6-12 Curriculum Newsletter

S'More Resources December 2017

Hamilton Township School District

"The Future is Ours to Build Together"

Multicultural Awareness

With the start of each school year, we notice how the demographics in our classrooms continue to become a great melting pot of cultures, beliefs, and languages. While this might present exciting learning opportunities for some teachers, it also presents challenges for others. Let's be honest, it can be overwhelming to meet the mandates imposed on today's teachers while providing learning opportunities and creating an environment that is conducive to the learning of ALL students. Ironically, one of the greatest mistakes many educators often make is to treat all students equally. According to Richard L. Curwin, treating everyone equally and not choosing what works for each student is a mistake. With this in mind, educators must be aware of diversity and cultural differences in their classroom.
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Multicultural Education

Multicultural education refers to any form of education or teaching that incorporates the histories, texts, values, beliefs, and perspectives of people from different cultural backgrounds. At the classroom level, for example, teachers may modify or incorporate lessons to reflect the cultural diversity of the students in a particular class. In many cases, “culture” is defined in the broadest possible sense, encompassing race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation, and “exceptionality”—a term applied to students with specialized needs or disabilities.

Generally speaking, multicultural education is predicated on the principle of educational equity for all students, regardless of culture, and it strives to remove barriers to educational opportunities and success for students from different cultural backgrounds. In practice, educators may modify or eliminate educational policies, programs, materials, lessons, and instructional practices that are either discriminatory toward or insufficiently inclusive of diverse cultural perspectives...Continue Reading this LINK

All Standards, All Students

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For those who have perused the Next Generation Science Standards, you’ve seen Appendix D entitled, “All Standards, All Students.” As teachers we say, “Of course all students should meet the standards, but these kids (insert group here) can’t.”

The standards adopted by the State of New Jersey, not only for science but those in mathematics, ELA, fine arts, social studies, and technical education, are more cognitively challenging than previous standards. Instead of memorizing rules and facts, students are expected to apply information they’ve acquired into a variety of performance tasks. It is challenging, both for teachers -- who may have learned in more traditional ways -- and for students who are now being asked to do so much more than before.

Think about the students currently sitting in nearly all of our classes: the first-year ESL student, the student with an IEP or 504, the student who is disinterested, a student from a non-dominant ethnic or racial group. As educators, what do we do? How do we reach all of our students and ensure they do not fall through the cracks? Instead of saying, ‘These kids can’t,' let's say, 'What can we do differently to ensure our students' success?'

Focus your lessons on the application of the material to students’ lives. Just as Leonard Bernstein reinterpreted Romeo and Juliet into West Side Story, we must look at our topics to determine the relevance to the student, not to the teacher (after all, you already know it). What is happening in our students' communities and lives that relates to the content? How can this information apply to careers that may be available to them? Rather than only using a textbook, consider using primary sources and images (photographs and videos) of historical or current events, bringing in guest speakers, using simulations, or even encouraging students to find real world connections.

Students naturally want to learn; they are often just bored with school. Shifts are needed to keep students engaged. Differentiation of the material is needed to reach all learners. After all, we are teachers of students first; subject matter is second.

Video View

Strategies for Teaching Culturally Diverse Students

By Dr. Sherri Valentine

Diversity Lesson Plans & Activities

There are resources in the link for all grade levels. Select your grade band in the correct link.

Social Media Spotlight

Did you know you can use Twitter to remind your students about homework and assignments, get instant access to educational resources, or even increase student collaboration? Our own Superintendent, Dr. Rocco, recently hosted a workshop on Twitter Tips and Tricks. Click on the link Twitter Tips and Tricks to learn more.

Danielson Do

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Have you ever taken a moment to step back and think, “Why did I just do that?”

Self-reflection is a simple way to dig deeper into your feelings and find out why you were doing something or feeling a certain way.

With a profession as challenging as teaching, self-reflection offers teachers an opportunity to think about what works and what doesn’t in their classroom. We teachers can use reflective teaching as a way to analyze and evaluate our own practices so we can focus on what works.

Continue reading the article "Teaching Strategies: The Value of Self Reflection" by selecting the button below.


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.

Notes from Mr. Scotto

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.

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