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Looking for Science Literacy – Within Current WA Science Standards and the Common Core for English Language Arts A presentation from OSPI Teaching and Learning March 19, 2012. Jessica Vavrus, Assistant Superintendent Ellen Ebert, Director Science

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Looking for Science Literacy – Within Current WA Science Standards and the Common Core for English Language Arts A presentation from OSPI Teaching and LearningMarch 19, 2012

Jessica Vavrus, Assistant Superintendent

Ellen Ebert, Director Science

Liisa Moilanen Potts, Director English Language Art

webinar goals
Webinar Goals
  • Our focus today – why is science literacy important?
  • Review current science literacy standards
    • Examine student assessment expectations
    • Consider strategies in science to support science literacy
  • Understand state transition plan for Common Core English Language Arts and next steps for literacy in science
    • Overview of the ELA Common Core State Standards

Darwin’s Notebook

implementing our current state science standards finding connections to ngss and ccss
Implementing our current state Science Standards… Finding connections to NGSS and CCSS…

OSPI Presentation to SBE: Next Gen. Science


A Bit of Background Before We Start…Washington’s Common Core Standards (ELA and Math)Implementation Timeline….Focusing on the foundation…

some more context implementing the common core state standards in washington state
Some more context… Implementing the Common Core State Standards in Washington State

Our Purpose:

To develop a statewide system with aligned resources that supports all school districts in their preparation of educators and students to implement the CCSS.

Our Core Values:

This vision can only occur through core values of clarity, consistency, collaboration, coordination, and commitment from classrooms, schools, and communities to the state level.

Our Vision: Every student will have access to the CCSS standards through high quality instruction aligned with the standards every day; and that all teachers are prepared and receive the support they need to implement the standards in their classrooms every day.

science inquiry standards literacy
Science Inquiry Standards Literacy

Grades 4-5 Inquiry Standard

  • Scientific explanations emphasize evidence, have logically consistent arguments, and use known scientific principles, models, and theories.
  • Scientists communicate the results of their investigations verbally and in writing. They review and ask questions about the results of other scientists’ work.

Related Performance Expectations

  • Generate a conclusion from a scientific investigation and show how the conclusion is supported by evidence and other scientific principles.
  • Display the findings of an investigation using tables, graphs, or other visual means to represent the data accurately and meaningfully.
  • Communicate to peers the purpose, procedure, results, and conclusions of an investigation.
  • Respond non-defensively to comments and questions about their investigation.
  • Discuss differences in findings and conclusions reported by other students.
systems standard literacy
Systems Standard Literacy

Grades 6-8 Systems Standard

  • The natural and designed world is complex; it is too large and complicated to investigate and comprehend all at once. Scientists and students learn to define small portions for the convenience of investigation. The units of investigation can be referred to as “systems.”

Related Performance Expectation

  • Given a complex societal issue with strong science and technology components (e.g., overfishing, global warming), describe the issue from a systems point of view, highlighting how changes in one part of the system are likely to influence other parts of the system.
application standards literacy
Application Standards Literacy

Grades 9-12 Application Standards

  • Perfect solutions do not exist. All technological solutions involve trade-offs in which decisions to include more of one quality means less of another. All solutions involve consequences, some intended, others not.
  • It is important for all citizens to applyscience and technology to critical issues that influence society.

Related Performance Expectations

  • Analyze a societal issue that may be addressed through science and/or technology. Compare alternative solutions by consideringtrade-offs and unintended consequences (e.g., removing dams to increase salmon spawning).
  • Critically analyze scientific information in current events to make personal choices or to understand public-policy decisions.
student performance data 2011 high school science assessment
Student performance data 2011 High School Science Assessment

Student scores drop significantly on short answer questions.

why discuss literacy
Why discuss literacy?

