K-5 September Curriculum Newsletter

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Welcome Back Hamilton Township School District Elementary Teachers!

Every month the HTSD Curriculum and Instruction Department will create a monthly newsletter. The main purpose of the newsletter is to provide another medium for professional development. The original content is created by our Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Mr. Scotto, and our Curriculum Supervisors. We also provided links at the bottom of the newsletter which support the content.


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Lead by Example

As teachers, remembering that students are impressionable is very important. Your students will emulate you- use it to your advantage! Teachers set the standard for their classrooms and should be positive role models in and out of school. Excellent teachers organically lead by example and teach right from wrong because those values are an important part of a good education.

If you want your students to use advanced vocabulary, then you need to use advanced vocabulary. If you want your students to show tolerance, then you need to show tolerance. If you want your students to be risk takers, you must be a risk taker. Modeling affects behavior far greater than telling students what to do. Alway remember that your students are our future leaders. When leading them, have a positive attitude and be good role models!
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HTSD Healthy U Movement

I am proud to announce that for the 2018-19 school year, HTSD will be embarking into an exciting endeavor with nine of our elementary schools. They will be receiving a three year Healthy U grant for over $9,000 worth of materials, wellness gear, events, and resources. Healthy U is a collaborative partnership between the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance. The primary goal of Healthy U is to combat childhood obesity through nutrition education, physical education, and family involvement. Congratulations to those nine schools: Alexander, Greenwood, Klockner, Kuser, Lalor, Robinson, Sayen, University Heights, and WIlson!

Healthy U has many benefits, both at home and in school, that can help students make healthier choices throughout their lifetimes. Annual evaluations of the program showed the following results:

  • More kids were eating fruits and vegetables and understood proper nutrition.

  • Kids were eating less processed foods and sugary drinks.

  • There was a decrease in screen time.

  • Family attitudes about health and wellness improved.

If you are not an official Healthy U school, challenge yourself and your school community to be #HTSDstrong! Promote all the wellness you bring into your Health and PE classes, your time at recess, the activities in the classroom, your conversations and choices in the cafeteria, and anything else that promotes living a healthy lifestyle. If you are posting about @YHealthyU or anything on overall wellness with your school community on your educational twitter, please be sure to use the following hashtag, #HTSDstrong! Get your building on the wellness trend! #AlexanderStrong, #GreenwoodStrong, #KlocknerStrong, #KuserStrong, #LalorStrong, #RobinsonStrong, #SayenStrong, #uhStrong, and #WIlsonStrong!

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Who’s Doing the work? An intro to Inquiry Based Learning

As the new school year begins, it is important to take a look at your classroom and think about who is doing all work. The Next Generation Science standards call for a shift, not just in standards and what the students will learn but a complete overhaul of how students are taught science. Students must be taught the skills necessary to compete in an ever changing global society. One pedagogical shift that can be used to achieve this is to embrace inquiry based instruction in your science classroom.

Inquiry based learning is an approach to teaching that uses a central question to develop a unit or series of lessons. Students work over the course of the unit to answer this question by engaging in a variety of lessons including hands on activities, research, classroom discussions, and experiments. Inquiry based learning takes some planning outside the classroom but ensures the students are the ones working hard and engaging in impressive science learning. Meanwhile, the teacher can spend more time during the lesson asking questions, facilitating learning, and assessing students. The good news is that our newly adopted science series Mystery Science uses an inquiry based learning design. Each unit is designed with a “mystery” or central question such as “What if there were no windows?” and then allows students to engage in discussion and experimenting around this central question. Be sure to sign up for your Mystery Science account today!


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The Importance Of Getting Student’s Name Right


Poem by Jane Medina


George, please call me “Mrs. Roberts.”

Yes, Teacher.

George, Please don’t call me “teacher.”

Yes, T__, I mean, Mrs. Roberts

You see, George, it’s a sign of respect to call me by my last name.

Yes,….Mrs. Roberts.

Besides, when you say it, It sounds like “t-shirt.” I don’t want to turn into a t-shirt!

Mrs. Roberts?

Yes, George?

Please, call me Jorge.

As an English Language Learner myself, I remember feeling embarrassed when teachers called on me, but didn’t say my name correctly. I was never mad at them, I just wish someone would have taken the time to ask. Do the same for your students and their parents. During the month of September, it is essential for us to spend time getting to know each student and their background while building relationships. One quick and simple way to do so is by getting student’s names right. Before saying their name for the first time ask them how to pronounce it. Once they share, have the class repeat it aloud with you.

Feel free to explore the recommended resources below for additional information on the importance of getting student’s names right and how to go about doing this.

Be Proud of your Read Aloud!

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Tips & tricks you can use every day to deliver a fantastic read aloud

Why Read Aloud?

One of the most powerful things that we as teachers can do in the classroom to help our students become better readers is to read aloud to them every day. By reading to your students you are accomplishing multiple instructional practices at the same time such as; modeling good fluency and expression, letting them “see” how you think aloud and figure things out, as well as building strong vocabulary, background knowledge, and comprehension. Reading aloud strengthens your classroom community of readers while children develop their active listening skills.

Types of Read Aloud

An interactive read-aloud is when students actively engage in listening and talking about the text at certain parts of the read-aloud. Shared Reading is an interactive reading experience that occurs when students join in or share the reading of a book or text while supported by the teacher. Whichever type of read aloud you are doing there are some helpful hints that can help make it a valuable and enjoyable experience for you and your students.

Helpful Tips and Tricks

  • Preview the book before you read it with the group so you can anticipate questions or reactions.

  • Practice reading the book through so you can decide where to pause for emphasis and where to elicit questions, predictions, or reactions.

  • Read with expression - Let your voice reflect the tone of the story or the personalities of the characters.

  • Don't read too fast. Vary your pace so you can pause for emphasis.

  • Model your thinking as you read. Do this at points in the text where you want to explicitly teach a specific skill or strategy.

  • Demonstrate how good readers monitor their understanding by rereading a sentence, reading ahead to clarify, and/or looking for context clues.

  • Have fun! Let the students see your love of reading.

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Dear Data Guy

What is Linkit? Can I see my student assessment scores?

Linkit! is our district’s student data warehouse. The “warehouse” contains multiple measures of student data. This includes PARCC scores, i-Ready scores, attendance data, as well as many other data points.

Yes, teachers can view student data under the reporting dashboard under the student history tab. Teachers can also view multiple data sets side by side and even compare growth.

Before you decide to dig into the warehouse for data, write down what you want to find in the warehouse. You should also use a data protocol to investigate the results.

At this point in the year, you should check your student’s history to a year over year comparison (2017 vs. 2018) of PARCC performance, iReady performance, and student attendance.

Notes from Mr. Scotto

Notes from Mr. Scotto

The Danielson Framework focuses on "knowledge of students" in Domain I. During the month of September, have you taken the time to learn about:

  • what interests each student?

  • cultural background?

  • special needs?

  • academic performance?

  • home situation?

  • other.

It's not too late to find out this information; if anything, it will certainly help you with planning your lessons and making connections with your students.

Curricular Initiatives Update

Launch of Schoolwide Reading Series (Grades 3-5)

Fundations (Grade 2)

Online Spanish - Just begin to discover

iReady Diagnostics

HTSD Curriculum Department

Anthony Scotto, Director of Curriculum and Instruction


Alejandro Battle, Health/PE and World Language

Kevin Bobetich, Testing/Assessment

Mayreni Fermin-Cannon, ESL and Title I PreK

Heather Lieberman, English Language Arts and Social Studies

Katie Mallon, Mathematics and Science

Danielle Tan, Art and Music