1. Kirsten Daehler
  2. https://www.wested.org/personnel/kirsten-daehler/
  3. Director
  4. Making Sense of Science and Literacy
  5. https://we-mss.weebly.com/mss-i3.html
  6. WestEd
  1. Jennifer Folsom
  2. Lead Learning Architect
  3. Making Sense of Science and Literacy
  4. https://we-mss.weebly.com/mss-i3.html
  5. WestEd
  1. Jennifer Mendenhall
  2. https://www.wested.org/personnel/jennifer-mendenhall/
  3. Sr. Communications Lead
  4. Making Sense of Science and Literacy
  5. https://we-mss.weebly.com/mss-i3.html
  6. WestEd
  1. Patrick Moyle
  2. Professional Learning Specialist
  3. Making Sense of Science and Literacy
  4. https://we-mss.weebly.com/mss-i3.html
  5. WestEd
  1. Nicole Wong
  2. Co-Director
  3. Making Sense of Science and Literacy
  4. https://we-mss.weebly.com/mss-i3.html
  5. Heller Research Associates
Presenters’
Choice
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Kirsten Daehler

    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 01:49 a.m.

    Hi! I’m Kirsten Daehler, PI for Making Sense of Science & Literacy — an Investing in Innovation (i3) project. We’re currently in our fourth year and have learned a great deal about supporting teachers as they transition to NGSS-shifted instruction but know there is much more knowledge to gain!

    Our video highlights educators from one participating district. In addition to the professional learning you see in the video, we provided leadership development to district science leaders and administrators. We also created a suite of materials to support teachers, including a flexible PLC protocol and NGSS-shifted student units. In this final year, we’re working to scale the project to the state level and to implement the professional learning model at different grade levels.

    While formal data are still being analyzed, we have learned a lot through our conversations with participants about what works and what’s needed to successfully shift to next generation science instruction. The video calls out teacher needs around pedagogical content knowledge development, student curricula and materials, and the need to have more time for science. We’re also learning more about the systemic shifts in culture required to really support this type of equitable, student-driven learning.

    We’re interested to hear more about other initiatives that support NGSS implementation. Some key questions that come to mind:

    • We know that folks are struggling with how to assess multidimensional learning — what are you learning about formal and informal assessments?  
    • What are others doing to promote a systemic shifts in culture? In particular, what are you doing around family engagement? What additional supports are you providing at the school, district, and state level?

    Thank you for engaging with our presentation — we’re looking forward to the conversations to come!

     
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    Trey Smith
    Kelsey Edwards
    Jamie Noll
  • Icon for: David Andrews

    David Andrews

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 13, 2019 | 02:13 p.m.

    Hi Kirsten,

     

    I greatly enjoyed your team's video. It raises some very important questions and identifies needs including more time for science....yes! I also fully agree that we need to do more to promote systemic shifts in culture that lead to  greater engagement of  students in science activities and that promote problem solving and critical thinking. 

    Excellent work!

     
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    Patrick Moyle
  • Icon for: Patrick Moyle

    Patrick Moyle

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 03:48 p.m.

    Hi David! Thanks for watching the video. We've been working in several Central Valley districts and most recently working at the district level to shift these school systems toward building a sustainable science program. It's been such great working with such a collection of hard-working and courageous educators.

    I'm glad to see that the folks at CSUF are pushing the envelope as well. All hands on deck!

  • Icon for: Kirsten Daehler

    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 12:33 p.m.

    Hi David! Yes, perhaps the#1 thing we hear elementary teachers say is they don't have enough time for science, often followed by "We're suppose to focus on math and ELA, so I don't really have 'permission' to teach science." Some success stories have come from teacher-administrator teams who have worked together to look at the weekly schedule, count the minutes, and then decide to make a policy change that allocates time for science. By involving school administrators in the professional learning, and then thinking together about ways they can support their teachers in this NGSS journey, we hear principals say, "Oh, I just need to let my teachers know that I understand their classrooms will look and sound different...maybe louder and multi-dimensional. I need to give them permission to learn alongside their students and take risks to try new things.

    Now if we could get more commitment and buy in from the top level at the district for a sustained period of time, then the systemic shifts would feel more supported. We'll keep trying.

    Please share if you have ideas and successes in this area!

     
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    Rebecca Lugo
    Jennifer Mendenhall
    Trey Smith
    Kelsey Edwards
  • Icon for: David Andrews

    David Andrews

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2019 | 03:32 p.m.

    Hi Kirsten! The buy-in from the top is certainly important. In past years, I have asked top school administrators (Supt. and/or Associate Supt.) from local districts to serve as Co-P.I.s on multiple large-scale, externally funded projects. Their involvement in the project as leaders really had a significant impact and resulted in years of sustained district buy-in and commitment. 

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Kirsten Daehler

    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 01:35 p.m.

    Hi David! I really appreciate your suggestion to invite top administrators to serve as co-PIs. It seems like the payback during the grant-funding period and after is a win win. Do you find they have the time? I'd like to know more about specific ways that you involve them. Are they more of advisors? What meetings do they attend or not?

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Nicole Wong

    Nicole Wong

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 03:11 p.m.

    Hi David & Kirsten, Your comments reminded me about a strategy that I heard from one of our participating regions:  They offer large(ish) stipends to entice administrators to attend teacher professional learning as full participants (rather than simply observing).  When administrators have first-hand experience with this model of teaching and learning, they develop a better sense of how demanding this work is and the kinds of support their teachers will need to engage their students in this type of learning.

  • Icon for: David Andrews

    David Andrews

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2019 | 08:19 p.m.

    Hi Nicole,

    I agree that having admiinistrators engage in the professional learning is a truly superior strategy. It works! I have also found that having  a top administrator serving as a project leader (Co-P.I.) often leads to greater teacher involvement and commitment to project goals and objectives especially if that administrator also actively participates in professional development. 

     

     

     

  • May 13, 2019 | 11:50 a.m.

    Excellent video!  I have participated in the K-12 Alliance workshops for practicing teachers here in the King's Canyon area of Central California and it is incredibly valuable professional development for the teachers.  At Fresno State, we are working on supporting NGSS at the pre-service level through a Physical Science course laboratory redesign.  One of the challenges in moving towards NGSS aligned curricula is that both pre-service teachers and instructors have limited experiences with such approaches and their assessments.  You mention "systemic shifts in culture" - I am wondering how you think your work will eventually start to influence the culture of incoming university pre-service teachers as far as what a STEM experience should be?  Thank you!

     
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    Nicole Wong
    Selena Burns
  • Icon for: Patrick Moyle

    Patrick Moyle

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 12:18 p.m.

    Hi Dermot, 

    Thanks for your question. It calls out the biggest challenge to achieving what the NGSS is asking. How do teachers create spaces of learning that exemplify the NGSS instructional shifts when they haven’t experienced this type of learning themselves? How do they know where to aim?

    The Making Sense of SCIENCE project addresses this issue in two ways. First, the professional learning we facilitate is based on the notion that adults benefit from many of the same features of high-quality learning as students. Whether the courses we facilitate are designed to get teachers into thinking about multidimensionality, diving deep into a content area, or just getting their first taste of the NGSS, we start with well-designed inquiry-driven science learning experiences. This is even true for courses with administrators. Imagine! Our goal is that with enough of these transformative learning experiences, teachers are better able to start shifting their practices in real meaningful ways.

    Second, we firmly agree with the NGSS that teaching science to Elementary students is essential. Not only to build stewards of our shared future but also to build a future teacher pipeline. The more elementary teachers we have who are well-prepared and unafraid to teach science, the more administrators we have who are unafraid to support science learning, and the more students who have experienced the excitement and awe-inspiring nature of science learning in the early grades, the more well-trained teachers we will be growing along the way.

