The Brick Bridge
Connecting Partners in Education
The Brick Township Public School District, in partnership with our families and community, is committed to supporting student growth through cultivating each student’s unique strengths and talents in an engaging, safe, and nurturing environment.
This quarterly curriculum newsletter aims to highlight the rigorous and engaging academic coursework we are proud to offer the students of the Brick Township School District.
Dr. Alyce Anderson - Director of Curriculum & Instruction
Tools of the Mind
We have been in full swing with our new curriculum: Tools of the Mind. TOM (Tools of the Mind) is a comprehensive, research based curriculum, meeting all state and national standards, based on the “Constructivism” view of Russian Psychologist Lev Vygotsky. The main goals of TOM are to develop self-regulation, focused attention, and deliberate memory, which are important underlying cognitive skills, to develop the ability of self-control and social interaction with peers and adults, which promotes social-emotional school readiness and to develop symbolic thinking, literacy, and numeracy, which are the foundations for later academic learning.These skills are learned mostly through play. Studies show that the best foundation for children is to use play as the activity to ‘spark’ learning. When you ask your children what they did in school, their answer will most likely be ‘I played’, and they will be absolutely right!
Our new game that we play is Making Collections. For the game, one child counts out a collection of counters to match the number of objects pictures on a card. The other child checks the accuracy of the first child’s counting by placing the objects onto the pictures on the cards and checks to see if there are too few or too many. Then the children trade roles. The purpose of the game is for children to:
- Engage in meaningful counting
- Represent quantities with objects
- Use one-to-one correspondence
- Use language to identify “too many” and “too less”
- Develop self-regulation; taking turns acting out different mental roles to begin to reflect on learning
Elementary Curriculum Highlights: Grades K-5
Making Sense of Math
In our elementary classrooms, math lessons kick off with an engaging and thought-provoking sense making task. Mathematical reasoning and sense making help students move away from believing that there is only one way to solve a problem. Sense making refers to developing a math mind through the ability to be flexible and fluid with numbers.
Spotlight Sense-Making Task: “Which One Doesn’t Belong?”
Students use reasoning skills to choose 1 of 4 items that does not belong with the others. Rich math talk is encouraged as students defend and evaluate their choices. The twist to this task is that there is at least one possible reason why each of the 4 items does not belong with the rest! Mary Bourassa created a Which One Doesn’t Belong website where tasks are classified by shapes, numbers and graphs/equations. Another wonderful resource is Which One Doesn't Belong - A Shapes Book by Christopher Danielson.
LeighAnn Layton and Nan Evans, our District Math Coaches, presenting at Association of Mathematics Teachers of New Jersey - Fall Conference.
Grade 1 Students in English Language Arts kicked off the year with a new program called Fundations! They have been blending, reading, and spelling three sound short vowel words, Trick Words, and using capitalization, punctuation, and word spacing while writing. A multisensory approach is used to build these skills through whole group instruction. Comprehension strategies are also taught in combination with our core Language Arts program.
Brick Elementary Schools are in the second year of implementing Achieve 3000 in Grades three through five. Students are reading high-interest articles within the same topic on their individualized reading level. They also use Achieve 3000 to read nonfiction text that connects to the Social Studies curriculum. The use of this resource allows our students to participate in collaborative conversations in the classroom.
Grow, Brick, Grow!
Secondary Curriculum Highlights: Grades 6-12
Read for the Holidays: Holiday Gift Ideas
Here are some of the hottest reads this holiday season. These would be great additions to your child’s holiday wishlist.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball by Jeff Kinney
- New Kid by Jerry Craft
- Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka
- Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowlings
- Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau
- White Bird by RJ Palacio
- It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers)
Also, check out any books by these authors:
- Jason Reynolds
- Kwame Alexander
- Gordon Korman
Add word fun to family time with any of these games:
But I’m not a math person…
How many times have you said this or heard others say this? People are never afraid to admit that they are “bad” at math. Many people believe that there are “math people” and “not math people”. However, this is just not the case. Think back to when your child was just learning about the world around them, how they sorted objects and were excited by patterns. They were noticing the world around them and wondering about how it all fit together. This is exactly what great mathematicians do; they notice the patterns in the world around them and use them to make predictions or solve many of our world’s larger problems.
We want to encourage this kind of thinking throughout our students' education in Brick Township. We are encouraging our students to make sense of fun, “real-world” problems from the time they enter Kindergarten all the way through their last high school math class. We want our students to walk away from high school ready for success in the real world, whether they are heading to college, or directly into the workforce.
There are some things you can do at home to help encourage your students to believe in themselves and become proficient mathematical thinkers:
- Encourage your child to play mathematical puzzles and games.
- Look for the logic in your child’s thought process, and don’t just tell them they are wrong. Have them talk out the problem to you and work with them on correcting their logic.
- Don’t share with your child that you’re “not a math person”, this will give them an out to start believing it about themselves.
- Encourage and work on number sense.
- Most importantly, work on instilling a growth mindset by letting them know that “being good at math” is directly related to working hard. If they complain about work being hard, or making a mistake, tell them “That’s great! Your brain is growing!”.
Adapted from Jo Boaler, and youcubed.org
Students and teachers have been hard at work this marking period. Every day, teachers are working on building number sense with their students. Every lesson starts with an engaging activity to hook the students and get them thinking.
Celebrating Veterans of Ocean County
BTPS STEM Academy
Producing Independent Thinkers & Collaborative Learners within STEM Fields of Study.
Today’s job market is ever changing due to our society’s increasing dependence on, and expansion of new technology. Accordingly, education itself is changing dynamically in order to keep pace and meet the future needs of our students. Recognizing this need resulted in the development of the STEM Academy, which will offer a specifically designed course of study for high school students who are seriously considering a career in the STEM fields.
The STEM Academy exposes students to and prepare them for problem-based learning, scientific and mathematical processes, and a collaborative work environment. Students acquire the latest STEM skills and aptitudes which can be successfully integrated into today’s ever-changing technological job market.
Applications for the Class of 2024 are opening soon!
If your eighth grader is interested in becoming part of the STEM Academy Class of 2024, please come to our information night on December 5th from 6:30pm - 7:30pm at the Professional Development Center - 101 Hendrickson Avenue Brick NJ 08724