September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Primary Teachers: The California Science Education Conference Is for YOU!

Posted: Saturday, September 1st, 2012

by Michelle French and Valerie Joyner

CSTA recognizes that teachers of primary grades play an instrumental role in the delivery of high quality science education in California.  Like all curricular areas, a strong foundation in science is critical to ensure students develop the skills and concepts needed to succeed throughout their journey from kindergarten to high school.  According to A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2012), “There is ample opportunity to develop scientific thinking, argumentation, and reasoning in the context of familiar phenomena in grades K-2, and that is the experience that will best support science learning across the grades.”  

As teachers of students in the primary grades, we understand the importance of providing primary teachers with the content and pedagogical support needed for us to implement excellent science programs for young children.  We are pleased to announce that CSTA is offering primary teachers the opportunity to participate in six hours of targeted professional development during the 2012 California Science Education Conference in our two-day Primary Physical Science Short Course.  In addition, there are amazing workshops, focus speakers, and exhibitors to provide you with materials and strategies to use in your classrooms upon returning to school.

The goal of the Primary Physical Science Short Course is to provide pre-school through second grade teachers with support in physical science content, a background of the Next Generation Science Standards, and a solid understanding of how we can integrate science with the California Common Core State Standards.  During Part I on Friday, October 19, we will begin with an overview of the Next Generation Science Standards, and Scott Granger, an elementary teacher from Petaluma City Schools, will lead us in developing our adult-level understanding of physical science.  Part II, which will be held on Saturday, October 20, will focus on how we can use the content of physical science to provide students with authentic opportunities to experience the California Common Core State Standards.  Joanna Totino, Director Bay Area Science Project at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, will lead a session on using science activities to boost English Language Development, and we will explore ideas for integrating physical science with other curricular areas.

As you are welcoming your students for the 2012-13 school year, we hope you will take time to approach your administrators and request permission to attend the 2012 California Science Education Conference in San Jose October 19-21.  We are excited to provide primary teachers with this amazing professional development opportunity, and look forward to having you join us.

 

Written by Michelle French

Michelle French is a STEM Curriculum Specialist at the Tulare County Office of Education and is a member of CSTA.

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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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

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).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

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.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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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”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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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

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

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.