Curriculum Connections Vol.2 Issue 1


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Neshaminy School District's Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction community newsletter Vol. 2 Issue 1

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Curriculum Connections Vol.2 Issue 1

  1. 1. Volume 2, Issue 1Fall 2011 Curriculum Connections Neshaminy School District Curriculum, Assessment & Instruction From the Desk of Dr. Geeta Heble The 21st century has This new scenario sug- tant to engage students in thrust us into a new edu- gests that we shift our rigorous academic coursesInside this issue: cational landscape that mental models about that address both content requires everyone in the what we teach and how and skills. In addition, we school community to we teach and assess our must cultivate the habits ofArt K-12 2 change. Thomas Freid- students’ learning. How mind essential to sustain man brought us to the are today’s students moti- teaching and learning: per-Business Education 6-12 2 realization that technol- vated? What do students sisting, managing impulsiv-RELA Coaches 2 ogy has made the world need to be successful in ity, listening with under- “flat.” Global competition school, at work and in standing and empathy,Family & Consumer 3Science 6-12 has become so intense life? Critical thinking, thinking flexibly, using that students in American problem solving, collabo- metacognition (thinkingHealth, PE & Wellness K- 3 classrooms not only com- ration, leadership, about your thinking), striv-Language arts K-5 3 pete with each other but adaptability, initiative and ing for accuracy and preci-Language Arts 6-12 also with students in effective communication sion, questioning and prob- 4 other countries. are the skills that will givelem posing, applying pastLibrary Science K-12 4 our students’ a competi- knowledge to novel situa-Math K-5 4 DID YOU tive edge. tions, thinking and commu- nicating with clarity and KNOW? To meet the demands of a precision, gathering dataMath 6-12 global society, it is impor- Continued on pg. 8 5 Click for Video linkMusic K-12 5 Using Data to Design InstructionProfessional 5 Neshaminy School District formancePLUS is a web- of students. CollaborativeDevelopment has begun the process of based data organizer that discussions can be guidedScience K-12 6 building a foundation for provides a place for quick using real-time data and data-driven decision mak- and easy access to informa- standards-based reporting.Social 6 tion about the performance ing. Teachers, guidanceStudies K-12 counselors and principals of our students. In a few At the elementary level, across our district are short clicks, a teacher can grade level teams gatherTechnology 6 working together to gather, find out how the students monthly to discuss the dataEducation 6-12 and the effectiveness of in- organize, and discuss data. in a class performed on anWorld 7 This data will be used to assessment. By knowing struction. Plans are made toLanguages 9-12 drive teachers’ instruction what has been mastered maximize student achieve- and improve the achieve- and what content needs to ment for all learners. Tech-Instructional ment of their students. be revisited, lesson plan- nological advances and the 7 ning becomes a dynamic use of PerformancePLUSTechnology We have a new tool to as- process based on the needs have given teams access to sist us in this process. Per- Continued on pg. 2
  2. 2. Page 2 Curriculum Connections Art Department The themes of art production, who could crank code, lawyers A Whole New Mind. art history, art criticism and who could craft contracts, aesthetics are common within MBAs who could crunch num- One such learning expressed the Arts and Humanities Aca- bers. But the keys of the king- through the Standards is that demic Standards. dom are changing hands. The art expands a child’s ability future belongs to a very differ- to create mental images, Arts Education satisfies the ent kind of person with a very internalize and learn visu-Arts & Humanities Standards human need to respond to life different kind of mind - creators ally. They begin to become• Production, Performance experiences through images, and empathizers, pattern recog- visual organizers of informa- and Exhibition structures and tactile works nizers and meaning makers. tion and ideas. There is in- as reflected in today’s modern These people-artists, inventors, creased focus because of• Historical and Cultural thinkers. designers, storytellers, caregiv- increased engagement sup- Contexts ers, consolers, big picture think- ported in the Arts and Hu- “The last few decades have manities Academic Stan- belonged to a certain kind of ers-will now reap societys rich-• Critical Response est rewards and share its great- dards and the art program person with a certain kind of here in Neshaminy. mind-computer programmers est joys.” From, Daniel H. Pink,• Aesthetic Response Business Education Students also demonstrate and Whatever your skill set, pas- day’s students, the BCIT De- saving