Twig Science March 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the Twig Science monthly newsletter! 

How often do you see yourself as a facilitator of learning, the sage on the stage? Do you sometimes feel like you are working harder than your students? Tuning into student agency will both lighten your load and invigorate instruction by encouraging student engagement in your classroom. Twig Science has got your back here, providing multiple opportunities throughout the program to encourage student agency.

Learn more about student agency in this article by Sam Cressman from Knowre Blog: article link

Scientist Spotlight: Dr. James P. Comer

Dr. James P. Comer, an academic and researcher in child psychiatry at Yale University, is most notably recognized for his creation of the Comer School Development Program (SDP). At its core, SDP emphasizes the importance of positive relationships in building meaningful classroom cultures. Beyond his work in education, Dr. Comer is also a writer of books and articles. He states it best when he says, “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”

Read more about the Comer School Development Program: article link

Read more about Dr. James Comer: article link

Dr. James P. Comer

Did You Know: Text to Speech in the Digital Twig Book

Twig Science digital Twig Books can read slides to your students—just click on the listen icon at the top of the digital lesson! This will read lesson content out loud, giving students the opportunity to hear and understand content, breaking down barriers to experiencing science instruction and facilitating more aha! moments.

Watch this brief video to see how it works: video link

Getting to Know the NGSS: 3-D Assessment

Twig Science has all the assessments you need to assess and monitor student progress as our budding scientists experience unforgettable aha! moments. Watch a 3-minute video presenting the complete assessment suite developed in partnership with the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE).

Video link

Tips and Tricks: Teacher Provided Materials List

Did you know how easy it is to view the Teacher Provided Materials list in the Twig Science digital platform. Watch the video to see how.

Video link

User Highlights: The 3-D Classroom

Recently, we sat down with Annette Huett, the Science Specialist for Oklahoma City Public Schools, to find out how she has successfully brought three-dimensional science instruction into classrooms. She shares her secret sauce on what the 3-D classroom should look like in this exclusive Twig Lounge presentation. 

Check out the video: video link


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Twig Science February 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the Twig Science monthly newsletter! 

Black history is American history. This is a perfect time to focus on diversity and how it should influence our classroom practices.  

The educator and author Zaretta Hammond writes in her book Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain, “Culturally responsive teaching is a mindset… thinking about organizing instruction to allow for greater flexibility in teaching.” 

In this issue, we’ve gathered resources to help you think about diversity and access and equity in new ways.

Professional Learning: Access and Equity

When designing Twig Science, we were very mindful of the importance of bringing three-dimensional learning to every student in order to inspire the scientists and engineers of the 21st century. The Twig Education White Paper on equity and inclusion in the link will give you insights into strategies you can use in your instruction across the subjects you teach.

Read now

Scientist Spotlight: Mae C. Jemison

Mae C. Jemison is both a physician and the first woman of color to go up into space. After her career as a physician serving in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and Liberia, she decided to pursue a lifelong dream of going into space and conducting research. Read more about her amazing life in our blog post for Black History Month.

Read now

Did You Know? Accessible Assessment

Assessments in Twig Science are enabled to be read aloud to students! Students can access all the questions in the summative assessment by clicking on the listen control above each question. Check it out for yourself—go to the Assessment Center in Twig Science and choose a summative assessment, then open the preview and see how this makes the assessment accessible for your students.

Getting to Know 3-D Science: Explore Science and Engineering Practices

Science and Engineering Practices can be thought of as the verbs of 3-D science: the doing statements. This article from the resources section of the Twig Science platform will give you valuable information about how the SEPs are built right into your planning and lessons and enrich science instruction.

Read now

Tips and Tricks: Language Acquisition

Looking for every student to engage in meaningful academic conversation? Strategic vocabulary instruction will fill your classroom with productive chatter while deepening students’ conceptual understanding of phenomena. Check out this brief video to see how you can access word wall cards, language routine resources, and more!

Watch now

User Highlights: Hybrid Lessons

Chris Borjas, the host of our Twig Teachers Facebook page, recently sat down with Caroline Digman from San Juan Unified School District to find out how she uses Twig’s Assign and Go lessons in a hybrid learning environment. Watch the interview to gather some new ideas for your own classroom.

Watch now


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Twig Science January 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the Twig Science monthly newsletter! 

We often cast intentions into the universe, waiting for the right moment to reel bright opportunities into our reach. Well, this is that moment—opportunities for learning are right in front of us! Let’s explore some of them together.

