MTPS Curriculum Corner: Office of Curriculum and Instruction

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Carole Butler

April 10-19th our district will observe spring break, please use this opportunity to take a break away from the demands of remote learning. Keep in mind that teachers will also be on break during this time and will not be available for contact. The administration team will be monitoring email, so should any urgent matters arise, please email us, as we will check our email accounts periodically.

Remote learning will begin again on Monday, April 20th with lessons being made available by 8 AM. Decisions related to the continuation of our remote learning time are strictly dependent upon Governor Murphy. We are hopeful more information will be made while we are out for spring break.

While we cannot take trips as originally planned during this time, please try to allow yourself and your family some opportunities to create new memories. I have listed several virtual tours you can explore, some of which I can't wait to visit in person! Please check out the Curriculum Supervisor's Content pages for some other spring break fun.

Please continue to stay safe- we will see each other again soon! Carole Butler

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Get a birds-eye view of this incredible park with a tour from a park ranger who grew up here. You'll see incredible views of the active volcano, the lush landscape and other aspects of the park.

The Louvre

The world-famous museum in Paris has a handful of virtual tours that take you through its various wings, including Egyptian antiquities and remains of the moat that once surrounded the building.

Great Wall of China

One of the wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China is more than 3,000 miles and runs across several parts of northern China. This virtual tour lets you "walk" along it, sort of.

Virtual Dives

The National Marine Sanctuaries offers "virtual reality voyages" that feature incredible habitats, animals and cultural resources. They take place in American Samoa, Florida Keys, Thunder Bay and elsewhere.

Watch a Broadway play

The curtain may have closed on Broadway in New York City, but it can rise again in your home thanks to the many live versions of popular Broadway musicals that are available via streaming services. Netflix is the home to many popular musicals. You can stream your favorite Broadway hits with BroadwayHD, which is offering a seven-day free trial. The platform contains more than 300 titles. You can also watch the talents of Broadway royalty like Billy Porter and Kristin Chenoweth on The Actor's Fund YouTube each day for free (Donations are encouraged to help fund coronavirus relief). This is a great way to introduce your kids to the magic of live theater--with the ability to pause for bathroom breaks.

Become a Disney World imagineer

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to become a Walt Disney Imagineer, now's your chance. Khan Academy and Pixar teamed up with Walt Disney Imagineers to create Imagineering in a Box, a free online course that gives users a behind-the-scenes peek into theme park design. The free program is available at Khan Academy.

Ride a virtual roller coaster

Forget the hour-long waits in line, videos on The Coaster Views, or The Sharp Productions (both on YouTube) lets you take virtual roller rides coasters from some of the best amusement parks including Disney World, Universal Studios, Cedar Point, and Six Flags (Puke bags not provided.).

Get crafty

For kids who love arts and crafts, Trend Enterprises is offering free printables and DIY projects. Family Fun Crafts also offers free seasonal craft ideas and printables for kids.

Visit an aquarium

Take a dive into the marine world by viewing a variety of aquarium webcams and virtual tours including the Georgia Aquarium's Ocean Voyager webcam, the "Jelly Cam" at Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Tennessee Aquarium's Penguins Rock cam and the National Aquarium.

Visit a zoo

Zookeepers across the US are live-streaming animals from some of their most popular exhibits. Panda lovers can spend hours checking out Pandas across the states while viewing the Panda Cam at Zoo Atlanta, two different panda cams at the National Zoo in Washington D.C., or the Panda Cam at the San Diego Zoo. For an up-close look at giraffes, gorillas or elephants check out the Giraffe Cam at the Houston Zoo.

For more behind-the scenes videos, stories, and virtual tours visit the San Diego Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo's daily live stream, The Smithsonian National Zoo, the Minnesota Zoo, and many more.

Play nature bingo or go on a nature scavenger hunt

Connect kids with nature by setting up a nature scavenger hunt or nature Bingo game. All you need are words of things found in nature (or just your neighborhood) to make Bingo cards or a scavenger hunt list of items to find. Better yet, have children hide items in the backyard for a DIY scavenger hunt.

Go to space

With Access Mars, you can see the actual surface of Mars, recorded by NASA's Curiosity rover. (Currently, the site is in the middle of an update, but the 360 mode offers a great digital view.)