and investing showcase their skills and knowl- sion or interests, there’s a partment offers a relevant edge through: -Dual Enrollment (earn college credits) business side to the career range of courses to give •ingUnderstand the role of market- -Academic Certificate Program equation. The classes offered Neshaminy students a com- -Future Business Leaders of America by Neshaminy’s Business, petitive edge in our global •Understand the role of interna- competitions Computer and Information economy. tional business -TruMark Financial Jeopardy Chal- lenge Te chno lo gy Depa rt men t •Effectively and efficiently use -PA Institute of Certified Public Ac- (BCIT) provide a pathway to Neshaminy provides many various software programs counts Essay Competition college preparation, to em- opportunities for learning by -PA Money Smarts Competition ployment and to personal enrolling in business classes. •Develop critical thinking skills -PA Free Enterprise Week summer business management skills. Our students will be able to: program •Understand the economy -Yale University Bulldog Challenge Research shows that about a •Understand business and finan- •Do research using quantitative quarter of a million U. S. stu- cial decision making skills dents seek business admini- stration degrees each year. w •Develop and run one’s own busi- •Develop communication and ness e interpersonal skills “If we teach With a clear understanding of the educational needs of to- •Develop an understanding of t today as we a Using Data (cont. from pg 1) “If we teach today as u Language taught g assessment results in the sure. h form of charts, graphs and Arts— yesterday, t data that guide discussions. PerformancePLUS is proving At the secondary level, these to be an effective tool. This Elementary we rob our discussions take place during tool puts the data in the hands of our educators in an Writing Workshop is a time children of team meetings and within and place where students y departments. Teachers can organized, user-friendly way. develop the skills, fluency, tomorrow.” e be seen working collabora- We plan to continue to de- and competency to become s velop our expertise in using tively around a computer t the best writers possible. ey ~John Dew screen, asking questions, e this resource to enhance the This process begins with a r making observations and learning experience and Writer’s Notebook. Each d drawing conclusions based achievement of our students. child uses this personal a space to brainstorm, record on what we now know for Continued on pg. 3
  3. 3. Volume 2, Issue 1 Page 3 Family & Consumer Sciences Family and Consumer Science, writing, science, and social ing and retaining employ- F.C.S., has continued to move studies are integrated, en- ment, managing finances and forward in school districts all riched, and applied to practical other resources, shopping and over the country. Neshaminy’s real-life experiences. For this consumer skills, problem solv- F.C.S. teachers fervently strive reason, F.C.S. plays an active ing and decision making, to prepare students for life in role in developing the student building strong families, pro- the 21st century through inno- aptitudes needed for the viding nutritious meals for the vative collaborative lessons P.S.S.A. and complements family, child development and and creative hands-on, stu- overall instruction at parenting techniques, obtain- dent-centered activities. F.C.S. Neshaminy. ing balance between personal is definitely not the Home Eco- and professional life, protect- nomics of past generations that Neshaminy’s F.C.S. curriculum ing the environment while simply baked brownies and has been revised and aligned focusing on living green, un- sewed pillows. with the Pennsylvania Family derstanding the impact that and Consumer Science Aca- advances in technology have In fact, F.C.S. has evolved into demic Standards to include the on personal, work, and family the heart of educational cur- most important skills and be- life; character building, and riculum where the content and haviors our students need for the responsibility of serving skills taught in math, reading, successful adult living: Acquir- the community. Health, PE & WellnessWe Are “Too Good” Although this school-based love it. Ask your youngsters prevention program is impor- in grades K-3 about theirMaybe you have heard your son tant, we are only a part of the classroom puppet or robot.or daughter talking about our prevention package that our “Tuggles, Carmen and Wag-new program; if not, you will children need. Too Good uses a ner” love to help teach thesoon. The Health, PE and Pre- framework of prevention that skills. Middle school will bevention Department has rolled includes the school, family and starting the Violence programout our new curriculum, Too community. These three in the next 2 weeks followedGood for Drugs and Violence. groups working together are by the Drug unit. The HighThis is a research-based, com- vital to the reinforcement of School started the year with aprehensive K -12 program that important life skills. combined curriculum of Toohas 5 interwoven components: Good for Drugs and Violence.goal setting, decision making, Our elementary students havebonding with others, identifying been working with our Too We are thrilled with the re-and managing emotions, and Good for Violence curriculum, sponse of teachers and stu-communicating effectively. and both teachers and students dents to the new program.LA-Elem (cont. from pg 2.)noticing, make lists and save A key component of the work- growth of young writers bymementos to use during the shop is the time students and having children share anddrafting process. Teachers use teachers spend meeting to- sometimes publish their work.children’s literature as mentor gether in conferences. Confer-texts. This process exposes stu- ring gives teachers a way to We are fortunate to have the guidance of Angela Watters. Angela Watters, at a recent train-dents to examples of different check in and see the progress ing for Second Grade teachers.writer’s craft. Favorite books each student is making. Using Angela is an expert in using thecan be used repeatedly to find one-on-one discussion, stu- Writer’s Workshop model.examples of many types of craft dents clarify their thoughts and Additionally, she has experi-for the young authors to emu- plan their work. Through the ence as an elementary teacherlate. Skills are taught through process of planning, revising, and an adult educator. Hermini lessons which are short, and editing, children experi- expertise has helped childrenfocused, and based on student ence life as writers. Students and teachers learn the essentialneeds. and teachers celebrate the elements of writing in the ele- mentary classroom.
  4. 4. Page 4 Curriculum Connections “The more you read, Language Arts 6-12 the more things you Neshaminy School District’s textbooks, magazine articles, school and high school alike, will know. literacy program offers stu- and web pages. With courses our students publish literary dents a bridge to the world. diverse in their content and magazines, newspapers and Their passport, in this case, is degree of challenge, English yearbooks that continue to a wide array of reading and Departments throughout the garner top awards year after writing activities designed to District offer readers a fine year. From drama and help them grow into thought- balance of support and oppor- speech classes, students often The more that you ful citizens. With a blend of tunity for growth. join various school-wide pro-learn, the more places contemporary and traditional ductions that include drama, you’ll go.” Students also have many op- fiction, English classes at the comedy, and musicals. All secondary level offer students portunities to share their these activities promote ex- ~ Dr. Seuss the opportunity to cultivate a ideas, written and spoken, in ploration within and beyond lasting appreciation for litera- the classroom and beyond. the learner. The inimitable ture. In addition, readers ex- Developing writers acquire Dr. Seuss expressed it best: perience texts of different gen- skills they need to produce a “The more you read, the res and with different pur- wide range of compositions, more things you will know. poses, ranging from literary to from applications to detailed The more that you learn, the informative and including research documents. In middle more places youll go.” Library Science New this year at the libraries at home. Families are en- if you dont know what it is. are electronic resources by couraged to utilize all of our Gale for grades K-12. Kids digital resources on the NSD Neshaminy LMSpecialists InfoBits and Student Re- Research wiki. Please contact recommend the following source Center Jr. provide your school Library Media free research apps to our information from a variety of Specialist for passwords. mobile patrons: Gale Data- sources, including newspaper bases, World Fact Book, and and magazine articles for our If you have a Smartphone or Article Search. In addition elementary students. Science tablet (iPhone, iPad or the World Book Encyclope- in Context , U.S. History in Droid), you can get a free app dia has a mobile-friendly Context , and World History to access our Gale databases. version of its reference data- in Context are examples of Click on the AML (Access My b a s e f o u n d a t the databases available to our Library) icon to get started! secondary students. Students You will need to enter the or can access these resources librarys password the first mobile/home from your when researching at school or time you use the app--ask us mobile device’s browser. Math K-5 Have you heard about Com- understanding, not just proce- this academic year. Next mon Core Standards? Penn- dural skill. Each year’s curricu- year, we will bring the 2nd sylvania is one of 44 states lum focuses on fewer topics grade curriculum into align- that have adopted these na- but teaches them in greater ment. The state requires all tional standards. They are depth. Please click here to read grade levels to be aligned by meant “to provide a clear and more about Common Core the 2013-14 school year. consistent understanding of Math Standards. http:// That is the year that the what students are expected to PSSA exams will change to learn, so teachers and parents a b o u t - t he -s t a n d a r d s / ke y - conform to the new stan- know what they need to do to points-in-mathematics dards. Our 3rd-5th grade help them.” math curricula will be Our kindergarten and 1st grade aligned to Common Core in The math standards will help curricula are aligned to the 2013-14. students have conceptual Common Core Math Standards
