November/December 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 2

NSTA Is Coming to Los Angeles!

Posted: Monday, November 14th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

With the 2016 California Science Education Conference now in our rear view, CSTA has begun to look towards the next major science education event scheduled to take place in our fine state – the National Science Teachers Association’s National Conference on Science Education! This incredible event is expected to draw more than 10,000 science educators from all over the country to the Los Angeles Convention Center March 30-April 2, 2017. Luckily for us here in California, this incredible event right here in our great state, and CSTA members are eligible to register for the conference at member rates! For more information and to register today, visit http://www.nsta.org/conferences/national.aspx.

To help you make the most of the professional learning opportunities available at the Los Angeles conference, the Conference Committee has planned the conference around four strands that explore topics of current significance, enabling you to focus on a specific area of interest or need.

NGSS: The Next Generation of Science Teaching

Celebrate the vision of three-dimensional teaching and learning in the NRC Framework and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This strand provides engaging and collaborative examination of the NGSSarchitecture to allow teachers to implement the changes necessary to construct a coherent program, including classroom practice and instructional sequence, as well as to build student skills. Bundling performance expectations connects the three key dimensions within a progression. This strand will focus on providing opportunities for students to collaborate as they develop and use science and engineering practices, communicate evidence of core scientific understanding, and apply real-world contexts. Alignment of assessments connecting core concepts, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts is essential.

2017: A STEM Odyssey

Students’ science learning has changed dramatically from learning in the past. In a STEM environment, students’ understanding of the world around them is facilitated through the intentional connections between the four disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM curriculum provides research-based instructional strategies that engage diverse learners and highlights career pathways in STEM-related fields. More importantly, STEM provides opportunities for all students to place themselves in a 21st-century world. In this strand, participants will connect and collaborate to increase their understanding and ability to teach STEM-based lessons and instructional sequences.

Science & Literacy Reloaded

With the continued emphasis on mathematics and language arts, elementary teachers have not been encouraged or given opportunities to teach science. This strand will support these teachers in seeing the connections between science and literacy. Elementary science will be re-envisioned as an opportunity for authentic language learning and not just one more thing to squeeze into the curriculum. As students investigate natural phenomena, they collect data to then make claims from their evidence and explain their reasoning, arguing from their evidence. Teachers can then support their students’ language and literacy through science notebooks, technical writing, interactive journals, and e-portfolios. This strand will allow teachers to become advocates of literacy in science, blending oral and written communication skills within the science curriculum.

Mission Possible: Equity for Universal Access

Access to science education is not a privilege; it is a right for students of all abilities, genders, languages, socioeconomic status, and geographic locations. A quality science education is essential in closing the skills gap in our current workforce. Science learning must start in early childhood and be sustained through postsecondary education to keep our nation as a leader in innovation. Current challenges provide opportunities for equitable access to science education. Some issues include maximizing student achievement for exceptional students while respecting cultural and linguistic diversity in order to celebrate those differences. The sessions in this strand will focus on pedagogical best practices to enhance learning for ALL.

Make your plans to join CSTA in Los Angeles this March 30-April 2, 2017. Register today!

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.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

Priority Features of NGSS-Aligned Instructional Materials

Posted: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Recommendations for Publishers, Reviewers, and Educators. The California Science Teachers Association and the science teachers associations of three other Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) west-coast states, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, have co-authored a white paper on priority features of NGSS instructional materials. This is the first time our states have collaborated to convey a common vision on an issue of great importance for the implementation of the NGSS. We understand all too well that for meaningful shifts to happen and to support the full vision of the NGSS, strong K-12 Instructional materials are required. 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.

State Board Moves Forward Two Key Pieces Supporting CA NGSS Implementation

Posted: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

CSTA President Jill Grace provides public comment at the November 8, 2017, California State Board of Education meeting.

On November 8, 2017, the California State Board of Education (SBE) took action on two items of import relating to the implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS). One item was relating to the California Science Test (CAST) and the other to instructional materials. CSTA provided both written and oral comments on both items along with providing input on what CSTA and many other advocates view as a critical component of our state’s emerging accountability system – student access to a broad course of study. 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.

NGSS – Early Attempts and Later Reflections from an Early Implementer Teacher

Posted: Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

by Christa Dunkel

  • There are so many acronyms! Where do I start?
  • What “baby step” should I take first? 
  • How can I make this happen in my elementary classroom?

All of these thoughts and more swam through my head over three years ago when I began my journey into NGSS. I was fresh from a week-long institute with the K-12 Alliance as part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. Much of the week was spent on digging into the NGSS architecture – how the standards are set-up, how to read the standards, what each of the three dimensions meant. Now that I knew how to read them, I needed to figure out how to implement them into my classroom of 24 eight-year-olds. With some guidance from the K-12 Alliance leaders and my own district-level NGSS team, I began the process with some easy “baby steps.” Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.

CSTA Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There are time and energy commitments, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. 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.

Expanding Your Definition of Informal Science Education

Posted: Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

by Lori Walsh

When deciding on a field trip, zoos, aquariums and science centers typically come to mind. These facilities offer students hands-on opportunities to make science observations using inquiry. Teachers can schedule standards aligned workshops or self-guided visits. If your students have already visited these facilities, you can broaden your options by exploring the larger world of Informal Science Education. Nature centers, non-profits, and environmental groups often also offer NGSS aligned programs in the natural setting. Your students can discover the local environment while making memorable experiences. Learn More…

Written by Lori Walsh

Lori Walsh

Lori Walsh is the Education/Operations Supervisor at SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort and Informal Science Director for CSTA.