#EdChatMA & #NGSS: The After-Party

I don’t think there is anything as exciting to me as an educator than a conversation about teaching and learning that involves educators at all levels contributing faster than I can keep track. ¬†Tonight, educators from Massachusetts to Washington state at the elementary, middle school, high school and college level came together to discuss science education. ¬†As with many discussions of this kind, I left energized and with more questions at the end than I had at the start.

  • What is the right balance of skills and content to ensure our students are interested, informed and ready to be life-long, self-directed learners?
  • How can we use the limited financial resources we have to provide an equitable and excellent science education for all students, no matter which school district they attend?
  • How can we work together as educators to support each other and collaborate to make all curricula richer and more rewarding?
  • Will new standardized tests come along to undermine the focus on investigation and critical thinking?

These are just a few of the questions I will be pondering in the days, weeks, and months ahead as we wait to learn the direction science education in Massachusetts and the US will take.

3 thoughts on “#EdChatMA & #NGSS: The After-Party

  1. I left the following comment in response to http://www.storiesfromschool.org/2013/01/the-kids-want-to-learn-about-ducks-time-to-review-the-next-generation-science-standards.html

    In theory, I am pleased with much of what the NGSS attempts to provide. With engineering, modeling, and investigation integrated into all areas, students should have a greater opportunity to experience “doing science.” Elementary students have fewer units of study over the course of a year, allowing for more time and depth of learning.

    I am glad to learn, however, that I am not the only teacher who found standards that are difficult to understand. Unfortunately, the “clarification statements” do not give me the level of clarification I need to understand what it is that students should do or know in order to meet the standard. As I recently told a colleague, “I understand all the words, they just don’t seem to be communicating much when they get together.”

    For elementary grades, the curriculum has been pushed down significantly with students expected to know concepts and content far earlier than previously and I question whether it is developmentally appropriate. In Massachusetts, we’ve prided ourselves for rigorous standards but the elementary expectations of the NGSS may be overreaching.

    I will be giving feedback via the survey and encourage others to do the same.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment on my blog post!

    The Next Generation Science Standards chat was great. Was the Massachusetts Teachers Association associated with that in any way? If so, that is cool.

  3. The incredible Megan Secatore, of the Communications Department at the Massachusetts Teachers Association, initiated #edchatMA and makes sure there’s someone to facilitate each week. We can always rely upon her to watch what MA teachers are tweeting and suggest great topics.

    You can follow the MTA at http://www.twitter.com/massteacher

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