Curriculum

Katie Feldman

Katie Feldman

Curriculum Specialist
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Curriculum Corner

March 2019 Update

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Thank you for your active participation in Parent-Teacher Conferences last week. The parent-teacher relationship is a true partnership in your child’s education. We hope that you enjoyed the opportunity to review your child’s classwork, converse about his/her work habits and interpersonal skills, and set goals for the remainder of the school year. While we may be down to the final 60 days of the school year, we know there is still a lot of dynamic learning in store for our students this year. If you have any questions as we approach the spring season, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s classroom teacher or to me.

Colonial Experiences in Grade 5

Our 5th graders are studying Colonization. Through this integrated English-Language Arts and Social Studies unit of study, they will learn about the opportunities in America during the colonial period. This week our 5th Graders visited the The Noah Webster House. During the visit, our students learned about specific colonial families who lived in the Noah Webster Neighborhood (known as the West Division of Hartford) in 1774. At The Noah Webster House, Bugbee students moved through the house doing chores, attending school, playing games and cooking on an open hearth. As you can see, they dressed for the colonial period!

Spring Assessment Information

Math Quest Screening: At Bugbee, the Math Quest Screening will take place on Friday, March 22, 2019.  A handful of our 3rd and 4th grade students will participate in this screening. Signed permission will be required for students to take the Math Quest Screening.

State Assessments: During the months of April and May, the West Hartford Public Schools will be administering the annual state assessments (SBAC) in English/Language Arts and Math to all students in grades 3-5. The state assessment results are one of many indicators of student performance and growth. The results of these assessments inform our continuous work to enhance the West Hartford curriculum and improve instruction. The assessment calendar for is included below.

In addition to the state assessment given in English/Language Arts and Math, our 5th graders will take the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) assessment. This will take place on Tuesday, March 26th and Thursday, March 28th.

We are confident that our Bugbee students will be well prepared for the assessments at their grade level. Throughout the year our students are engaged in authentic reading, writing and math tasks that meet the standards of the West Hartford Curriculum and the Common Core State Standards. We know that this active learning and engagement is the best preparation our students can receive and has been in place (and will continue) all year. We appreciate all of your support as we continue to measure and celebrate our students’ many successes!

If you have any questions or concerns with our assessments, please feel free to contact me at anytime via email (Katie_Feldman@whps.org) or by calling the Bugbee Main Office at 860-929-5500.  

February 2019 Update

Assessments provide important information about our students, our school and our district. At Bugbee, we are very proud of our students and their progress, not only reported through formal assessments, but the progress that we see, hear, and experience in our classrooms and hallways on a day-to-day basis. Nonetheless, assessments do provide important information and accountability for the learning that takes place in our school.

Benchmark Screenings

Benchmark screenings, in Reading and Mathematics, provide periodic checkpoints about what our students know and are able to do in specific curricular areas.Screenings are administered in September, January and May. While screenings are not used independently to make decisions about a child’s instructional program, they do provide additional insight for teachers as they prepare for classroom instruction, small group lessons, and ongoing student monitoring. Benchmark screenings also serve as one measure of student growth and are used to assess student learning along with evidence from other curricula measures. If you have questions about your child’s progress, please feel free to contact your child’s classroom teacher.

Spring Assessment Information

Math Quest Screening: At Bugbee, the Math Quest Screening will take place on Friday, March 22, 2019.  A handful of our 3rd and 4th grade students will participate in this screening. More information is available through the Quest department or from your child’s classroom teacher. Signed permission will be required for students to take the Math Quest Screening.

State Assessments: During the months of April and May, the West Hartford Public Schools will be administering the annual state assessments (SBAC) in English/Language Arts and Math to all students in grades 3-5. The state assessment results are one of many indicators of student performance and growth. The results of these assessments inform our continuous work to enhance the West Hartford curriculum and improve instruction. Bugbee’s Assessment Calendar is included below.

In addition to the state assessment given in English/Language Arts and Math, our 5th graders will take the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) assessment. This will take place on Tuesday, March 26th and Thursday, March 28th.

We are confident that our Bugbee students will be well prepared for the assessments at their grade level. Throughout the year our students are engaged in authentic reading, writing and math tasks that meet the standards of the West Hartford Curriculum and the Common Core State Standards. We know that this active learning and engagement is the best preparation our students can receive and has been in place (and will continue) all year. We appreciate all of your support as we continue to measure and celebrate our students’ many successes!

