September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Science Teachers – In What Ways Have You Partnered with Your School Librarian?

Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

by Laura Henriques

Early this spring the California School Library Association, CSLA,  hosted their annual conference. They invited subject area professional organizations to attend the meeting and do a presentation. I was there to represent CSTA and do a workshop. Since then I have had a few conversations with Dr. Lesley Farmer, a colleague of mine at CSULB and former President of the California School Library Foundation, CSLA’s Vice President and editor of CSLA’s journal, about ways to that our members might be able to collaborate and learn with and from each other. School librarians and media specialists can be powerful partners and help us find good resources.

As you will see in the article (below) which Lesley wrote for CSLA’s monthly newsletter, we came up with a variety of ways that our members could benefit by working together. She is putting together a joint CSLA/CSTA webinar (hosted by CSLA but available to both organizations) for this summer. We’ll share details when they are finalized.

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I challenge all of us to think about ways that the implementation of NGSS can be supported by partnering with our school media specialists/school librarians. Here are a few ideas to consider. I encourage you to add your ideas to the comment section below this article.

  • We may want to have students to do some reading about the science behind phenomenon other than that which is found in a textbook. Those of you who have participated in NGSS lessons at the Rollout Symposium around the state have experienced science lessons that have a reading embedded into the lesson after you’ve had the opportunity to engage and explore a phenomenon. Our librarians may be able to help us locate appropriate texts.
  • Librarians can help us locate data from online databases. These can be used to help answer a range of quesitons, enable us to argue from evidence and much more. Many of the science and engineering practices can be employed using data from online databases.
  • Expertise in searching out resources that help us teach (lesson ideas, pedagogical strategies, and more) is another way school librarians can support us. ERIC, subject matter databases and the like have articles and resources that are helpful for us and school librarians are probably more skilled at finding and searching than we are.
  • More and more, school librarians are providing tech support. While they are not in charge of the servers or networks, they do tend to have a fluency with educational technology that many classroom teachers lack.

Thanks in advance for sharing ideas about how we can partner with our school librarians!

PARTNERSHIPS FOR STUDENT SUCCESS

(republished with permission)

by Dr. Lesley Farmer, California State University Long Beach
8 March 2016
for CSLA Newsletter

We know that school library programs can only fulfill their mission if library workers collaborate with the entire school community. However, we can expand our reach by partnering with organizations. Such partnering can be done individually and as a group. Profession associations help you, your program, and the field.

School libraries should provide professional materials for teachers, including professional organization periodicals. Sometimes teachers will donate their past issues to the library if they know that the library will maintain them and ensure access to them. It is also a good practice for librarians to become members of at least one related professional association; some possible ones are CUE, International Literacy Association,  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and subject-specific ones (which might support the librarian’s initial credential area) such as the National Science Teacher Association [or California Science Teachers Association].

Librarians can also conduct faculty development in partnership with other teachers at the local site and district level. Librarians can also present at professional associations, again emphasizing the advantage of sharing library topics to non-librarian attendees of conferences and other professional organizations. Co-presenting with a classroom teacher or administrator can be particularly impactful. Even attending professional development in a related or different discipline informs librarians, and gives them an opportunity to suggest ways that school libraries can play a role in their field.

Even if librarians cannot attend conferences, they can read the publications of those professional associations, be it a blog entry, newsletter item, or journal article. Furthermore, they can write for those publications. Often newsletters or journals announce themed issue, so librarians can plan ahead to optimize their writing contributions.

At the recent CSLA conference, a concerted effort was made to invite other professional associations to present. Dr. Laura Henriques, who is active in the California Science Teacher Association, gave a very engaging session on the Next Generation Science Standards and ways that librarians can support those standards. In a follow-up discussion with Dr. Henriques, I was able to brainstorm with her about ways to develop our professional partnerships: writing for each other’s publications – including joint articles, co-sponsoring and co-presenting webinars, co-sponsoring and co-presenting at professional development venues, and sharing resources.

These kinds of partnerships exemplify mutual benefits. Each partner brings unique expertise and experiences, and benefits from cross-fertilization efforts. They also raise awareness of each other’s organization. The sharing and learning strengthens each person’s – and each organization’s – effectiveness to provide curricular resources and instruction that lead to student success.

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and a past-president of CSTA.

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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.

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

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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.

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

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

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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.