    Here's to starting the pipeline early!

     
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    Travis Tangen
    Trey Smith
    Aliza Zivic
    Dermot Donnelly
  • Icon for: Kirsten Daehler

    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 12:40 p.m.

    Appreciate your question, Dermot. Well said, Patrick!

    One idea I would add, is something we haven't yet done. I think there is a great opportunity to bring pre-service teachers and mentor teachers together for some shared professional learning. This would create some shared language from a common experience that I think would help pre-service teachers feel more supported in their mentor teacher's classrooms. Maybe this is an opportunity for a future partnership. Thoughts?

     
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    Trey Smith
    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Molly Stuhlsatz

    Molly Stuhlsatz

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 11:54 a.m.

    Hi WestEd Team! Thanks for the lovely video.  Could you give us an idea of the outcomes you are measuring in the study? Is there anything that you didn’t measure that you wish you had?

  • Icon for: Kirsten Daehler

    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 01:13 p.m.

    Hi Molly,

    Great questions…and ones I’ve been thinking about a lot over the years. It’s certainly tricky to measure impact from teacher professional learning and I’d love to hear more from others about what they are trying and learning.

    With our current i3 study (Investing in Innovation), we have been fortunate to have the opportunity to collect a mountain of data, including:

    • From students — science content tests, survey that gets at non-cognitive measures, state assessment data in ELA
    • From teachers — science content test with items that get at pedagogical content knowledge, surveys (3 x year), self-recorded audio interviews post-instruction
    • From school administrators — surveys and interviews with a selective subset
    • From district, regional, and state leaders — focus groups and interviews

    What I wished we had more data about…

    …the classroom, including what teachers take from the PL and actually put to use in their teaching. Many teachers say the PL is transformative and changes their approach to teaching even beyond science, but we’d love to learn more about what and how. With NSF-funding we’ve done some small-scale video studies, but they’re time intensive and hard.

    …what helps professional learning scale beyond grant funding

    …what works and doesn’t work support NGSS implementation and systemic change

    …and so much more

    Here are some related resources that might be of interest:

         MSS Research

         R&D Alerts - district story with state assessment results in AZ

         Connecting All the Pieces – approach to evaluating professional learning

         Eval 101 - white paper series for professional learning providers

    Please let me know if you or anyone out there is making progress on evaluating NGSS. The assessments are so tricky and we’ve got a lot more to learn in this realm. Onward!

    --Kirsten

     
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    Kirsten Daehler
    Molly Stuhlsatz
    Jennifer Mendenhall
  • Icon for: Nicole Wong

    Nicole Wong

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 01:30 p.m.

    Hi Molly, Thank you for your question!  I am part of the research team, and I will give you a partial answer, but I hope that my colleagues will chime in, too.  To help us understand the impact of our leadership development efforts on district-level and school-level culture and supports for NGSS, we surveyed and interviewed administrators, science leaders, and teachers.  To help us understand the features of the learning experiences, we collected feedback forms and log data from leadership cadre meetings, professional learning courses, and site-based professional learning community meetings.  To help us understand the impact of the model of professional learning on teachers’ science knowledge, PCK, understanding of NGSS, science teaching attitudes and beliefs, and classroom practices, we collected teacher surveys, content and PCK written assessments.  For a subset of teachers, we were able to collect audio recordings of instruction, classroom artifacts, and self-recorded teacher interviews. To help us understand the impact on students, we surveyed students about their attitudes, beliefs, and experiences in science class, and we administered science assessments that included items eliciting students’ written scientific explanations.

    In addition to the Implementation & Impact study, we are currently engaged in a Scale-up study to better understand how district and school leaders bring professional learning programs such as MSS to scale, especially in the context of NGSS implementation.  To better understand the barriers and supports to broad implementation, we are observing and interviewing science leaders as they work with stakeholders to plan and enact regional, district-wide, or school-wide professional learning.

    With more resources, I would have liked to spend more time understanding teachers’ classroom practices and decision-making as they learned about NGSS.  It stands a bit outside the scope of this project, but I am curious to learn more about how teachers think about multi-dimensional learning and assessment throughout the course of the year.

     
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    Molly Stuhlsatz
  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 01:31 p.m.

    I think this is the link Kirsten meant to post to the Evaluation 101 white paper. :)

     
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    Kirsten Daehler
    Molly Stuhlsatz
  • May 13, 2019 | 12:10 p.m.

    I love this approach to science! It's fascinating to see these hands-on activities taking place in a real classroom, and how Manteca has embraced the MSS approach. Thanks for your work!

  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 12:27 p.m.

    Thanks, Angela! It really has been so inspiring to see teachers really dive in to the science. Since we mostly work directly with teachers, we rarely get to see the classrooms first hand. This was such a great opportunity for the program team to see how teachers have shifted their practice and are really embodying the methods of NGSS. 

  • Icon for: Kathy Huncosky

    Kathy Huncosky

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 12:27 p.m.

    It's so important to see how the work we do with teachers actually plays out in their classrooms! After all, changing how students learn science is at the heart of all we do. When the teachers get to experience learning in a next generation kind of way during their MSS professional learning opportunities, they have a better understanding of how to make that happen in their own classrooms. They know what it feels like, sounds like, and looks like. 

  • Icon for: J. Owen Limbach

    J. Owen Limbach

    Researcher
    May 17, 2019 | 11:39 a.m.

    Hi Kathy!

    What you're describing is my favorite thing about the Making Sense of SCIENCE model; that the teachers get to be science learners themselves in the PD. (As you already know, Kathy,) I'm on the research team for this project, and have worked with MSS on previous projects as well, and I've been fortunate to be able to attend several sessions of MSS professional learning. What always strikes me is how quickly the classroom dynamic changes from adults sitting quietly or chatting with each other to a group of adult students working together to figure out a problem or accomplish a goal using scientific techniques. Suddenly everyone's eyes light up and they get excited about what they're learning, and excited to bring the pleasure of this type of learning back to their own students.

    Actually experiencing the joys of making sense of science infuses teachers with energy, and it's wonderful to see that passion translate into the classroom experiences of students. This video shows the same kind of engagement and interest from the kids that I've seen in the PD classes, which is so encouraging! Thanks, everyone, for making this video happen and for continuing to spread excitement about science.

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Lisa Snyder

    Lisa Snyder

    K-12 Teacher
    May 17, 2019 | 12:15 p.m.

    You make a great point Owen.  Having been through numerous MSS PD's myself I am always amazed at how personal the learning is for each participant.  There can be science "novices" in a room with seasoned experts but everyone is able to participate and learn new things.  I think the key is the facilitation model.  The facilitators questions and guide the learning but never teach.  The printed materials provided with the courses allow each participant to access the science and literacy information at whatever level they are.  These courses empower teachers to go back to their classrooms and try to model that same facilitation strategy with their students and its an amazing transformation to see.

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Kathy Huncosky

    Kathy Huncosky

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 01:37 p.m.

    Hi Owen! It's great to hear from you. I'm glad you were able to join the discussion! The first MSS course I ever took was Energy. The experience was transformational for me. I was challenged as an adult learner and energized (no pun intended) to change some of the ways I worked with my students. I loved the connections to literacy (it was writing in that course) and the teaching cases which gave me a look into other classrooms where students were learning about the same science topics. All of the different investigations reinforced the new science content knowledge I was learning and helped strengthen my pedagogical content knowledge. The MSS experience has been a highlight of my educational career!

