January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Sara and Ellen Talk About Testing

Posted: Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

by Sara and Ellen

As the end of the school year approached, I thought it best to allow Sara and Ellen to finish their years without my asking for another article. But alas, they wanted one more opportunity to pass along some new teacher wisdom to others.  They decided to write about testing, both the CST experiences at their sites and how finals were handled. What you see below are their thoughts about CSTs and final exams.

California Standards Tests

Sara: Our school year started at the beginning of August, so by the time the CST’s came around in mid-April, I had already taught my students 95% of the material they needed to know. This was great because my students came back after the test feeling very confident and told me that the test was actually very easy. Of course, I will need to wait until I see their scores to see if that was really the case. The students were scheduled for four days of testing: Tuesday and Wednesday in two consecutive weeks, one test each day. This seemed to work out fine; but we did not have any shortened days. Instead, the students tested in the morning, then had to go to each class. By the time they got to class, they were exhausted, and getting through any material was impossible. I feel like everyone would have benefited from having minimum days during testing.

Ellen: Because our school is on the 4X4 schedule, the students take four classes in the fall and four different classes in the spring; our schedule was very weird. The students in the fall had already learned 100% of the material by early January. However, they hadn’t seen any chemistry since then. The students in the spring were about 70% through the material, and that was rushing them along. So, I decided to hold review sessions after school for three days. I sent notes to all my students from fall and made the sessions worth extra credit points for those who attended. Surprisingly, I had a lot of students show up from both semesters and we were able to review all of the material. I do not know how much this actually helped the students, but at the very least, the students said they felt better about taking the CSTs. I am looking forward to see how the students do on their tests, and hopefully will see a positive pattern for those who turned up at the review sessions.

Final Exams

Sara: Our finals schedule was a bit hectic because we had to make sure that seniors took their finals early. Since my classes are mixed grades, I gave my final early to all of my students, which then gives the students a couple days after to do all the yearbook signing and relaxing that they have been longing for. All of our finals are written by the district, so all I need to do is make sure the scantrons get to the district office. Then, the district posts the scores online so that I can enter them into my grade book. This makes final week go by very smooth for me because I don’t have to do much work. However, the common assessments are terrible because cheating runs rampant and I lose all of the freedom to give my own final.

Ellen: As for the finals schedule at our school, we have two-hour final blocks on two minimum days. So, the last three days are minimum days. Day one are periods 1 and 2 final blocks. Day two are periods 3 and 4 final blocks. Day three, students go to all of their classes for less than an hour. This serves as a way to have any students who were absent take their finals and to wrap everything up. While it is a “throw away day” I love it. This day allows for teachers to tell students their final grades, allow yearbook-signing, and some goodies to be shared. while this might seem a little elementary, it is a really fun day for teachers and students to wrap-up the school year.

Rick: I want to thank Sara and Ellen for their willingness to share their first year teacher experiences with us this year. As we move forward in our careers, we need to remember what it is like to be at the beginning of our careers. There are so many things to remember, lessons to plan, students’ names to learn, procedures and policies to implement, and the entire culture of the school to adopt. It is not an easy task. Sara and Ellen have done an admirable job of sharing their thoughts and questions with us.  I look forward to following their careers as they mature into the outstanding teachers that I know they can be.  Please take a moment and add a comment at the bottom of this article or send an email to SaraandEllen@gmail.com.  I am sure that they will appreciate your encouragement as they move into year 2.

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Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis and is a past-president of CSTA.

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Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

OVERVIEW
Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.

REGISTER

http://bit.ly/ACCELERATINGINTONGSS

DATES & LOCATIONS
MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

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.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal 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.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. 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.

Find Your Reason to Engage

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Jill Grace

I was recently reflecting on events in the news and remembered that several years ago, National Public Radio had a story about a man named Stéphane Hessel, a World War II French resistance fighter, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and contributor to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The story focused on a book he had published, Time for Outrage (2010).

In it, Hessel makes the argument that the worst attitude is indifference:

“Who is in charge; who are the decision makers? It’s not always easy to discern. We’re not dealing with a small elite anymore, whose actions we can clearly identify. We are dealing with a vast, interdependent world that is interconnected in unprecedented ways. But there are unbearable things all around us. You have to look for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage. The worst attitude is indifference. ‘There’s nothing I can do; I get by’ – adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”

His words make me take pause when I think of the status of science in the United States. A general “mistrust” of science is increasingly pervasive, as outlined in a New Yorker article from the summer of 2016. 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.