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 left to the other educators present in the room. It’s often an uncomfortable feeling. [...]
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So far Jennifer Childress Self has created 21 blog entries.
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 tutors to help students catch up on missed [...]
By Katy Nilsen and Ashley Iveland | November 8, 2022Nearly 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.We studied teachers’ participation in a large-scale initiative (“the Initiative”) that was formed [...]
By Meghan Macias | October 6, 2022 The research literature is clear: Integrating mathematics and science can lead to students’ increased enthusiasm, increased achievement in both disciplines, and an increase in relevant and authentic experiences. As part of a recent project to better understand the impact of disciplinary integration and how to support it, I had the opportunity to talk with secondary mathematics and science teachers about the links between the different disciplines they teach. I assisted with coordinating and leading focus groups and interviews with in-service secondary mathematics and science teachers. One teacher told a story that encapsulated the [...]
By Jennifer Childress Self | September 14, 2022 Since the release of A Framework for K–12 Science Education a decade ago, Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs) have become part of the national conversation about science education. Almost all states now include CCCs in their state science standards, and more instructional materials include CCCs every day. There is a difference, though, between including the CCC words (e.g., patterns, cause and effect) somewhere in a document and fully supporting students to learn CCCs. Ten years down the road, it still doesn’t seem like we as a field are supporting student learning in all three [...]
By Jon Boxerman | July 13, 2022 I recently returned from a long-awaited trip to Guam. As a member of the NSF INCLUDES SEAS Islands Alliance research team, I was there to study how Indigenous/diasporic islanders, who have historically been underrepresented in the geosciences, maintain identity and a sense of belonging to their heritage culture, while developing STEM identities and a sense of belonging to the STEM community. In Indigenous/diasporic settings, in-person research is particularly effective. Personal relationships, which can take many years to cultivate, are vitally important to garner trust and foster genuine community participation in research activities. This [...]
Two Things that Improve Student Outcomes: Quality Materials and Systemic Support for their ImplementationJennifer Childress Self2022-06-07T21:52:26+00:00
By Christopher Harris | June 8, 2022 It is hard to believe that we are nearly a decade out from the release of A Framework for K–12 Science Education (Framework) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Also noteworthy is that we are now at a point where the vision for science education put forth by the Framework has become part of education policy in many corners of the U.S. This vision recasts science proficiency as not only what students know, but also how they can use and apply what they know. In today’s science classrooms, students are expected to [...]
The NextGenScience project at WestEd today announced the addition of seven new members to its Science Peer Review Panel (PRP) to continue its work evaluating lesson sequences and units designed for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Since its launch in 2016 at Achieve, the Science PRP has reviewed over 350 science units and lessons and has shared 39 quality examples of science materials on nextgenscience.org. NextGenScience shares reviewed free and publicly available quality units, along with EQuIP feedback on them, to serve as concrete examples to educators and leaders who are seeking NGSS-designed materials. Of the quality materials posted, only the units with [...]
Supporting Students in Science as a Way of Thinking – Rather Than as a Way of Getting the Right AnswerJennifer Childress Self2022-05-01T18:55:20+00:00
By Brooke Bourdélat Gorman | May 2, 2022 Many years ago, I was the kind of student who would sit in class furiously writing down every word my teacher said. It was a source of stress if a friend distracted me or the teacher talked too fast because I might miss a word, or worse, a whole sentence. At the end of class, I would shut my notebook, put it in my backpack, and take my transcription home to “learn” the information, mostly by memorizing. There were exceptions; some teachers did more labs or more problem solving or more collaboration, [...]
Forming Professional Learning Communities Around Student Work Analysis By Lauren Stoll and Jill Wertheim | April 6, 2022 “That mind shift has to change. It’s not just: I gave a test, here’s a score, it goes in the gradebook...now we have to do something else so the student does accomplish the standard.” - Secondary Resource Teacher When we used to gather with other teachers to look at student work from assessments, it was often for the purpose of evaluating student performance and coming up with a grade. However, we have since discovered there is even more value to be gained [...]