September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1


Free Resources    Teacher Opportunities    Awards and Competitions for Students         Awards and Grants for Teachers

Free Resources

The California Academy of Sciences has a large variety of workshops, resources, guides, and tools available for teachers implementing CA-NGSS. See this summary of offerings and follow the links for more information. Or visit They also offer incredible resources for science notebooking, from beginners to veterans you will find strategies for deepening your students’ learning.

Second Release of NGSS Example Bundles
The Example Bundles (formerly known as the Model Content Frameworks for Science) will show samples of ways to bundle the NGSS within a school year. “Bundling” is an important strategy for implementing standards, as it brings coherence to instruction and greatly reduces the amount of instructional time necessary.

In June, Achieve released the first set of Example Bundles which featured the following resources:

  • Kindergarten Bundles (Thematic Model and Topics Model)
  • Middle School Course I Models (Phenomenon and Topics Model)
  • High School Course I Models (Conceptual Progressions Model and Domains Model – Chemistry)
  • NGSS Example Bundles Guide

In August, Achieve released the second set of bundles which highlight the following resources:

  • 1st Grade Bundles (Thematic Model and Topics Model)
  • 4th Grade Bundles (Thematic Model and Topics Model)
  • High School Course II Models (Conceptual Progressions Model and Domains Model – Physics)

All of the currently available NGSS Example Bundle resources can be viewed here.

The remaining sets of example bundles will be released in coming months and will ultimately cover all grade levels. This rollout will help ensure that curriculum developers for science, including educators and commercial publishers, have a broad set of examples to consider in preparation for the 2016-17 school year.

CREEC Network Newsletters
CREEC publishes a Statewide e-Newsletter (10 issues per year), and local regional Newsletters (4 issues, Quarterly). You may choose from Statewide and/or Local Newsletters, sent directly to your inbox!  CREEC will, on occasion, send you email announcements regarding time-sensitive opportunities (no more than once per week).  Archives and a newsletter sign-up form are available online.

CSTA Facebook Pages
These groups are active and exclusive to educators that meet those descriptors. Ask questions, share resources, get answers – join today!

To join a group, please submit a request on that page:

NGSS Rollouts 1 & 2 Presentation Materials
You can find all the materials from the first and second phases of the NGSS Rollouts on the CA NGSS My Digital Chalkboard reference page. These materials are intended to be used for further local training and development. Educators are strongly encouraged to attend a Rollout training before using the posted materials to develop instructional activities or deliver training.

NGSS Classroom Sample Tasks
The Classroom Sample Tasks blend content, practices, and concepts from both the NGSS and the Common Core State Standards. Teachers across the disciplines have collaborated to write sample tasks, which are the result of a vision of integrating science, engineering, and mathematics for classroom use.

Currently, nine draft middle and high school tasks are available below. Additional tasks, including those for elementary grade levels, will be added as they become available. Educators are encouraged to modify these tasks for their needs and to let us know how they can be improved (via the website contact form).  It important to note that these tasks are drafts and that they will be revised as we receive feedback from users.

NGSS Frequently Asked Questions by CDE
CDE has compiled a comprehensive FAQ site around the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for California.

Digital Chalkboard
The Digital Chalkboard replaces the Brokers of Expertise Web site. The portal now has more than 400,000 digital resources, including training modules and videos, model lesson plans, and researched-based data. Teachers can also use the Web site to join discussion groups where they can share success stories and help each other improve their teaching. It is faster and easier to navigate and provides more assistance to teachers.

Check out the California Common Core State Standards: Professional Learning Modules: Literacy in Science. Not only is the content great, the module features many CSTA members!

Teacher Opportunities

Join the Sacramento County Office of Education for the Professional Learning Series for English Language Arts/English Language Development, Mathematics, Next Generation Science Standards and Technology-related workshops. Register now for one, two, or even all of the workshops offered by the Sacramento County Office of Education, Curriculum and Instruction Department.

English Language Arts/English Language Development
September 7, Writing Arguments (Grades 6-12)
October 5, An Introduction to Integrated and Designated English Language Development Instruction

September 27, Number Sense from Place Value to Fractions, Part 1
November 29, Five Instructional Strategies that Support Coherence in Common Core Mathematics Standards (K-12)

September 19, Get to Know the Next Generation Science Standards
October 19, Engineering Implementation Strategies in Next Generation Science Standards

October 25, Get Techie with Weebly
November 8, Get Techie with Google

Many more workshops are available!

To see a listing of all workshops, please view the interactive catalog or visit

Cost: $25.00 per workshop (unless otherwise noted)

Training location:
Sacramento County Office of Education
10474 Mather Blvd.
Mather, CA 95655

Training hours:
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (unless otherwise noted)

Opportunities to Participate in the Redevelopment of the Commission’s Teaching Performance Assessment (CalTPA)
The Commission is seeking current California teachers, practicing TK-12 school administrators, educators who help prepare and/or mentor beginning teachers, and teacher preparation program faculty to participate in the upcoming pilot testing, field testing, scoring, and standard setting study for the Commission’s model Teaching Performance Assessment (CalTPA) currently under redevelopment. It is anticipated that pilot testing will take place during 2016-17, with field testing and the standard setting study taking place during 2017-18. Scoring opportunities will be available both years. The Commission’s Executive Director recently appointed 20 members to a California Design Team to work with Commission staff and its technical contractor, Evaluation Systems group of Pearson, to redevelop the CalTPA. The continuing involvement of California educators as the CalTPA is redeveloped will help ensure that candidates have the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the job of a beginning California teacher. If you are interested in finding out more about participating in the pilot test, field test, scoring, and/or standard setting activities for the CalTPA, please contact Evaluation Systems at

