Oregon Science Teachers Association

The Oregon Science Teacher (TOST)

This newsletter is sent out to members monthly. It contains the most recent information and resources to implement the 2014 Oregon Science Standards (NGSS).

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K-6 NGSS Instructional Specialists grant comes to an end, $1000 tech grant, NGSS PD, Student Discourse, and more

The Oregon Science Teacher

December 2017

After three years, the K-6 NGSS Instructional Specialists grant comes to an end.

Susan Holveck presents OSTA Certificates to K-6 Instructional Specialists

Every engineering solution grows out of a defined problem, and the Math Science Partnership K-6 Instructional Specialist grant was no different! The problem: Oregon adopted the NGSS, which call for in depth teach

er professional development opportunities, and yet these opportunities were not yet available to the vast majority of Oregon elementary school teachers. As a proposed solution, 75 teachers were initially selected through an application process from four STEM hubs and fifteen school districts to undergo three years of intensive professional development so that they could then become NGSS leaders in their schools and broader communities. 60 teachers completed the three-year program, and 12 of those teachers opted to continue on from September through November in an extended cohort.

The design for this professional development opportunity included content courses to enrich participant understanding of the NGSS, science content and the nature of science, workshops focused on science education best practices, and seminars focused on leadership, equity, and language use in the science classroom. Through partnering with grant staff and national science education leader Okhee Lee, participants dove into designing professional development pathways towards teacher NGSS proficiency, the language demands inherent to the NGSS, expanding their leadership capacity and more, all while deepening their own science conceptual understanding.

Three years later, Instructional Specialists are taking on new leadership roles in their communities such as presenting at OSTA, sitting on science curriculum advisory committees at the district and state level, sharing their NGSS expertise as consultants with community organizations, stepping into administrative roles, and leading professional development and PLCs at the school and district level. We applaud their three-year effort that included 240 hours of instructional hours (including many Saturdays and evenings) and look forward to working together in the future to advance elementary science across the state of Oregon.

 Share your tech-focused lesson plan now to win a $1000 grant for your classroom! Deadline is 12/9

Follow these guidelines to enter:
1. Create a tech-focused lesson plan to teach K-8th grade students about applications for technology in science (or any subject). 
2. Compile a single Google Doc containing:
  1. Your lesson plan
  2. A one paragraph personal statement about why you believe students in science should learn about technology.
  3. All supplementary materials required for your lesson plan

3. Submit through the online form, using a sharable link to your Google Doc in the required field.

Learn more about submission criteria and how to enter by visiting The Beacon.

NSTA White Paper: Collaborating on a Vision for NGSS-Aligned Instructional Materials

This summer during the National Congress on Science Education, the presidents of the California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington Science Teachers Associations agreed to collaborate on a white paper with the goal of making clear to publishers, reviewers and educators what science teachers need with respect to curriculum materials. This document has since been completed and is now available! Learn more and read the document at our NGSS@OSTA page.

 Join the global Hour of Code, December 4-10 (or anytime!)

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Check out the tutorials and activities. This grassroots campaign is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide. 

FREE web-based NGSS PD Opportunity: Performance Assessments in the NGSS Classroom - Implications for Practice

This course offering from the Stanford NGSS Assessment Project (SNAP) is designed to guide participants in exploring the role performance assessment can play in helping their students meet the goals of the Next Generation Science Standards. Participants will learn SNAP's strategies for analyzing what an assessment is evaluating, analyzing multidimensional student data, and making instructional decisions based on student evidence. Participants will have opportunities throughout the course to practice using these strategies with sample short performance assessments (20 minute tasks) and student data. 

This course is a hybrid model, with learning happening online and in person. Therefore, it is recommended that educators participate in groups with colleagues at their schools. Click here to learn more about the hybrid model.

Coursework may be completed anytime before December 31stCredits are not currently offered, but a certificate of completion is included. To learn more and sign up, visit the registration page.

Nominate the next Oregon Teacher of the Year! 

Do you know someone who goes above and beyond to educate in your community? Nominate them for Oregon Teacher of the Year! This year, a semifinalist will be selected from each Educational Service District, meaning winners will represent ALL of Oregon. Click here to learn more and nominate someone, and here to watch an informative video. Deadline is 1/30/18.

Professional Learning: Student discourse

This month we're featuring two NSTA blog posts that dive into the topic of student discourse. The first blog post by Coos Bay teacher and past OSTA president Lynda Sanders on the difference between dialogue and discussion. Although written from a middle school perspective, the ideas in her blog post can translate to students of all ages. 

The second blog post by NGSS Equity team member Emily Miller focuses on student sensemaking, and ideas for creating an environment where all students can access relevant phenomena to investigate. She also dives into strategies for engaging families, as well as equitable discourse in the classroom.

How has NGSS-aligned teaching and learning changed your understanding of how students use language in the science classroom? Tell us your thoughts by participating in our anonymous poll!

We Want YOU! 

Are you in the midst of solving problems and building conceptual understanding with your students? We welcome your submissions to TOST! Don't have time to write an article? Consider giving an informal interview that shares what you're doing, and how, along with photographs.
With your contributions, TOST will be by Oregon science teachers, for Oregon science teachers.
Please send your ideas to TOST@oregonscience.org

This month's phenomenon: Gray whale migration

Gray whales can be observed migrating along the Oregon Coast every winter and spring. Educators: what questions might students ask while observing this phenomenon? How might they investigate this phenomenon through different Crosscutting Concept lenses, like Energy and Matter, Patterns, Structure and Function, or Systems and System Models? Which Science and Engineering Practices could be the most useful tools to answer questions?

The following links contain more information about gray whale migrations:
Annenberg Learner - includes interactive migration map, migration field notes and gray whale information
Oregon State Parks - find out where to observe gray whales along the Oregon Coast, as well as data collected in previous years
Whale Watching Spoken Here - sign up to volunteer for the 2017 Whale Watching Week December 27-31
Drone footage of gray whales - start honing your whale spotting skills now!

Are your students studying a local Oregon phenomenon? Tell us about it at TOST@oregonscience.org!

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