  5. 5. Volume 2, Issue 1 Page 5 Math 6-12 Neshaminy School District is plemental material is being nise Kirk. Students are in the process of realigning its developed for Algebra 1, Ge- learning how to program in math courses to the Common ometry and Algebra 2 to assist Java and trouble shoot the Core State Standards in the student in passing the code. Mrs. Kirk reports grades 6 to 12. In addition, at Keystone Exam. that the students love the the high school, the Algebra 1, hands-on aspect of the Geometry and Algebra 2 At NHS, the smell of Java is in course as they write their Nick Brown and Greg courses are in the process of the air again. After a long own programs to perform Kneiss work on their also being aligned to the con- hiatus, computer program- varying tasks. It is very programming skills in tent covered on Pennsyl- ming, specifically Java, is back impressive how some of the s Mrs. Kirk’s Java class. vania’s Keystone Exams. The for the 2011 – 2012 school students use what they are Keystone Exams, developed year. Approximately forty taught and take their pro- by the state of PA, are de- students signed up for the grams to the next level. We signed to be comprehensive Java course, but scheduling look forward to seeing the content- based tests to deter- conflicts resulted in twenty- computer science program mine a student’s competency seven students actually taking grow at NHS. in a given subject area. Sup- the course taught by Mrs. De- "When it comes to success in business, the first place that Music people fall down and fail is by refusing to own up to their Music is a core academic certs—all are terms that we and strive to reach perfec- actual dream.... If more subject, according to the readily use in our daily con- tion every time. Students people came to the table likeLibra ry Science Elementary and Secondary versations. Music plays a who participate in music 16 year-old rock musicians, Education Act of the United key role in the production performance understand they would find a lot more States. This may come as a and use of each of these. In that they must be ‘proficient’ success and a lot more surprise, but if you consider school, students work to by concert time, because happiness in the success they the impact that music has in perform in live concerts they are an integral part of find." our culture and personal through band, orchestra and the ensemble’s performance. --Mark Truman, Executive lives, you will understand chorus. They practice the The skills that students learn Director & Founder, why it is so important. technique of performing on through music performance Omniac Education an instrument, develop dis- are applicable to all areas of Multi-media, movies, video cipline and perseverance as their lives, even outside of games, iPods, You tube, con- they build musical skills, music. Professional Development Improved classroom instruc- Schmoker and How to Assess evidence tion is the prime factor to Higher-order Thinking Skills • Resolve conflicting views improve student achievement in Your Classroom by Susan encountered in source is the focal enduring under- Brookhart, are being incorpo- documents standing of Neshaminy’s pro- rated into the Essential Ele- fessional development experi- ment of Instruction work- • Solve complex problems with no obvious answers ences. Many research studies shops. Both books offer chal- higher-order thinking. The confirm that the teacher’s in- lenging strategies for improv- Schmoker suggests that cur- book analyzes test questions struction is the primary deter- ing instruction. ricula focused on these stan- and gives teachers examples minant of student success. dards will guarantee student for developing assignments Therefore, it is the goal of pro- Schmoker challenges teachers achievement. and assessments that pro- fessional development to to focus on four essential stan- vide evidence of high-order sharpen the instructional tools dards for student success: Brookhart’s work urges thinking. Analyzing the used by the classroom teach- teachers to analyze their thinking required to answer • Read to infer/interpret/ assignments and assess- ers. This year, the ideas pre- draw conclusions test questions can help sented in two recently pub- ments to ensure that stu- teachers identify exactly lished books, Focus by Mike • Support arguments with dents are challenged with what is being assessed.
