Literacy in Science Workshop

Maria Santos, Okhee Lee, Aida Walqui, Helen Quinn, and Susan Pimentel
Dec 09, 2013 / 09:00 AM PST to Dec 10, 2013 / 05:00 PM PST

Exploring the Overlap between “Literacy in Science” and the Practice of Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information: A Workshop

The recent movement in K-12 education toward common standards in key subjects represents an unprecedented opportunity for improving learning outcomes for all students. These standards initiatives -- the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) -- have been developed separately in English/Language Arts and Science there are areas where the standards intersect directly. One such area of intersection occurs between the “Literacy in Science” portions of the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts (CCSS for ELA) and the practices in the NGSS (originally outlined in the NRC’s Framework for K-12 Science Education). The objectives for students outlined in these two documents are similar, but reflect disciplinary differences in the kinds of knowledge and skills that are emphasized. It is essential to develop an understanding of how the two sets of standards can complement each other and be used in concert to improve students’ reading, writing, as well as listening and speaking, in science.

These overlaps create an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity is for synergy between work in various classrooms or subject areas, and the challenge is to maximize that opportunity and avoid conflicts in interpretation and implementation demands between teachers in the different areas. The proposed workshop will feature invited presentations and discussion that will:

  1. explore the intersections and overlap between the “Literacy in Science” portions of the CCSS for ELA and Practice 8 in the NRC's framework related to "obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information" including consideration of the unique characteristics of communication in science;
  2. consider the complementary roles of English/language arts teachers and science teachers as well as the unique challenges and approaches for different grade levels and articulate the knowledge and skills teachers need to support students in developing competence in reading and communicating in science;
  3. consider design options for science and ELA curricula and courses that provide aligned support for students to develop competencies in reading and communicating in science;
  4. discuss the role of district and school administrators in guiding implementation of science and ELA to help ensure alignment.

The workshop will be held over a two-day period and will bring together experts in science education and language arts education, including but not limited to classroom teachers. A workshop summary will be produced based on the proceedings at the workshop.

Co-chair Maria Santos and Steering Committee members Okhee Lee and Aida Walqui will be present in this discussion hosted by the Board on Science Education. Steering Committee Members Helen Quinn and Susan Pimentel are part of the committee organizing this workshop.