Curriculum Matters

Tips and Tidbits from Rashidah

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Literacy and Writing

This year is off to a great start! I have seen some wonderful things happening in your classrooms. I have put together a few curriculum thoughts and tidbits. I hope you will find them helpful. Please let me know if you would like information about a particular topic and I will research it for you.

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Learning centers are an amazing way to get your students to take a more active role in their learning. If designed effectively, math centers can provide much-needed review, practice, and enrichment for students that is differentiated to meet students' needs and interests.

The benefits of math stations/centers are:

* Increased student motivation.

* Meaningful learning opportunities

* Learning centers/stations foster independence.

* Learning centers/stations improve classroom management.

* Learning centers/stations challenge advanced students.

* Learning center/station activities can be fun!

Click on the link to find ideas for Math Stations

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Here is a good video on Creating a Math –Task Culture in your classroom.

You can find it in Edivate.

Looking for some additional math activities. You can find math tasks for all grade levels on this site:

Sample Guided Reading and Math Blocks

If you are looking for ideas on how to organize your reading or math block, here are a few samples.


Proximity Control- the idea that simply being physically near students improves their behavior and focus. Focus on the proximity not necessarily the control!
The Benefits of Proximity Control
Not only is using proximity control free and easy, but it helps sustain some important components in your classroom.
  • It preserves student’s dignity and confidence. When you stop class to “call out” a student in front of their peers, this is a stressful and embarrassing experience to undergo as a student.
  • It redirects students in a respectful and effective way. This method reinforces fairness and respect for students, adjusting their behavior with a positive sense of presence rather than a negative use of words.
  • It maintains your flow of work or instruction. Instead of hitting the pause button and momentarily distracting the class with a reprimand, proximity control redirects individual students without disrupting the current focus of the class.
  • It helps you know what’s going on. Not only does being close to students redirect them, but you can acquire a firsthand over-the-shoulder view of what students are engaged with throughout your room.
  • It reinforces the standards of your classroom. Similar to when drivers start braking their cars when a cop passes by, all students within the sphere of your proximity commit a quick self-assessment to determine how their current behavior aligns with the stated expectations.
So as you look for ways to respectfully redirect student attention and subtly reinforce your high standards, get on your feet and make yourself physically present around your students!
Read the full article here:
View videos on Edivate:

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Tweet the happenings in your classroom. Be sure to tag me @fcsrthomas and @MPE_Mustangs. We love to retweet! If you haven't been to a Twitter chat you should try one, you can gain a wealth of knowledge.

Personalized Learning

As we begin our journey into personalized learning at MPE, I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions surrounding its implementation. It is true that technology will play a tremendous role in helping you implement personalized learning. We will be receiving devices for each classroom. Devices are a resource and an asset. They are not a substitute for direct instruction. They will help you provide your students with instruction tailored to meet your students individual needs.

For more information, check out personalized learning on the portal. Go to Academics and then Personalized Learning. There are some great resources. If you have any questions please ask.

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Sketchy Video: Personalized Learning Video


A balanced assessment system is the strategic use of formative, diagnostic, and summative measures of student performance to address immediate student needs, inform ongoing instructional changes, and guide long-term educational improvement. Below you will find a variety of assessments that can used with your students.

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Click the link for suggestions on types of Formative Assessments you can use.

Check out this great article in EDUTOPIA!

Make It Count: Providing Feedback as Formative Assessment

Professional Book Spotlight

Text-Dependent Questions Pathways to Close and Critical Reading by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey

This book shares the best ways to use text-dependent questions as scaffolds during close reading. This book will help teachers organize the journey through a text.

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Tech Tidbit


ThingLink Education allows you to use interactive images as a new visual learning platform. You can create interactive lesson plans, calendars, and study books. Teachers can sign up students with a quick list import, arrange images into channels or projects, and use our mobile app for adding notes to images on field trips. The creative possibilities are endless!

Thinglink Examples:

Butterfly Life Cycle

Student work in Thinglink

5 Ways to Use Thinglink

More Ways to Use Thinglink

What is ThingLink?

I can't say thank you enough for the hard work that each and everyone of you put in everyday. I truly appreciate your hard work.

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