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Alyson Spencer-Reed

    Alyson Spencer-Reed

    Director of Finance & Administration
    May 13, 2019 | 12:32 p.m.

    I so enjoyed watching this video and listening to classroom teachers talk about their own experiences with MSS! I'd love to hear what reaction we’ve gotten from teachers or administrators to the PD — particularly whether any aspects or features of the PD have emerged in participant feedback as especially enlightening or revelatory. 

    Thanks!

  • Icon for: Nicole Wong

    Nicole Wong

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 04:43 p.m.

    Hi Alyson,

    Thanks for your question!  Although we are still in the process of analyzing these data, informally, I notice that teachers report that the MSS PD has been helpful in supporting their understanding of science concepts, the challenges of teaching these concepts to their students, how to support literacy in their science teaching, and their understanding of NGSS.  They cite the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers in a learner-centered environment as a major contributor to advancing their own science learning and their understanding of how they might implement NGSS in their own classrooms.  One of the things that I think we could do a better job of characterizing in our research is the overwhelming enthusiasm that teachers express about these courses!  Teachers say that have a lot of fun learning (in what are very long course sessions!) and they seem very excited about trying to use what they learned in their classrooms.  I suspect that it's because they become fully engaged in learning activities that are challenging, mentally-stimulating, and rewarding.  

    Teachers do mention they are nervous about having access to the curriculum materials and administrative support necessary to implement NGSS in their classrooms.  In the current study, we've tried to include administrators and other stakeholders in the vision from early on.  Hopefully, that will result in the development of supportive environments for teachers and students.

     
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    J. Owen Limbach
  • Icon for: Selena Burns

    Selena Burns

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 12:37 p.m.

    Wonderful video-- I love how passionate the teachers, administrators and students all are! I would love to hear more (either from the project team or from teachers who have participated in Making Sense of Science and Literacy who have joined this discussion) about some of the ways teachers have seen changes in students cross-curricular writing -- and what kinds of literacy supports teachers have found students need in order to help them clearly express their science understanding in written form.  Also, as someone with elementary aged kids in my extended family with Down Syndrome and Autism, I am wondering about the experience teachers have had with creating NGSS-aligned inclusive curricula.

  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 03:03 p.m.

    Hi Selena! 

    Thanks for your questions. I hope our teachers pop in to share more from-the-field responses. I can share a story from my conversation with one teacher about take aways after implementing an NGSS-shifted unit. She shared that as part of their semester writing activity in which students have free choice to write about whatever they'd like from their classwork, many chose to write about their experience designing and building a periscope. It sounded like the class was so engaged and excited about BEING scientists and engineers that they couldn't stop talking (and apparently writing) about it! 

    To your other question, we've been talking a lot about supporting students with exceptionalities lately. Here are a few resources our team has found useful and that we've shared with teachers: 

    NSTA's Books and Resources for Students with Disabilities 

    Project-Based Learning for Special Education and Inclusion


    Thanks for stopping by!

     
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    Kirsten Daehler
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  • Icon for: Selena Burns

    Selena Burns

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 05:05 p.m.

    Thanks!

  • Icon for: Kirsten Daehler

    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 01:01 p.m.

    Hi Selena! I noticed you were interested in knowing more about changes in students' writing and the literacy supports teachers have found helpful in supporting their students writing in science. As one of the developers, I can say our collaboration with the National Writing Project (NWP) has been invaluable. Together we looked at the disciplinary ways of writing, such as scientific explanations with claim-evidence-reasoning formats, and then integrated writing routines into the professional learning to give teachers a first-hand experience with how their own science learning could be supported through writing (and revising their writing). As one example, the MSS courses have teachers form Writer's Workshop groups where individuals write scientific explanations that include words, symbols, and images (e.g., graphs, visual representations). Then they bring their drafts to their group and ask for specific feedback, for example on the clarity of their claim or the presentation of evidence (and counter evidence).

    In terms of what we see in the classroom...when teachers get together in their PLCs, they have the option of bringing student work samples to look at together with colleagues. The nature of the formative assessments invite students to share their science ideas and encourage them to include words and images in their explanations. We've noticed that teachers are often surprised by the sophistication of science ideas their kids express, and they see improvement in their written communication with even small amounts of practice and attention. Teachers also appreciate how the argumentation practice in science mirrors what students are being asked to do in social studies and mathematics. This cross-curricular alignment is so helpful to leverage students' learning, especially in the elementary grades.

    Our research team is currently analyzing students' constructed response items from the end-of-year assessment, so we'll have to see what the data shows in terms of how students writing skills may benefit. Stay tuned!

     
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    Trey Smith
    Nicole Wong
    Jennifer Mendenhall
  • Icon for: Trey Smith

    Trey Smith

    Graduate Student
    May 15, 2019 | 05:40 p.m.

    It's so wonderful to hear that your team has been leveraging resources and routines from NWP. As a science teacher who joined my local NWP site early on in my career, I have been so thankful to have been exposed to ideas about supporting students in reading, writing, and speaking across content areas as well as thinking of myself as a writer too.

    I'm curious about your team's and teachers' work with discipline-specific writing, genres, audiences, and purposes. In your response you wrote, "Teachers also appreciate how the argumentation practice in science mirrors what students are being asked to do in social studies and mathematics." Are there reasons to think with children about possible distinctions between the writing they're doing in these different subjects? I'm thinking through this with middle and high school students and was wondering if/how your team grapples with both similarities and differences across domains.

  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 05:56 p.m.

    Trey, thanks for jumping into the conversation! In our professional learning, we've worked to help teachers do both. That is, to look at the similarities and differences between reading, writing, and discourse in discipline-specific ways. One strategy we use which I think is applicable to the classroom is to simply spend some time looking at two distinct samples and thinking about where there is overlap and where they diverge. For example, we might look at a fictional narrative and a science text and work to identify some reading strategies for each. Then we compare the lists and star the strategies that are similar. It's a simple approach, but it helps build a generalized framework. We do similar things with writing and discourse. I do think it's helpful to do activities like this with students because it helps to surface different strategies, so that students can continue to build their arsenal of literacy tools. 

     
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    Nicole Wong
    Trey Smith
  • Icon for: Kirsten Daehler

    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 01:56 p.m.

    Trey, I appreciate your question about discipline-specific writing (reading and discourse) and wanted to piggy back on Jenn's comment. One of the things we do with teachers (that I also think is totally appropriate and helpful for students) is to have them articulate what makes reading/writing in science different from reading/writing in other genres. This includes thinking about ways science texts are different in terms of purpose, audience, format, and tone. For example, the audience is often seeking information, but typically comes with a skeptical stance (and that is a good thing). Common formats include, cause-effect, compare-contrast, descriptive, conceptual definitions, and claim, evidence, and reasoning. By having students/teachers analyze various science texts, they see how to function drives the form of the text. Often a big aha is that in science graphs, images, and other representations of data are considered text and require "reading." In our Matter course we have teacher read the Periodic Table and talk about the strategies they use to understand the meaning. Some strategies are identical to typical reading strategies (i.e., chunking, looking for patterns), however these strategies feel different when applied to the Periodic Table.

    As one last comment, as a parent of HS students, I see how much they talk about the structure of various essays they write, so I think it's a perfect time to help them think about analyzing science texts too.

    So glad you shared your experience and this interesting topic!

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Cathy Carroll

    Cathy Carroll

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 12:58 p.m.

    I enjoyed your video. I wish I had had opportunities to learn science this way. It was great to see the students so engaged and to hear the enthusiasm of the teacher.

