SMORE Resources Secondary Edition

September 2017

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Welcome Back, Teachers!

Hamilton Township School District

“The Future is Ours to Build Together”

The Curriculum and Instruction team is excited to announce the launch of its 2017-2018 newsletter exclusively for secondary teachers. Each month, we will provide you with information, resources, and tips that can be used in any classroom regardless of the subject matter. This month's theme is 'Equity in the Classroom.' We hope you find the information helpful; please do not hesitate to reach out to your content area supervisor with any questions, ideas, or feedback you may have.

Start the year off with Equitable Best Practices

How many times has a student said, “That’s not fair?” As educators, we know that fair isn’t always equal. Fair isn’t always getting the same thing. It is, however, each student getting what he or she needs to be successful. As September comes to a close, be mindful of the teacher behaviors that convey high expectations and continue to support equitable practices in your daily instruction.

Top Ten Equitable Classroom Practices

1. Explain and model a growth mindset

Turn the statement “I’m just not good at” into “I think I can, I think I can” by showing a genuine belief in your students’ capabilities. Empower the power of “yet” by helping students understand that their minds are muscles that get stronger and grow with hard work.

2. Meet and greet your students as they enter the classroom

Kids say that teachers who “meet and greet” are the ones who care about them personally, and this personal interest motivates them to do better in class. Mix it up -- greet students by name, ask about events outside of class, or comment on a job well done on a recent assignment -- no matter what, you’re showing you care!

3. Activate prior knowledge before instruction

By taking advantage of what each student already knows, the learning experience is enhanced for all. Check out 2-minute talks or carousel brainstorming to uncover the experiences, realities, and interests of all students in your class.

4. Arrange the classroom to accommodate discussion

Arranging desks in groups of 3, a large U, or even a circle can facilitate authentic discussions, allowing students to share insights and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Not only will the participation of every student increase, a few new friendships might also emerge!

5. Use proximity with high and low achieving students

Proximity is not just for behavioral issues; effective teachers “work the room.” By constantly shifting proximity, you will create an equitable atmosphere for all … AND see and reinforce desirable behavior. A win-win!

6. Create cooperative learning opportunities

Cooperative learning groups promote positive social interaction among students and have been to known to build cross-ethnic friendships and reduce racial stereotyping and prejudice. The more students work together, the more they realize the commonalities they share!

7. Use random response strategies

Ensure every voice gets airtime by using equity sticks or SmartBoard spinners to call on students. Add variety with Kahoot, Plickers, or to ensure that even your most reserved students have the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way.

8. Increase wait time

After asking a question, wait at least 3 to 5 seconds before you call on a student. While it may seem like an eternity, the extra ‘think’ time will lead to more thoughtful and appropriate responses. Having trouble waiting? Try writing the question on a post-it note to pass the time.

9. Ensure bulletin boards, instructional materials, and other visuals reflect the cultural backgrounds of all students

Appreciate and capitalize on diversity to enrich the overall learning experience of your students. It’s so important for students to see images that reflect their culture in textbooks, bulletin boards, and electronic resources.

10. Show students that you truly care by providing individual support to high and low- achieving students

One-on-one meetings are the ultimate confidence builders for students. Your undivided attention given to each child -- even if it’s 30 - 60 seconds -- will show your support and concern.

As educators, we have made a commitment to educate each and every child. Throughout the school year, continue to be reflective practitioners and always remember that “the future is ours to build together.”

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Do become knowledgeable of your students’ unique differences

  • As educators, it is important to implement educational strategies that encourage students' respect, acceptance, and understanding of one another.
  • Vast possibilities to intensify learning exist in applying cultural knowledge to classroom lesson planning and teaching. Ask students to reflect upon their backgrounds when completing assignments and encourage them to share their work.
  • Consider pairing or grouping students so they’re all included, making the learning experience fulfilling. When orchestrated effectively, students will interact on a deeper level, breaking the diversity barriers.
  • Teachers should set high expectations; feedback should reflect confidence that students are capable of high-quality work.
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Growing up, we were told time and again that, 'fair doesn't mean equal.' In a school setting, however, what does that really mean? As educators, how do we ensure there is a balance to make things "fair" for all students? Equity and equality are terms that are often used interchangeably. When there is equality, every student gets the same level, support, and services. On the contrary, when we apply the principle of equity, students receive the level of support and services they need in order to be successful. Integrate additional practices in your classroom using the tips below:
  • Provide students with opportunities based on their needs;
  • Value each student's unique experiences and differences;
  • Address the social-emotional needs of the whole child;
  • Create instructional environments for collaboration.
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Enhance classrooms. Enable discussions. Empower students. TodaysMeet gives everyone a voice

101 Practical Ways to Ditch That Textbook

Add technology, creativity, and more to your classes … check out 101 ideas you can implement tomorrow!


Teaching Methods for Inspiring the Students of the Future


This section of our newsletter will be dedicated to answering data questions. Please submit your questions via the google form HERE; answers will appear in the next newsletter.

Focus Questions for Data Review & Discussion

  1. What are your initial reactions to this data?
  2. What are 2-3 contributing factors that may have impacted this data?
  3. What additional data (if any) is needed as I make decisions to inform my instruction?
  4. What part of this data “stands out” and needs further discussion?
  5. Steps we (as a grade level/dept) need to take are...
  6. Steps I need to take are...

LINKIT! Self Guided Review for PARCC Results


6-12 Math 8 Characteristics of an Equitable Mathematics Classroom

6-12 English Language Arts How Dialogue Journals Build Teacher-Student Relationships

6-12 Social Studies Digital History

6-12 Science Find your Path through the NGSS

6-12 Industrial Arts A source for information and lesson ideas

6-12 Art Education The Importance of Equity and Diversity in Art Education

6-12 Music Education Equity and Access in Music Education

6-12 World Language Create effective tasks and exercises in your world language classroom

6-12 Health and Physical Education Preparing Students for a Physically Literate Life

Notes from Mr. Scotto....

Welcome Back to the 2017-2018 School Year!

As you continue to work on your Student Growth Objectives, please keep the following in mind:

  • Take the time to research at least three points of data when developing your scoring plan;
  • Select a curricular area/skill that is essential for success in the class and will assist the student at the next level;
  • Pre-asessment is not always the best solution for SGO development (particularly in content areas at the 6-12 level);
  • Post assessments do not need to be traditional tests; they can be performance tasks with solid, scoring rubrics.
  • And finally......these are growth objectives for students (not teachers); how will you progress monitor your students' growth during the 17/18 SY?

Just some food for thought...