Friday, March 16, 2018

NSTA Atlanta 2018 - Day 2

It was another amazing day of learning here in Atlanta at the NSTA national convention!  I was able to attend sessions on 3D assessment, standards-based grading and reporting, and selecting curriculum that is best suited to our new science standards in Iowa.  It's getting late, so I'll get right to the summaries!

NGSS@NSTA Forum Session: Looking for NGSS-Focused Instructional Materials?  This session was timed to coincide with a recent posting from Achieve that addresses the various claims that curriculum developers regarding "alignment" to NGSS.  The presenter, Matt Krehbiel from Achieve, was very clear that they are not making any judgments about the validity of these claims, just reminding us that as critical consumers of information (exactly what we expect of our students, right), we need to evaluate these claims.  You can find the write-up here for more details.  A couple interesting items of note:

1.  If you would like to have instructional materials you've designed reviewed for feedback, you can find more information on how to do it and submit materials here.

2.  The materials that get the highest rating earn the right to display a digital badge like the one shown in the image.  So far, only one unit that has been submitted has achieved this (more on that one later), but there are a few that are close and they can be found here.

Besides all the great resources, another big takeaway was that while no curriculum is going to be a substitute for good teaching, making sense of phenomena and design solutions is a "big lift" for educators - we should work to find quality materials that do that heavy lifting for us!

You can find the entire presentation here.

Assessing Student Growth from NGSS: How Do You Know that Your Students Are Really Learning? How Do You Teach Students to Assess Their Own Learning?:  This was another very good session about assessing in a three dimensional way and they provided a number of helpful resources.  They used a professional development model that was structured around small, manageable sessions which allowed teachers time to put any new learning into practice between sessions.  I can definitely see us using this model in a blended or distance format.  We could use a platform like Canvas to house resources and use Zoom for meetings after school to remove the need for time out of the classroom.  I think there would be enough here to offer a recertification or graduate credit, so stay tuned for possible options in the future!

You can find the full presentation here.

Things got exciting at the convention center at this point as there was a water leak that broke through the ceiling in the Exhibition Hall.  This resulted in the closing of a huge section of the conference hall where sessions were being held, so I had to select my second choice for a 3D Standards Based session for this time slot and it was very informative.  I had a hard time picking between these anyway, so I wasn't disappointed.

Measuring Mastery in 3-D: A Tale of Two Districts Integration of Standards-Based Grading and the NGSS:  Two big takeaways from this one.

1.  One of the models presented was very similar to the reporting structure I've been working on with some of the districts within Keystone AEA - see slide 17 in the presentation linked below for the visual.  They only had three reporting standards for science:  Science and Engineering Skills, Science Core Concepts, and Scientific Thinking.  The sub-standards were the 8 SEPs, 17 DCI's, and 7 CCCs.  Each assessment task needed to have a tie to one sub-standard in each reporting standard.

2.  We spent time actually evaluating some assessment tasks the district uses using the rubric they had developed in their district - some great conversations about what 3D assessments should look like and what should be expected of students as acceptable evidence.

You can find the full presentation here.

Merging Three-Dimensional Assessments with Standards-Based Grading:  A few interesting things were shared in this session - the first of which was that the school in Illinois where the presenter (Chris Embry-Mohr, one of the NGSS writers) is from has three required years of science in high school, all of which are integrated science courses.  These are closely modeled on the Conceptual Progression Model found in Appendix K.  She also emphasized that being explicit about where the three dimensions show up in student responses to assessment questions is important.  She shared that she has classroom sets of color-coded highlighters (blue, orange, green) for students to use.  She asks students to use them to color code answers, like highlighting in green where they use crosscutting concepts in answers.

She was willing to share all of her resources, which are stored in this Google folder.

NGSS@NSTA Forum Session: Interactions: A Free 3-D Science Curriculum for Ninth Grade Physical Science:  In a tie back to the morning session, the first unit of this curriculum is the resource I mentioned that is currently the only one to receive the "High-Quality NGSS Design" rating from Achieve.  I think a big part of this is due to the fact that it was designed from the ground up around making sense of phenomena and intentionally having students engage in all three-dimensions at grade-appropriate levels.  It was developed through a partnership between Michigan State University's Create for STEM Institute and the Concord Consortium and these materials are completely free to use.  I need to take some more time to fully explore it, but the initial impression was very good and the combination of in-class investigations with online simulations should be very powerful.  Take a look for yourself here - all the teaching materials are there, as well as the rubric and feedback from Achieve on the unit.

Phenomenal Mysteries and Probes in Science:  The presenters for this session merged a number of great resources to create their own grade level units aligned to the Georgia science standards, but there were ties to the NGSS as well.  They pulled phenomena from the series Everyday Science Mysteries and Page Keeley's "Uncovering Students Ideas in Science" probes.  They also used the 5E lesson design structure and pulled in both fiction and non-fiction reading materials in the same way that the resource Picture-Perfect Science Lessons does.  For the reading texts, they used material that they were already using for ELA to better align with expectations in Georgia.  All of the resources mentioned above can be checked out from the Keystone Media Collection.

Developing and Implementing Three-Dimensional Classroom Assessments:  This session combined the idea of using a Google site for both instruction and assessment, with a little bit of Breakout EDU thrown in to help with student engagement.  It also reinforced many of the ideas that had been discussed during the day around the purpose of assessments and the need to be closely tied to the standards.  You can find the full presentation here.

It was another full day filled with great discussions and lots of new learning and resources.  I hope you find these summaries helpful and I'd love to continue the discussion with any questions or ideas you may have.  I'm already looking forward to getting up and starting it all again tomorrow - check back in tomorrow night for the overview!

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