K-5 Curriculum Newsletter

December 2017

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HTSD Has Character

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”

― R.J. Palacio, Wonder

During the time we spend with our students everyday, we strive not only to teach them the curriculum but also how to build good character. So, exactly what is good character? Simply put, good character is doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. A few traits that exemplify good character are honesty, trustworthiness, respectfulness, and responsibility.

As a result of their efforts in fostering character development, three of our elementary schools have been named a National and State School of Character by Character.org. McGalliard received this designation in 2016 while Morgan and Yardville earned it in 2017. The principals and guidance counselors of Morgan and Yardville were truly inspired by receiving this honor and are looking to bring this program to the other elementary schools in Hamilton.

Why was becoming a National and State School of Character important to you?

“In order to continue working on eliminating the achievement gap and increasing student achievement, all students need to feel valued, acknowledged and part of the school community.” ~Elena Manning, Principal, Yardville Elementary School

“We focus our character program efforts on building and maintaining a comprehensive program in which students practice the same language, values and character traits which, in turn, creates a caring community that brings academic, social, and emotional gains.”

~ Regina McIntyre, Principal, Morgan Elementary School.

What made you think this was something your school could accomplish?

“It was already so much of what we do; it was adding another layer. In the long run, it is going to increase student achievement and academic success. This was also a way to find areas we can improve in as well.”

~Jen Braverman, Guidance Counselor, Yardville Elementary

How do you see this taking root in all of Hamilton’s schools?

“By taking what each school already does and building off of that. We want to train all the other schools - starting with elementary - in the 11 Guiding Principles. All the schools are already doing wonderful things in the buildings; by being more cohesive, we can keep moving forward.”

~Ashley LaRose, Guidance Counselor, Morgan Elementary School.

What are the 11 Guiding Principles?


For more information on the School of Character program, please visit: http://character.org/schools/

by Heather Lieberman



The Arts provide a strong foundation on which to nurture citizen responsibility, empathy, and social awareness. Students investigate and discuss history and diverse cultures and critique the implications of artwork. Through the process, students learn to appreciate ambiguity and respect differing perspectives. Self and peer critiques enable students to give and receive constructive feedback, and learn to accept criticism and praise because it supports a path to improvement. Critique honors students’ voices by allowing them to share their ideas and learn from one another through the practice of open mindedness, empathy, and respect.

The Arts help students develop a growth mindset by exploring and engaging in the creative processes both independently and with peers. Art is communicative and powerful, so students must be taught to consider the implications of their work and how it is perceived by others.

By Danielle Tan

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Meet the 2017-18 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year: Amy Andersen

“As the teacher of the year, I hope to focus on spreading awareness of ASL, deaf culture, and language equality for deaf children in New Jersey, but I also want to help teachers be mindful of what we are modelling as a priority for our students,” Andersen continued. “If I show students that my only priority is for them to be great signers and interpreters, then I can only reach a small number of them. But I want to show them that my priority is the indisputable guarantee that every one of us has value, and it is our human right to communicate, to have a ‘voice’.”

Excerpt from NJEA Article

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The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

After Unhei moves from Korea to the US, she is anxious for her new classmates to like her, so to find a name they can more easily pronounce, they decided to help her by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from.



Dear Data Guy,

I heard the Science test is no longer paper this year. Is this true?

That is correct. Students will no longer take the Science test through pencil and paper. The assessment will be administered online in the same manner students are administered the PARCC Assessment. Students in grades 5, 8 and 11 will take the NJ-SLS Science Assessment. The window is from May 7th to June 9th. The specific school dates will be posted in the next month.

Do you have a question for our Data Guy?

Click HERE to submit your question for Dear Data Guy to answer next month!

Sara Bareilles - Brave


  • K-12 Challenging Math Problems Worth Solving - Open Middle

The Medal of Honor Character Education Program For

Elementary Students is NOW Available

The Medal of Honor Character Education Program is currently being utilized in Hamilton at the secondary level. The Medal of Honor Character Education lesson plans were designed by teachers around the country to help students in the classroom explore the values of courage, integrity, sacrifice, commitment, citizenship, and patriotism.