  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 01:05 p.m.

    Thanks for stopping by Cathy! One of the teachers we interviewed explicitly mentioned that the most valuable thing for him as a learner was hands-on science learning, and that he "didn't remember much else" about the science classrooms of his youth. There really is something about getting to muck around with the science yourself that drives curiosity. 

    Folks can read more about the Great Valley Elementary educators highlighted in this video in our recent blog post — Supporting the Needs of Next Generation Science Education.

  • Icon for: Kathy Huncosky

    Kathy Huncosky

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 01:08 p.m.

    Hi Cathy,

    You are not alone in learning science a different way. Many teachers are being asked to teach science in a way they did not experience learning. This can make it challenging and maybe even a bit intimidating. However, once they get to experience learning through the MSS approach, they feel more comfortable thinking about implementing NGSS in their own classrooms. It can be fun and engaging for both teachers and students!

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    Elda

    K-12 Teacher
    May 14, 2019 | 10:10 a.m.

    That is why I am so appreciative of MSS.  The PLC is so helpful because as teachers we share our challenges and we work together on new ideas to help with those challenges.  Yes, NGSS is so much fun for students because they are able to use all of their senses to learn.  What could be more natural?  This is how children learn about the world around them.  They touch, smell, throw, poke at things, and listen for sounds to learn about them.  This produces questions.  All students are able to hook into the lesson and contribute. 

     
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    Kirsten Daehler
    Jennifer Mendenhall
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  • Icon for: Nicole Wong

    Nicole Wong

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 10:48 a.m.

    Thank you for your work, Elda!  It's wonderful to see this kind of learning taking place in classrooms.  It's not easy, and it's not always comfortable to do.  I truly appreciate your work!

  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 12:07 p.m.

    Elda, I loved hearing about your story creating this video. I listened to your comments many times and it was inspiring to hear your passion and enthusiasm for science come out. Will you share a few of the key things that were beneficial to you on your journey?

  • Icon for: Kirsten Daehler

    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 01:10 p.m.

    Kudos Elda! Your video is inspiring! Many teachers from across the country have been asking for examples of what NGSS learning can look like in the classroom. Making these NGSS shifts can feel daunting and its sometimes hard to know where to start. In particular, I'd love to hear some more about a tough spot or two that you have experienced and what you figured out along the way. Please keep sharing. 

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    Kati Begen

    K-12 Teacher
    May 13, 2019 | 02:40 p.m.

    I love that the teacher mentioned how she incorporates math and English into her science lessons. I currently teach medical biology and am “linked” with an English teacher and a nursing teacher. We work together to create units together and the learning becomes much more meaningful! 

     
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    Kathy Huncosky

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 03:12 p.m.

    Hi Kati,

    We hear from many teachers, especially those at the elementary level, how important it is to be able to integrate content areas. When time is an issue, it is often necessary to meet standards from multiple subject areas during the same lesson. A teacher might be focusing more on one content area than another, but students use skills from multiple areas during any one lesson. Scientists use their literacy and math skills all the time when they are doing their work. It makes sense that this is also true for student scientists.

     
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    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 01:59 p.m.

    Thanks for stopping by, Kati! I was thinking how fun it must be to get to co-develop and co-teach lessons with the English teacher and nursing teacher. When do you find the time to do this? Are you co-developing single lessons or a longer unit? I'm also wondering what you think is changing about your own practice through this collaboration. I can only imagine that it must be extremely rewarding and so helpful to kids to see the relevance.

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    David Andrews

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 13, 2019 | 04:18 p.m.

    I am truly excited to learn that you are making the connections between English and math and science learning. This more holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to teaching and learning has the potential to produce a much richer learning experience in so many any ways for a wider range of students. As Kathy stated, this is practiced in scientific research on a regular basis. 

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    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 12:20 p.m.

    Yes! It's so important to get out of the silos and work to support the whole child/person. Not only is it practiced in scientific research, but it's just more natural to how we learn in general! 

  • Icon for: Emily Weiss

    Emily Weiss

    PI Improving Practice Together
    May 13, 2019 | 04:21 p.m.

    Hi Kirsten, 

    Our teachers are telling us the same thing about how their science teaching is changing their teaching in all of their subject areas. It is really exciting when they make these connections. 

    What percentage of teachers in the district are participating in your program? What factors are influencing that percentage? How are you getting principal buy-in? Are teachers being supported in using more time for teaching science? If so, how did that happen?

    Thanks!

    Emily

  • Icon for: Kathy Huncosky

    Kathy Huncosky

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 01:43 p.m.

    Hi Emily,

    I work with Kirsten on the Making Sense of SCIENCE team as the site coordinator for the i3 grant work in the state of WI. 

    From past experiences of my own, and working with teachers on the i3 grant work and another grant we had in my school district, I observed that teachers are transformed by participating in MSS professional learning. Not only are they finding value in the content area of science, but their instructional practices are changing across the board. They are using what they are learning about discourse, small group work, collaboration, hands-on experiences, etc. all day long in their classrooms.

    In our current i3 grant work we targeted fourth- and fifth-grade teachers in the research study. However, as we are scaling-up our work in this later phase of the grant, we are branching out to K-12 teachers in the districts we are serving. As the word spreads about the professional learning teachers are receiving and the communities of learning they are forming, other teachers want to be a part of things, too. It has been wonderful to see both the horizontal and vertical teaming that has been taking place. It has been a grassroots effort to expand to other grade levels at participating school sites and to include other schools in the districts that were not initially a part of the grant work. 

    We work with both teachers and administrators at participating schools. At the beginning of our grant work, we required school sites to join - a percentage of teachers agreed to sign on as well as their administrators. We felt it was really important for teachers to have buddies who were interested in making shifts together and administrators who would support those changes. We provide professional learning for teacher leaders, teachers who teach science to kids - both regular education and support staff, administrators, and community members. There is power in casting the net widely to include all of these people who can help make a difference. Getting all these stakeholders on the same page is powerful.

    Some schools have expanded the amount of time they are able to spend on teaching science, but others are still struggling to figure out how to do this. Administrators play an important role in this decision. They work with teachers to figure out daily and weekly schedules that include science and intentional ways to integrate subject areas to eek out more time. Teachers feel the need to get permission from their administrators to make these changes and require their support as they implement them. 

    Just remember this is a journey. It takes time to make changes, and it's important to build relationships along the way. It's an exciting process of change and totally worth the time and effort!

  • Icon for: Kirsten Daehler

    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 02:55 p.m.

    Hi Emily! Great set of questions...nothing trivial, so I'll do my best to share some of what we're learning for each.

    What percentage of teachers in the district are participating in your program? What factors are influencing that percentage?
    When Making Sense of SCIENCE first started working at the district level, we would put out a call for individual teachers to participate. Then we would work with district leaders (e.g., TOSAs, Curriculum & Instruction folks) to help with recruitment. For our more recent Investing in Innovation (i3) project we recruited at the school level and asked for a commitment from the school administrator and >60% of teacher at the target grade levels. Schools completed an application and were then selected. Because of federal grant funding, we were able to provide incentives (stipends, $ for hands-on science materials). For the i3 project we are working in seven districts and I would estimate that we are in 20%–90% of the schools, depending on the district. By the 3rd year of the grant several districts choose to expand the MSS professional learning to middle school and high school grades, with a longer-term goal of reaching every teacher K–12. These plans are being initiated by mid-level leadership at the district (such as Lisa in the video) with MSS staff providing encouragement and technical assistance in planning presentations to upper administrators for additional support (e.g., release time for teachers).

