September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Regional Update: Region 4 – Welcome, 2013!

Posted: Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

With the start of the New Year, Region 4 is bustling with preparations in anticipation of the next draft release of the NGSS and the impending implementation of Common Core Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments.  This shift in pedagogy and emphasis will mean changes in the way we do business in the classroom. 

If you are interested in being an instructional leader to find out more about what is happening and what this means for teachers, the Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) is offering a one day workshop on January 22, 2013 fro 8:30 – 3:30 to introduce what the Common Core Standards mean for Science and History-Social Science instruction across our state.

The Riverside County office of Education (RCOE) is also holding a collaborative meeting for all County Science Leaders.  On February 12, 2013 from 9:00 am to 2:00pm, science leaders from across the county will come together to learn about science assessment, data, available grants, instructional materials, research-based strategies, California Department of Education updates, upcoming events, and hands-on activities.  Participants will have an opportunity to participate in discussions and networking about STEM initiatives, the Next Generation Science Standards, and Common Core Standards.  For additional information contact Yamileth Shimojyo (cces@rcoe.us).

For those needing assistance and support in coordinating a science fair, RCOE is holding a Science Fair Coordinators meeting Thursday January 17, 2013 at 4:00pm.

For the outdoor enthusiast, the Orange County Department of Education is offering a celebration of World Wetlands Day at Upper Newport Bay at the Muth Center in Newport Beach on February 2, 2013.  World Wetlands day helps raise public awareness of the value and benefits of wetlands around the world.  For more information contact: http://ito.ocde.us/home.htm or 714-708-3885.

The Orange County Department of Education is offering even more outdoor fun at the Get Outdoors! Program at Peters Canyon Regional Park located in Orange on January 19, 2013 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm.  Enjoy outdoor activities geared to inspire your family to spend more time outside.  This program includes easy Naturalist led hikes, and crafts.  For more information contact http://ito.ocde.us/home.htm or 714-708-3885.

To remain current on the latest research, Science Educators in the San Diego region are invited to attend the San Diego Science Alliance Perspectives on Science Lecture series located at Point Loma Nazarene University.  Refreshments begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by a formal scientific presentation beginning at 5:00 p.m. Upcoming dates and topics include; The HIV Pandemic: Fighting AIDS in San Diego.  Featuring Dr. Douglas Richman (Professor of Pathology and Medicine and Director of the Center for AIDS Research, UC San Diego, Florence Seeley Riford Chair in AIDS Research, Staff Physician at the VA San Diego Healthcare System) on February 5, 2012.  The Early History of Life: A Solution to Darwin’s Dilemma on January 15, 2013.  The guest speaker will be Dr. J. William “Bill” Schopf, (Professor of Paleobiology & Director of IGPP CSEOL University of California, Los Angeles.)

For additional information on this monthly seminar series for science teachers, visit http://www.pointloma.edu/experience/academics/schools-departments/department-biology/science-education-programs/perspectives-science.

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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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

Cal

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: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.