Rockingham County Schools

Curriculum and Instruction Updates for Middle School

General Updates - Please scroll down further to get content specific information.

I. Comprehension Strategies Calendar

The Comprehension Strategies Calendar can be found on the RCS Pacing Guide site. For the month of November, middle school teachers should be focusing on Determining Importance within text sources.

II. Professional Development- Tonisha Walden

1. Thinking Maps Training: Middle school Social Studies and English teachers have received and/or will be receiving training to implement Thinking Maps in their classrooms.

2. Problem-Based Learning Training by the Center of Excellence for Research, Teaching, and Learning will be provided to middle school math and science teachers. Teachers participating will receive intensive work on the principles of problem-based learning, support on the management of small groups, and guidance in developing authentic, alternative assessments. Fall training will occur from 8:30-4:00 on November 15, November 19, and December 10. However, all middle school teachers will be trained on the use of thinking maps in phases.

3. Middle School Professional Development and Coaching: Coaches and curriculum leaders will continue to plan and facilitate high quality professional development by content area, but they will facilitate these sessions at each school during planning periods. Coaches will also be visiting schools to support teachers by offering opportunities for modeling, coaching, and co-teaching. The first middle school academic coach site visit was on October 22. The next middle school academic coach site visit is planned for March 4, 2014.

III. Curriculum and Instruction- Dr. Nakia Hardy

Dr. Hardy attended the Curriculum and Instruction Leader’s Forum on October 17, 2013. The following information was included as part of the presentation:

1. Assessment expectations were raised significantly in the 2012-2013 school year. Claims have been centered around grade-level proficiency only. In the future, claims will be centered around grade-level proficiency and career and college readiness.

2. In November, a public website will be made available that will provide state, district, and school results for the 2012-2013 assessments. Individual reports will be made available to schools that include an explanation of what the scores mean.

3. Smarter-balanced assessments will be operational in the 2014-2015 school year (will include both summative and interim assessments). Computer adaptivity and a variety of item types will be present, including selected response, technology-enhanced items, constructed response, and performance tasks. A presentation to the State Board of Education will occur in November, and the field test on items is scheduled for Spring 2014.

4. On October 3, 2013, the State Board of Education adopted GCS-A-016 that designates the use of assessments in the NC Teacher Evaluation Process, focusing on standards 6 and 8. This is applicable to EOG tests in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science.

5. NC final exams this year will include grades 6-8 social studies and science. All NC final exams will contain a small portion of field test items that do not count toward or against a student’s score.

6. An abundance of resources can be found in the Middle School Zone at NC Wise Owl.

Content Specific Information

English Language Arts: Words from Shellie Cridge

Hello fellow English teachers! One of my favorite things over the past five years has been visiting the schools and having the opportunity to listen to teachers' ideas and create new lessons together. As you all know, the structure of our collaboration sessions has changed, so our meeting times have been cut in half. In order to continue to serve your needs, please email me with any questions you have concerning lesson ideas, pacing guides, reading strategies, or thinking maps. Also, brag a little about your classroom success stories and help spread the wealth of knowledge and talent we have in our county. I recently visited Western Rockingham Middle School and witnessed amazing plans come to life! Even though we are not meeting to collaborate as in the past, we can still work together to share our best practices. If you have not visited recently, it is a must see! Check out the middle school sections for ebooks collection and Points of View. They are incredible resources. Also, read the Social Studies section of this newsletter which regards an ELA cross curricular opportunity. Please contact me at scridge@rock if you would like me to come visit you or vise versa. We seriously have some shining ROCK STARS in our county!

Mathematics: Words from Crystal Thomas

As our county-wide benchmark for math approaches, please be aware of the changes in the Pre-Algebra pacing guide if you teach 7th grade Pre-Algebra. Also, do not forget to check your Edmodo account for activities that are being posted for you to use. If you need anything, please reach out to your Academic Coach or pose questions in the Math Edmodo Group.

Social Studies: Words from Whitney Fliehman

Greetings Social Studies teachers! I hope you are all having a great year so far. There are some updates and things happening around our area for our content of which I would like to make you all aware. Middle and high school teachers in social studies and language arts have been invited to attend the NC Council on the Holocaust Teacher Workshop in Winston-Salem on Wednesday, December 4, from 8:30 – 3:30. The survivor that will be speaking is Morris Glass. He is a survivor of Polish ghettos, the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, and work camps of the Dachau system. Please feel free to contact Lynda Moss with any questions or concerns at Heard of the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association, but not sure what it’s about? A new short video explains how THJHA fits in with primary sources, nonfiction reading, other key elements of the new Essential Standards--and fun discovery. Sponsored by the NC Museum of History since 1953, THJHA is a statewide network of clubs (of all shapes and sizes). It offers your students semiannual magazines, annual project contests that cross curriculum areas, an annual convention of informative workshops, and more. Registration is easy, free, and ongoing. Visit Continue to check your Edmodo site for activities, resources, lessons, etc!