Curriculum Programs

Reading and Writing Workshop Model

The Teachers College at Columbia University has developed a workshop model of instruction for both reading and writing. Our staff began training using the Writers Workshop model with our kindergarten through 5th grades several years ago and we have embraced and embedded professional development in both Readers and Writers Workshop since.

In this model, students are actively involved in both the reading and writing process through a series of mini lessons, conferences, writing journals, genre and author studies. Students are explicitly taught strategies and then given the opportunity to practice them and integrate those skills. The workshop model focuses on the students as active learners, active readers and writers.

The Writers Workshop is the format for writing instruction that includes authentic practice, through the use of student writing journals. Each student is a working author with the teacher as mentor and guide. Students keep writing journals, develop seed ideas, create numerous written pieces and take chosen pieces to publication. Students write in many different genres, selecting topics, and peer conferencing, with their teacher.

Benchmark Assessments

This year we are using a program called “Literably” as an ELA benchmark in grades K through Fifth. This program was chosen for its ease of use in both in person and remote instruction. Literably is a website/app that records students reading stories aloud and then asks them comprehension questions. Literably employees listen to these recordings overnight, generate a transcript of each student's reading (that is sent back to the teacher to review), and calculate scores for accuracy, rate, and comprehension. Literably helps teachers to track your student's progress in reading and to identify the areas where they need to focus their instruction. In addition, Literably helps teachers understand:

  • Your student’s independent reading level - the level where they can read easily for pleasure without any (or little) assistance from me.
  • Your student’s instructional reading level - the level where they can still read successfully but may need more assistance from me and may, at times, feel “stretched” or challenged in their thinking.

Math benchmarks are given (K-8) using MobyMax. This is a program that the district has used for several years for Fact Fluency practice as well as other content area assessments. These assessments are based on each grade level’s standards.

ELA benchmark assessments are given to students in grades 3-8 using MobyMax. The students are assessed on informational text and literature passages. These assessments are based on each grade level’s standards.

Start Strong - This is a series of “snapshot” assessments from the NJDOE that are designed to identify unfinished learning from the spring shift to remote learning. These assessments will be given in grades 6 - 8 and are based on the prior year’s standards. These assessments will be in ELA and Math, and additionally in Science for grade 6. These assessments will be administered this fall.

NGSS

The Next Generation Science Standards introduce an exciting approach to science instruction. These new standards, or performance expectations, link three dimensions of learning. These are the Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts and Science & Engineering practices. Implementation of the new standards began in the 2016-2017 school year for grades 6 and above. The kindergarten through fifth grade implementation will occur with the 2017 - 2018 school year. Updates to the standards were released this past spring and will be reviewed and addressed by September of 2021.

The Crosscutting Concepts invites students to explore the connections within Earth and Space Science, Life Science, Physical Science, and Engineering design as well as allows them to see these connections across many curricular areas. Some examples of these would include cause and effect relationships and patterns. We see the use of patterns in science, art, spelling, math and many other content areas. This helps students understand the “science” behind much of our lives.

The Science and Engineering Practices involve the process by which scientists investigate and explore the world around us. The new standards follow an inquiry based approach to learning. By using this “hands on” approach to studying, students have a deeper understanding of our world and can better apply that knowledge in any setting.

The Disciplinary Core Ideas are those key ideas in science that have the broadest level of importance within science and engineering. They are grouped traditionally into the four domains of Life Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science and Engineering. These domains would include the study of the universe, life cycles, ecosystems, biology, matter and energy, waves, and engineering design, to name a few.

Go Math!

Math instruction, for many years now, has been concept based instruction. This includes a more hands on approach to math, with the use of manipulatives and hands on lessons, that allow students greater understanding of the concepts that underlie the basis of mathematics. It is often referred to as “teaching beyond the facts.”

Our district utilizes Go Math! This program contains both print and computer based materials. Go Math provides for both large and small group instruction, with options for both acceleration and remediation, to meet the needs of all learners. We continue to work towards creating a math program that uses a variety of resources, addresses the standards and is engaging for students.

Enrichment

In Clinton Township, we follow the Renzulli model of enrichment for all students. It is our philosophy that all learners have a gift, whether that be in academics, athletics or the arts. We have numerous programs that provide enrichment for our students. Some of those programs include, Robotics, Word Masters, POPS, Law Fair, School newspapers, photographers, Memory Book, Continental Math League, Geography Bee, Reading Olympics, Art Line, and Golden Eagle Singers, to name a few. We encourage all students to participate in the many clubs and activities that are offered.

NJTSS

The New Jersey Tiered System of Supports committee oversees instruction for students based on screenings mandated by the state of New Jersey’s new Dyslexia legislation. Our approach has been to cast a broad net for our students that would benefit from additional instruction in language arts. We feel that providing this instruction during the early years of schooling allows students to grow quickly and successfully. We have a three tiered approach in identifying students, using data gathered from several assessment sources. Our teachers then provide targeted instruction in those areas. Each tier dictates the amount and frequency of time devoted to instruction. Some of the assessment and intervention materials we use include the DIBELS assessments, WIST, TOSWRF-2, RAN/RAS, Wilson’s Fundations and Just Words programs, as well as Sonday and Torgenson kits for instruction. Data collection is vital in this program to determine tiered levels of instruction, as well as entry and exit criteria for the program.

What is Dyslexia?

As with other learning disabilities, dyslexia is a lifelong challenge that people are born with. This language processing disorder can hinder reading, writing, spelling and sometimes even speaking. Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence or laziness. It is also not the result of impaired vision. The link below contains further information.

Dyslexia Resources

New Standard Adoption Schedule

In 2020, standards were adopted for all curricular areas except ELA and Math. Several new areas are also the focus of new standards and practices. Please see the chart below:

September 2021:

  • Standard 1: Visual and Performing Arts
  • Standard 5: Science
  • Standard 7: World Languages
  • Standard 9: Career Readiness, Life Literacies, and Key Skills

September 2022:

  • Standard 2: Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
  • Standard 6: Social Studies
  • Standard 8: Computer Science and Design Thinking

NJ Standards Update

New Jersey began using the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, which outline what skills students should learn in each grade level. It has been reported that the NJ Standards have few variations from the Common Core and that about 84% of those CCSS will remain in place. There will also be some modifications that may adjust the grade level for some of the standards. These new standards were adopted for the 2017 - 2018 school year.