Researchers have found that students learn science better when they write about their thinking and that the act of writing may force integration of new ideas and relationships with prior knowledge. (Thier and Daviss, 2002)

Mark Watrin emphasized this idea with us during our February webinar: Elements of Effective Science Instruction. This process of writing and reflectively thinking is key to sense-making.

science and language are interdependent their processes are mirrored in each other
Science and language are interdependent.Their processes are mirrored in each other.
  • Students at all levels should be able to:
    • Note details
    • Compare and contrast
    • Predict
    • Sequence events
    • Link cause and effect
    • Distinguish fact from opinion
    • Link words with precise meanings
    • Make inferences
    • Draw conclusions

From Thier and Daviss, 2002

strategies to improve literacy in science use prompts to uncover ideas
Strategies to improve literacy in science. Use prompts to uncover ideas.
  • Predicting: What does the topic title reveal?
  • Reflective questioning before reading: What does this topic mean to me?
  • Reflective questioning after reading: What questions do I still have about this topic?
  • Evaluating: What it is the main idea of this reading?
  • Paraphrasing: Turn and talk with a classmate about the reading.
  • Summarizing: How many key ideas can I identify?
  • Identifying words and meanings: Do I understand the meaning of the reading?
  • Reflecting on the overall reading: If I reread this topic, what areas would I focus on?
use graphic organizers
Use graphic organizers.
  • Students can organize their thinking.

What other graphic organizers do you use that are effective with students?

observation organizer
Observation Organizer


The Art of Argumentation

Ross, Fisher and Frey

Science and Children, 2009, p.29

interactive notebooks
Interactive Notebooks

simple interactive notebook
Simple Interactive Notebook
  • Student Page
  • Teacher Page
what can go on the left side of an interactive notebook
What can go on the left side of an interactive notebook?


Discovery headlines

Biography posters

Concept maps


Your questions



Poetry and songs

Significant statements


Graphic organizers


Metaphors and analogies

Venn diagrams

Bulls-Eye diagrams

Data and graphs you generate

Analysis writing

Reflection writing


Four square analogies


Writing prompts

Scientific conclusions

Other creative avenues for

processing information

All sorts of student work!!!

what goes on the right side of an interactive notebook
What goes on the right side of an interactive notebook?

The Cornell note style helps students think reflectively about

a topic, generate questions, which the teacher can facilitate

during instruction.

science writing heuristic
Science Writing Heuristic
  • The Science Writing Heuristic was developed by Brian Hand
  • The basic format includes…
    • What questions do I have?
    • Tests…..What did I do?
    • Observations: What did I find?
    • My Claim is:
    • My Evidence is:
    • What do others say:
      • Internal sources
      • External sources
    • Reflection: How have my ideas changed?

tools for ambitious science teaching
Tools for ambitious science teaching

how do these strategies support student achievement let s work on an example
How do these strategies support student achievement ? Let’s work on an example.
  • Plan a field study to answer thequestion in the box. In your procedure, be sure to include:
    • logical steps to do the field study
    • method for collecting data
    • conditions to be compared
    •  data to be collected
    • how often data should be collected and recorded
  • What are the teaching and learning that we would need to do with our students for them to answer this question successfully?

Let’s see if we can offer some ideas in the chat box.


How does this connect to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in Social Studies/History, Science, and Technical Subjects??

CCSS Webinar Series Part 2: Systems Update

the five claims students can
The Five Claims – Students can
  • read closely and critically to comprehend a range of increasingly complex literacy and informational texts.
  • produce effective writing for a range of purposes and audiences
  • employ effective speaking and listening sills for a range of purposes and audiences
  • engage appropriately in collaborative and independent inquiry to investigate/research topics, pose questions, and gather and present information.
  • skillfully use and interpret written language across a range of literacy tasks.

Learning More…Statewide Transition & Implementation Supports

  • OSPI CCSS Website


    • Communication support materials
    • 3-year transition plans for ELA and Math
    • Grade-level transition documents
      • Aligned with current test maps
    • Other national / state resources
      • Hunt Institute Video Series (
      • Math and ELA-specific
      • National PTA – Parent Resource Guides

CCSS Webinar Series Part 2: Systems Update

thank you
Thank you!
  • Resources
    • Washington Science Content Standards
    • Supporting Moodle and online assistance
    • Biology EOC PLD Training