May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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 past-president of CSTA. She serves as chair of CSTA’s Nominating Committee and is a co-chair of the NGSS Committee.

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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. 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 NGSS 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.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.