If you are someone who follows this blog then you most likely are already a fan of the brilliant STEM Teaching Tools site. If it’s been awhile since you’ve visited stemteachingtools.org then I highly recommend heading there now. The last several Practice Briefs are powerful (not that the previous ones were not) and tackle some important topics in equity-focused science instruction. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started:
The National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) has a collection of sensemaking resources called the Sensemaking Toolkit. You will find resources on “what is sensemaking?” along with tips and links to multiple resources on phenomena, student ideas, science ideas, and science and engineering practices.
One of my favorite tools here is the Single-Point Rubric for Sensemaking Lessons. View HERE as a Google Doc. This rubric can help us evaluate our sensemaking lessons to make them more powerful experiences for students.
Philip Bell and Nancy Price have shared a graduate course they taught at the University of Washington on Climate Justice and Environmental Justice in Education during winter quarter 2021. The entire course has a nicely organized Google Site built to tell the story of the learning. You will be able to walk through the 10 sessions using the embedded slides, readings and videos. There is a nicely organized set of Resources used as well as a Wakelet that organizes many other Climate Justice resources.
In order to get a good sense of the course before digging in, I recommend checking out the following:
- About the Course: This gives you a 1-page overview with guiding questions and key resources
- Course Readings: Scroll over the page to get a preview of the sessions. Pay attention to the quotes and session titles
- Projects: Preview the projects that small groups of graduate students engaged in
I can imagine this resource being used in multiple ways:
- Work through the sessions independently as a learner
- Assemble a small group of colleagues and collaboratively move through the course together
- Harvest important resources for your own learning and work
- Use this as a model for teaching your own course or unit on Climate and Environmental Justice
This is a short post to help publicize this FREE middle school science professional development opportunity for teachers in Washington State sponsored by ClimeTime and the WA ESD Science Coordinators. OpenSciEd are FREE OER science instructional materials that were specifically designed for engaging students in the Next Generation Science Standards. Even if you already have other new middle school science instructional materials it can be very helpful to learn about the OpenSciEd units as you will deepen your understanding of best practices and equitable strategies in science instruction.
There are workshop on 3 different units being offered this winter. Click on the unit topic below to register for the professional development.
PS- there are also remote learning adaptations available for the OpenSciEd units. Check them out HERE.
OSPI is providing a FREE workshop on the K-5 Science Essential Question Units and Resources. This workshop will provide an overview of the existing science resources that are aligned to NGSS and are modified to support students and teachers in science learning during distance learning. You also get 1.5 to 6 STEM clock hours depending on whether you want to engage students in some of the learning experiences you will experience. Sounds like a great way to learn about some free aligned science resources and get some free STEM clock hours too. Hope to see lots of you on the Zoom on Jan. 12th.
When: Tuesday, January 12th from 4-5:30pm (other asynchronous hours optional)
Where: Zoom workshop
How: Register on PD Enroller HERE
You can preview the elementary science resources below:
2020 has provided many of us with some extra time for reading. While I haven’t always used this time wisely (I’m looking at you Netflix and Nintendo Switch) I wanted to share the 4 books that I’ve discovered and revisited the most in 2020. The following are in no particular order.
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
This is not a traditional education book. You will not find a bunch of acronyms or quick strategies for teaching indigenous students. Instead you will find a series of stories that will change the way you think about your relationship with the natural world, with scientific understanding and with indigenous ways of knowing and being. You may find that your relationships with plants will be forever changed. I notice that I want to return to this book over and over- I intentionally leave it out in my office so that I have easy access to it. Not just because it is so good and captivating but because these lessons are deep and require constant revisitation in order to take hold in me. In 2020 this book really brought me a comfort and a connectedness with nature that I think I needed. One of my favorite reads in the last several years.
Ambitious Science Teaching by Mark Windschitl, Jessica Thompson, and Melissa Braaten
This book has become a touchstone for so many best practices in science instruction. While this is not a new book it is one that still feels fresh and innovative (because it is). In setting a standard for rigorous and equitable science instruction this book demands that we examine our core practices in science instruction and replace traditional methods with science learning that is focused on big ideas that allow students to uncover and revise their ideas based on evidence. This is not a book to just “take away” a couple of cool strategies to implement. This is about a culture shift in how we design and deliver science learning experiences that actually engage our students in the practices of science.
Science in the City by Bryan A. Brown
I have mentioned Science in the City previously and I just can’t say enough positives about it. Dr. Brown skillfully uses stories to ground this work and to teach us about the relationship between language, identity, and culture. If you give this book the opportunity, it can help you to change the way you think about your instruction in a diverse science classroom. I feel like this book makes a great partner to Ambitious Science Teaching and helps to expand and push on the importance of language and talk in science learning as an equity issue. This is an essential book to add to your equity and diversity resources and I’d argue that even if you are not a teacher of science that you will find this book to be meaningful and important to your work supporting students.
