HSE 21

at Brooks School Elementary

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The BSE Cultural Competency Team is open to all staff members and is committed to exploring the idea of diversity in its many different forms. This leadership team recently reminded us that "diversity" presents itself everywhere - from shoes to food to electronics to books. If you are interested in starting (or continuing ) this conversation with your students, consider simply offering them the question, "WHAT IS DIVERSITY?" I wonder what they'll say?

  • Emily Cespedes, Olivia Biehl, and Maria Kussy are great resources for diverse texts and are always willing to share. They have shown me so many new titles this year!

  • Additionally, if you have students with interests in specific cultures, consider TeachingBooks.net
  • Last, please share what you are already doing around the topic of diversity with your colleagues!


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"SILENT MATH" - an alternative to Think, Pair, Share or Turn and Talks

I've been trying to flutter around Twitter more lately, and one educator I always enjoy is Marilyn Burns. Some of you probably follow her or read her math blog. In her latest post,

One Lesson, Two Pedagogical Mistakes, Marilyn is not only transparent about mis-steps in her planning and instruction, but I loved her "SILENT MATH" concept. The gist is that when the teacher places a star next to math work, problems, etc, no one can talk. They just think. And work.

Check it out!


Digital Resources Highlight - FRONT ROW

The paid version of Front Row is available to 3-5 teachers district wide. However, the free version of Front Row can be used by students K-2. Many of you have found ways to implement this digital resource; if you've not explored Front Row and are interested in learning more, please login, explore, and consider some of the inquiry lessons in which your students might engage. Let me know if you want to try out an inquiry lesson together!

*Jenni Robinson can show you around Front Row as well!


Increasing Student Voice with FLIP GRID

Allison Haltom and Olivia Biehl introduced me to Flip Grid a few months ago, and I want to help spread the word about this tool.

Have students who are timid during turn and talks?

Want to increase debate and argument and discussion?

Thinking about collaboration platforms for up coming BOOK CLUB groups?

If you are interested in amplifying student voice and providing additional ways for students to share their thinking through video and digital discussion, consider scheduling me to introduce this tool with you in your classroom!

Check out the site below and watch the one-minute video overview.


DISRUPTING THINKING by Beers and Probst - Book Study coming soon!

If you've seen, heard or experienced the increased depth in conversation, conferring, and writing when implementing Notice and Note Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst, then I think you will love their latest work, Disrupting Thinking. View the one minute You Tube video, read the except below, and consider joining me for a book study coming in February!

See me if you are interested so I know how many copies we will need to secure.


Library Checkout is a FANTASTIC opportunity for conversations with kids!

Library Checkout

  • Please monitor students
  • Please assist students with checkout
  • It is also a wonderful time to have those individual conferences with students to get to know them as readers, their book choices, and their interests.
  • Please promote quiet voices. It does not need to be silent, but does need to be an atmosphere where students are able to read and where multiple events could be occurring in the library simultaneously (checkout, reading, storytime for younger students, voice recording, theatre performances).

Notice and Note Strategies for Close Reading OPTIONAL PD SERIES

Special thanks to Mrs. Kussy for her collaborative efforts with Close Reading Strategies!

While I know our staff has many teachers well-versed in this work, I'd like to offer a continuation of PD. Some new folks have expressed interests, some had to prioritize other learning last year, and maybe there are even some that ask, "Does this really apply to my students?" If you want to find out more, attend one or all of the sessions. ALL are welcome!


  • Overview of the why and what behind Notice and Note
  • Introduction of Sign Posts for Fiction: Aha Moment, Again and Again, Tough Questions, Memory Moment, and Words of the Wiser
  • Beyond turn and talks - depth with questioning, conferring in order to scaffold students to higher level thinking
  • RESOURCES - mentor texts, video clips, etc.
  • Integrating writing about reading - just in time for book clubs for our upper elementary students!
  • If time allows....TEASER ABOUT N&N Non Fiction - Three BIG QUESTIONS!

8:15-8:45 in the BSE Media Center:







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Signpost Library for Teachers

  • Located in Mrs. Kussy's office.
  • Picture books are available for teachers to borrow to read aloud to teach the signposts.
  • Inside the front cover is a sticky note with the signposts that are found in the book.
  • Please sign out books prior to borrowing. (Most texts will have a "Kussy" sticker on the front.)
  • The collection will continue to grow as Mrs. Kussy reads more picture books in her personal collection.

Notice and Note Signposts and Picture Books in BSE Library

Mrs. Kussy is continuously adding to the Excel document below. It contains picture book titles and the corresponding signposts. All of the titles listed ARE part of the BSE Library Collection. Please feel free to use this as a resource when searching for a book.

Fourth Grade and Kindergarten Collaboration

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Megan C. Thompson with contributions by BSE Media Specialist, Maria Kussy

Hamilton Southeastern Schools

Teacher Development Specialist