September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Region 4 Fall Update

Posted: Thursday, November 1st, 2012

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

I hope that you are feeling renewed and invigorated after attending this year’s CSTA California Science Education Conference in San Jose!  The conference was full of information about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the K-12 Science Framework, best instructional practices, informal science education, environmental education and STEM curriculum. Not to mention the numerous opportunities for networking with science colleagues… there truly was something for everyone!

With the 2012-2013 school year now in full swing, region 4 has been bustling with opportunities for science educators.  In Orange County, many nature-inspired events have already happened and several more are scheduled.  The Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) offered a Community Nature Day on October 20th. Participants enjoyed a day in the mountains where they made recycled crafts and learned about composting and ways to reduce waste. And, do you enjoy strolling along a moonlit beach? If so, you would have enjoyed the program entitled, “Moonlight on the Bay” at Upper Newport Bay on October 27th.  Participants enjoyed a moonlit, naturalist hike and listened for nocturnal wildlife while watching the reflection of the moon on the water. In another part of the region, Riverside County hosted a science fair expo on October 13th to assist teachers in the process of science fair facilitation.

If you missed those, don’t worry – there are more fun events just around the corner for Riverside and Orange Counties. On November 13th, district science leaders in Riverside County will come together to learn about science assessment, data, grants, research-based strategies, instructional materials, California Department of Education updates, upcoming events, and hands-on activities.  For more information contact: Yamileth Shimojyo cces@rcoe.us.

Looking ahead to December, the OCDE is promoting a program entitled, “Get OUTDOORS!” to be held at Crystal Cove State Park on December 8th from noon to 3:00 p.m. This is a Citizens Science Program with the Crystal Cove Alliance, where naturalists will lead hikes and crafts.  For more information visit: http://ito.ocde.us/Programs/Community/Calendar.htm.

Finally, many of us are familiar with the Common Core Standards, yet would still like more information about how the they address literacy through science. The Riverside County Office of Education is offering a one-day workshop for teachers on January 22, 2013 from 8:30 to 3:30 to provide tools and resources for teachers to develop skills essential for teaching the Common Core through science.  For more information about this program, please contact Brad Shearer at cces@rcoe.us.

Please feel free to e-mail me directly at jwulfenstein@tvusd.k12.ca.us if you would like to add information about what’s happening in our region, or if you have questions or concerns that you would like represented to the CSTA board.

Written by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Jeanine Wulfenstein

Jeanine Wulfenstein taught science at Gardner Middle School and is now assistant principal at Bella Vista Middle School in Temecula. She is a member of CSTA. You can reach her by emailing jwulfenstein@tvusd.k12.ca.us.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.