About this site ...
These resources are part of a system of tools and tool-based practices for early career and pre-service secondary science teachers that support transitions from novice to expert-like pedagogical reasoning and practice. These tools include:
* a video-based learning progression for teaching Model-Based Inquiry,
* discourse guides for core conversations in classrooms,
* rapid assessment models to tap student thinking,
* rubrics to evaluate students' abilities to construct evidence-based explanations in science, and
* a suite of resources that help groups of teachers collect and analyze their own students' work, in order to advance their instruction.
Our proposed system of tools will serve as a model for making early career teacher training and induction clearly focused on student learning. This system of tools is designed to be responsive to all students in the classroom.
A Brief History
In 2006 Windschitl and Thompson received funding from the Carnegie Foundation to develop an induction program to support novice secondary science teachers’ attempts at Model Based Inquiry and to index their practice based on evidence of student learning. We also observed first-year teachers’ classrooms and found that not all of the novice teachers were engaging students in the same kinds of conversations. Many teachers struggled to
elicit students’ initial and on=going hypotheses about everyday scientific phenomena,
help students make sense of material activity beyond doing procedures,
press students for causal evidence-based explanations following an activity,
shift their curriculum from being topic-based to idea-based
In 2008 Windschitl and Thompson were funded by the National Science Foundation (Project 0822016) to develop a core set of high-leverage practices for secondary science teaching and a system of tools to support these practices. The task of assembling a core required that we simultaneously consider individual instructional practices and ways to organize these into a coherent framework for teachers that would support both rigor and equity in classrooms. The framework we developed has four core practices: a planning practice called Constructing the Big Idea and three enactment or discursive practices—Eliciting Students’ Ideas to Adapt Instruction, Helping Students Make Sense of Material Activity, and Supporting Students in Generating Evidence-Based Explanations. It is important to note that each of these activities has been highlighted in the National Academy of Science’s Framework for the Next Generation Science Standards as disciplinary practices that should form the basis of inquiry and learning in the classroom (NRC, 2011).
We are currently tracking 2 cohorts of novice teachers into their first year of teaching and have substantial evidence that with principled tools and routines novice teachers can appropriate ambitious forms of these practices. We also found, however, that more than just having induction supports, novice teachers needed to have routine quality mentorship. To this end we have focused efforts on working with experienced as well as novice teachers.
In 2009 Thompson and Braaten began a video club, Lenses on Learning Project (LOL), for experienced teachers to carefully examine their attempts at ambitious and equitable practices and evidence of student learning. LOL has been running for the past three years and was funded by the National Educational Association and through a partnership with Seattle Public Schools.
In 2010 Thompson received funding from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation to develop mentoring tools Cooperating Teachers and district level instructional coaches can use to support novice teachers’ learning of the core practices, and simultaneously work on developing an advanced set of ambitious and equitable practices. This has led to a partnership with the Institute for Systems Biology and their work with the North Sound LASER Alliance TOSA Network. We are now supporting 35 science instructional leaders in 15 school districts to develop seed projects related to the tools and routines—ranging from developing specialized tools to work with principals, to adapting district curricula (such as FOSS and STC kits) with instructional guides.