Teaching with the Next Generation
Science Standards

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 24, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

How Closed-Loop Communication Helps Teaching and Learning Science


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

Feb 22, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

Understanding What the NGSS Are Asking For

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

Feb 21, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

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

The traditional model of instruction has the teacher handing content to students in the form of modeling facts, demonstrating phenomenon and explaining “what’s going on.” The students respond and prove their knowledge by recalling those facts, repeating the demonstrations and summarizing the phenomena they see. 

For generations, our classrooms have run on a simple principle: The teacher knows the material, and the students do not. In a traditional model the teacher will cover material with the students, who will demonstrate their understanding by essentially mirroring or repeating the teacher’s words or actions to show what they have absorbed. 

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Topics: NGSS, teachers, Common Core Standards, Leadership

Jan 26, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

5 Key Things to Look For When Analyzing STEM Tasks

When analyzing STEM tasks, here's what to look for:

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Topics: STEM, teachers, curriculum

Jan 24, 2016 by Francis Vigeant

How to Approach Structure in STEM Instruction

Understanding how to correctly structure a STEM environment is crucial, and the most basic building block of successful student interaction with STEM instruction is planning.

One pair of students might have a different plan than another pair of students, which might be different from a third, yet each team is still approaching the same question or problem.

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Topics: NGSS, STEM, teachers, curriculum

May 16, 2014 by Sara Goodman

How to Spot a Teacher in the Grocery Store

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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