Knowing my options were to introduce content too abstract for the age group or risk students being blindsided on standardized tests, I tried to create learning experiences to make the content accessible and fun – as is my approach in general – but I never felt good about it. The internal dissonance created when asked to do something that isn’t right for students has led to many of us feeling jaded and resistant when presented with yet another curriculum change.
Next, I cruised around the NGSS site a bit, trying to get to know it better. (Cue begrudging respect, quickly followed by excitement.) There is still much to explore and read, but I’ve yet to find a standard that creates dissonance for me.
My overall impression is that these standards represent a much needed and welcome sea change. The underlying premise is that kids should be doing science, and working to deep levels with developmentally appropriate disciplinary core ideas (DCIs). At least in California, this changes dramatically which concepts are taught at which grade levels at the elementary and middle school levels, and I’ve not seen such a shift before. Also at the foundation of NGSS is that scientific & engineering concepts and practices should integrated and connected rather than being taught as isolated units. Finally, of course, there is alignment with Math and ELA Common Core.
Line after line, standard after standard, I was met with that beautiful simpatico feeling where it all rings true and aligns with my core beliefs and philosophy about teaching science. NGSS … I think we’re soul mates. I want to have a Tom Cruise-hopping-on-the-couch-on-Oprah moment with/about you.
It’s not all going to be perfect. No relationship ever is. But I like what you’re about, and I think we can make this thing work.
Next time: NGSS – Getting Started and the Intimidation Factor
Sonya DeHart Designs
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/80031239@N00/515325878″>How Do You Feel Today?</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
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