9- How to Be Brave with the NGSS

March 10, 2022

In this episode, Nicole interviews Sarah from Happy Teacher Heart about being brave with the NGSS. What does that mean? Sarah shares her experience with overcoming fear and obstacles associated with the NGSS. Sarah explains that her willingness to be brave helped her with overcoming many of these NGSS challenges.

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Sarah’s Early NGSS Challenges

Creating NGSS Aligned Assessments

Sarah describes her early experiences with the NGSS. Sarah and her team decided to jump right into the NGSS and create performance tasks. They used argument-driven inquiry (ADI) as a framework to build these assessments.

Of course, these assessments weren’t perfect upon their creation. After field-testing the assessments, her team revised them to fix these issues.

After writing these assessments, Sarah’s team field-tested the assessments. Then, they made modifications as necessary and used them as common assessments.

New School, New Challenges

Sarah felt she was ready for a new challenge. She left her team at the charter school to work in a public middle school. There, she became the department chair. In this role, she worked on NGSS implementation.

Sarah met resistance from her new colleagues. Many were hesitant to give NGSS a try.

Overcoming NGSS Challenges by Looking at the Spirit of the NGSS

Sarah quickly realized that the issue with the implementation strategy in her new district was that they didn’t present teachers with the spirit of the NGSS. She believes that when you attempt to meet the NGSS by focusing on the intent of the standards, it is less likely that teachers will misstep.

Sarah led her fellow teachers in an activity to map out what the NGSS is and what it isn’t. This activity helped her colleagues get to the heart of the NGSS.

Also, Sarah acknowledges that her understanding of the NGSS is not static. She is willing to attempt to meet the intent of the NGSS knowing that her understanding will improve and change over time.

What do you do when an NGSS lesson doesn’t go well?

Sarah acknowledges that this can happen. She may think that she has found an amazing phenomenon, but it doesn’t work well with the students.

Sarah uses these challenges as learning experiences. She tries something different and moves on. It is important to not dwell on these missteps because they are common.

How to get your colleagues on board with the NGSS

Sarah says it is difficult when other teachers aren’t ready to try the instructional shifts that come with the NGSS. However, she provides a suggestion. She suggests inviting these teachers into your room so that they can see how an NGSS-style classroom might look.

What makes the challenges that come with the NGSS worthwhile?

Sarah explains that the surprises that come with the NGSS help her to push through the challenges that come with NGSS. She says that students often surprise her with their ability to ask great questions and solve problems. And, these surprises occur less often in a traditional classroom.

Also, Sarah says that she loves watching students become citizen scientists. She says the NGSS fosters student’s curious nature and helps them to be curious about the world around them.

How would you start to meet the spirit of the NGSS in your Classroom?

Sarah recommends starting with the Science and Engineering Practices. She suggests focusing on one practice at a time and using that to build a lesson. Once students have shown mastery of that practice, she adds in another practice.

Other Resources

Are you looking for other resources that help you with overcoming NGSS challenges. Check out these resources below.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Other Resources