    How are you getting principal buy-in?
    Initially, for the i3 project schools had to have administrator support to participate. This involved attending 2–3 meetings per year. That said, we've seen incredible turn over in school leadership and when we hold Administrator events the turn out hovers around 40-60%. On their evaluations, Administrators say the professional learning is really helpful. Yet, they are extremely busy people who are pulled in many ways, so we still struggle with getting them in the room. The most successful time period for events is 9am–2pm. Do you have helpful tips to share?

     

    Are teachers being supported in using more time for teaching science? If so, how did that happen?
    Yes and no. For the i3 project, we build regional Leadership Cadre (LC) teams with science leaders from the district, teacher leaders from participating schools, and community leaders (IHE, informal science). The LC met for ~4 days/year, with a subset attending a facilitation academy to learn to lead the professional learning back at their sites. These LC members have been the movers and shakers back at their sites, both at schools and within the district. So, to your question, the best success stories have been when LC teacher leaders collaborated with their school administrators to evaluate the time for science. In some schools, these conversations resulted in policy changes that amounted to a commitment of 150 min per week for science in grades 3–5. By sharing these success stories, other LC members were encouraged to try to bring about a change in the time dedicated to science at their schools. The other thing LC members have been doing is working to get science (and science professional learning) written into the districts LCAP plans. This hasn't been easy, but some LC members are now asking for a seat at the table.

    Please chime in if you have insights to add. We would love to find a more systemic solution and increase administrator involvement overall.

  • Icon for: Dave Miller

    Dave Miller

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 13, 2019 | 06:19 p.m.

    Hi team, great job with the video, and thanks for sharing it here in the showcase! I’m curious if you’re qualitatively capturing the student experience, across time, in your project. Might be beyond the scope of your project, but there are some great stories to be shared from your project. Thanks! - Dav

     
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    Nicole Wong

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 06:40 p.m.

    Great question, Dave.  We surveyed students about their perceptions of the learning environment, the quality and cognitive demand of the science activities, and students' sense of agency, self efficacy, and enjoyment of science, but we are still analyzing those data.  We also collected a little bit of classroom data (lesson audio, artifacts, and teacher interviews) from a small number of teachers, but it wasn't longitudinal.  One question that is of great interest to our team is how teachers develop the knowledge and skills to facilitate students-to-student science discourse, and it would be very interesting to see how those practices and students' opportunities to engage in science discourse change over time.  That would be a great topic for future work!

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    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 02:05 p.m.

    Hi Dave. I was involved in the early years of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) project and one of my favorite teacher portfolio entries was looking at student work over time. I think that influenced some of the teacher case work we've done. One way we surface teachers pedagogical content knowledge and integrate this into the professional learning is through written cases of teacher practice that include artifacts from the classroom. SOme of my favorite cases are ones where teachers show examples of several students science ideas changing over time, as evidenced in their work samples. It's hard to collect and curate these examples, but they can show a lot. So, I don't really know if this is what you mean by capturing students' experiences over time, but it made me think about the evolution of students' science ideas over time.

  • Icon for: Daniel Capps

    Daniel Capps

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 08:38 a.m.

    Hi Team, I really enjoyed the video and it looks like you are doing great work. Can you tell me a little about the plan for when the funding runs out? How will you support teachers in these districts to sustain the great work you are currently collaborating on.  From what I understand, the kind of teaching we are asking them to do is a decade + long project. What do you see this continued effort looking like in this particular context? 

     
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  • Icon for: Nicole Wong

    Nicole Wong

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 10:38 a.m.

    Hi Daniel,  Thanks for that important question.  We are very interested in understanding how to create sustainable systems of support for teacher learning.  Kirsten and Patrick will probably have pieces to add, but I'll try to give my perspective as one of the researchers.  Our i3 project can be described in two phases:  The impact study and the scale-up study.  During the first few years of the project, the model of PL implementation aimed to develop capacity and collaboration among a variety of stakeholders:  In addition to offering PL for teachers, the MSS program provided regional leadership development opportunities to administrators, PL providers, community members (such as potential funding partners), and other science leaders.  During these meetings and associated activities, participants learned about NGSS and MSS, and they worked in teams to begin addressing their region's science-teaching needs (e.g., developing lessons for use in the classroom, developing presentations to share lessons-learned at conferences and with colleagues).  Through this process, the project developed a cadre of leaders with a (more) shared vision for NGSS implementation.  During the implementation study, the leadership development activities and the professional learning for teachers were funded through the grant.  At the conclusion of the impact study, we began the scale-up study, where we have been following members of the leadership cadre who agreed to help bring the MSS program to scale.  We are conducting a qualitative study to help us understand how these leaders obtain resources (from their districts, the state, other grants, community partners), align efforts with stakeholders, collaborate with other leaders, etc. to do this work.  During the scale-up study, participating districts and schools are receiving a bit of financial and/or material support from the grant, but the goal is to help them create long-term plans that will allow them to become self-sustaining.

     
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    Jennifer Mendenhall
  • Icon for: Kathy Huncosky

    Kathy Huncosky

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 12:55 p.m.

    Hi Daniel,

    I serve as the site coordinator for the MSS i3 grant work in the state of WI. I work primarily with teachers and science leaders in the Milwaukee and Racine school districts, as well as community members in those areas. However, I also work with teachers and leaders located throughout the state and with our STEM leader from the state Department of Public Instruction. We are all working on building a network throughout the state so that we can continue to offer opportunities, resources, and support for the teachers who have been involved in the grant work and for other teachers who have similar needs as they implement NGSS. We hope to utilize the teacher leaders and other trained MSS folks as we continue to build capacity within our state and region. 

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Patrick Moyle

    Patrick Moyle

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 08:21 p.m.

    Hi Daniel,

    We’ve been addressing the, “What happens when the money runs out?” question several ways. All of which focused on increasing individual and institutional capacity.

    As Nicole mentioned above, at the outset of the study we began convening regional leadership meetings. Members of this leadership cadre included teachers and some ToSAs from the districts and schools involved in the treatment group of the study. During these PLC meetings, we worked with participants to build knowledge of the NGSS, to make plans for navigating their districts, and build overall leadership capacity. Two years later, a few of these teacher leaders had taken jobs at the district level to continue the work they had started in their classrooms.

    At the end of the quantitative portion of the study, we created three rolls for people and organizations to continue on. These were District, School an educator Partners.

    Each district that wanted scale-up the work we had completed in the study could apply to be a District partner. With a modest bank-account they could use to clear any hurdles they had for implementation, we worked together to build two-year scale-up plans. For example, some districts found it hard to pay stipends for teachers to participate in PLCs. Others needed support purchasing materials for PL. This bank account could be used to address scale-up districts’ specific needs. In the mean-time, a district leader — formerly of the regional leadership team — worked with MSS staff to develop a plan for creating a district-wide implementation plan for NGSS that would span 5 years. During this planning process, district leaders got to know the inner working of their districts, had conversations with district leadership such as superintendents and administrators in charge of LCAP, and others. The goal is that at the end of two years of scale-up, the district has created internal capacity to continue the work of implementing the NGSS without MSS financial support. So far, the model is working well, with districts applying for and receiving grants and also leveraging LCAP funds.

    Concurrent to this, former Leadership Cadre members who wanted to continue on but were still in the classroom were encouraged to apply to be either a school partner or an educator partner. School partners worked with their school leadership to develop yearly NGSS PL plans addressing an ambitious science implementation goal. They then received a modest stipend and bank account for materials to use throughout the year. Educator partners worked with smaller teams of teachers — typically their own grade level colleagues — to host PLCs or implement MSS developed NGSS-aligned student units. Both sets of partners were also invited to Camp MSS where they worked together to hone their implementation plans and participated in additional facilitation academy learning.

