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NGSS by Design

Effective, Efficient, and Engaging online professional development so you can confidently design NGSS units that inspire you and your students (while still having time for your personal life). 

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If you're a science teacher looking to transform your current curriculum into NGSS designed curriculum, then you already know that this shift is time and energy intensive.

Even if you're lucky to have district purchased NGSS aligned curriculum, you still need to design it to meet your students' needs and with your school's resources. 




Now imagine this--

You're walking into your classroom, smiling, holding a fresh cup of coffee in your Yeti tumbler. On the back counter, by the window that's been stuck closed since 1983, are all the copies you need for the next 6 weeks.

You're refreshed because you haven't been up all night searching for just the right "NGSS lesson plan" or bulletin board idea on Pinterest (in which all you ended up with was a great recipe for salad in a jar that you'll never make.)

Or maybe that coffee is from Starbucks- bought with that money you didn't spend on a questionable NGSS aligned lesson plan on TPT.

You're feeling confident because you know this NGSS designed unit's storyline inside and out. You know what questions to ask, how to ensure every student has access, and where to go look for support when the unexpected happens.

You're excited for your students because you know that the  strategies and activities you're about to dive into are effective, engaging, relevant, and based on research of how children learn science. You've chosen just the right phenomenon to make sense of that have your students racing to class and moaning when it's over. 

You stroll past your Driving Question Board that is filled with questions that will propel your classroom investigations to new levels. 

The materials needed for those sense making investigations are laid out on red trays ready for your eager students to transform into tools of learning. (Except for that one student who's turned their ruler into a helicopter again--at least it wasn't a sword this time--but don't worry you know what to do to get them back on track). 

Your lesson flows. Students are engaged. Your principal pops in for an unannounced evaluation but you barely notice because everyone is so involved in making sense of phenomenon.

Since assessment was strategically built into the lesson and students' progress purposefully arranged in their portfolios you have no grading to do--just a 15 minute grade entry.

Sounds like a dream, doesn't it?

But, this really could be you!

Skeptical? Read on.

Yes, designing a NGSS unit will require some heavy lifting especially if you're new to  NGSS, but we believe it will end up giving you back time to do what you became a teacher to do---TEACH...and have time to enjoy your personal life.

When you design your NGSS units, you have control to create a system that works for your students AND you. The Next Generation Science Standards are not a curriculum. They are a guide, a framework, of what students need to understand to build a strong foundation of science literacy. You get to decide the details of how that's done. And we're here to help you do just that.

NGSS by Design is an online professional development program that is designed for teachers like you, who are committed to designing an NGSS unit that is relevant, effective, and engaging for their students, YET manageable for busy, overwhelmed teachers.

Our online professional development program is especially designed for teachers who are also committed to people and circumstances in their personal lives that keep them from attending more traditional forms of professional development. They don't have the type of schedule that allows for after school or weekend professional development programs and workshops. And often can't even find one complete hour to finish a webinar. 

NGSS by Design is a membership program that consists of 5 phases of NGSS unit design. Each phase is further broken down into modules containing short videos and immediate action steps. Since it's a monthly membership, you decide your pace. You're never behind. So even if you just have 15-20 minutes a day you will learn something and, if you take action, make progress towards your goal! 

Each module only drips out the materials and resources you will need to complete the corresponding action step so you don't get that anxious feeling of overwhelm or go down the rabbit hole of Google looking for resources.

The material can be downloaded as audio mp3, and pdf transcripts so you can learn on the go or snuggled in your PJs after the kids are in bed. 

And there's no need to start from scratch. You can start with an already created NGSS aligned unit and design it so it's more relevant to your students and manageable for you. Or take a unit you've taught previously and transform it into a NGSS designed unit.

Read on to find out more details of NGSS by Design or if you're ready...


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NGSS by Design Roadmap

Each phase is made up of short modules that break down the NGSS unit design process into immediate actionable steps. Don't underestimate the compound effect: small steps + consistency + time = massive results. The key is to start now.


Before we dive into unit planning we get you comfortable with the program's set up with an orientation. There's an optional NGSS 101 module for those just starting out with NGSS, but highly recommended for any member to watch. You'll also set up a welcome call to discuss your goals and specific NGSS professional development needs so we can provide you the content you're searching for.

Phase 1: The Big Picture

Here you'll bundle your performance expectations, choose an anchoring phenomenon that is relevant to your students, and design a summative 3D assessment with an aligned rubric. Knowing the big picture will keep you focused on the main goals of your instructional sequence and allows you to eliminate "fluff'. Think of this as your planned destinations.

Phase 2: A Cohesive Storyline

Phase 2 concentrates on examining the 3 dimensional elements of your unit's PE(s) and the evidence statements to design an outline of a coherent unit story line with relevant investigative phenomena. This clarifies your instructional sequence and ensures that each lesson is purposeful and intentional. This will help with deciding on types of assessments and tracking students' progression towards the unit's performance expectations.This is your map.

