6-12 Curriculum Newsletter

S'More Resources November 2017

Hamilton Township School District

"The Future is Ours to Build Together"

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What is the Maker Movement?

If you’ve watched shows like Mythbusters, Flea Market Flip, Robot Wars, or Shark Tank, then you’ve experienced the Maker Movement. It’s about creating to solve a problem. It involves people from all walks of life, not only engineers and hackers, but artists, crafters, and cooks; performers and writers; kids and adults; girls and boys.

The concept of making has been around as long as humans have existed; it is the original problem-based learning scenario. Someone sharpened that first stone to create a knife for cutting meat. Maybe your grandmother belongs to a quilting circle; your uncle is a scoutmaster who teaches survival skills; your dad likes to ‘tinker’ in the garage, pulling out old engines and seeing what made them tick; your children likes to create their own cosplay outfits. These folks are all Makers.

The tools of a maker run the gamut from basic to high-tech. Some may use pencil and paper; others prefer duct tape and glue guns. Some like the whirl of a sewing machine or the sparks of a welder. And still others use computers, laser cutters and 3D printers. Whatever the problem, humans will use or create technology to solve it.

Maker education encourages learners to become self-starters. Children are given criteria and a real-life problem to solve. They get a chance to do what they love best--learning by doing. They aren’t given directions or a recipe to follow; only the tools of your choosing and a goal. They may fail at first, but that’s part of both the design process and the growth mindset.

Although it is most closely related to STE(A)M* learning, the maker mindset can be nurtured in any classroom from K to 12. Students can learn to blog, develop newsletters or design book jackets in ELA, create videos, animations, or websites on topics central to social studies or world language, or write code for a game that involves solving math problems or tracking activity for health class.

The best part of all--the kids take the lead. The teacher does not need to be the expert, but allows the students to find the media of their choice and share it with their peers. Let the students be the teachers, and the teachers can learn from their students, and all can be creative Makers in the process.

Intrigued? Here are some resources that can get you started:

*STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics

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Danielson Do

1d Demonstrating Knowledge of Resources

Become aware of the characteristics and needs of Generation Z and iGen learners

Our students are consumers of education; as the marketers, we must target their needs. Generation Z and iGen students are extremely technologically savvy, and exceptional educators tailor lessons to pair with technology. For instance, if students are assigned the task of creating a board game to review learned content, they should utilize laptops or smartphones to research, design, blog, and critique their peers’ prototypes. Constructive peer feedback plays an integral role in igniting curiosity and ingenuity, and nurtures innovative “makers” who push each other to full potential.

Social Media Spotlight

Like ClassDojo but know it’s not for your students? Try Classcraft! You assign Experience Points for positive actions (helping a classmate, being on time) , and subtract Health Points for negative ones (late to class, no homework, etc). Students create avatars, develop powers, and can earn rewards you decide on. Parent can be invited to play along at home, and it works with Google Classroom!


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Escape rooms are becoming a popular new form of live action entertainment and are opening in cities all over the country. Groups of people are given a scenario and are locked in a room to solve puzzles, collaborate and think critically to “breakout” of the room. Imagine the possibilities of bringing this adventure into your own classroom. This is exactly what Breakout Edu founder James Sanders did when he designed student experiences after attending these popular escape rooms. As an educator, he realized that these activities “teach teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and troubleshooting by presenting students with challenges that ignite their natural drive to problem solve.”

Breatkouts are being used to teach core academic subjects or as a team building exercise. Students will apply problem solving strategies within a real world or collaborative context. Inquiry based learning may also be contained within the quest to solve a mystery. The learning is centered around the process of figuring out the problem while in a student centered, collaborative manner.

As you watch the game unfold in your classroom, you will see the students collaborate, question, investigate and observe each other’s thinking. To see some of the ready made lessons available with all of the free resources visit BreakoutEDU.com (use the password showyourwork to have access in the game library).

Would you like to dive in and give Breakout a try in your classroom? Each middle and high school math department is the proud owner of an official Breakout Edu kit.

Tech Tip

Hour of Code December 4-10

How to get your students (and yourself!) coding? Try one hour...

Video View

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I am not an ELA or a Math Teacher. How can I view the i-Ready subscores in Linkit!?

It is great to have a non ELA or Math teacher ask this question because literacy is such an important skill for 21st Century Learners. You can locate the ELA or Math scores by following the instructions in the Link below.

Notes from Mr. Scotto

Happy Thanksgiving....

This week we begin our Fall/Winter Professional Development. The offerings are aligned to District initiatives and reflective of the input we received after the October In-Service.

Registration can be done via My Learning Plan (see link below):

Seating is limited; hope you can join us!

HTSD Curriculum Department

Anthony Scotto, Director of Curriculum and Instruction


Alejandro Batlle, Health/PE and World Language

Kevin Bobetich, Testing/Assessment

Mayreni Fermin-Cannon, ESL

Karen Gronikowski, Mathematics

Francesca Miraglia, English Language Arts

Kirsten Pendleton, Science and Technology

Erick Shio, Social Studies and Business

Danielle Tan, Art and Music