January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

NGSS Implementation Rollout – Seeking Teams of Teacher Leaders and Administrators

Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by Laura Henriques
Updated May 14, 2014

This month’s issue of CCS focuses on biology and chemistry. Articles in this issue highlight some of the challenges around teaching these topics as we move towards Common Core and NGSS implementation. Jeanine Wulfenstein points out that the ideas are often abstract and difficult for students to grasp. These topics include a large number of vocabulary words that can get in the way of understanding, especially for English learners and students with special needs. Barbara Woods points out how discrepant events can be used to motivate and engage students by including the wow factor.  Both articles provide us with teaching strategies that engage and support students while incorporating aspects of NGSS and Common Core.

I do not think any of us could teach chemistry (or other abstract topics) without using models (one of the NGSS science and engineering practices). A discrepant event or surprising moment causes us to ask questions (another of the science and engineering practices). These questions are followed by investigations, tentative explanations and more investigations as students and teachers try to make sense of natural phenomena (even more science and engineering practices!). This approach puts the student-developed models to the test. Adjustments need to be made and the model gets refined. As they explain relationships, cause and effect, and try to make sense of the science they are seeing, they are meeting Common Core standards and science standards.

As Jeanine points out, professional learning communities, or communities of practice, allow us as teachers to go through a similar iterative process around our thinking about teaching and learning, NGSS implementation and meeting the needs of all our students. Just as student ideas about scientific phenomena are challenged and revised, our ideas about what science instruction looks like will be challenged and revised as we work together to implement NGSS. Changing our practice is non-trivial, but going through the process with colleagues helps. Not only do we get feedback on our ideas, we will have more ideas generated and the resulting final product will be stronger for the collaborative effort.

As you begin to make changes to your instruction I hope you will be living out the science and engineering practices. Ideally, you will make some adjustments to how you teach and then make observations and collect data related to those changes. Based on the results you will make further changes, analyze how they worked, etc. By scientifically approaching the changes you make to your practice you are modeling how science is done, you are being thoughtful about your practice and you are working collaboratively within the community of scientists. It is a process and requires new ways of thinking about teaching. Doing it with colleagues (your lab partners!) can ease the uncertainty.

California’s science education leaders from the California Department of Education, K12 Alliance, the California Science Project, county office of education science leaders (Curriculum & Instruction Steering Committee), and CSTA have planned some two-day NGSS workshops for school and district leaders this spring and fall. The agenda for these two-day events was jointly developed by five groups listed above. Just as discrepant events challenge student thinking and force kids to consider alternate explanations, the new standards are forcing all of us to rethink how we teach science.

To help California move towards embracing and implementing NGSS, two-day workshops will be offered throughout the state. These are designed for teams of teacher-leaders and administrators (ideally 5- 7 from the same district). The teams are encouraged to attend together to take advantage of the benefits which accrue from working with a small learning community. There are three workshops this spring and more scheduled for fall. We encourage you and other teacher leaders in your district to participate in these workshops so you can begin rethinking your science instruction in light of NGSS.

Visit the NGSS Rollout website about the events, agenda and registration information for the spring dates. (http://www.iplanevents.com/ngssrollout)

Spring 2014 dates: (Registration now open for these three spring events)

April 28-29 at San Joaquin County Office of Education

May 22-23 at Long Beach Hilton Hotel

May 27-28 at Crafton College Yucaipa

Fall 2014 dates (more may be added):
October 13-14, 2014, Fresno

San Diego, CA October 16–17, 2014 The San Diego meeting will be rescheduled for September to correspond with the STEM Symposium.

Oakland, CA October 20–21, 2014 The Oakland Event is being rescheduled.

October 23-24, 2014, Red Bluff

NGSSRollOutSessions

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and past-president of CSTA. She serves as chair of CSTA’s Nominating Committee and is a co-chair of the NGSS Committee.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.