K-5 Curriculum Newsletter

January 2022

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Maintaining a Library Collection: What Every Librarian Should Know

A library collection is a vital part of any library and school because it gives students access to resources that can help them learn and improve their academic performance. A library collection can include books, magazines, newspapers, audio-visual materials, and digital resources such as databases and e-books. With access to these materials, students can explore topics in greater depth, develop their research skills, and better understand the world around them. A library collection can also provide a place for students to relax, explore their interests, and find peer support. A well-maintained and up-to-date library collection is essential for library success.

Here are some tips to help create and maintain a library collection.

  • Know your audience before building the library collection, and understand the needs of your students. Consider their demographics, interests, and reading levels. This will help you determine which materials to include in your collection.

  • Choose quality materials that are reliable, relevant, and high-quality. Look for well-reviewed materials, cover current topics, and provide accurate information. Be sure to consider the format of the materials you select. For example, if you decide to include digital materials, make sure they are compatible with the systems you have in place.

  • Stay Up-to-Date. Consider doing regular reviews of the collection and replacing older materials with newer ones. Understanding current and emerging technologies and their potential use in the library are also essential.

  • Keep it organized and easy to navigate, with clearly labeled sections and a logical layout.

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Arts Education

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the landscape of arts education, providing new opportunities and challenges for teachers and students. ChatGPT and DALL-E are two powerful AI language models that are of particular note at this time. Both models were developed by Open AI and are capable of understanding and generating natural language. These, and other, models have the potential to impact arts teaching and learning in a number of ways, such as:

  1. Providing personalized feedback: ChatGPT and DALL-E can provide personalized feedback to students on their artistic and/or musical skills, helping them to identify areas for improvement and set goals for their learning. In visual arts, a student can input an image of their artwork and receive feedback on composition, color, and techniques used. In music, AI can analyze a student's singing or playing and provide feedback on pitch, rhythm, and timing. DALL-E can also generate personal prompts for student's creative writing, music composition, or any other art form.

  2. Artistic expression: AI technology can be used to create new opportunities for artistic expression. For example, students can use DALL-E to create digital art or animations that would be difficult or impossible to create by hand. This is similar to how many artists use Adobe Creative Cloud or video/sound editing software to improve the quality of their work and save time. In music, students can use ChatGPT-powered software to generate music or lyrics for a song. ChatGPT and DALL-E can generate new content, such as music, stories, or visual art. This can be used to inspire and challenge students, and to expose them to new forms of artistic expression.

  3. Creativity: AI can enhance creativity by promoting curiosity and allowing artists and musicians more time to explore, experiment, and find unpredictable and innovative solutions to problems. Artists using AI engage in both divergent and convergent thinking throughout the creative process.

  4. Collaboration: AI technology enables collaboration in the arts by allowing students to effectively communicate and work together remotely on projects, sharing in the ideation and design process - inside and outside of the classroom.

  5. Access and Equity: AI has the ability to level the playing field and invite more participation. Many of the AI programs, including ChatGPT and DALL-E, are free and can be accessed from anywhere and on a variety of devices. Since people are often more comfortable with their electronic device than they are with a paint brush or a musical instrument, the barrier to entry is lower. People are more willing to engage and experiment, especially because AI can help compensate for unrefined technical skills. This can boost confidence and lead to a desire to enhance their newfound artistic and/or musical skills through more traditional routes.

  6. Personalized lesson development: ChatGPT and DALL-E can analyze student data and build personalized learning paths to help teachers develop learning plans that are tailored to individual student needs.

  7. Automating administrative tasks: AI can automate administrative tasks such as grading and attendance, allowing teachers more time to focus on instruction and student engagement.

While AI technology, such as ChatGPT and DALL-E, have the potential to enhance arts education, it is important to consider the potential risks and challenges that come with its use. One such risk is replacing human creativity and critical thinking with machine-generated solutions. It is also crucial to consider ethical and privacy implications of using AI. While AI presents exciting new opportunities for arts teaching and learning, it is essential that AI is used in a way that supplements and supports the teacher's role rather than replacing it.

