Teach Middle East Magazine Issue 3 Volume 2 Jan-Feb 2015 - Page 28

Sharing Good Practice Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards By Dr Craig Gabler M any American curriculum schools are considering adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), while some have already begun implementation. The journey towards full implementation of the NGSS should be undertaken carefully and in the spirit of with the belief that “we need to have courage and be patient.” Preparing for implementation requires a plan, awareness of tools and resources, and knowledge of how to utilise those tools and resources. This article will suggest a timeline for implementation and summarise some useful resources. Planning for Implementation Thoughtful implementation of the NGSS would provide for a phased introduction of the standards, allowing teachers and administrators to thoroughly understand the new standards and the associated instructional shifts, and to gradually infuse the key components. Each step of the timeline below assumes sufficient professional development of teachers and administrators, as well as, awareness opportunities for all stakeholders. PHASE 1 Introduction to the standards, a deeper focus on the Science & Engineering Practices (SEP) and the opportunity to begin infusing the SEP into instruction. This phase could easily take a year. PHASE 2 Further training on the standards, particularly with an emphasis on the engineering aspects and the Crosscutting Concepts (CCC). During the phase, the SEP continue to be infused in instruction, as does intentional application of the CCC. A full school year should be allowed for Phase 2, as training for the standards cannot be rushed. PHASE 3 Develop deeper understanding of all aspects of the SEP and CCC. It is during this phase that new learning be focused on the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) and how they develop over time throughout the standards. In addition, this phase should include significant attention to how the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards are to be taught in an integrated fashion – what is referred to as ‘3 Dimensional Instruction.’ It is also during this phase that attention must be devoted to re-alignment of instructional materials and courses of study. Having the courage to be patient and thorough will yield enhanced learning opportunities for all students. Resources Resources that support adoption and implementation of NGSS can be found in a number of locations. The primary source for the standards and the latest news about recently released tools is: www.nextgenscience.org. Among the resources you can find at this website are: • Down-loadable versions of the standards • The supporting Appendices • The EQuIP rubric for evaluating, and planning, units of instruction • Evidence statements – detailed descriptions of what student performance might look like • Samples of potential assessment tasks In addition to nextgenscience.org, the website maintained by the National Science Teachers Association (ngss. nsta.org) is an excellent repository that includes: • Articles, from NSTA publications, providing valuable background • Archived informational webinars • Downloadable documents that support and elaborate on key aspects of NGSS • A library of “NGSS Curated” Lesson (soon to be launched) In closing, one of the most underutilized resources is each other. Capitalizing on the knowledge and experience of those implementing the NGSS will be key to a successful implementation of these new standards. Many schools have embraced professional learning communities and strategies, such as Cognitive Coaching – now is an opportune time to draw on those structures to support and enhance teacher learning. Best wishes on your journey of implementation of the NGSS. FIRST PRESENTED AT MENA COMMON CORE CONFERENCE IN DUBAI – OCTOBER 2014. Dr. Gabler serves as Regional Science Coordinator and LASER Alliance Co-Director at Educational Service District.