    Suffice it to say, we’ve put a lot of energy into building capacity in both individuals and the institutions they work for. We’re excited to see how the fruits of this labor ripen in the next few years.

     
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    Lisa Snyder

    K-12 Teacher
    May 15, 2019 | 12:03 a.m.

    Hi Daniel,

    I'm Lisa, a TOSA/K-12 Science Coordinator for one of the district partners. As Patrick mentioned, we are currently using the MSS Scale up money to expand the MSS PD to our middle grades (6-8) while channeling LCAP money to continue with the MSS PD for our K-5 teachers.  We also just wrote a grant for a team of 5 our high school teachers to participate in MSS Summer PD and also to attend Camp MSS.  These teachers will then spend time in each other's classrooms doing observation and lesson study and will then put on a summer MSS PD for the remainder of our high school science teachers next summer.  Each of the original 5 teachers will then choose another teacher to partner with for the 2nd year.  These 10 teachers will attend Camp MSS and will repeat the classroom observation/lesson study model during year 2.

     
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    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 05:21 p.m.

    Since Lisa mentioned Camp MSS, I'll just elaborate a bit to say that one of the ways we hope to support sustainability is by hosting Camp MSS. Camp MSS is part conference and part camp! It's is a place for educators to engage in professional learning, but it's also a place for them to come together as a community. In addition to practice-focused PL, participants engage in camp-y activities and relationship-building events. We hope that after the i3 concludes, Camp serves as a vehicle for maintaining relationships and maintaining some of the momentum. We're hosting our third annual Camp MSS this year in September. 

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    Lisa Snyder

    K-12 Teacher
    May 16, 2019 | 03:01 p.m.

    Daniel, you are so right on about this being a decade long + endeavor!  Getting the teachers on board with quality PD is one of the first steps to creating institutional change but then supporting sites with with funding to purchase simple hands-on consumable materials for K-5 kids to "do" the science is another big need.  Teachers cannot continue to fund hands-on science out of their own pocket. Our district is currently exploring/piloting some "outside the box" thinking with regard to providing sites with a science budget specifically for consumables like cups, aluminum foil, paper plates, etc. along with a protocol for ordering materials so teachers can get them in a timely fashion.  Removing those barriers for teachers is paying off in a big way.  Over the past 3 years we have seen involvement with K-5 science instruction more than triple (as measured by teacher usage of our K-5 NGSS transition curriculum). Kids are excited and teachers are excited.  Momentum is building.  As Elda mentioned at the end of the video it really is exciting to see all of this unfold!

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Courtney Arthur

    Courtney Arthur

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 01:51 p.m.

    Amazing video! I am curious about the barriers you have encountered, if any, of finding classroom time dedicated to Science. It seems to be a subject matter that is often pushed out of the way in preference of other content at times and would love to know if this work has shifted that thinking?

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    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 02:27 p.m.

    Hi Courtney, 

    Yes! This has been a huge hurdle at the elementary level. Kirsten mentioned in an earlier comment that many teachers feel like they don't have 'permission' to teach science. A big part of working to overcome that has been getting administrator buy in. It's been interesting to see how teachers have handled the challenge differently. We've seen some shifts were science has been given 30 minutes of dedicated time each week (Here's to small victories!) Others have chosen to take an integrated approach. As Elda described in the video, the methodology is infectious. Once students start learning in this way, they want to do it in all subjects and teachers are really finding the value in building connections across subjects. Taking a more holistic, integrated approach does seem to resonate and so I think we're starting to see more systemic buy in but it's a process. 

     
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    Nicole Wong

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 03:22 p.m.

    Hi Courtney,  This is such an important question:  at a certain point, it doesn't matter how much teachers learn through this PL, if they do not also have time to actually teach science.  As Jenn mentioned, we hope that we can support teachers in having "permission" to teach science through our efforts to foster administrator buy-in.  To measure the project's impact on this front, we surveyed teachers about the amount of time they spent teaching science during the study year, barriers to science teaching and learning (including time available for science), and how supported they feel by administrators in their science-teaching efforts.  We also surveyed administrators about barriers and supports for science teaching in their schools, including time allotted for science and PL.  We have not yet finished analyzing these data, but I am eager to see what we learn.

     
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    Aliza Zivic

    Graduate Student
    May 14, 2019 | 02:01 p.m.

    I really appreciated the clip of student reasoning in your video - thank you so much for including it!I lt is wonderful that you are supporting district and state leadership with these shifts as well as teachers. We have also found that supporting systemic change requires buy-in from stakeholders at all levels. But speaking of stakeholders, we have worked with some really wonderful teachers who still get resistance from their students to take on the new, agentic role this type of classroom demands. Students, especially in HS, will report that they understand what their teacher is asking them to do, they just don't want to do it. Have you found that as well? Have you found some productive levers that were especially useful for garnering student buy-in and supporting the development of student beliefs that engaging in the difficult work of meaningful, dialectic sense making is worth their time?

  • Icon for: Nicole Wong

    Nicole Wong

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 02:20 p.m.

    Ooh, this is such an important question, Aliza.  Thank you for raising it.  I have seen this kind of pushback in another project that I work on, involving middle schoolers' use of computer simulations.  What you have learned about how to support this classroom-level buy-in from high school students?

  • Icon for: Aliza Zivic

    Aliza Zivic

    Graduate Student
    May 14, 2019 | 02:35 p.m.

    I'm (trying) to answer some of these questions in my dissertation - so I'm still going through the data and trying to make sense of this myself! One thing I've noticed, anecdotally, is that some classes are "talkers" and others aren't. My gut tells me that the personalities and social dynamics of every individual class plays a role in getting student buy-in. There seems to be a lot of identity work going here since I also have noticed that "honors level" students can sometimes have a harder time seeing the value in changing how they learn (compared to "regular level" students) when the old way always worked so well for them! There are so many awesome tools and pedagogical structures out there supporting the emergence of productive talk - I know the teachers I work with have a bunch that they love - but I don't have an answer to my own question yet as to how we can support students in developing identities and epistemologies that are aligned with this type of work...shifting beliefs is HARD!!

    That was a lot of words to say I'm still learning and have no answers but I'm eager to see what you guys discover through your work!

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 03:00 p.m.

    Aliza, this is such a good question. We've also been hearing about some teacher resistance at this level as well. As part of our scale-up efforts, one district in the Central Valley has worked with to implement the model at the HS level. I've invited one of the teachers to chime in and share his experience from the classroom. 

  • Icon for: Kirsten Daehler

    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 03:18 p.m.

    Aliza, thanks for bringing the HS lens to the table! As a former HS teacher, I can appreciate the challenges this age group can offer. In some ways, HS students are less mold-able to shifts in pedagogy and classroom structure because they have expectations of what school "should be" (e.g., if they've had sit-and-get then that's what they expect). That said, when a teacher is clear on what they want from students in terms of interactions and norms for communication, then with practice the students can get there. So, to your point the classroom discourse does seem very teacher dependent. That said, our elementary teachers talk a lot about how they need to do explicit skill building with their students around scientific discourse. Some teachers provide sentence starters (e.g., to support argumentation), table tents with tips for communication, and "fish bowl" conversations to model how to talk in science. My guess is that HS students need this just as much, but many HS teachers aren't accustomed to providing this kind of explicit literacy supports, especially in science classrooms.