Inspire Deep Thinking in Mathematics

Teachers want students to think about math deeply, creatively and analytically. Instead, what often happens is that students race towards quick solutions. So what can teachers do to support this other kind of thinking in class—the slow, deep kind?

One way is through an instructional routine like “Which One Doesn’t Belong (WODB).” Routines like this give structure to time and interactions. Within the structure, there are opportunities to have time to think deeply and a predictable way to share and deepen thinking with partners and the whole class.

Every time teachers provide a WODB problem, it is important to follow the same structure:

  • Share a prompt with 4 items;

  • Have students think quietly for 1 minute, and then share their thinking with a partner;

  • Have a whole-class share and the teacher annotates student thinking on the board.

The structure of the WODB routine intentionally makes space for deep thinking. Starting the routine with a minute of quiet thinking time allows students the chance to experiment with ideas. Students might try out a few different lines of thinking during that minute. Some of this thinking might dead end in an idea that doesn’t work, which is fine when there’s still time to try out a new idea.

Then, students engage in a partner share, which allows them space to exchange and develop their ideas. Students learn ways to communicate their thinking to someone else. They also have the opportunity to listen to ideas from their partner, and to build off of them in new directions before the whole-class share.

Finally, during the whole-class share, students are able to share their ideas with a larger audience, and to interact with ideas from classmates across the room.

While the routine may seem simple, the opportunities for thinking deeper, making meaningful mathematics connections, and communicating with peers are endless.

Assessment in Reading/Writing Workshop Model

The structure of the workshop model for reading and writing instruction supports a variety of modes of assessment. Workshop model involves a short mini lesson, opportunity for student practice, and then independent reading and writing time. Oftentimes, teachers wonder how to assess students on the skills being taught through workshop model. Through this structure, students have multiple ways to practice and apply the skill of the day; therefore there are multiple ways teachers can assess the students in each aspect of the model.

It is essential to note students will have individual goals and skills they are working on in any given lesson. For example, if the mini lesson is adding details about the setting of their story, but a student is finishing up outlining. They will not be addressing this mini lesson today, but they will complete this skill at a later date and can be assessed at that time. When planning, teachers must consider the standards to plan how and when they will assess these skills.

Mini Lesson:

  • Listen to Conversations: Ask the students to verbally practice the skill with their peers providing teachers a way to take notes to assess the students.

  • Post-it Notes: Students can jot their thoughts down on a post-it, and turn it in before they go into independent time.

Guided Reading/Small Group Instruction:

  • Application during Guided Reading: Teachers can ask students to practice a specific skill during guided reading/small groups. The teacher can take notes or ask the students to jot down their answers during small groups.

  • Individual Check Ins: While students are independently reading a section, teachers can have a conversation and assess students one-on-one.

Independent Work time:

  • Conferencing: While students are reading or writing independently, teachers can individually meet with a student to set goals and assess the student’s progress towards the standards.

  • Goal Setting: Before going into independent work, ask students to share (verbally or in writing) a goal they have for independent work time. At the end of independent work time, the students can share their progress towards their goal.

  • Exit Ticket: After students complete independent reading/writing, ask students a focus question to check to evaluate their independent reading/writing.

  • Centers: Utilize an independent reading/writing center to ask the students to practice the skill of the week. Teachers can provide students with question prompts that connect to the mini lesson of the week. Then the students can apply it to their own reading/writing.

Tips for Preparing Ells for Standardized Tests

Standardized tests have become an important part of instructional programs. For students who are still learning English, any test becomes a test of their English language proficiency. This results in a large achievement gap between ELLs and English-proficient students. Students need to know what a multiple-choice test is and how to avoid errors that have nothing to do with their knowledge of the subject.

There are several ways that teachers can prepare students for standardized testing to ensure that ELLs are familiar with above all how to take the test and what it looks like. First, include test-like structures into everyday instruction. Scaffold the kinds of instructions students will hear in the testing situation. This will help ELLs become familiar with the terminology, and it will not be additional potential vocabulary that may be misunderstood when tests are given. Second, encourage the use of academic language throughout your daily lessons. Some examples of this are to extend student vocabulary by creating word families, playing synonym/antonym games, commenting on multiple meanings, and helping students make connections to their native language.

