Teachers as Learners
Over the last several years, new California curriculum initiatives have been at the forefront of education, particularly in the area of math and English/language arts. Less well known to many, are the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), becoming live in California in the spring of 2018. Like the California State Standards, NGSS offers a major paradigm shift in how we have previously delivered classroom instruction and framed learning. The new standards embrace three distinct dimensions to learning science, when combined, help students to develop a more meaningful and cohesive understanding of science throughout their career as learners. These dimensions include; cross cutting concepts that assist students in making connections across science domains, science and engineering practices that articulate what scientists do in the real world, and disciplinary core ideas that identify the key ideas in science by grade level.
How does such a major shift in curriculum and instruction come about in our Redondo Beach USD classrooms? Our teachers re-enter classrooms as learners themselves. While the students in RBUSD enjoyed a day off on November 1st, our teachers met at the high school to immerse themselves in collaborative study, in grade level groups to further study the standards and participate in NGSS lessons and hands-on activities. The collective practice was facilitated by our site administrators and taught by our district science lab teachers. Kindergarten teachers, for example, worked in groups of four and five and engaged in a hands-on activity in which they experimented with ramps and balls in order to determine the effect of pushes and pulls on objects to further understand the concept of motion. Teachers studied literature as well as cross-cutting concepts and science and engineering practices in order to understand the key idea of motion within the larger context of physical science.