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
How to be An Antiracist is a popular book and for good reason. I’m assuming that many of us in education have purchased or received this book. Hopefully it isn’t just sitting on the shelf. This resource (like Braiding Sweetgrass above) demands repeat readings…especially if you are a white person like myself. Becoming an antiracist educator isn’t simple work. This book isn’t like a vaccine where you read it once and then have “immunity”. It requires doing some work on ourselves (which I think is always challenging for us as human beings) and then interrogating the policies and beliefs in whatever domain we work in from education to health care to non-profit, etc. Dr. Kendi has an amazing talent for using his own life story to introduce us to the work of antiracism and to guide and support us to go deeper in our own journey to becoming antiracists. If you haven’t picked this up or if you haven’t looked at it since the summer then I highly recommend digging in.
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Here in Washington the state K-12 teachers have a cool opportunity to join an ongoing workshop series on Climate Justice. Plus you get to join a group that sounds like a combination of the Justice League and Captain Planet and the Planeteers... The Climate Justice League!
Who: This is designed for any K-12 teacher in WA and is lead by Puget Sound ESD, Northwest ESD 189 and ESD 112 in partnership with Washington Green Schools.
What: members will receive support to develop learning opportunities to share with students around issues of social justice through the lens of climate change. Participants will be expected to work on lessons, deliver learning to students and bring student work samples to the final meeting.
Where: It’s all online via Zoom!
When: four 2-hour Zoom meetings:
January 12, 2021
February 2nd, 2021
March 10, 2021
April 27, 2021
Why: Learn about social justice related to climate, get resources (A People’s Curriculum for the Earth), collaboration, $480, and clock hours
How: Check out the registration information below!
Check out the Climate Justice League flier HERE.
If you are interested you can register FREE HERE.
Indigenous Education Tools is a growing site (check back for new resources often) that offers teaching tools and resources that address the “root causes of inequities for Native children and families, and by supporting the development of innovative successful educational pathways.”
A few highlights of the current resources on the site include:
- A set of short briefs in the style of STEM Teaching Tools that dig into topics in education of Indigenous peoples:
- A set of videos led by leaders in Indigenous education. See interview with Michael Tulee below as an example:
- A set of Learning Materials (from ISTEAM) based around Water, Food, Birds and Plants. Everything on this site is powerful but I find these materials to be the highlight for me personally. These materials highlight well-crafted activities and also provide models of what well-designed learning activities might look like when designed for Indigenous learners. See the set on Water below:
- Online workshops to engage in asynchronously
I also highly recommend adding @IndigenousSTEAM to your Twitter feed so that you can stay on top of the latest from this group.
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) currently has a FREE chapter from the book Helping Student Make Sense of the World using Next Generation Science & Engineering Practices. This book is a compilation of chapters from multiple authors. The FREE chapter is Toward More Equitable Learning in Science by Megan Bang, Bryan Brown, Angela Calabrese Barton, Ann Rosebery, and Beth Warren.
The chapter lays out 3 Principles for expanding meaningful learning opportunities in science:
Principle 1: Notice sense-making repertoires. Attend to, listen to, and think about students’ diverse sense-making as connecting to science practices.
Principle 2: Support sense-making. Actively support students in using their sense-making repertoires and experiences as critical tools in engaging with science practices.
Principle 3: Engage diverse sense-making. Engage students in understanding how scientific practices and knowledge are always developing and how their own community histories, values, and practices have contributed to scientific understanding and problem solving and will continue to do so.
I think that some of us as science teachers might look at these principles and say, “Yes- I think I do that.” OR “I’m not sure what this means exactly.”
This chapter uses three vignettes to clarify these three principles that are crying out for examples.
Not sure how long this chapter will stay on the NSTA site as a FREE download so grab it now.
I know that a lot of educators are digging into books on equity and diversity this summer. Here are a few resources that have been key in my personal journey as a white male looking to become more culturally aware, equity-focused, and anti-racist. I will keep adding to this list. I’m aware that many excellent resources are currently not included here. I’m not trying to make an exhaustive list on this first post- but instead providing a ‘playlist’ of the resources that I’ve used personally and that feel like good starting places for others.
|Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain
||THE book on culturally responsive teaching. Provides tools and strategies to dig into CRT. Clear discussion of how a lack of CRT affects students.
|Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People
||Describes the Project Implicit implicit association tests. Discusses how we all have unconscious biases (even ones we don’t want) and how these may affect us. Makes the case that we must confront and think about these “mindbugs”.
||Mahzarin R. BanajiAnthony Greenwald
|For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too
||Provides stories, a framework, and strategies for effectively teaching urban students of color. Lots of wisdom here.
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