Finally, offer all allowable accommodations for standardized testing on assignments prior to the scheduled test. If students are able to use paper dictionaries on the standardized tests, be sure to have them used prior to testing. While these suggestions might not close the learning gaps completely for English learners on standardized tests, they will certainly help students with being able to concentrate more on the test content more effectively.

Different Ways to Integrate Technology into Physical Education

There are many ways to include technology in any lesson or subject area to to enhance a lesson, provide more efficiency, and most importantly, promote student engagement. Here are some examples of technology and how you can use them in your classes.

Smart Apps

Now a days, you can find an app for just about anything. What about fitness? Both MapMyFitness and MyFitnessPal provide nutritional guidance in addition to movement tracking. Another idea is to use Google Earth to show students distances and challenge them to walk those distances—for example, the height of Mount Everest or the distance between their home and another location.

Video Resources

Sites such as YouTube and Vimeo offer a wide range of tools for educators. My content creators have provided multiple media resources during their time in remote to assist in a variety of PE activities. If an educator wants to teach something such as dance or yoga, there is a wide variety of how-to videos that can apply to any age group. Additionally, some educators create video projects where student groups create an instructional video to teach something to the rest of the class.

We are One to One

We are one to one now! Why not allow students to utlize the aforementioned with their devices. Students can download applications and work independently at stations during PE or set goals and continue to work at home. Students can also utlize application like EdPuzzle or Pear Deck (student paced) to not only complete a fitness task, but also document their completion or process of the skill or reps/time of a fitness task.

Adapting to new technology can be challenging for instructors. Sometimes, physical education instructors can feel as if technology does not apply to their subject. However, by embracing technology, physical education teachers create a more varied and dynamic classroom. They are also able to appeal to the interests of many different students and ability types. Using technology to teach physical health allows educators to create more activities and show how important their goals are.

Dear Data Guy

.Where can I find resources about NJSLA assessments?

NSLA resources can be found on the NJSLA Resource Center. Here is a quick summary of some of the key documents and their definitions:

The NJSLA standards “provide clear and consistent learning goals across nine distinct content areas to help prepare students for postsecondary success. The standards clearly demonstrate what students are expected to learn at specific grade levels and bands, so that every parent and teacher can understand and support student learning.”

The NJSLA Blueprints are also another helpful document. They “define the total number of tasks and points for any given grade or course assessment.”

The evidence statements/tables “describe the knowledge and skills that an assessment item/task elicits from students.”

For all teachers definitely take a look at the writing rubrics since students write in all subject areas, as well as reviewing test items. Science resources are also on the website including the standards and constructed response questions.

Notes from Mr. Scotto

We are almost at "mid-point" for Student Growth Objectives. The NJ Dept of Education does permit instructional staff to make any adjustments (to SGOs) by February 15th.

Here are a few (optional) reflective questions to guide you:

  • Are there students you are concerned about (b/c they continue to struggle with the SGO goal)?
  • Are there students that are close, but not quite "hitting the mark" yet?
  • Are there students that are doing fine with the SGO goal?
  • Are there students that are doing exceptionally well with the goal?

Once you have reflected on the entire cohort of students, then ask yourself:

  • What obstacles/factors may be limiting student progress?
  • What steps can you take to begin to address the issues, provide additional support, etc?

HTSD Curriculum Department

Anthony Scotto, Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Supervisors of K-5 Staff

Alejandro Batlle, K-12 Health/PE & World Language

Kevin Bobetich, Testing, Data, and Staff Evaluation

Michelle Griffith, K-12 ESL

Karen Gronikowski, K-5 Math/Science

Danielle Tan, K-12 Library, 9-12 Tech/Business Education, and ESSA & Perkins Grants

Laura Leidy-Stauffer, K-5 ELA/SS

Kerri Sullivan, K-12 District Supervisor of Art and Music