Overview: Achieve recently released two tools for screening and reviewing science assessment tasks- the Science Task Prescreen and the Science Task Screener. These tools will be necessary additions to your toolbox of NGSS assessment resources.
Purpose: The Science Task Prescreen (my personal favorite) is a 1-pager with 8 questions that an individual or group can use to quickly review an assessment task and make some decisions about how and if it requires modification to meet the expectations of NGSS assessment shifts. The Science Task Screener is a more substantial tool that could be used for more in-depth review and modification of assessment tasks.
Audience: Teachers, curriculum developers, assessment writers, PD providers, teacher educators, others
Overview: The National Academies just released a new consensus study report titled English Learners in STEM Subjects: Transforming Classrooms, Schools and Lives. Like other reports from The National Academies this report is free as a pdf or to read in your browser.
Purpose: This report provides a wealth of background and resources from an asset-oriented view of English Learners. Just skimming the table of contents makes it clear that this is a valuable resource for any science educator. You will find research, recommendations and strategies plus much more.
Here is a quote from the press release.
With appropriate curricular and instructional support, ELs can participate, contribute, and succeed in STEM classrooms. The report provides guidance on ways in which to obtain, strengthen, and maintain these capabilities to achieve development within the education system. The committee that wrote the report views this capacity building as more than the allocation of resources and engagement in improvement efforts; it also requires the re-evaluation of broader policies and practices and concerted efforts to shift them when necessary.
Audience: science teachers, PD providers, teacher educators, curriculum directors, etc.
OVERVIEW: My daughter Cece is 8 years old and the other day we were walking through a Barnes & Noble (yes they still have those!) and we saw a display for a picture book titled Cece Loves Science. She saw the display and said, “I DO love science!”
I’ve been using science and engineering related picture books for two decades- both with children and adult learners. I look forward to thinking about how I will use Cece Loves Science(by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes, illustrated by Vashti Harrison) with the preservice and inservice teachers I support.
The picture book tells the story of young girl of color, Cece. who loves to ask questions and figure things out. In the story, Cece and her best friend, Isaac, are trying to figure out the best way to conduct an investigation involving her dog, Einstein.
PURPOSE: In the last few years we have seen a much-needed increase in the number of STEM-focused picture books with main characters representing populations who have traditionally been marginalized in STEM- females and people of color. Cece Loves Science is another resource to add to our toolbox that highlights the good thinking of young ladies and positions them as the determined problem-solvers that they are.
AUDIENCE: children, adults, educators, teacher educators, librarians
OVERVIEW: In the state of Washington we are committed to engaging K-12 students in learning about climate science and climate change. For the 2018-19 school year our state has funded an initiative that will provide tools and professional development to support thoughtful implementation of climate science learning opportunities. I’m hoping that this space will be able to promote many of the resources that are developed and used during this process.
One resource that has bubbled to the top for me is Drawdown.org. Drawdown provides 100 everyday solutions that humans can implement to reverse global climate change. I know several teachers who worry that the teaching of climate change- especially with younger students- can be scary for the children. Draw Down (while not sugar-coating anything) is very solution-oriented and can put students in a positive space rather than doom and gloom.
PURPOSE: The proposed solutions on Drawdown are completely research-based and include some intuitive solutions that you might have predicted (rooftop solar) and others that might seem less intuitive (educating girls & telepresence). The book Drawdown is also a “must-have” climate resource to add to your collection.
AUDIENCE: all the humans
OVERVIEW: The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) recently released a document to support and encourage K-12 educators to provide clear and explicit language and prompts to integrate the Crosscutting Concepts into instruction and assessment practices.
PURPOSE: Using Crosscutting Concepts to Prompt Student Responses serves many purposes. For one, it continues to tell the story that the CCCs are a powerful (and underused) dimension of NGSS-based instruction. The document connects multiple existing resources on the CCCs and provides new tools and examples for how the use the CCCs to design prompts and how CCCs might be used by students in their responses.
AUDIENCE: K-12 teachers of science, administrators, PD providers, teacher educators, curriculum and assessment developers, etc
My friend and colleague, Tom Hathorn (@thathorn), recently launched his own website and blog that is focused on telling the ongoing story of his equity-focused science leadership learning and professional development. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tom on multiple equity-focused events and I highly recommend adding his site to your equity and science bookmarks.
HERE is the link to Tom’s site.
HERE is the link to Tom’s blog.
There is still room at this impactful upcoming event in the South Puget Sound Region. See below for description and registration link.
The Bethel School District and the Puyallup Watershed Initiative are partnering to offer this 2-day workshop on Phenomena & Units for Environmental Justice.
Title: Phenomena & Units for Environmental Justice.
Location: Graham-Kapowsin High School
Dates: June 25 & Aug. 22 , 2018 (8:00 – 3:30)
Presenters: Lia Wetzstein, Emily Pinckney, Tom Hathorn
● Inspire students with local phenomena and problems that matter to their community.
● Support student aspirations toward STEM-related careers.
● Integrate NGSS PEs about humans in relation to the environment (LS2, LS4, ESS2, ESS3).
● MS & HS Science Teachers (all subjects), Administrators
● School Districts in the South Sound LASER Alliance
What: Day 1
● Meet & study local environmental justice issues → Analyze the systems & who’s affected.
● Unpack natural & human structures → How did things get this way? What keeps it stable?
● Use the NGSS engineering cycle (D-D-O) → Solving environmental problems = engineering .
● Discover & use local STEM issues → Use students’ interests & cultural-community practices.
● Begin planning → Activities or small units that utilize local phenomena or problems.
What: Day 2
● Share emerging units → Give & get ideas.
● NSTA resources for teaching controversial topics → See opportunities & pitfalls.
● Use students’ voices → Guide the dialogue & discussions.