Building the ‘why’ into a districtwide literacy implementation

At Rockford Public Schools, we have a strong commitment to literacy growth. We take a comprehensive approach beginning with our foundational curriculum.

Foundational literacy instruction accounts for 50 minutes of the literacy framework; this includes up to 30 minutes for core instruction and 20 minutes engaged in the aligned software. Extended transfer beyond the Daily Core 4 is embedded within the framework as well. Other components of the RPS literacy framework include Integrated Literacy which integrates English language arts standards, Next Generation Science Standards, C3 standards, and some health standards. The elementary schools use Units of Study Writing as the core writing resource aligned to standards. 

Our students spend about 210 to 220 minutes per day in the area of literacy instruction and practice. One area we’ve recently been working on improving is the consistency of language and approach when it comes to explicit phonics instruction and the science of reading. We have a number of students with gaps in literacy. It is imperative that all of our teachers, instructional coaches , and administrators share a common language and instructional practices to support all students in the area of literacy.…Read More

Twig Education Launches Twig Science Next Gen for Middle School

(Los Angeles, Calif.) October 28, 2021 —  Twig Education, creators of the leading elementary level science program Twig Science, today announced the launch of Twig Science Next Gen for grades 6–8.

Twig Science Next Gen for middle school is an investigation-based science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) solution developed for the three-dimensional Next Generation Science Standards. It transforms the standards into story-based modules in which students take on a range of STEAM career roles through various investigation types:

  • Hand-On Labs: Students learn through inquiry-based activities, solving problems and designing solutions using resources supplied in Hands-On Kits and other everyday items.
  • Digital Interactives: High-quality simulations based on real-world phenomena and authentic data, from the Gravity Simulator and Volcano Builder interactives to adventures like “The Great Air Race” and “Into the Abyss,” let students experience science in action.
  • Real-World Multimedia Field Trips: Through video and text, students shadow scientists and engineers around the world as they explore local, national, global, and space phenomena, deepening student understanding of STEAM practices and concepts.
  • Scientific Text Investigations: Students experience a variety of authentic scientific text types, including informational, narrative, descriptive, and argumentative, reinforcing the real-world science and engineering concepts of their learning journey.
  • Video Labs: Specially shot in the Twig studio, video labs enable students to take part in scientific inquiries and experiences that would be impractical to carry out in the classroom.

For Twig Science Next Gen, Twig partnered with some of the most highly respected organizations in the worlds of science and engineering education. Developed with the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) team, three-dimensional performance assessments evaluate student attainment of NGSS Performance Expectations and prepare students for state testing. Imperial College London also acted as scientific advisors during the development of the program, which introduces students to multiple real-life STEAM professionals who inspire and motivate students and help them explain phenomena.…Read More

IRIS Offers Lessons to Help STEM Educators Teach About Recent Earthquakes

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 8, 2021) — The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) is providing free resources to help STEM educators teach about recent earthquake events, such as the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Mexico on September 8 and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti on August 14. These Teachable Moments presentations contain an explanation of the science of why the earthquake occurred, and often also includes Associated Press photos, animations, and other resources to help educators link the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to earthquake phenomena in a way that makes it relevant and engaging for students. 

“The Teachable Moments lessons help engage students in scientific inquiry and offer a critical connection to real-life events,” said Dr. Tammy Bravo, Seismology Outreach Specialist of IRIS. “By bringing knowledge, insight, and critical thinking to the classroom following a newsworthy earthquake, teachers are able to help students explore and analyze real event data, which helps to further spark their passion for science and STEM learning.”