    Several of our Leadership Cadre members in the i3 project were HS teachers. Last year, two LC members led a 5-day MSS professional learning event for all HS science teachers in the district. At first there was a lot of complaining, however by the 3rd day there was a clear sea change and teachers were commenting that the professional learning was a transformative experience. What they commented on most was the discourse that supported the learning. So...maybe that is part of the key, get everyone on board for a shared learning experience at once. Maybe it's like a R.O.P.E.S. course where they go through something tough together and come out more committed and changed through their  shared experience.

    On a different note, two other groups at WestEd — the Strategic Literacy Initiative and QTEL — both work with middle and HS teachers. Their work might be of interest.

    Let's keep talking. Thanks for getting this thread started.

     
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    Aliza Zivic
  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 03:22 p.m.

    Here is a brief write up that chronicles the PL Kirsten mentioned in her comment. 

    https://we-mss.weebly.com/science-corner/supporting-high-school-teachers-with-ngss

     
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    Aliza Zivic

    Graduate Student
    May 14, 2019 | 03:50 p.m.

    I'll check it out! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Kirsten - I think you are absolutely right. Getting students to talk, helping them to feel safe sharing unformed, intuitive ideas, creating an environment where we can feel comfortable with our uncertainty, and figuring out how to listen to each other and constructively build on (and productively critique) others ideas -- these are difficult things that HS teachers are not used to creating classroom supports around. And when you add all of the time constraints HS has (short class periods and large classes, standardized tests, etc.) it makes things even harder in HS! I do think (hope?) that down the line students will be coming in more familiar with these norms from their K-8 classrooms.

    I really appreciate your move to compare student learning to teacher learning - that shift from frustration to appreciation is something we have seen with both students and teachers as well! It definitely seems like a parallel journey.

    I'm definitely going to keep thinking on this - I hope other people join in and share their ideas!

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Ryan Hollister

    Ryan Hollister

    K-12 Teacher
    May 14, 2019 | 05:54 p.m.

    Hi all, 

    I'm Ryan, one of the Central Valley LC members.  This is such a rad thread!  Kirsten did a great job summarizing the experiences that my HS colleagues had during our 5-day MSS.  We really pushed our administration to see the value of making this PD mandatory so we could have a shared experience that would further out discourse in the future.  I have three tidbits to add to her summary and then will address the student buy-in portion of the question.

    1. We split the five days of MSS over two weeks. We went 3 days one week, 2 days the next, which allowed ample time for reflection, decompression and reinvigoration.  This format also resulted in less anxiety from teachers worried about missing an entire week of school.  (They got to see their Ss for several days each week). 
    2. The most awesome, honest parting thought from the 5-Day was something along the lines of "I hated that I was forced to be here and I thought this would be useless and saw no need for why I had to miss 5 valuable days with my classes. But today I now understand why the format had to be the way it was.  It was transformative and is the best PD I've ever had".
    3. Since the end of our PD in October, there have been noticeable and continuous shifts both big and small made by our teachers to become facilitators of NGSS rather than the traditional teachers of facts.  Discourse and modeling is happening amongst our students, and thanks to the MSS PD, teachers have common experiences and scaffolds from which to draw upon when looking to implement the new strategies in their classrooms.  Mastery of the facilitation of discourse will come with time, but I am super-pleased with the results thus far. 

     

     
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    Ryan Hollister

    K-12 Teacher
    May 14, 2019 | 06:45 p.m.

    Regarding student discourse and participation:

    I'll have some more to add tomorrow, but I am huge believer in Place-Based education and phenomena. 

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bz9lHprOrga69q...

     
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    Jennifer Mendenhall
  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 01:21 p.m.

    Ryan, thanks for sharing! We're looking forward to hearing more about your experience with student discourse and participation.

  • Icon for: Robert Reardon

    Robert Reardon

    Researcher
    May 14, 2019 | 02:35 p.m.

    How encouraging to see students engaging in science by doing stuff and interacting with each other thoughtfully! I say this as a parent who benefited enormously from enlightened science teaching many moons ago--back when it was still OK for students to light Bunsen burners! (How did we survive?) Compared to all the excitement I experienced, in a hyper-awarness of safety (perhaps), or of not "wasting time" with all the messiness of setting up experiments (it's faster tp just tell'em), some students' encounters with school science is so removed from engaging with apparatus that it is boring at worst and, to my disappointment, uninviting.

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    Kathy Huncosky

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 04:30 p.m.

    Thank you for your comments, Robert! For those of us who have a passion for science and science education, the NGSS shifts are very exciting! Science should be fun, and challenging, and relevant, and thought-provoking, and engaging, and accessible, and . . . . I could go on and on. I'm thrilled just as you are that students across the nation will have opportunities to experience the wonders of science!!

  • Icon for: Nicole Wong

    Nicole Wong

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 12:47 p.m.

    Hi Robert, I echo your excitement!  We have have been fortunate to see the impact of this model of professional learning in hundreds of classrooms across the country.  During my classroom observations, I can truly see students' excitement, and it's not just in doing something "hands-on," but also having the opportunity to bump into puzzling phenomena where they are sincerely engaged in trying to figure out WHY something is happening.  The moments when students excitedly pull members of other groups over to observe their work or passionately disagree with each other about what is happening or how to test something is nothing short of magical!  :)

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    Lisa Snyder

    K-12 Teacher
    May 14, 2019 | 11:44 p.m.

    Happy to finally join in on the discussion!  I'm Lisa, the science coordinator for one of the districts participating in the i3 grant. The i3 project initially just involved a little less than 1/2 of our 4th ad 5th grade teachers.  However, it has proven so effective in energizing and invigorating our teachers that we expanded it to 6th grade teachers last year, provided it to the rest of our 5th grade teachers this year and will now be offering a full week of MSS PD for 7-8 teachers and high school teachers this summer.  Next year we will provide the PD to our remaining 4th grade teachers during the school year.  I couldn't agree with Ryan more, it has truly been a transformative experience.  

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    Elda

    K-12 Teacher
    May 15, 2019 | 11:01 a.m.

    Jennifer, there were so many things that I found beneficial in my journey.  The key points was the support that MSS set in place for us so that we could feel confident going into the new school year.  To start, the week training that we received last June.  I paid very close attention to the modeling that was taking place right before my eyes.  Lisa Snyder modeled from Classroom Norms to holding collaborative conversations to carrying out the actual lessons.  Then she as well as the rest of the MSS team were available for us any time we had a question.  Then our leadership cadre, Amy Bass, was trained and put in place for some more support.  She scheduled our PLC meetings and we discussed our lessons and any challenges that we had.  She did a great job making sure that we had all of our questions answered and we had new goals to work on.  I she was not able to answer our questions, she contacted someone else to help us.  An entire support system was set in place so that we felt confident enough to get out there and move forward with these NGSS lessons.  This was far different from what we had experienced without MSS.  We felt that support we needed to move forward.  

     
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    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 12:52 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing, Elda. It's so great to hear firsthand how valuable the support system is. I think one of our biggest goals was to help build district capacity so that after the grant disappears the support structure is still in place. It's wonderful to hear that you've been able to rely on your colleagues! I particularly loved hearing about how your PLC conversations spread into casual before, during, and after school conversations. Thanks for jumping in and sharing your story! 

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    Michelle Larson

    K-12 Teacher
    May 15, 2019 | 10:23 p.m.