The Medal of Honor Character Education lessons geared for elementary students are now available. Visit the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation website to find out more information and access the elementary lessons. All you have to do is create an account.

Brief History of The Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is America's highest and most prestigious personal military decoration. It is awarded to individuals to recognize U.S. military service members who distinguished themselves by acts of valor. Today, there are three different types of Medals of Honor: the original simple star-shaped medal first established in 1862 which the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have retained; a wreath version designed in 1904 for the Army; and an altered wreath version for the Air Force, designed in 1963 and adopted in 1965.

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(Global Connections will provide resources to build your students' schema by developing background knowledge through connections outside of your classroom.)

Show your students a short animated story and allow conversation about character.



Hamilton’s Own Science & Engineering Expo!

Changes are coming to the science fair in Hamilton! The NGSS/NJSLS-Science encourages students to look at topics in a variety of ways--through research, exploration, and discovery, not strictly through the scientific method. There is an emphasis on collaboration, not the individual projects the traditional science fair requires.

To provide more students with a positive science fair experience, we will be hosting the HTSD Science and Engineering Expo in the late spring. Teachers can have their classes explore topics that students found interesting. Or students can work in small groups to test ideas that have piqued their interest. It will provide more flexibility to teachers and will create equity and true engagement among students. Consider working it into your current curriculum. Information packets will be send to you shortly.

Can students still participate in the Mercer County Science and Engineering Fair at Rider University? ABSOLUTELY! They can use the information from mercersec.org to enter the competition. Please contact Kirsten Pendleton if you would like the information.

By Kirsten Pendleton


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(Danielson Connections will provide specific strategies related to the Danielson Framework.)

Strategies for developing your practice:


  • 2a - Encourage students to acknowledge and appreciate each other's efforts. Whole Brain Teaching Strategies
  • 2b - Share your passion for teaching the content.
  • 2c - Allow students to take the lead in monitoring transitions.
  • 2d - Be sure to respect student dignity when correcting behaviors.
  • 2e - Allow students to have input in regards to the resources and tools being used.


  • 3a - Encourage students to explain the directions to each other in a 'Turn-n-Talk'.
  • 3b - Teach students to comment and discuss each other's thinking.
  • 3c - Allow students time to explore and discover using Inquiry-based learning.
  • 3d - Provide specific & meaningful feedback to individual students.
  • 3e - A Mid-year Reflection on the success of your classroom instruction.


Even though we are several months away from the end of the school year, winter recess (before or after) is a perfect time to assess where you are in the curriculum. Have you taken the time to:

  • go back to the standards for your subject area(s)?
  • checked off what has been covered?
  • reviewed what still needs attention/instruction?
  • thought about what needs to be adjusted when we return from break?

These reflective questions can assist with preventing the "curricular crunch" many of us feel as we get closer to state testing and/or the close of the year.

If you complete this exercise, I also encourage you to make a copy of the reflection; it will also serve as an artifact/evidence for Danielson's Domain I - Planning & Preparation.

Best wishes for a happy holiday and relaxing vacation - see you in 2018.

Hamilton Township School District

Department of Curriculum & Instruction

Alejandro Battle
Supervisor of K - 12 World Language
Health and Physical Education

Kevin Bobetich
Testing Evaluation Specialist and Data Systems

Mayreni Fermin-Cannon
Supervisor of ESL/Bilingual K - 12, Family Engagement, Title I Preschool, Title III, Title III-Immigrant

Heather Lieberman
Supervisor of K - 5 English / Language Arts Literacy
Library and Media Services K - 12, ALPS, BSI, Title I & II

Jennifer Marinello
Supervisor of K - 5 Mathematics & K - 5 Technology (STEM)
BSI, Title I & Title II

Kirsten Pendleton
Supervisor of K - 12, Science, and 6 - 12 Technology (STEM)

Anthony Scotto

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Erick Shio
Supervisor of K - 12 Social Studies, Business,
Family and Consumer Science

Danielle Tan
Supervisor of K - 12 Fine and Performing Arts