After our summer session, a few issues cropped up.

1) I don’t know how to do this.
2) But I’ve always taught a ____ unit and you want me to change it?
3) What do you mean I have to do engineering?
4) What will the test look like?
5) Just tell me what you want me to teach.
6) I have a great activity I did…

And a last worry is that there has been little traffic across the district email.

So, how do we help our fellow teachers get those conversations started? How do we help people begin to understand that it is alright to put yourself out there professionally? How do we get people to look forward instead of backwards?

I want people to really buy into this process, that this is the time to design from the ground up a true science learning experience for our students. Our people will have to be in on the building of this new science initiative if they are going to own it. If you just teach what someone else says, you will not give it your all and truly own it. This may be me speaking but I don’t want to be digging up old activities and trying to force them into the new NGSS. If they don’t fit, don’t force them. Find something and that is the beauty of having the conversations, to ask for help, ideas.

This is going to be an adventure, at least that’s how I have to look at it. I’m excited but nervous just like a first year teacher. I kept trying to get people at the summer science sessions to start talking to more and more people, from different schools. That the idea that School A is better than School B and has nothing to learn from them is no longer valid.

I know the conversations and examples will have to come from our leadership group. Our challenge is to get more people from the district in on the conversations and to start sharing ideas. Eventually I would like to see the science folks willing to put their ideas out there so we can really begin to grow.

This process is going to play out in a couple of ways:
1) Ongoing help sessions throughout the school year. We are going to start with one the first nine weeks so we don’t overwhelm anyone at the beginning and then start moving to more often after that. These will be mostly informal gatherings of middle school science teachers to sit and discuss what is working, not working, where they are confused and how can they get help.
2) Online conversations through email, twitter and other online media to help connect our folks. The design team will be taking the lead on these conversations along with the department chairs at the various middle schools to get them going within their buildings. The old proverbial “knock down those walls” statement seems to be appropriate here.

I just hope that the more people see that is being shared, they will be more likely to join in the discussion.

Please share your thoughts on how you or your school or your district is going through the implementation of the NGSS. Let’s help each other.