educators take a moment to write to your elected officials, and send this message to colleagues and networks in your school or district.

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.

Science Assessment & Accountability Update – FAQs Included

Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

by Jessica Sawko

On March 31, 2015 participants from the Science Assessment Stakeholder Meetings held in July 2014 were invited to participate in a follow up meeting to provide input on what a formative component, a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Digital Center, should look like for California. This NGSS Digital Center could include formative assessment tools similar to that of the Smarter Balanced Digital Library for ELA and mathematics. This meeting will take place at the end of April 2015. This is very exciting news as it gives some insight to the direction the state may take with the future statewide assessment system to support the Next Generation Science Standards.  Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

Where Are the Women in STEM? What Can We Do to Support and Retain Them?

Posted: Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

by Laura Henriques

Women are far less likely than men to earn pSTEM (physical Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) degrees or work in the field. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but it has gotten a bit of press lately. US News and World Reports had an article highlighting a Clinton Foundation Report showing women in developing countries have less access to cell phones (and therefore the internet) than men. This results in decreased access to health care, fewer job options, a lack of flexibility with work and childcare related issues, and a lowered sense of empowerment. That article linked to several other articles about the lack of diversity in STEM fields in the US, the leaky pipeline and more. Learn More…

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and president of CSTA.

Strategies for Assessing Student Understanding in the NGSS Classroom

Posted: Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

by Sara Dozier

Like me, you are probably excited about the opportunities that the Next Generation Science Standards offer students and teachers. For the first time in 17 years, our science standards are asking us to engage our students in science learning that is engaging, meaningful and just plain fun. In addition to our excitement, though, there is also some apprehension. 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.