January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Water, Water, Everywhere! – News & Events in Region 1

Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2011

by Valerie Joyner

Throughout our region and across the state we are heading straight into winter. We have already seen snow and rain, and look forward to more water falling from our skies. From snow high atop Mt. Shasta and the Trinity Alps, to the foggy and rainy days of our Central Valley, to the wind and rain whipped shores of our coast we can all appreciate this natural resource. Water, so critical to life on Earth, is tied to many aspects of our lives on a daily basis, as well as the curriculum we teach.


This time of year offers a great opportunity to pull water concepts into our science studies with some hands on experiences. One way I integrate water into my curriculum is through recording rainfall amounts each year. For the past several years my primary students have checked our rain gauge after each rain storm and recorded the amount of rainfall on a graph. We have rainfall records dating back to 2000. Throughout the year my students graph rainfall amounts in their science notebooks, compare amounts to previous year’s rainfall, and learn to read rainfall statistics in our local newspapers.
Students begin to see that rain falls at varying rates throughout our county. Another aspect of my water integration unit is the all time student favorite, the Room 4 Rainfall Report. This is a great tradition at our school, one that the students learn from and enjoy. After collecting rain and recording amounts, the students and I put together a rainfall report that is read over the school loudspeaker for all students to hear. After the report is finalized, three students are selected to give the report. They practice their given lines, and then go to the principal’s office.

Each rainfall report starts out the same: “Drip Drop, Drip Drop, we are your room 4 Rainfall Reporters for today”. A recording of a storm can often be heard in the background. The students go on to introduce themselves and then read the report over the school’s speaker system. The reports consists of three parts, first the current rainfall amounts are shared, followed by some rain trivia (the wettest place in the world, greatest amount of rainfall in one day, comparing rainfall in other local cities, etc.), and concluding with possible forecasts or updates on total rainfall for the year. The students end by saying “Drip Drop, Drip Drop, we are your room 4 Rainfall Reporters for today signing off“!

Using the winter months to explore and teach water concepts is an ideal way to support our students in applying science to their everyday lives; that crucial experiential form of learning. We can integrate water concepts like surface tension, solutions and dilutions, erosion, and cloud formation with water quality and conservation in our science classes. Whether we are teaching our students earth, physical, or life sciences, water always plays a role in that study. It is an integral part of many of our investigations and experiments.

We all have found and/or developed successful water science lessons, some integrated into other curricular areas and others specific to our area of study. Using our new technologies like whiteboards, document cameras, and computers adds new opportunities for our students – just see what a web search in your local area yields. Normally we try to schedule field trips for sunny weather, but a local wetland, marsh, or seasonal creek during the winter months can host an unforgettable learning experience for your students. What about a photo safari in the field followed by a session where the group works together to classify the photos on the smartboard?

I encourage you to think of all of the ways you use water throughout your science curriculum, and spend some time working with your students to find applications between their area of study and water. I would love to hear your ideas.

Events and Resources in Region 1

Bay Area Environmental Education Resources (BAEER) Fair
Saturday, January 21, 2012, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
3501 Civic Center Drive San Rafael, CA

Spend the day at the 35th annual BAEER Fair! This year there will be workshops for teachers, parents, students, and community members interested in wildlife, ecology, adventure and much more.  Over 70 resources will be available for learning about conservation and wildlife education, school gardens, and strategies for fostering environmental awareness. Discover the latest in classroom materials, environmental education programs, and field trip sites.

For more information, go to www.baeerfair.org, or call 510-657-4847.

Free Environmental Education Resources for Sonoma County Teachers (K-6)
The Sonoma County Office of Education has obtained free units of A Child’s Place in the Environment (ACPE) for distribution throughout Sonoma County.  These units, in self-contained binders, each contain 19 or 20 interdisciplinary lessons with pages in Spanish, that are designed to encourage students to become environmentally literate and to participate in environmental projects.

For more information contact Mike Roa at mroa@scoe.org.

California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) Network
The CREEC Network is one of California’s environmental education projects.  The network provides both state and regional newsletters that list workshops, curriculum materials, grant opportunities, and other items for science and environmental educators.

For more information go to www.creec.org, where you can request a Region 1 newsletter. You can request to be put on their mailing list.

Valerie Joyner is district science lead teacher for Petaluma City Schools and is the CSTA’s region 1 director.

Written by Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner is a retired elementary science educator and is a member 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!

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!

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.



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…

Written by Guest Contributor

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.