Phase 3: 3D Lesson Planning

Now we zero in on the individual lessons in your unit's storyline sequence. Each module will guide you through a step by step process of creating 3 dimensional lesson plans. We'll also include modules of examples of effective teaching routines and strategies to establish in your classroom.(examples include: Driving Question Boards, performance task assessments, modelling, CER). These are the detailed directions telling you what you have do to to get to where you want.

Phase 4: Putting it All Together

Time to zoom back out and view the unit as a whole again. Use the EQuIP rubric and a fellow NGSS Designer to review your unit design. 

Phase 5: Teach, Reflect, Tweak

It's go time! We're here to support you through teaching your unit and analyzing student work. We'll reflect on went "right" and learn from what went "wrong". Then, revise and submit it to Achieve for a Design Badge review. 

Monthly Motivations Schedule

Shifting how you design your science units and, as an effect, your teaching practices is not easy and can feel uncomfortable. You might start off with positive intentions to implement the necessary changes NGSS requires. But we all know the school year is as stressful as it is delightful and human nature's tendency is to go back to what's comfortable. To help keep you motivated and on track we include this monthly motivation schedule.

What teachers are saying..

This is what teachers had to say about the 5 day lesson planning challenge which focused on just one of the NGSS by Design modules-3D lesson planning.


   Meet your Guide:

Margaret O'Sullivan

  • Host of NGS Navigators:  A Podcast for NGSS educators. 
  • Science teacher since 2001. NGSS teacher since it was in draft form.
  • Believer that NGSS classrooms are powerful classrooms.
  • NBCT teacher in early adolescence science. 
  • Earned a Masters of Science in Science Education at DePaul University
  • Mother of twin toddlers and a pre-schooler so I understand the challenge of trying to balance it all.
  • Stage 3 triple negative breast cancer survivor: No evidence of disease since Oct. 5th, 2017.
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Frequently Asked Questions

No, for a few reasons. A big component of NGSS is the emphasis of all standards for all students. Phenomena chosen should be relevant to your students. Lessons need to be differentiated to meet your students' needs. You need to be comfortable and very familiar with how and why the unit's lessons are sequenced the way they are so that your teaching strategies are intentional and purposeful.So, if you do have NGSS units already supplied by your district (or from other trusted sources--like design badge units from Achieve) it would be beneficial for you to go through NGSS by Design with that unit in order to make the adjustments needed to meet your students' needs and to fully understand the purpose of each lesson and why its sequence is structured the way it is. You'll most likely progress through the phases faster than those creating their own units. Plus, you'll get support while your teaching the unit too and help with analyzing your students' work. It's also important for you to design your NGSS units to meet YOUR needs as a teacher as well. 

You control the pace. Since this is a monthly membership program there is no deadline. You are never behind. We suggest that you create goals for yourself and work towards achieving them.

  • You are feeling overwhelmed with NGSS implementation and in need of a guided process that works with your schedule.
  • Or you're ready to take it to the next level and create your own NGSS units. 
  • You need some structure on how to plan for NGSS 3 dimensional instruction but also enjoy adding your own spin to it.
  • You value collaboration with other science teachers around the world to share resources, strategies, ideas, wins, and challenges.
  • You don't want to spend all your time looking for resources. You want a one shop stop of everything you  need to get it going.
  • You want engaging professional development that's available when you are and is responsive to what you need.

A membership is different from a course because there is no end date until you decide not to renew. You either pay monthly or  yearly.

What you get with the membership:

  • Step by step guidance to designing a NGSS Unit Plan.
  • Monthly Hot Seat Calls
    Twice a month, I coach 3 of our members on these live calls and give them feedback, support, and guidance for whatever phase they are in. You can grab a hot seat for yourself, tune in live and learn, or watch a replay of past hot seat calls.
  • Two live Q&As sessions/month
  • Monthly NGSS Bingo Challenge: We gamify learning and implementation with our monthly NGSS Bingo Challenge--Get quick wins to maintain momentum and accountability (there will be prizes). 
  • Members only Facebook Group and a Members Only Forum. You're not gonna have to figure this out on your own!  Our entire community is here and ready for you - to cheer you on, answer your questions, and hold you accountable.
  • If you're looking for 'done for you' units, this is not the program for you. 

We close our doors, so that we can solely focus on our getting our new members situated and comfortable with our program. Once our new members have gotten into a groove, we will open again for the next cohort. 

Doors open for enrollment Sunday, April 7th, 2019 and close Friday, April 12th at Midnight. 

Welcome Week begins Monday, April 15th, 2019 and Phase 1 begins April 29th, 2019. 

We accept Purchase Orders from schools so find out if there are professional development funds available. We provide the certificates needed to earn continuing education credits and will work with your district to meet any other requirements so you can earn those hours (each state is different).  If you are paying by PO, please email us at [email protected] and we'll get you set up. 

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