If you have any questions or concerns with our assessments, please feel free to contact me at anytime via email (Katie_Feldman@whps.org) or by calling the Bugbee Main Office at 860-929-5500.  

Grade 3:

  • Monday, April 29, 2019 (ELA)

  • Friday, May 3, 2019  (ELA)

  • Thursday, May 9, 2019 (Math)

  • Monday, May 13, 2019 (Math)

  • Tuesday, May 14, 2019 (Math)

Grade 4:

  • Tuesday, April 23, 2019 (ELA)

  • Friday, April 26, 2019  (ELA)

  • Friday, May 10, 2019  (Math)

  • Monday, May 20, 2019 (Math)

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019 (Math)

Grade 5:

  • Tuesday, March 26, 2019 (Science)

  • Thursday, March 28, 2019 (Science

  • Thursday, April 25, 2019 (ELA)

  • Friday, April 26, 2019 (ELA)

  • Friday, May 10, 2019 (Math)

  • Monday, May 13, 2019 (Math)

  • Friday, May 17, 2019  (Math)

Testing dates are subject to change.

January 2019 Update

Mathematical Practices

As we begin the new calendar year, Bugbee students are learning mathematical practices that will lay the foundation for a lifetime of mathematical thinking, problem solving and authentic application. We know that math instruction has changed tremendously over time.  Rather than focusing on memorization, our students are taught multiple strategies that support the development of number sense and mathematical reasoning. Math instruction is rooted in 8 Standards for Mathematical Practices which have been incorporated into the Common Core State Standards and the West Hartford Public Schools Math Curriculum.

Standards for Mathematical Practices

1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

4. Model with mathematics.

5. Use appropriate tools strategically.

6. Attend to precision.

7. Look for and make use of structure.

8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

 

Students gain fluency in mathematics, by solving problems both accurately and efficiently.  In the primary grades, students learn multiple strategies for fluently solving addition and subtraction problems.  As students progress through the grades they are introduced to strategies for multiplication. To become fluent with division facts, students relate the division fact to the known multiplication fact.

If you feel like your child’s math practices, homework and classwork looks different from what you remember, you are not alone! Throughout elementary school we are looking for students to develop a conceptual understanding of our number system. During math lessons, students communicate their thinking through Number Talks (brief, 10-minute whole-class conversations in which students share multiple strategies to solve one or more problems), or by explaining their thinking on paper using pictures, numbers and/or words.

Below are two alternative methods to multiplication (Partial Products and the Area Model) and one alternative method to division (Partial Quotients). These methods are introduced in the intermediate grades. Once students demonstrate conceptual understanding of multiplication and division, they are ready to learn the standard algorithms.  

Alternative Method of Multiplication


 

Alternative Method of Division

                                                         Partial Quotients

   

Ask: how many 6’s are there in 354?

There are at least 50 6’s in 354.

50 x 6 = 300

9 x 6 = 54  

The quotient is 59.

 

 Are you interested in learning more about math instruction in West Hartford?

There is an Elementary Math Family Resource page available online!

  1. Visit www.whps.org                                  

  2. Select Families on the upper right

  3. Select Academics on the left hand side.

  4. Select the Blue Elementary Math Family Resource Box

December 2018 Update

It is hard to believe that we are in the final month of 2018! Despite the recent rainfall (not snow!) and our warm temperatures this week, the excitement and anticipation of the winter season is upon us!

During the month of November, Officer Klein, from the West Hartford Police Department, visited Bugbee. As our Community Resource Officer, Officer Klein teaches classes at all grade levels. During these 30 - 45 minute lessons, students are introduced to the grade level curriculum and provided with time for questions and discussion. Below is a list of the topics covered at each grade level.

Grade Level Curriculum Topic
K Officer Recognition
1 Pedestrian Safety
2 Character Development
3 Substance Abuse I
4 Home Alone Safety
5 Substance Abuse II


Looking ahead, December is a month of special occasions at Bugbee School.  Our students are practicing giving this season by participating in the Wish Upon A Star initiative for families in our community and Pajama Day for CCMC (December 14th).  We are proud that the Bugbee families recognize the month of December as a time to give to others.   