Article: Maintaining Student Motivation

January marks the midpoint in the school year. To maintain student engagement and start that gradual release of learning to students, consider some of the motivational ideas in this article by Judy Willis based on neuroscience research:

https://www.edutopia.org/article/maintaining-students-motivation-learning-year-goes

Science Spotlight: Webb Space Telescope Feed

There’s a new telescope orbiting in space, enhancing our reach into the stars: the James Webb Space Telescope. But who was James Webb? As NASA’s second administrator, he advanced space exploration and science during his tenure, overseeing the Apollo missions and the first moon visit. Share his legacy and the exciting Webb Telescope feed with your students by going to https://webbtelescope.org.

Did You Know: Twig Science Next Gen Middle School Platform Tour

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new Twig Science Next Gen middle school platform! It gives Grade 6–8 students opportunities to take on dozens of inspiring scientist roles, including volcanologists and documentary filmmakers. Check out this short video tour of the new platform to learn more: Twig Science Next Gen Tutorial Video

Getting to Know 3-D Science: What Are Science and Engineering Practices?

Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) are a foundational component of three-dimensional learning. They are what students DO—the action steps students take that mirror the work of real scientists and engineers. You’ll also notice that the SEPs run parallel to the Standards for Mathematical Practice—cross-curricular connections abound!  As we embark on this new year, take a moment to solidify your own understanding of the SEPs.

Video link: What are Science and Engineering Practices? 

Tips and Tricks: Using Twig Coach Assign and Go

As districts toggle between in-person and remote learning, preparing for instruction can be difficult. Don’t worry—Twig Science has you covered! Twig Coach Assign and Go lessons are ready to use at the click of a button. It’s that easy. Watch this brief video to learn more.

Video link: Using Twig Coach Assign and Go

User Highlights: Writing Poetry

This shared writing assignment was an ELA extension activity using the learning from the Grade 1 Twig Science module Patterns in the Sky. The class used the informational text to write a poem, and then, to reinforce their phonics skills, they annotated the text and circled sounds they’d learned. What a great way to use those cross-curricular connections in science to integrate ELA and connect informational text!


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Group of young friends celebrating

Celebrating a Year of Awards!

This year, all of us at Twig have kept working on new ideas, resources, media, and support tools to make teachers’ lives easier and keep students engaged. We’re determined to make our resources the brightest, most relevant, and most engaging you’ve ever seen—and the hard work seems to be paying off! We keep hearing from teachers—especially through our Twig Teachers Facebook group—what a difference Twig makes in the classroom. What’s more—not to be humble!—we’ve won or been nominated for a range of educational awards. Here is a selection…


EDUCATORS PICK BEST OF STEM AWARDS—2021 WINNER

The only award program created for and by teachers, the Best of STEM Awards put the spotlight on the innovative products, technologies, and services that are changing the world of STEM education. 

Our comprehensive 3-D science program Twig Science Next Gen was a winner in the Earth Science category.

One judge said: “This is certainly one of the best online/print/kit STEM programs that I have ever seen. It helps develop students as life-long learners and citizen scientists. I know I will be recommending that our K–8 science programs look at adopting it.”


TECH & LEARNING AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE—2021 PRIMARY EDUCATION DOUBLE WINNER

The Awards of Excellence recognize innovation in the edtech industry. Tech & Learning magazine’s new Awards of Excellence program, “The Best Tools for Back to School,” is a way to celebrate the most impressive products and solutions that support the work of teachers, students, and parents as they prepare for the new 2021-22 school year. 

Twig had two winners in the Primary Education category:

  • Twig Create—Our easy-to-use, high-quality video editing tool with cross-curricular lessons and projects
  • Twig Science Next Gen—Story-driven, 3-D science investigations

EDTECH IMPACT TEACHER CHOICE—2021 AWARD WINNER

Teachers and parents are searching for quality solutions that will educate a generation of children unable to go to school. To help teachers and parents identify best-in-class solutions, EdTech Impact awards the highest rated with a Teacher Choice Award—the first transparent, review-driven certification for the EdTech sector based on independent, verified customer reviews.

In 2021, our free science video news service Twig Science Reporter won a Teacher Choice Award based on an average review score of 4.8/5 from more than 30 teachers and parents.

One review said that Twig Science Reporter “significantly reduces teacher workload. [It] brings issues that are current and environmentally impactful to me rather than me taking my planning time to search for the information. It is a great resource.”

Love Twig Science Reporter? Why not leave your own review.


BETT AWARDS—2022 DOUBLE FINALIST

The Bett Awards are a celebration of the inspiring creativity and innovation that can be found throughout technology for education. The awards form an integral part of Bett each year, the world’s leading showcase of education technology solutions.

Twig has been honored to receive several Bett Awards previously, and this time we’re excited that our flagship K–8 STEM-investigation program Twig Science Next Gen is up for not one but two awards:

  • International Digital Educational Resource
  • Primary – Digital Learning Product

The winners will be announced in February—fingers crossed!