Each Teachable Moment lesson consists of a downloadable and editable PowerPoint presentation, which is available in both Spanish and English and pertains to a specific earthquake. The lessons include interpreted U.S. Geological Survey earthquake information, plate tectonic and regional tectonic maps and summaries, concept animations, seismograms, damage photos, and other event-specific information and hazards.…Read More

New Investigations Now Available for Middle School Science Teachers to Help Engage Students in Three-Dimensional Learning

Teachers can help spark curiosity and collaboration among students with standards-aligned curriculum  

BEAVERTON, Oregon, May 13, 2021 — Vernier Software & Technology is offering new, robust investigations to help middle school teachers engage students in science as they learn in the classroom or they continue to learn from home. Designed with the three-dimensional learning approach in mind, these new investigations will help students work towards meeting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) performance expectations and build a cohesive understanding of science with hands-on investigations.

These resources include seven free downloadable teaching supplements that enhance the digital curricular units available through OpenSciEd, a nonprofit that provides free high-quality open educational resources. Each of the seven units includes more than a dozen ready-to-go investigations that support the three-dimensional learning approach, and the Vernier supplements help teachers incorporate data-collection technology. The free units explore common middle school science topics such as weather, climate, metabolic reactions, forces, and sound waves.…Read More

Carolina Biological Launches Remote Learning Add-Ons to Award Winning K-8 Science Curriculum Kits with Teacher Planning Features

Leading school science supplier Carolina Biological launched three new sets of K-8 digital resources for remote teaching this fall: Smithsonian Science for the Classroom™@HOME, Smithsonian Science and Technology Concepts™ Middle School@HOME, and Building Blocks of Science™ 3D@HOME. Carolina updated its award-winning K-8 science programs to support essential remote instruction in elementary and middle schools this fall. All programs are available now and were designed to provide high-quality, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science instruction. Carolina enhanced Smithsonian curriculum and Building Blocks of Science 3D products with simplified digital teacher-planning features for robust remote science instruction, as well as a variety of live and online on-demand professional development called Get Ready! Professional Learning. Whether educators are teaching students from their classrooms or at home, they can maintain a high-quality science program, engage students online in three-dimensional learning, and continue to support English language arts and math.

Teachers can access these new digital components and share digital resources in English and Spanish with students online from home or anywhere they have Internet access. The new add-ons for remote learning cover all Smithsonian curriculum and Building Blocks of Science™ 3D programs, to complement the classroom teacher’s instruction. These new features are free and live in their accounts on Carolina Science Online®, the online portal where teachers can access digital components of all programs for schools that already own Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, Smithsonian Science Technology Concepts Middle School (STCMS) or Building Blocks of Science 3D. The new digital @HOME and Get Ready! professional development features are included automatically for new customers at no additional charge. The programs include access to a wealth of digital resources, including instructional videos, demonstrations and simulations.

Carolina created a lesson plan for every lesson in the @HOME programs, which includes a one-page summary with five steps to help teachers use it for a remote learning environment, as many will be doing when school begins this fall. Each summary includes a list of the included digital resources they need to share with students for the lesson. Each of the steps can be done in just five or 10 minutes. If teachers are not able to have live class time or video conferences, they can also create their own content through @HOME by recording videos of themselves talking to introduce and personalize the lessons. Being able to see their own teachers will help students to feel better connected with them.…Read More

New science teaching tools shown at NSTA conference

Companies demonstrated products built around the Next Generation Science Standards and designed to engage students in science activities

science-products
Getting students interested in science was a key theme among conference exhibitors.

Integrating the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into instruction, teaching science in the elementary grades, and getting students interested in science were key themes to emerge during the annual conference of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) April 3-6.

Nearly 10,000 science teachers and curriculum specialists gathered in Boston earlier this month for the organization’s National Conference on Science Education. In conference sessions and the exhibit hall, much of the talk focused on the NGSS and how to integrate these successfully into teaching.…Read More

Maryland adopts Next Generation Science Standards

Maryland became the fourth state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, a new set of voluntary, internationally benchmarked K-12 standards that are said to be a huge leap in science education, the Washington Post reports. The Maryland State Board of Education on Tuesday voted unanimously to adopt the standards, which were released in April after two years in development with the aim of spelling out practices and content that all K-12 students should know to be college-and-career ready after high school. Full implementation in public schools in Maryland is expected to be complete in time for the 2017-18 school year…

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