The San Joaquin County Office of Education STEM Department will be offering a great deal of professional learning opportunities for science education in the coming 2016-17 school year. For dates and information, check out these links:
TK-5 PD flyer
6-8 PD flyer
9-12 PD flyer

For information about programs and events this summer visit:

Apply to Participate in CA NGSS Assessment Development
Educational Testing Services (ETS) is soliciting applications for content reviewers for the new CA NGSS assessment and alternate assessment. Apply today:

Association of American Educators Foundation Classroom Grant Application
Classroom grants can be used for a variety of projects and materials, including but not limited to books, software, calculators, math manipulatives, art supplies, audio-visual equipment, and lab materials. The number of classroom grants awarded will depend on the total number of applicants. Grants are available for up to $500. Funds must be used within one year of the application deadline. Due: October 1st and March 1st each year.

Captain Planet Foundation
The mission of Captain Planet Foundation is to promote and support high quality, educational programs that enable children and youth to understand and appreciate our world through learning experiences that engage them in active hands-on projects to improve the environment in their schools and communities. Awards range from $250-$2,500 with preference to applicants who have a 50% match or in-kind. Due: September 30th- typically for spring and summer projects and January 31st- typically for fall and winter projects.

Awards and Competitions for Students and Teachers


The BioBuilderClub engages high school teams around the country who combine engineering approaches and scientific know-how to design/build/test their own project ideas.

We launch with a kickoff meeting in October, support teams through monthly online group meetings, and provide a nationally recognized platform in March to exhibit projects at any stage of completion, from pitch to prototype. Last year we had teams who built a microbe to dissolve splinters, a sensor for acrylamide in fried foods, and a living solution to honeybee colony collapse.

We are the only informal synthetic biology club of its kind with a commitment to high school teams in the US, running from start to finish during the academic year, and remaining affordable for all those who wish to participate. All teams, large or small, receive the BioBuilder textbook, a kit of laboratory reagents and support during the academic year from remote scientist mentors. Funding for the BioBuilderClub is provided by the BioBuilder Educational Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to authentic, engaging STEM education, and our supporting partners, Biogen and New England Biolabs.

We hope you’ll join us!  If you can’t participate in the BioBuilderClub this year, please help us spread the word by forwarding this email to other people who may be interested.

Please visit our website for more information:

eCYBERMISSION Web-Based STEM Competition
Registration for eCYBERMISSION, a web-based STEM competition free to students in grades 6–9, is now open. eCYBERMISSION challenges students to develop solutions to real-world challenges in their local communities. A complete team must be registered by December 7. For more information please go to:

Register for The Bright Schools Competition Today
Engage students in STEM education with The Bright Schools Competition. In this free competition, middle school students (grades 6–8) explore the links among light, sleep, student health, and performance. Registration is open and projects are due on February 6, 2017. For more information please go to:


U.S. Department of State Scholarships for American High School Students to Study Abroad
Applications are now being accepted for the following study abroad programs for U.S. high school students. These merit-based scholarships include airfare,tuition, and program costs, as well as meals and living accommodations (often with a host family). The programs have no language prerequisites, and gap year students are encouraged to apply as long as they meet the age requirements.

Awards and Grants for Teachers Launches $1,000 Teacher Grants

Submit a write-up on the benefits of classroom technology for a chance to win big is giving away a total of $3,000 to three lucky teachers. Starting today, teachers can submit a 400-500 essay on the impacts of having improved classroom technology, and how the grant money would be used. Three winners will be selected on March 10, 2017, and each will win $1,000 to spend on new technology for their classroom.

All write-ups are encouraged to include the following:

  • A learning challenge exacerbated by inadequate technology
  • Specific technology you plan to utilize
  • Reasons why such technology will support your teaching efforts
  • Anticipated impacts that improved technology will have on your students

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. EST on Feb. 24, 2017. For more information, visit

Make Over Your Science Lab by Winning the Shell Science Lab Challenge

The Shell Science Lab Challenge, sponsored by Shell and administered by NSTA, encourages teachers (grades 6–12) in the U.S. and Canada, who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources, to share their approaches for a chance to win up to $93,000 in prizes, including a grand prize school science lab makeover support package valued at $20,000. Registration deadline is January 23, 2017. To apply and for more information please go to:

Submit Your Lesson Plan for a Chance at $500!
Interested in winning $500 for your classroom?® is looking for the best lesson plans for teaching students about energy or sustainability. We teach consumers of all ages about the many aspects of energy in our Learning Center through blog posts, videos and infographics. Plus, our Nico the Ninja guides help teach kids about electrical safety and energy savings. For more information visit Application Deadline: October 21, 2016.

National Science Teachers Association Awards: The deadline for NSTA Awards Nominations is November 30, with two exceptions. Visit for details.

An abundance of additional resources can be found on the CSTA website at