KnowAtom's Blog

Oct 5, 2017 by Francis Vigeant

Simple Ways to Promote Your School's Vision

As school leaders become more focused on successfully implementing the Next Generation Science Standards, I’ve noticed one topic is getting more attention than ever before: how important it is that principals understand the new standards and the expectations of a next generation science classroom.

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Topics: 3-dimensions, Next Generation Science Standards, Leadership, science vision,

Mar 6, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Defining What Matters: How We Go About Our Work as Teachers

Some values will resonate with us, and some simply will not. Modes of instruction like test prep, for example, are not going to resonate with the values of schools and districts where authentic student-centered instruction is a value, because the drill-and-kill nature of test prep is simply at odds with authentic teaching. To participate in that is a violation of the values of the school and of the district.

How we go about our work matters deeply for how successful we are in introducing effective STEM instruction into our schools. It also matters deeply for how successfully you manage to knit your team together and earn their respect as a leader. In the example here, we can see that the what and the why of everyday instruction must align to our values, or we won’t get very far. Instead, mode of instruction (the what) must match our values (the why). 

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Topics: NGSS, classroom challenges, Value, Leadership

Mar 3, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Questioning Value: Why Your School Exists & Why Teaching Matters

If you haven’t really thought about it, the values teachers might ascribe to their classrooms, their schools or school in general might look like a blank page to you. However, everyone brings their own values and core beliefs to the table. 

Let’s take a step back from the Next Generation Science Standards, which set the stage for the challenges ahead, and talk for a bit about how to manage the change they will require in the context of our teaching teams, our school buildings and even our districts. 

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Topics: NGSS, classroom challenges, teachers, Leadership

Feb 28, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

The Role of Students, Teachers, & Content Under Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards represent a foundational shift for a lot of educators, because this is not how our schools of education teach science teachers, elementary generalists or others about science. The mode of instruction for science that has been standard in our classrooms – those teaching students and those educating teachers both – follows a traditional model.

The traditional model of science education, in which the teacher hands facts to students, demonstrates phenomena and explains what’s going on. To prove their understanding, students recall these facts, perform the same demonstrations and summarize the phenomena their teachers have explained. This is a performance-recall model of education. 

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Topics: NGSS, Common Core Standards, Leadership

Feb 21, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Student-Centered Instruction: Central to the Next Generation Science Classroom

The Next Generation Science Standards are changing what science classrooms around the country should look like.

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Topics: NGSS, teachers, Common Core Standards, Leadership

Feb 3, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Similarities and Differences Between NGSS and CCSS

While both Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards offer direction for curriculum design and student learning in the classroom, there are some significant differences both in the manner of their fulfillment in the classroom and in the tone behind their development and rationale.

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Topics: NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Standards, Policy, School Climate and Culture, Leadership

Feb 2, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Communication in School Tribal Cultures

We've been talking about tribes (the five stages of tribes, and how this applies to your school) and David Logan's findings in researching what makes a good corporate environment work well.

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Topics: Tribal Leadership, School Climate and Culture, Leadership

Jan 31, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

An Introduction to Tribal Leadership, Part 2

Previously, we wrote on researcher David Logan's concept of tribal leadership. (If you missed the first post, click here.)

Here's how the five stages map into K-12 education, science and leadership.

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Topics: Tribal Leadership, School Climate and Culture, Leadership

Jan 31, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

An Introduction to Tribal Leadership, Part 1

When we think of a “tribe,” the image of indigenous peoples often comes to mind: a group of people who are distinctly different from the general society. Or, as anthropologist David Corry suggested, tribes are made of people who “have followed ways of life for many generations that are largely self-sufficient, and are clearly different from the mainstream and dominant society.”

However, as researcher and USC professor Dr. David Logan and his colleagues discovered, we are all members of tribes. In fact, we're each members of several tribes. We may belong to a political tribe that favors one party or another. We may be a member of another tribe defined by its religious belief, its preference for a particular sports team or one's chosen profession—soldier, factory worker, teacher or lawyer.

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Topics: Tribal Leadership, School Climate and Culture, Leadership

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