September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Region 1 – News and Events for March 2013

Posted: Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Valerie Joyner

Monday, March 4, is the deadline to submit workshop proposals for our CSTA Conference in October 2013. This is an opportunity for you to share your teaching discoveries and insights with your colleagues.  Whether you teach science in kindergarten, have special skills and/or lessons for middle school students, have evolved unique strategies for your English Language Learners, or challenges for your AP Chemistry students, we are looking to you to provide a variety of workshops for all different levels, disciplines, and current frameworks and standards.  I invite you to think outside the box and submit a proposal!

Are you looking for an unusual and exciting Offshore Ecology Professional Development opportunity this summer?   The Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary and PRBO Conservation Science are recruiting one teacher to join their science team and learn about the offshore ecology. You will stay onboard the research vessel R/V Fulmar and assist with daily operations as you learn about the ocean and how marine ecologists are monitoring distribution and abundance of marine wildlife as it relates to oceanographic conditions.

Visit to get the application materials, complete the application form (form a) (along with the two letters of recommendation forms b and c) and send to:

Jennifer Stock
Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
PO  Box 159
Olema, CA 94950
fax: 415 663 0315
phone: 415 663 0314

Events and Happenings Region 1:

The Sonoma County Office of Education is offering several spring workshop opportunities.  For additional information contact Mike Roa at

Here are samples of the offerings:

Mar. 2: Redwood Ed. (4th -12th grades) (9:00 a.m. – noon) Sonoma County Office of Education

Redwood Ed is a resource that provides both content and curriculum materials for teaching about the coast redwoods.

Mar. 2: Project WILD Aquatic (K-12th grade) 9:30 a.m. -3:30 p.m. – Sonoma County Office of Education

WILD Aquatic is a K-12 curriculum resource for teaching about aquatic organisms and ecology.

Mar. 6: The Conifer Connection (4th -12th grades) (4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) – Sonoma County Office of Education.  The Conifer Connection is a resource that provides content and curriculum materials for teaching about coniferous forests.

April 2: Project WILD (K-12th grades) (4:00-7:00) – Sonoma County Office of Education

Project WILD is a resource for teaching about organisms and ecology.

April 11: Ticks, Yellow Jackets, Mosquitoes and More! (K-8th grades) (4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.), Sonoma County Office of Education.  This workshop will teach you about a variety of invertebrates that have importance to the health of you and your students.

Written by Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner is a retired elementary science educator and is a member of CSTA.

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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.

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

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw


This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

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.

Is This a First: Young Female Teens Propose California Water Conservation Legislation?

Posted: Monday, August 28th, 2017

Meet the La Habra Water Guardians from the Optics of their Teacher Moderator, Dr. P.

by Susan M. Pritchard, Ph.D.

You have just won the 2016 Lexus Eco Challenge as one of four First Place Winners in the Middle School Category across the nation! Now, what are you going to do … go to Disneyland? No, not for four of the six La Habra Water Guardians, Disneyland is not in their future at this time. Although I think they would love a trip to Disneyland, (are you listening Mickey Mouse?), at this moment they are focused big time on one major thing … celebrating the passage of their proposed legislation: Assembly Bill 1343 Go Low Flow Water Conservation Partnership Bill and now promoting the enactment of this legislation. Learn More…

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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: