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Questioning Value: Why Your School Exists & Why Teaching Matters

Mar 3, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

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

How Closed-Loop Communication Helps Teaching and Learning Science

Feb 24, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Communication is the No. 1 place leaders lose focus and buy-in. Being clear, consistent and open is a must. 

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Topics: NGSS, classroom challenges, teachers, School Climate and Culture

Understanding What the NGSS Are Asking For

Feb 22, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

If you want to avoid a Next Generation Science Standards showdown in your school or district, the first step you can take is to understand the design of the NGSS standards and, most important, that they are performance expectations. They are categorically not about recalling facts. Therefore it’s very important that you avoid adopting resources that label themselves “now next generation aligned,” “now next generation ready,” or any other euphemism meant to disguise resources based on the traditional model of science instruction.

This is crucial. Even if a resource is from a giant company, the recall-based model of instruction is simply not compatible with the next generation of STEM instruction. 

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Topics: NGSS, STEM, classroom challenges, teachers, ELA

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

Feb 21, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

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

5 Key Things to Look For When Analyzing STEM Tasks

Jan 26, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

One of the challenges for STEM educators in K-8 classrooms is making sure that any STEM task they ask their students to carry out is furthering the mission of effective STEM instruction.

There are 5 things that all truly effective STEM tasks share:

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Topics: STEM, teachers, curriculum

The Importance of Student Planning in STEM Instruction

Jan 24, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

The most basic building block of successful student interaction with STEM instruction in the classroom is students planning their own investigations.

This doesn’t mean that you as the teacher never intervene to help redirect or monitor – after all, it is your responsibility to ensure students are meeting minimum expectations.

However, when students independently or in teams interact with the materials to answer a question or solve a problem, they are developing higher order thinking skills that are so foundational to a STEM education.

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Topics: NGSS, STEM, teachers, curriculum

How to Spot a Teacher in the Grocery Store

May 16, 2014 by Sara Goodman

Prepping for a top-notch STEM lesson means having content mastery and cart mastery... shopping cart, that is! Stocking up on science supplies during your regular grocery run is the new norm for dedicated teachers who will do whatever it takes to bring exciting, hands-on lessons to their students. So how do you spot STEM teachers by their shopping carts?

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Topics: STEM, teachers

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