Teaching with the Next Generation
Science Standards

Feb 19, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective K-8 Science Teachers: Starting with "Why"

In order to be highly effective, teachers must form pedagogical habits that automatically create a culture of higher order thinking. This is a point of confusion for many, because the entire nature of inquiry is that it isn’t automatic. To be clear, teachers should not automate their lessons, their assessments, their instructional supports, their coaching style or any aspect of individual lessons. Rather, they should automate their expectations for dialogue and thinking. For example making it a habit to start with “why,” setting accurate expectations about effort and deliberate practice, giving immediate helpful feedback as a coach rather than an expert are all examples of the go-to approach teachers must possess if they’re to successfully coach students to be scientists and engineers.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards

Feb 18, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Believing in Students' Words, Thoughts and Actions

Believing in students means listening to them, taking their ideas seriously, and making room for discussion in the classroom, and encouraging them to think through both “right” answers as well as “wrong” ones.


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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards

Feb 17, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

The Growth Mindset

Developed in Carol Dweck's book, a growth mindset is the idea that we can work towards our goals. It's not so much whether or not we're good at something, because we can be not good at something yet and still be working toward it. When a student says “I can’t do this,” you need to train your students to add “yet.” The understanding needs to be that they might not yet be good at something, but that hard work can get them there and in the classroom that’s what we do: get closer to that goal, even if we still don’t achieve it. As a teacher, a key piece of this is coaching. Acting as the coach rather than the sage on the stage, listening to students and believing in them, is key to developing a culture of grit in the Next Generation model.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards, Growth Mindset

Feb 15, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

The Culture of Grit

Grit is critical, and luckily, it is also pretty straightforward. What’s hard about it is how to hold those expectations consistent over time. Here's how you do it.

 In order to create a culture of grit in your classroom, you can follow this strategy. Doing so helps students form accurate expectations about the role of effort and deliberate practice in achieving success.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards

Feb 11, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Giving Immediate Helpful Feedback as Coach Not Expert

Remember that in the next generation model of instruction, the teacher tunes the inquiry environment, gradually adjusting student supports, helping them engage appropriately with the material, redirecting and monitoring them. They are acting in every way as a coach, helping students interact with content rather than gatekeeping it.


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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards

Feb 10, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Traditional vs. Next Generation Standards and Pedagogy

Just as the meanings of science and engineering under NGSS are different from their traditional definitions, the next generation model of science instruction is different from traditional ways it has been taught. The question is this: Why is the traditional model no longer effective under the new standards?

In the traditional model of science instruction, the teacher acts as gatekeeper between students and content.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards

Feb 8, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

A Next Generation Approach to Time and Resources

Let's take a quick look at some of the most common stumbling blocks teachers encounter when thinking about teaching Next Generation Science Standards aligned curriculum for the first time.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards

Feb 4, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Should Teachers Be Gatekeepers or Coaches?

The difference between an effective classroom and an ineffective one is whether the teacher acts as a gatekeeper of the content or a coach. You can see in the model above that the role of the teacher has changed significantly; they are no longer standing in between the student and the content. Instead, the role that the teacher is playing here is as a very skillful coach. They're trying to strengthen the connection between the students and their science and engineering practice skills, as well as the connection between students and content.

The next generation model of science instruction removes the teacher from the gatekeeper role and puts students on the front lines. Instead of modeling, demonstrating and so on, the teacher tunes the inquiry environment to make content more accessible, encourage independence and keep students on track. Students interact with content, use their science and engineering practice skills and connect ideas using crosscutting concepts.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards

Feb 3, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

The Nature of Science and Engineering Under NGSS

Science and engineering education take on very different meanings under the Next Generation Science Standards. Whereas before these subjects (when engineering was taught at all) typically covered what others had discovered or created, under NGSS they become studies of how to actually engage with each subject. To understand how they interact with each other, as well as with technology and math, we will first address the STEM cycle.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards

Feb 1, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Proof: Rigor with KnowAtom Get Results

Phenomena driven instruction in NGSS-aligned classrooms clearly demonstrates that using these methods creates significantly higher percentages of advanced and proficient students versus their respective state's average.

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Topics: Next Generation Science Standards, STEM

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