Strategies for Developing Science Literacy
The Integrated Middle School Science (IMSS) Partnership – a collaboration between California State University, East Bay (CSUEB), the Alameda County Office of Education, the East Bay Science Project, the Santa Clara County Office of Education, and local science, school, and museum organizations – has targeted development efforts of a professional science learning program. Supported by the NSF Math-Science Partnership, IMSS works with middle school science master teachers, coaches, administrators, and pre-service teachers. They have recently designed an online science literacy module heavily based on a series of in-person professional-development workshops conducted with 10 districts in the San Francisco Bay Area. The online science literacy module supports middle school science teachers in enhancing their instructional practices by integrating the literacy-related skills highlighted by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The online science literacy module is organized into three units, with each unit focusing on a different aspect of literacy (e.g., Discourse, Reading, and Writing). Throughout the module, educators learn about the standards and the literacy practices that support students’ learning of the standards. Through detailed step-by-step exercises and lesson video clips, educators have the opportunity to witness the integration of literacy in science lessons and try out the activities themselves. The module also provides educators with a series of supplemental tools and templates for enhancing their own instructional planning of lessons.
This resource anchors educators’ learning experiences in classroom practice through a science lesson. Throughout the units educators return to different segments of the lesson and study how discourse, reading, and writing support science learning. At the end of the module, participants are provided with a template that they can use to engage in instructional planning of their own lessons using the literacy skills they have learned. There are also plenty of opportunities for them to take stock of their learning and connect to their own classroom practices.