SCOTTISH ENTERPRISE AWARDS—BEST GLOBAL EDUCATIONAL STEM LEARNING COMPANY 2021

The Scottish Enterprise Awards recognize the best individuals and firms hailing from Scotland for their innovation, excellence, and dedication to providing the best and most outstanding services to clients and customers.

This year, Twig was pleased to be awarded the trophy for Best Global Education STEM Learning Company 2021!


ASSIGNMENT REPORT—UK EDUCATION INDUSTRY COMPANY OF THE YEAR 2021

In 2021, Twig Education was honored to be named as the Assignment Report’s UK Education Industry Company of the Year.

The Assignment Report is the UK’s leading source of education industry news. It described Twig as “a rare example of a UK schools curriculum publisher that has successfully entered the US core curriculum market”.



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A multi-ethnic group of elementary age students are huddled around their teacher listening to the story.

Twig Science December 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to the Twig Science monthly newsletter! This month, we’re capturing the power of storytelling in our three-dimensional classrooms and encouraging students to tell the story of scientific phenomena. Listen carefully, and you’ll hear your students narrate how young plants transform over the course of their lives or how substances change as they move through the phases of matter. These are the stories of student-centered classrooms, where kids burst with excitement as they seek interested listeners.

Listen closely. We have stories to tell!


Wiley Blevins on the Gift of Storytelling

In September, we sat down with Twig Science contributor, acclaimed author, and reading specialist Wiley Blevins to discuss literacy and storytelling. He shares his personal story of growing up in Appalachia with an illiterate grandmother and how that experience shaped his outlook on instruction. 

Enjoy listening to Wiley’s story here: Twig Education On… The Gift of Reading


Science and Storytelling 

For millennia, cultures from around the globe have used storytelling to make sense of the world. Myths, legends, and fables all tell stories, giving explanations for why things are the way they are. Twig Science builds a storyline into the beginning of every module, using module phenomena as a way into exploring things that happen around us. This connection not only engages students but also frames the learning experience throughout the module. 

The following article outlines the neuroscience behind successful storytelling and gives tips on how to embed meaningful stories into your classroom.

The Cognitive Scientist—”The Privileged Status of Story”

We’d love to hear your experiences of using storytelling on our Twig Teachers Facebook page!


Scientist Spotlight: Dr. Jane Goodall

“Storytelling for me…that’s been my way of waking people up and reaching into their hearts.”

Anthropologist, conservationist, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, and UN Messenger of Peace, Jane Goodall is a world-renowned ethologist and activist inspiring greater understanding and action on behalf of the natural world every single day.

At the following link, Jane shares her thoughts on the power of storytelling.

Video link: Dr. Jane Goodall on Why Storytelling is Important in Science


Did You Know?: Using Google Slides

Each month, we’ll feature a resource on the Digital Dashboard that will help you facilitate student-centered learning experiences. This month, Google Slide decks are on display! These decks are customizable, and are waiting for you to tell the story of a new phenomenon. Watch this brief video to learn more.

Video link: Did you know?


Getting to Know 3-D Science: What Are Crosscutting Concepts?

Looking for help unpacking the three dimensions of the NGSS? Look no further! We’ll begin by taking an introductory glance at Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs), the conceptual frameworks which students use to tell the story of scientific phenomena. Patterns, for example, are a frequently utilized CCC that highlight predictable stories with a clear beginning and end. Check out this video for more on CCCs and how they are embedded into the NGSS.

Video link: What Are Crosscutting Concepts?


Tips and Tricks: Leveled Readers

Here are the latest tips and tricks from the Twig Science Professional Learning Team. In this video, we’ll show you how to use Leveled Readers to engage students in a storytelling experience, following a variety of scientists through their day-to-day adventures.

Video link: Incorporating storytelling into lessons—Leveled Readers, Chapter 2


User Highlights: Word Walls

Word walls help students tell the story of their learning. Whether students incorporate academic vocabulary into their writing or refer to the word wall while strengthening an argument, word walls are critical to the development of a clear and concise story. Let’s explore some Twig Science word walls from around the country that you can use in your classroom.


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Night shot of illuminated pumpkins in front of a house

Fun Free Resources for Halloween and Day of the Dead!

Click on the images below to download fun holiday activities and resources you can print out and share with your students, from Day of the Dead masks to stencils for pumpkin carving.

Day of the Dead Mask (English)
Máscara de Día de Muertos (Spanish)
Halloween Anagrams
Pumpkin Life Cycle Display
Pumpkin Carving Stencil—Skeleton
Skeleton Word Search
Skeleton Decoration
Pumpkin Carving Stencil—Space

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