    Overall, I have loved my time in the program.  I am an i3 Scale up Partner School in Milwaukee, WI.  West Ed and MSS has helped me to help the teachers in our school.  Originally, it was only the 4th and 5th grade teacher, but this last year, it has been K5-5th grade teachers that participated in my monthly PLC.  It has been a great learning experience for me, to lead the PLC's and also extremely valuable to the staff.  At the beginning of the year, the teachers were a bit apprehensive do the science in the PLC and in class, but are now really participating, contributing and having fun; both in the PLC and with their students.  It has been my privilege to watch this development.  

    In regards to administration, our principal wants us to continue doing what we are doing, but has not made it to a PLC yet this year.  She has stated that she wanted to attend, but I do not believe her schedule allows it.  It is rather disheartening, but it is what it is!  

     
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    Kathy Huncosky

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 08:52 a.m.

    Michelle, thanks for contributing to this discussion. We are so happy that you shared your story about changes around science in your school as a result of your involvement with the i3 grant. We understand that a teacher, like you, can have a great impact on his/her fellow staff members. When you took a risk, others were willing to do so, too. The bottom line is that students in your school are engaging in science and enjoying it! Thanks for all you do . . . you are appreciated!

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    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 01:30 p.m.

    It's so hard when you're passionate about something to not be able to directly share it with influencers like your principal. Even if she doesn't make it to a PLC meeting, hopefully she'll still be able to see the impact the PLCs are having. I'm glad that you've had so much success — the PLCs seem to be a key in the process. It's so important for teachers to have an internal network of support! I'm glad it's been so impactful for you all. Thanks so much for sharing, Michelle!

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    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 03:20 p.m.

    Hi Michelle! Nice to see you online and thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences from your school. Recently I've been thinking a lot more about this question of getting more administrator involvement. I'm wondering how it might have been different for you and your school if we had involved your administrator sooner or for more time at the beginning of the project. For example, what if your principal came to 2–3 days during the first summer professional learning? Or if they came to Camp MSS? Would you have preferred more opportunities to do things together with your administrator or separate? I think this is a non-trivial challenge, so I welcome any insight you have on how to leverage more support from the administrator part of the system. Cheers!

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    Mary Murphy

    K-12 Teacher
    May 16, 2019 | 06:58 p.m.

    Love the video!  Based on all the comments you have touched a BIG need!  You may have mentioned it earlier but I didn't see it (a lot of comments to read through :) ) What are you plans for wider distribution so we can support more k-5 teachers?  Thanks again!

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    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 12:12 p.m.

    Hi Mary! Thanks for stopping in to view our video and engage in the conversation. I'm really enjoying the discussion, but I'm also starting to lose track of the details. :) To answer your question, our grant includes a scale-up year that allows us to work with existing partners in bigger ways and to extend to new areas. The goal of this phase is to work on creating sustainability plans in these regions. Each of our scale-up partners has committed to building a long-term plan to provide professional learning (face-to-face content-rich PL and in many cases ongoing PLCs) and to maintaining a network of support for teachers. Many partners have chosen to bring the PL to new grade levels (K-3, middle school, and high school). We've also been working at the state-level in New Mexico to build a cohesive PL network to support teachers and administrators statewide. We've been in the PL business for a while, but through this scale-up work, we're learning a lot about what works and what additional supports are still needed in particular around NGSS implementation. We hope to be able to apply this new knowledge to create a more robust professional learning model that works at scale. If you'd like to stay up to date on our progress, please visit our website and subscribe to our newsletter

    We'd love to hear more about your local initiatives and challenges with professional learning! 

     
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    Kirsten Daehler

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 02:42 p.m.

    Mary, thanks for asking about wider distribution.

    Our main approach has been to work with schools, districts, regions, and states to build capacity to offer MSS professional learning (PL) at their own sites. To support these efforts, when we develop teacher PL materials we simultaneously develop support materials for facilitators. Then we offer MSS Facilitation Academies to folks who want to lead MSS professional learning (e.g., teacher leaders, staff developers, TOSAs, science support staff, district C&I folks).

    Many groups have collaborated with us on grants to help bring MSS to their sites. We're always open to new partnerships and can share  research evaluation data showing evidence of the effectiveness of MSS. that helps to win grants.

    For the past three years we have also offered Camp MSS, as an opportunity for folks to come learn and gather resources they can use to bring back and lead high-quality professional learning. We'd love to have you join us if you're interested.

  • Icon for: Carol Wish

    Carol Wish

    May 16, 2019 | 11:41 p.m.

    As a citizen, retired health care worker, and former college professor, I believe that science literacy is vital for the next generation. Those who are children now will be tasked with confronting the realities of climate change, as well as challenges to current bio-ethics and many other imminent issues.  I am excited by these new, interactive methods of teaching. Thank you for your work. 

     
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    Nicole Wong
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    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 12:14 p.m.

    We think so, too, Carol! It's what drives us to do what we do every day. Thank you for stopping by and engaging with the conversation. It's really wonderful to hear that the community sees the value in what we're doing. 

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    Nicole Wong

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 01:10 p.m.

    Hi Carol, Thank you so much for your comment.  Yes!  Scientific literacy isn't just for scientists, it is imperative for our everyday functioning as citizens.  Even if they don't go on to STEM-focused careers, it is my hope that students' early engagement with science ideas through the practices of science will help them better understand the nature of scientific endeavors and see themselves as capable of using science when making personal decisions and participating in civic life.

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    Kathy Huncosky

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 01:28 p.m.

    Hi Carol,

    Thanks for sharing your perspective with us! It is so important to remember that what we do in science education today will prepare students to be literate citizens who are able to make contributions to society at large. We have found our community partners to be such important stakeholders in the work we do with teachers and students. it is vital to work together to make a difference. Thank you for all you have done to serve others in preparing them for bright futures!

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    Elda

    K-12 Teacher
    May 17, 2019 | 07:00 a.m.

    Yes, Carol, NGSS is a great way for children to develop those problem solving skills they will need to succeed academically and as productive citizens.  Students are getting excited about Science and I can see that they enjoy learning.  

     
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    Jennifer Mendenhall
  • Icon for: Marcia Quackenbush

    Marcia Quackenbush

    May 20, 2019 | 12:43 p.m.

     Really exciting to see the teachers get so engaged in building science knowledge and bringing it to students in creative and meaningful ways. Thanks!

     
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    Nicole Wong
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    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 02:22 p.m.

    Marcia, I couldn't agree more. It's so rewarding to see the impact on students in the classroom and hear stories like this one from teachers in the field. This was such a great opportunity for us to get to see first hand what effect this type of instruction has on students engagement and excitement for learning. Thanks for joining the discussion!

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    Elda

    K-12 Teacher
    May 20, 2019 | 12:43 p.m.

    I completely agree with Lisa Snyder's comment.  Teachers cannot keep funding hands-on science out of our own pockets.  Our team of teachers have been lucky because whatever supplies we have needed for our MSS activities, they have funded them. In the past, we were having to push the lessons back until we could afford the supplies.  The support we are currently getting is very helpful and it encourages us to keep moving forward with the lessons.  As we are modeling lessons for other teachers, one of the first questions they ask is "Where do I get the supplies?"  

     
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    Lisa Snyder
  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 02:31 p.m.

    This is such an important challenge to bring attention to, Elda. It's also one that's hard to address because each district is so different. I think one of the amazing things about Manteca Unified is that you all have the infrastructure to support teachers at the district level and Lisa has been a wonderful advocate for on all fronts — including around acquiring hands on supplies. The costs for these supplies should definitely not be coming out of teachers pockets. Many hands-on investigations don't need or require expensive equipment, but there's also the 'cost' of time for teachers to build kits and collect supplies even if they don't break the bank. I'm curious to know what advice we can give ourselves on this front? 

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