  6. 6. Page 6 Curriculum ConnectionsCheck out these sites! Sciencehttp:// In the month of November, is environmental literacy and ronment. With this our planet will reach a mile- how do we achieve it? tional “sense of wonder” stone of seven billion humans. established, in the middlehttp:// For those of you who were An environmentally literate school years, we can born in the early 70s, that is an citizen is someone who has an the students’ content knowl- increase of about four billion understanding and apprecia- edge of both the natural people!! To put this number tion of natural and human system and human society. into perspective, that is twice systems. Moreover, he or she In the latter years of secon- the size of China’s current understands how to interact dary education, we can then population over the course of with the environment in a sus- take their appreciation for our lifetime. With this stagger- tainable way. So how do we get their environment and their ing number continuing to grow students to this point? As with knowledge of these two sys- exponentially, the need for all science, the goal of the pri- tems and begin to solve Environmental Literacy is an mary school years is to build problems in situations essential component for the students’ general appreciation where these two systems future of our society. So what and awareness of their envi- conflict. Social Studies and regions in the United …well, not only history. The basics of all four domains of States.We’re Not History! Social Studies program in- social studies. They learn to cludes history and also civics, identify and use maps and From the fifth to eleventh government, economics, and globes, to differentiate be- grades, the courses follow a geography. All of these areas tween how things were in the “history track” while embed- together help to create active past and how they are in the ding lessons of geography, and intelligent citizens for present. Students learn of civics and economics in the our neighborhoods, state, and economic wants and needs and lessons. Both American and nation. Neshaminy School how we work to meet these world history are delivered District provides these les- needs. They also learn how to to our students in these sons to our students from be responsible citizens. In grades. In their senior year, kindergarten to twelfth grade. fourth grade, students use students choose from vari- these skills to study the Com- ous electives to further their In the early elementary monwealth of Pennsylvania Social Studies education. grades, students learn the Technology Education tion in the global economy at risk. In response, our depart- Technology Education has science and math as a way to ment has morphed again into changed drastically over the past reclaim supremacy in the the Technology and Engineer- millennium but has always fo- Space Race. The newly ing Education department. cused on preparing students for minted Technology Educa- Our new goal is to ensure that success in the real world. What tion program offered stu- all students are technologi- started in the Middle Ages as a dents the opportunity to cally literate and skilled in the system of apprenticeships has apply those math and sci- problem-solving, critical changed to become the driving ence concepts. thinking, and engineering force behind preparation for jobs design processes needed to THEN The National Science Foun- and life in the Technological Age. compete in today’s global dation estimates that 80% of economy. Technology and It took the Russian launch of jobs created in the next dec- Engineering provides an inte- Sputnik to fundamentally change ade will require some form grated, experience-based in- what was then called Industrial of math or science skills. structional program that re- Arts. U.S. educators revised their Unfortunately, American quires students to apply existing curriculum with its em- students are falling behind mathematics and science con- NOW phasis on machining and fabri- Europe and Asia in those cepts to solve real life techno- cating and instead focused on subjects, putting our posi- logical problems.
