Curriculum Newsletter 6-12

September 2022


Anchoring Phenomena

NGSS places a strong emphasis on the use of phenomena to enrich the learning environment. One type of phenomenon is Anchoring Phenomena, which are puzzling events or processes whose full explanation requires students to coordinate and use a wide range of science and evidence.

When you are including phenomena in your instruction consider these simple rules:

  • Students have to find them comprehensible and relate them to their life experiences.

  • The phenomena should be complex and rich in scientific content.

  • It should be an observable event or process.

  • The best phenomena are specific events within a specific context.

When thinking about how to introduce phenomena, you can begin by asking, “what is causing the changing seasons near the equator to be less prevalent?” OR “what causes hurricanes to get stronger over warmer water?”

Look for phenomena that:

  • Relates to students’ daily lives OR

  • Draws upon students' interest OR

  • Is current in the media

Students may have family members in Florida, Cuba, or Puerto Rico (all affected by this storm). They might have traveled to any of these places or simply seen the live videos of Hurricane Ian on Tiktok or other social media.

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Read Anywhere, Anytime with Sora!

Over the last two years, the district has made thousands of ebooks and audio titles available to secondary staff and students via Sora, an online reading platform. The Sora icon can be found on the district’s Clever page or in the App Launcher (aka the ‘waffle’).The ebook and audio titles can be accessed from any device, whether at school or at home. Our Sora account is also linked to the Hamilton Public Library, so readers are able to access the public library’s ebook/audiobook collection using their school credentials.

Once on the site, teachers and students can search for a specific title using the search bar, browse collections (including Available Now, Most Popular, Page to Screen, etc.), or check out Popular Subjects (Humor, Fantasy, Classic Literature, Biography & Autobiography, to name a few).

As a reminder, readers can customize their reading experience with the following settings:

  • Text size options

  • Lighting (bright, sepia, dark, high contrast)

  • Number of columns (one or two)

  • Book design (the way the font appears) including an OpenDyslexic font

  • A choice of seven different languages with which to review general settings

Please see your librarian if you have any questions! Happy reading!

Back to School Instant Activities

Instant Activity is a classroom management teaching strategy that gives your students a task to start immediately when entering the gymnasium. No more roll call in squad spots, warm ups, and then introduction to a lesson. Involve your students in a meaningful instant activity that is an anticipatory set for your PE lesson.

Instant Activities can jump start your class by allowing your students to warmup their bodies and also getting the blood flowing to their brain. Multiple studies have shown, lead to focus and allows your students to better understand lesson topic more effectively. Not only does applying an instant activity routine get your students moving quickly, it allows you to complete beginning of the lesson housekeeping items, like attendance and individual student check-ins.

Here are some Back to School Instant Activities:

Instant Activities Outside of the Gymnasium (In the Classroom)

Instant activities are your anticipatory sets with movement. Get your students moving to start the class with a fun bell ringer.

World Language Examples:

School Year Kickoff - Library

Running a successful school Library program requires a knowledgeable librarian with strong dedication to the program. It means determining the essentials for a strong foundation, and driving the library in a positive direction that meets the constantly changing needs of our students. For teachers and students alike, thinking about all of the achievements ahead is energizing; however, thinking of the challenges can sometimes be overwhelming.

Below is a list to help kick off the school year:

  1. Be a Role Model- First and foremost, be a source of comfort, especially for young learners. Let your students know that you missed them, share some fun things you did and books you read. Your love of literacy and willingness to share will encourage your students to read and share, as well! Then, inform students of some of the fun things which they will be doing in the Library to motivate them.

  2. Collect Data- The start of the school year is a great time to do a needs assessment for the Library. Collect feedback from students, teachers, parents, and administrators. Data can be collected through surveys, polls, social media, and informal conversations.

  3. Advocate- Demonstrate your dedication to the Library program by communicating through your school’s newsletter, social media, or website. Advocating for the program communicates why the Library program is so important.

  4. Keep Learning- Educators are always learning. Some interesting articles and ideas are linked below.

  • Be sure to keep up to date with new ideas and strategies to encourage students to explore, collaborate, and engage. HERE are some fun ideas!

  • Be well informed on new resources and methods in Information and Media Literacy, Technology Literacy, and Digital Citizenship.

  • Build a professional learning network. You’ll need to ask questions and bounce ideas with informed people, so get involved in professional organizations and associations.

Dear Data Guy

What is the purpose of Start Strong Testing?

Start Strong Testing is a diagnostic assessment tool. Diagnostic assessments are typically administered prior to a course, similar to a pre test. The data gained from the assessment helps inform teachers, administrators, parents, state level stakeholders, and students about learning gaps. For this fall’s Start Strong Administration choice standards from grade level English, Mathematics, and Science have been chosen by the state which represent the major preliminary standards for the grade.

Notes from Mr. Scotto

The Office of Curriculum & Instruction has made some staffing changes in the last few months. Please take a moment to review our supervisory assignments.

  • K-5 Math/Science (as well as BSI Math) will now be supervised by Ms. Karen Gronikowski.
  • K-5 ELA/SS (as well as BSI Reading & ALPS) will continue to be supervised by Mrs. Laura Leidy-Stauffer.
  • K-12 ESL (and ESSER PreK) will continue to be supervised by Mrs. Michelle Griffith.
  • K-12 Health/PE & World Language will continue to be supervised by Mr. Alejandro Batlle.
  • K-12 Visual & Performing Arts will now be supervised by Ms. Kerri Sullivan (who will be joining our team at the end of November).
  • 6-12 ELA/SS will now be supervised by Mrs. Francesca Miraglia.
  • 6-12 Math/6-8 STEAM will now be supervised by Ms. Tracey Schwartz (who will be joining our team at the end of November).
  • 6-12 Science/Applied Technology will continue to be supervised by Mr. Matthew Sisk.
  • Testing, Data, and Staff Evaluation will continue to be supervised by Mr. Kevin Bobetich.
  • K-12 Library, 9-12 Tech/Business Education, and ESSA & Perkins Grants will now be supervised by Mrs. Danielle Tan.

I am confident that the Office of Curriculum & Instruction will continue to be a trusted source for our HTSD Family!

Hamilton Township School District

Anthony Scotto, Director of Curriculum & Instruction


Alejandro Batlle, Health/PE and World Language

Kevin Bobetich, Testing/Assessment

Michelle Griffith, ESL K-12, ESSER Pre-K

Francesca Miraglia, English Language Arts and Social Studies

Tracey Schwartz, Mathematics and STEM/STEAM

Matthew Sisk, Science and Applied Technology

Kerri Sullivan, K-12 Visual & Performing Arts

Danielle Tan, K-12 Library, 9-12 Tech/Business Education, ESSA & Perkins Grants