Author Archives: Deb Porcarelli

NGSS Thoughts- Grouping Performance Expectations

For this entry I’m going to be discussing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Performance Expectations (PE), which state what students should be able to do in order to demonstrate that they have met the standards. I think of these expectations as “goals” for students in science and for teachers to know what to share and teach in their classrooms. These standards are also clear and specific targets for curriculum and instruction. The PE’s for every grade incorporate the three-dimensional learning laid out in the NGSS document and incorporate a science or engineering practice, a core disciplinary idea, and a crosscutting concept in each. They also list connections to ideas within the disciplines of science and engineering, and with Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts, which is very helpful.

The PEs should be used as a guide for teachers to make connections when thinking about the flow and sequence of the science lessons they teach in the classroom. Think of the PEs as a storyline. Beware that trying to teach each individual PE separately and adequately would be impossible during a calendar school year, and it makes much less sense than to group various ones together to make a cohesive unit of instruction based on grouping. Try to think about how to group different PEs together to create science units. The benefit of being able to choose this way is that there is no set way to do it, it’s entirely up to you. Do some collaboration with your learning team and find what works for you.

Suggestions for the focus of your NGSS science units based on grouped PE units might be:

  1. Science domain or topic
  2. NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas
  3. Similar science interactions
  4. Scientific connections/relationships

The NGSS website has great resources to help with this idea. A new school year starts soon. Will you be “bundling” the NGSS Performance Expectations in a new and unique way?


You Can and Do Make a Difference

If you were asked to describe the best professional learning experience you have ever had, what would you say? Would you say it fit your needs perfectly? Would you say you were provided with individualized considerations? Would you say you were able to take the experience and share it with your colleagues? Would you say… Continue Reading

AIMS Facilitators Institute

Some of the most common requests the AIMS Professional Learning division is called upon to help a schools or districts with are: To help teachers close student learning gaps. To help teachers change instructional practices helping their students to learn and achieve at higher levels. To help teachers have a deeper level of understanding about… Continue Reading

Yosemite Learning

My first visit to Yosemite National Park happened last weekend. I was absolutely wowed by the park as I marveled at the landscapes. Somewhat surprisingly, I also came away professionally inspired and energized. As I thought about the history of Yosemite, and the awesome natural environment I was in, I found myself making comparisons. I… Continue Reading

Three Days In New York

Do you think of summer as a time to grow and learn? Being an educator, I have always filled my summers with adult learning opportunities. Summer is my time to refresh and reboot and learn new and and exciting approaches to every new school year. This week I have the opportunity to be with three… Continue Reading

Science in Three Dimensions

One of my goals when I started teaching was to create an inquiry-based science classroom for my students. To do that I used hands on science activities through which students could develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists studied the natural world. Much of the time, I… Continue Reading

What Will You Read?

Children ran from school buses with shrieks of excitement and expectations of what the next two and a half months might bring, the telltale sign that school is out for the summer in my town. Teachers have left their classrooms for a well-deserved break. Over the next two and half months they will imagine, think… Continue Reading