Episode 056: Homegrown NGSS Curriculum Design with Suzanne Sullivan


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In this episode, Suzanne Sullivan shares with us the work her district’s vertical planning team has done with designing NGSS curriculum. She discusses the work she is doing as a 5th-8th grade science coach and encourages teachers to use their current skill set and passion as an entry point to NGSS. We all have strengths and skills to bring to the table with NGSS and it’s best to tap into those as we implement the vision of NGSS. Fantastic interview and a plethora of resources.

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Show Highlights

  • 01:00 - 02:00    Introduction to Suzanne
  • 06:00 - 10:30    Vertical planning and Suzanne's work with her district
  • 12:00 - 24:00    Science coaching methods and how Suzanne works with teachers
  • 24:00 - 28:00    Cultivating trust and vulnerability among teachers
  • 28:00 - 35:00    Resources that Suzanne suggests

 Show Quotes 

"My role is not to come in and say 'This is what we're doing,' but rather 'What does this look like? What do we want from our students?' Because as teachers, we know what we want from our students, and each teacher on the team has a goal and an aspiration for what that classroom should look like and how it should function. My role is really to help them get where they want to be, so that we are all where we want to be. So our curriculum is not a packaged curriculum. We're using some resources, but it really is constructed through our having conversations and thinking about what works for our students and our population from our own personal experiences and from our own backgrounds."  [11:35-12:30] Suzanne Sullivan

"Every teacher comes in with their particular lens, and I think it's by us honoring those--that personal experience and the lens that we come in with--that we create the best curriculum that we can, which is really the best experience for the students." [17:35 - 17:55] Suzanne Sullivan

"I know that there's so much focus on reading, writing, and math. My hope is that other districts across the country start to recognize the power of incorporating NGSS and supporting their teachers in a way that they can really maximize on NGSS. There's so much mathematical thinking and nonfiction reading that it seems silly to not really embrace it. But in order to embrace it, the teachers who are teaching it need to be supported 100%. This is very challenging work." [33:00 - 33:30] Suzanne Sullivan


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