K-5 Curriculum Newsletter

June 2019


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As we venture off to summer vacation, take time to relax and reflect. Take a look at some of the suggested book reviews in this newsletter. Also, take some time to find a new place you've never been to in the township (Veteran's Park above), or a new beach town at the shore.


What’s Math Got To Do With It?

Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University, inspires educators, parents, and anyone who will listen to move math beyond timed tests, formulas, and rote procedures. She is most famous for her book entitled Mathematical Mindsets, a book based on brain research laying out how the brain learns new ideas and in particular mathematical ideas.

Another book by Jo Boaler, What’s Math Got to Do With It? How teachers and parents can transform mathematics learning and inspire success, outlines the problems in math education in America and provides some possible solutions, including classroom approaches, strategies for students, and advice for parents.

This book’s introduction explains the urgency of the issues in math education facing U.S. students. She notes that many students in America hate math and discusses what has led to this problem. Boaler then goes on to define what math is and why we all need it. She calls for a change in our thinking about the definition of math. Math should not be thought of as rote procedures, but as a beautiful artform of patterns and problem solving.

This book is a quick read, and I was engaged from the first page. If you want some easy reading for the summer, I highly recommend this book.

The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading

The summer months are a prime time to take advantage of finding a little "free time" and catch up on some reading to inform your practice. With so many great books out there to choose from how do you pick?

The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson is a useful and user friendly book to dig into this summer. Jan Richardson, is a former K-12 teacher and Reading Recovery teacher leader. She has written a guide that K-5 teachers can use to plan guided reading lessons that help to accelerate students.

This book has actionable suggestions and practical advice whether you're a novice or seasoned veteran. It includes step by step guides and resources that are easy incorporate into your practice. This book follows an assess-decide-guide framework that helps you to move your instruction to the next level.

Ms. Richardson also includes tips and timelines for establishing the routines and procedures you need in your classroom to be able to run centers and small group instruction. The appendices contains tools that you can use with your groups, lists of strategies and lesson planning templates for all stages of reading. Throughout the book are video resources that can be accessed by going to web address provided on the inside front cover.

If you want to read a book this summer that also provides you with excellent resources that you can use everyday with every student, then I would highly recommend The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson.

Summer Read: Google Apps for Littles: Believe They Can

Twitter has many great educators that share great strategies to use in the classroom. The two authors of the suggested summer read are Alice Keeler and Christine Pinto. @alicekeeler and @PintoBeanz11 are always giving innovative ways of how to use technology to expand student learning, along with creative ways to maximize productivity for both students and teachers. I was always looking for more to share with the elementary level, especially our little ones. Here it is! The perfect summer read if you are interested in pushing your younger students to use Google Apps for Education (GAFE).

This book will provide strategies and ideas to work with grade levels as low as Kindergarten. There are multiple screenshots and application suggestions that will show you how to get your younger students using apps like google classroom and google sheets. If you are attempting to build upon your google toolbox, this is the book for you this summer.

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

It’s an old story, but a very poignant one for budding performance artists. A man wandering around New York City is looking for the great concert hall built in 1891 known as Carnegie Hall (actually located on 7th Avenue). The hall is known for being the ultimate venue for performance artists--if you make it to Carnegie Hall, you have done the best anyone can do. The man stops a passer-by and asks the question: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”, hoping to get physical directions. The person walking by stops, looks at the man, and instead answers the question with one word: “Practice!”

We’ve all heard the phrase that starts:”Practice makes _____ .” Most of you probably completed that phrase with the word “perfect.” But those of you who experience the process of arts practice on a daily basis know the completion of that phrase to be “Practice makes permanent!” Repeating something over and over again doesn’t necessarily make it perfect, but will almost assuredly make it ingrained as a habit that may be hard to break. Summer is a great time to practice your art whether it is a fine or performing art. But be sure to invest time and energy into instruction that moves you forward as an artist, not just repeating what you have done in the past. Summer is also a great time to find the exemplary artists and musicians that inspire you. Emulating one or more of your inspirational figures is often a great way to begin to find yourself as an artist.

Unlocking English Learners' Potential

As the end of the school year approaches, take time to reflect on how you supported English Language Learners (ELLs). At times, did you wonder why are they not participating? Was I able to make content comprehensible? How can I help my students meet grade level expectation if they are in the process of learning English? For these and other questions, I am recommending Unlocking English Learners’ Potentials as a summer read and resource during the school year.

Unlocking English Learners' Potential addresses many of the concerns we have on ways to support our students. After introducing readers to a framework for equitable teaching, this book provides tips for delivering culturally responsive lessons. Ways to scaffold and modify instruction by English language proficiency are also provided. Chapters on formative assessment methods along with teaching background knowledge, vocabulary, and academic language include strategies that can be implemented immediately.

Dear Data Guy

As we close out the end of the school year, I want to thank you for all of the effort you put forth for collecting and analyzing data during the year. The summer is a perfect time to look back at the school year to determine which lessons, units, and assessments were effective as well as those that missed the mark.

For those teachers who utilized Linkit! this year to enter or analyze data, here is a LINK to refresh your memory as to how to review your data.

One of the most important activities is looking at your students’ work. When you look at students’ work samples (including tests) this will help you reflect on the lessons you taught for those units.

Most teachers administered iReady three times this year. The essential question is whether or not your students have shown growth from the beginning of the year till the end of the year. This information is best viewed in our Linkit! Platform by putting all three benchmarks side by side.

Have a good summer.

Dear Data Guy

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Notes from Mr. Scotto

School may be over, but professional learning never stops...

The HTSD Summer Institute for Professional Development is offering forty sessions that align with district initiatives. These sessions will be facilitated by teachers, administrators, and some of our vendors. Join us for some meaningful, yet relaxing, professional development.

For more information about sessions, dates, times, etc, please log onto the OASYS platform registration link.

Congratulations on completing the 18/19 SY; I look forward to seeing you over the summer.

HTSD Curriculum Department

Anthony Scotto, Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Supervisors of K-5 Staff

Alejandro Batlle, Health/PE and World Language

Kevin Bobetich, Testing/Assessment

Mayreni Fermin-Cannon, ESL K-12, Title I Pre-K, ESSA Title Grants, & Family Engagement

Jeffrey Lesser, Art and Music (Interim)

Heather Lieberman, K-5 ELA and Social Studies

Katie Mallon, K-5 Math and Science