The Power of Perseverance By Jennifer Childress Self | February 6, 2024 Around this time of the year, it's common for people to take a step back from the goals they set for themselves in early January. Perhaps they wanted to eat a healthier diet. Perhaps they wanted to learn to play a musical instrument. Early in January, it can be exciting to start new routines and try out new things. It's harder, though, to keep going for a long time, and all too easy to slip back into doing what they've been doing for years. Many districts around the country have [...]
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So far Jennifer Childress Self has created 28 blog entries.
Can curriculum materials play a role? By Christopher Harris and Mingyu Feng | November 9, 2023 If the status of science instruction in the elementary grades could be described in one word, it would most likely be: undervalued. For more than twenty years, science has been undervalued across the K–5 grades with the amount and quality of science instruction varying widely. For example, the findings of the National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education over the past two decades consistently show that science receives far less instructional time than other core subjects during the early grades. The unfortunate reality is [...]
How can student work be used to strengthen assessments? By Lauren Stoll and Jill Wertheim | October 4, 2023 In our first blog post, Student Work is Gold, we wrote about how student work from assessments can become the key to unlocking instruction that is truly responsive to students and advances their three-dimensional learning. But student work can also be used to make the assessment itself a better and more equitable measure of students’ learning, in turn providing deeper insights for instruction. We all want to construct challenging, meaningful assessments that provide the support students need to show what they [...]
How can we develop expertise in science education leadership teams? By Jenny Sarna | September 6, 2023 You’ve likely seen or heard a helicopter flying overhead. Perhaps you have even flown in one. If I asked you to draw a diagram of how a helicopter works, what parts would you include and how would these parts interact with each other? Most people reading this blog are probably considered novices when it comes to helicopters. Although most of us may be familiar with the parts of a helicopter, we may not completely understand how these parts work together to lift a [...]
How can we help teachers modify instructional materials? By Jennifer Childress Self | August 9, 2023 When I was teaching in a school for refugees, we didn't have a lot of resources, but we did have instructional materials that covered the curriculum. It saved a lot of time to not have to create everything from scratch. However, the materials weren't written with my students in mind; a lesson on the price of fine art for collectors wasn't likely to make my students feel like they belonged in the classroom. I needed to modify the instructional materials I was given, but there weren't [...]
How can we help all students navigate our data-rich world? By Leticia Perez and Karen Lionberger | May 3, 2023 It’s a strong possibility that by the time this blog comes across your screen today, you will have received multiple alerts based on a collection of personal data about you. Maybe it was your watch or phone telling you how much screen time you had this week, or how many steps you have taken towards your daily goal, or maybe a targeted advertisement that popped up on your social media. Sound familiar? We live in a world that is fundamentally [...]
Five Design Principles for Supporting Student Motivation and Engagement in Science Classrooms By Christopher Harris and David McKinney | April 4, 2023 This is an exciting time for science education. Spurred in part by the release of A Framework for K–12 Science Education and Next Generation Science Standards, science educators are changing their classrooms to enact instructional experiences that will help all their students to participate in the real-world practices of science. While this vision for learning has generated enthusiasm for many of us in the science education community, we must also recognize that it places higher demands on students [...]
What does it take to build affirming science learning environments? What can be gained? By Rasha ElSayed and Kirsten Daehler | January 30, 2023 Can you think of a time when you felt like an outsider or an “other” in the room? We have. As one of only a few girls in an AP Physics class, one of us remembers being told that girls don’t really understand physics, they just know how to get good grades. The other remembers, even as an educator, not having the language to participate in professional learning about “makers” and feeling that work is best [...]
How do we equitably accelerate learning in science? By Jennifer Childress Self | December 6, 2022 After a long and distressing absence, students have been back in classrooms this fall across the country. We’re not back to business as usual, though. Schools and districts have been trying to figure out how to address students’ “unfinished learning” — the learning targets for a grade or course that students did not meet or address due in this case to pandemic disruptions (sometimes called “learning loss”). They mainly try to address this by “accelerating learning.” In some places, this has meant hiring extra [...]
Influences of a Large-Scale, Intensive Initiative on Teachers' NGSS Implementation By Katy Nilsen and Ashley Iveland | November 8, 2022 Nearly a decade since the release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), teachers are still struggling to implement key NGSS instructional shifts: focusing on phenomena and problems, integrating engineering practices and content, and incorporating the science and engineering practices (SEPs) and crosscutting concepts (CCCs). However, research suggests that there are effective ways to move the needle: access to sustained professional learning and having a leadership role in implementation helps teachers in their understanding, leadership, and teaching of the NGSS. [...]