NASA TV , a free, 24-hour video service found on YouTube and NASA's website where you can see what the world looks like from the International Space Station, or if you're lucky watch a live launch or landing.

The NASA at Home website takes viewers on a guided Virtual 3-D Tour of the International Space Station, or a 360-degree tour of the Hubble Space Telescope mission operations center.

NASA also recently released a collection of thousands of interstellar photos for the public to enjoy.

YouTube clip of two teenagers trying to figure out how to dial a number on a rotary phone
Discovery - Being able to apply learned skills across curriculum and life, make connections, and be able to teach skills learned
Steps to connect with your students - take the time to listen and engage with them
These are two examples of ideas generated and shared around our focal points.

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Carole Butler

November is a busy month that brings people together for family, laughter, and the opportunity to reminisce events from the past. Education is no different in that we are constantly getting together to discuss innovative ways to engage our students in the world that is ever changing. One of our district goals is focused on innovation. If we believe that innovation spurs creativity and success, we must spend time to discuss what spawns innovation. As adults, we know, that in our own lifetime the world has changed dramatically. For educators, we have developed teaching styles to connect with advances in technology, even if the main ideas stay the same. Teachers create lessons every day that task students with decoding and understanding an unfamiliar concept. Their job is to make connections that are transferable beyond the classroom. You will know exactly what I mean if you have a few minutes to watch this YouTube clip of two teenagers trying to figure out how to dial a number on a rotary phone (click on the thumb nail to the top left.)

October Professional Development

District Curriculum Supervisors: Julie Colby, Gavin Quinn, Jackie Brownell, Roseth Rodriguez, and Leslie Wyers

During the month of October, our curriculum supervisors worked with our K-5 teaching staff around several district level initiatives. Teachers and supervisors shared ideas and best practices connected with:

    • Technology use in the classroom using the SAMR lens
    • Cognitive vs. Active Engagement in the classroom
    • Developing safe and open classroom environments
    • Student grouping and seating arrangements that fosters creativity, focus, and engagement
    • Increasing engagement using the AMT (Acquisition, Meaning Making, and Transfer - IE. Blooms) lens
    • Authentic learning opportunities
    • Purposeful, cross-curricular units

Teachers looked critically at sample lessons and looked at ways to create lessons that provided opportunities for more cognitive engagement and authentic learning experiences for students. A solid foundation has been created to facilitate discussions during our January PD sessions. Teachers and supervisors are excited to continue their own classroom successes as they build a library of instructional resources and strategies to share throughout the district.

sticky notes

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Carole Butler

What does engagement look like in our classrooms? This was the question we asked our staff in August during our first professional development day. We know that students and adults become more engaged in their work when they achieve success, posses a sense of curiosity, can express themselves through a creative process and have the opportunity to be collaborative along the way. How does this translate into learning within our classrooms for our Moorestown students?

This past year, we have been working on framing lessons and units of study so that it allows for more complex thinking balanced with the use of technology to showcase the learning taking place.

Acquisition, Meaning Making, and Transfer are specific actions into how we are preparing lessons to further engage our students. To share an analogy to sports-

  • A coach/ teacher will provide time for the players/ students to receive drills on concepts of the game. This would be the same as acquisition in the classroom.
  • As time continues, the coach/ teacher would create game like learning opportunities like a scrimmage. This would allow the players/students the opportunity to make meaning from the independent drills.
  • Game time- this of course is when the students are working together to pull all of the knowledge they have experienced and showcase that understanding both individually and with peers in a real time setting. The coach/ teacher is on the side line observing the students in action displaying what learning they have acquired.

What does this mean for our classrooms? We are looking for lessons and units of study to have a multidimensional approach that provide opportunities for individual and group learning, allow for students to take more than one path to learning and then be able to culminate and showcase that learning. Some examples will be students working individually or in small groups, reading critically, writing to learn, creating, planning, problem solving, discussing, debating, asking questions, performing/presenting, inquiring, exploring, explaining, evaluating, experimenting, interacting with other students, gesturing and moving.

As the year progresses, be mindful of your child(ren)'s learning experiences as our teachers create a rich learning environment, motivating students to learn and showcase the skills and knowledge they have acquired in a variety of ways.