September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

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 a past-president of CSTA.

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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).

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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.

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Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

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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”

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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

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Science Education Background

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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.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

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Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.