Q & A

Here are some answers to some common questions regarding the science kits.

How do I log students into FOSSweb on laptops or FOSSebooks on iPads?

Visit this Google Slideshow to lead your through the steps on how to do this!!  

Where do I find the answers to the assessments for students?
 You can find the answers under the ASSESSMENT tab in your Investigations Guide (teacher’s manual).  In the 3rd grade manual, if you look at the first page after the assessment tab, there is the contents of this section listed on the right hand side.  The answers portion begin under the Survey/Posttest section, then continue through the rest of the assessment section.  (I believe that this would be true for your version as well as they are all set up relatively the same.)
Why does it look like I can’t asses my premium content?
We have purchased premium content for all teachers.  Principals were given a code to have you download your module during your staff meeting this week.  If you still need the code, please use the ones listed below.  If you are teaching a blend, you can download both codes if you want to be thinking about what you might be teaching next year.  There is a little glitch in the system regarding the “Activate Premium Content” for 3rd-5th grades.  Although it looks as though you don’t have access, you do!  When you click on the picture of the book, it will open up at page that lists; Teaching the Module, etc.  If the text is highlighted blue, then you have access.  If you have things that are still in grey, you don’t have access.  You should have access to everything.  If you don’t, let us know, and we can help you get the resources you need.
Can the focus questions be printed on labels?
The focus question should be the main focus on the lesson.  You can print the focus questions out on labels from the FOSSweb website through their resources section, however, it is highly recommended that you have students physically write out the questions.  Since this is the question that students will keep referring to throughout the lesson, it is helpful for them to write it themselves, in their own handwriting.  Science Teacher Leaders will get training that they will later share with staff buildings around science discourse that will talk about the importance of “science talk”.
Can the reading for science happen during reading instruction time and writing for science happen during writing time?
Of course!  Science is not its own subject.  As you have seen today, there is a lot of reading in science and writing in science.  Please flex time as needed.
What if I need materials for more than 30 students?
Please send Julie Janisse an email and she can get you more materials.  If it is the fact that you might need a couple more ramps or things, we might just ask that you make kids in groups of 3 or have students share.  As for student books, we can see what we can do to get you what you need.
Can we get the vocabulary cards printed in color for our kits?
I am going to get a quote from print shop to see about color copies, laminated, and put in each kit.  For sure, I know that we can do black and white on cardstock, laminated, but I know color is so much better?  It might not be done for this kit, but something will happen for the next kit.  My hope is that these cards will stay with the kits.
Can we get the focus wall words printed and added to the kits too?
These words are available to download and print as PDF’s.  You can access them on this website under “Grade Level Kits”.
What about materials that aren’t in the kit that we need?  Or optional materials that would benefit the lesson?
Please send a list to Allison or Julie and we will see what we can do.  There are some funds to be able to purchase additional supplies if they are on our “wish” list.  However, if they are on the required materials, we will need to make sure that teachers have those to teach with. We are still working on this one.
What if I don’t like the kit that I need to teach?
All kits are designed to fit the new NGSS standards and need to be taught at specific grade levels.  Every subject builds on each other, so if a teacher doesn’t teach the kit, then students will be missing a huge content chunk.  At 5th grade, students will need to complete the Smarter Balanced test that is a cumulative test from all the content they have learned K-5.
What if I don’t get through everything?  There is SOOOO much!
It is important to do what you can.  You will find out that the lessons take time, and sometimes time that you might not always have.  Spend time on teaching well and not forcing your students to “get through” everything.  If you don’t get through all of the units, that’s okay.  You will have this kit for 5 months, until the end of January.  You should be able to get through most of it.
When do I need to return the kit?
You will have the kit checked out to you until grading day at the end of January.  Most of you will get done with the kit before then, but you have time.  You will get the next kit after that, for the remainder of the year.  Please remember to do the best you can in returning all the contents of the kit nicely in your box.  Remember that your kit will go first downtown, then right back out to another teacher at another school.  All teachers, other than kinder teachers, will share their kits throughout the year.  We have a small team downtown to put these kits back together, then get them to their new homes as quickly as they can.  If you can help and make sure it is orderly, it will save a ton of time for Julie and her staff.
Do we have to teach all the kits?
You will be teaching both the Earth Science and Physical Science kits this year.  You will get your other training for your new kit in January.Next year, you will be teaching all three kits.  You will have training for the Life Science kit in the spring of 2016.  Everyone will teach the Life Science in the Spring as we have enough kits for everyone to use.
What happens if I receive the wrong materials with my kit?
If you have received the wrong materials, student books, or teacher’s guides, please let Julie Janisse know and she will get you the correct materials.  Please do not wait until well into the kit as you might really need these materials.  
What happens if some of the materials I get are broken or break when I use them in my classroom?
If materials are broken or are breaking, please send an email to both Julie and Allison stating your kit name and the specific materials that are breaking/broken.  Julie will make sure to get you new materials so you can complete your kits, and Allison will add this information to our district science blog.  Chances are, you aren’t the first person who is experiencing problems with this kit.  There might be tips or tricks that other teachers have to make sure that these supplies don’t break. (Allison will also be contacting the company to see if we could secure better equipment that will be more durable.)
What is the role of FOSS consultants?
Please remember that all the consultants that come for any training, whether it is science, math or reading, are representatives of the company.  They in no way can change our schedules or solve the issues that face our district.  Their time is very valuable and they are extremely knowledgeable about the kit and how the program works.  Please make sure to focus on the things they can control, and that is helping you get ready for your kit and providing you insight on teaching it yourself.  
What if I don’t have time to teach the entire kit?
Just like any curriculum, do what you can do.  Look at the major concepts that need to be taught, and you might have to cut out some of the additional activities at the end of each investigation.  See how you can use other times during your schedule to incorporate math concepts and reading concepts.  We will be looking at  each unit and listing the priority lessons needed to be taught at each grade level, just in case you are crunched on time.
How am I ever going to get my kit back together?
I know this is a big job, but one that teachers have been doing in the 4J district for many years now.  Some things to consider when putting your kits back together to send them to the warehouse. 
1. Please make sure that everything is washed and DRY before putting it back in the kit.  Some of these kits might sit in the warehouse and might not be used for another year, so wet materials could get moldy and very stinky.
2. Use your kit inventory sheet as your guide.  As you could and inventory the things from each box, make sure to count and write them down.  If non consumable things are broken, make sure to include them in the kit so we are seeing the issues with these materials and can be proactive in replacing them if necessary.  
3. Please make sure to put the materials in the boxes that they came from.  The kit inventory sheet has what came from each box as well as the front of the box too!  Your teacher’s guide should be in the BOX 1!  Don’t forget that piece.  
4. Don’t forget to zip tie the front of the box so it doesn’t come open during transportation.  
5.  Don’t forget to send back your student books.  If you have already thrown away your box, please find another box from your building and repackage them and mark them with what is inside the box.