  7. 7. Volume 2, Issue 1 Page 7 “He who does World Languages not know for- language study because it The goal of the Neshaminy they are able to experience this enhances his or her ability to eign languages School District is to produce interaction through technol- become a positive, productive does not know well-rounded students who ogy; and they become more member of a global commu- are academically talented, are cognizant of their own lan- nity. The earlier children see anything about able to use technology, have guage and its nuances by learn- cultural and language simi- his own. “ the ability to work with other ing vocabulary, writing about larities and differences, the people and are self-confident and presenting situations, and more tolerant and better pre- ~Johann Wolfgang enough to resolve even the reading authentic materials. pared they become for the von Goethe most difficult situations. ever-changing world in which The World Languages De- Studying a world language we live. partment is one of the cur- takes dedication, repetition, ricular areas that easily fit and commitment. These are If students are willing to dedi- into all three of NSD’s de- academic skills that translate cate themselves to the study sired pillars. Students learn not only into success in univer- of another language, the bene- about the differences encoun- sity studies, but also into em- fits will far outweigh the time tered when interacting with ployment opportunities. Every and effort needed to accom- people from other cultures; child should be exposed to plish this task. Tech Tips—Edmodo! Coming to a classroom near you! We live in a digital world, a municate directly in a safe the mouse, a teacher can global society interconnected online environment. The share the resources for an There are countless other uses through a technological teacher can manage classes as assignment or an entire unit for Edmodo. The above exam- “cloud”. Businesses, non- well as assign students in small with every individual in the ples are just a small fraction profit organizations, govern- groups. Students have the abil- classroom. Edmodo also en- of what Edmodo can be used ments, and even school--all ity to interact with the whole ables students to manage for, but best of all, Edmodo isProfessional Development parties have some connection class or within a group. With their own files. It can be used free! Moreover, its creators to the world through digital Edmodo, emailing can be cut as a way to store documenta- have stayed committed to media. The phrase, “There’s out of the picture and content tion or presentations they offering it as a free service. an App for that,” has become instead shared according to have been working on in class. Many teachers at Neshaminy immersed in our language, guidelines established by the have been utilizing Edomodo while FaceBook and Twitter teacher. Edmodo can be 3. Collaboration and in the there classroom to help have brought social media to thought of as a one-stop shop Feedback: In conjunction organize classes, brings stu- a whole new level. Teachers for all classroom needs and with folder management, Ed- dents together in meaningful are starting to utilize this resources. Below is a list of modo provides a way for the collaboration, and keep every- technology and social media common uses of Edmodo in teacher to give immediate one up to date with assign- as a way to connect and en- the classroom: feedback to students. The ments. To find out more about gage students. website also has a built-in poll Edmodo, go to 1. Direct Communication: feature in which the teacher A relatively new website Students need to know and can also receive feedback from called Edmodo has made its understand what is expected. students. It even provides way into the K-12 arena. Ed- Edmodo can be utilized to list the teacher a way to create modo offers private online assignments, answer ques- small groups for project- learning, a social platform for tions, and communicate with based learning. Students in teachers and students. The students and parents (parent this group can share re- platform is built around a access code). sources for their project or micro-blogging model in assignment. In this sense, all which users can exchange 2. Folder Manage- resources are stored at a content (website links, im- ment: Edmodo allows the central location for ease of ages, documents, video, and teacher to create endless fold- access in school and out of writing). It gives teachers and ers and share these folders school. students the ability to com- with students. With a touch of
  8. 8. The Curriculum, Assessment & Instruction Team Director of C, A & I—Dr. Geeta Heble Art—Cheryl SoltisFrom Dr. Heble (Cont. from Front) Business—Gerry Abramson through all senses, creating, imagining and inno- vating, responding with wonderment and awe, tak- EAP/Data Overseer—Mary Beth Tecce ing responsible risks, finding humor, thinking in- terdependently and remaining open to continuous Family & Consumer Science— Kelly Macauley learning (Costa & Kallick, 2009). Health & PE, Wellness, Summer Adventure— The Pennsylvania Department of Education pro- vides a framework, the Standards Aligned System Jan King (, that guides curriculum, assess- Instructional Technology—Dan Winter ment and instruction in our schools. All students can learn. With the many resources available, edu- Language Arts & Reading, Elementary—Dory cators can challenge all our students to achieve Fitzgerald, Terri Magerr, Mary Beth Tecce their potential. Language Arts, Secondary—Mary O’Pella Library Science—Sue Flanly Math, Elementary—Shelley Rosen Math, Secondary—Mike Thompson Music & Summer Fine Arts— Nicole Dinkins Professional Development—Sue Weber Science—Brian Suter Social Studies—Dave Heaney Technology Education—Josh Elliot World Languages—Nancy Kerr Neshaminy School Administrative Support— Susan Freedman, District Kathy Giambelluca, Lily Lewandowski Curriculum, Assessment & Instruction 2001 Old Lincoln Highway Langhorne, PA 19047 Phone: 215-809-6550 Fax: 215-809-6001 E-mail: