new ways to present core concepts

I think there are already a lot of great materials and tools that link practices, core concepts and cross cutting concepts – we just have never explicitly talked about it before nor have we had to look for ways to do that.  The Standards help. Content has always been king, and our tests, PD and support has reminded us that many of us are not “fully qualified” to teach science – so we focus on the content.  In this new world that has changed, and not just for elementary but for middle and high school as well.  I want to find new ways to look at all sides of a core concept and see how to present/engage students with it using the science and engineering practices and cross cutting concepts.   Has anybody started trying this?  Do you do this in your classrooms?  How do you do it in PD?  Any examples would help…


classroom application help!

I have to go back and remember where we have been and how far we have come.  All of the brain science research and understanding how young people learn science (specifically) that has emerged in the last 15 years has helped to focus classroom science time in our district, for as long  short as our instructional time.  I need some help digesting all of the brain information with the application in the classroom. I find Ready, Set, Science! And Taking Science to School as really helpful resources to give me perspective and bite size pieces that I can use in my classroom and with other teachers.

Lack of classroom time

One of the biggest concerns I have about the NGSS is how multi-dimensional they are.  I barely get enough time to teach science at the elementary school age and now rigorous content is combined with science and engineering practice and cross cutting concepts?  It seems like great intentions, but how would I get this done if I had science every day? Let alone science once a week?  Does anybody else feel this way?


September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Most of my professional growth has come out of working with my peers to figure what is the best way to tackle content, or to approach a methodology with my students, or still fit in the hands-on stuff I want to do with the requirements the district and my school make of me.  I feel like I can continuously reframing the context of how I think about science instruction and then making changes to actually do what I have been thinking about.

Evolving & Networking

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

For me, I think that we have evolved as a profession and as a group of education professionals.  We know more about how students learn and how to present content in ways that result in the use of critical thinking, explanation and deduction by the students.  (And, we are not good about talking about that either – but that is a different issue)

While I get some inspiration from books, blogs and reading; I gain the most when I am in a network of other educators talking about these issues.  Some kind of format helps, but too often I just don’t get enough time to think through things, explore new ideas and then practice them as in PD or with my students and then provide feedback.

Global Classroom

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

I think it happened now because the whole system needs a serious upgrade.  We have needed to move from a one, sometimes two-dimensional world to multi-dimensional, multi-spacial global educational classroom.  We need new ways to use the technology and tools to help us and how to best avoid distractions.

In my 20+ years of working in science education, with educators, leaders, evaluators, funders and curriculum professionals, I have a deep respect and appreciation for the level of sophistication and experience-based innovators we have become.  We are not the educators of the 80’s or the 90’s that were told what to do and we did it.  The majority of people I have the honor to work with are people who are serious about learning and teaching, they want to be come the best professional they can be, they want the next generation to be prepared for whatever the world holds for them – and they all work really hard to get there.

But we cannot do it by ourselves:  who do you work with, turn to when you are looking for new ideas and ways to get around in this changing system?  Are they books?  Other educators/leaders?  Who provides you your guidance and what do you get from them?


Welcome to the Next Generation in Education!  As a group of thinkers, doers and creators in education we felt the need to design a place where we could come together to talk about what is happening on the education landscape.  We hope that Next Generation Education is a place for you to share your honest opinions, ideal solutions, frustrations and successes as we navigate the new waters of standards reform – including Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Who are “we”?

We are “you” —  teachers, parents, administrators, business and industry, consultants, researchers and content and curriculum developers, curriculum providers.  We are active, semi-retired, unemployed or too fully employed.  We care about teaching and learning and about students successfully competing in the 21st century – work and career ready.

What do we believe? 

We believe that the BEST solutions to big scary challenges come about when people who care come together to talk, vent and discuss what matters most to them. The diverse perspectives, inspiration and innovation from others in the field have sustained many of us for years – think of this as a watering-hole, gathering place and sometimes – soapbox.

What do we want?

We want a national blueprint that provides guidance to professionals by professionals for how to actively embrace and engage in the new standards movement.  The Common Core standards and NGSS provide us an exceptional opportunity to leap frog the numerous incremental changes we have seen in education since 1950 that have, by and large, not worked.

This blueprint starts with a new, shared and common language amongst professionals about the next generation of education.  Next, comes understanding of the new practices that will help navigate the new ways to teach and to learn. With new language and understanding, we explore, explain and engage in the HOW.  This is the blueprint itself.  Taking what we know and what works, sharing, tweaking and refining it and reporting back on how it works with students.

We plan to roll out the initial pieces of the blueprint at the Next Steps Institute in Denver, Colorado November 15-17,  and use the NSI professional community to continue to build upon the basics happening in this blog/comment space.

As people deeply committed to education, we do a lot with very little.  This effort is no exception – but we also know that instead of whining and complaining, collectively we can create the tools, programs and innovations that are good for kids and teachers by working together.  It’s up to you – won’t you join us?