We are also looking forward to many Bugbee celebrations this month! Later this week we will have a schoolwide assembly to celebrate the grand opening of our Jeffrey Palmer Reading Memorial on the primary playground. On December 10th, along with others in West Hartford, our students will observe Human Rights Day, celebrating what makes each of us unique and special as individuals, while uniting us as a Bugbee community.   Our young musicians will delight us at the Winter Concert on Wednesday, December 12th. We look towards a favorite Bugbee tradition, held later this month, Cozy Slipper Day! As always, we will join together to celebrate our Bugbee Champions at our Monthly Buzz Assembly in late in December. The wonders of the winter season are all around us.  

November 2018 Update

Parent Teacher Conferences

As the calendar turns to November, we look forward to our first set of Parent-Teacher Conferences. Parent teacher conferences occur twice a year (November and March). This fall, conferences will take place during the week of November 12th.  Conference conversations are an important aspect of the home-school partnership and are essential in understanding the needs and progress of each child. At parent-teacher conferences, you can expect your child’s classroom teacher to share work samples from reading, writing and mathematics as well as your child’s report card. We encourage your participation in your child’s conference. No one knows your child the way that you do, and your insights into your child’s personality and work habits are necessary to assist teachers in helping students learn.  If you haven’t yet scheduled your child’s parent-teacher conference, please contact your child’s classroom teacher. We look forward to seeing you during conference week.

Report Cards

Report cards, completed three times a year (November, March and June), provide scores of M (mastery), P (progressing) and L (limited) progress in all academic areas. In each grade level our students are working toward the goal of end-of-the year mastery of academic standards. In addition, a student’s personal and social development, as well as their work habits, will be reported on through a numerical scale of 1 (excels), 2 (satisfactory), 3 (needs improvement).

Report cards will also include information from World Language (Grades 3, 4, and 5), Physical Education, Art and Vocal Music. Separate report cards for Instrumental Music and Quest/Math Quest will be available for students involved in those classes.

Bugbee teachers and staff value the on-going partnership between home and school.  We know that this relationship supports the successful development of each child. Thank you for your active participation in Parent-Teacher Conferences.

October 2018 Update

Smarter Balanced Assessment: Score Reports

Yearly, Connecticut students in grades 3, 4 and 5 take part in the Connecticut state testing program. Last year, Bugbee students took the Smarter Balanced assessments for Literacy and Mathematics. As a school, we are very proud of the excellent academic achievement of our students.

SBAC score reports, for the 2017-2018 school year, will be mailed this week. The SBAC report provides information regarding a child’s overall performance as well as specific information detailing literacy and mathematics performance standards. The overall performance for ELA and Mathematics are reported by a scale score ranging from 1 - 4. Performance levels (above standard, at or near standard, below standard) are given for specific areas of knowledge and skill. In ELA these areas include Reading, Listening and Writing and Research/Inquiry. In Mathematics, these areas include Concepts and Procedures, Problem Solving and Modeling & Data Analysis and Communicating Reasoning. If you have any questions interpreting the score report for your child, please feel free to contact your child’s classroom teacher or myself.

The World of Science:

West Hartford Public Schools is in our 2nd year of a multi-year implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These standards, adopted by the state of Connecticut, are the backbone of our new science curriculum. During the 2017-2018 school year, our students in grades 2 and 3 piloted our first NGSS lessons. This year, our students and teachers in grades 1 and 4 will embark on this new science journey.

The NGSS calls for active science engagement in our classrooms through three dimensions including Cross Cutting Concepts (how students think), Science and Engineering Practices (what students do) and Disciplinary Core Ideas (what students know). The NGSS focus on deep understanding of content as well as the application of concepts in science. Written as performance expectations, our new standards closely align with the Common Core Curriculum, are integrated K-12, and prepare our students to make sense of the world around them.

Our science units follow the 5 E Instructional Model guiding our students to Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate science. In the classroom, you will notice that students will explore and begin to construct their own understanding before learning the content. This inquiry based approach fosters rich conversations. Students will be engaged and excited about describing a phenomenon or solving a design problem.

April 2019 Update

The National Geographic Giant Traveling Map of Connecticut visited 4th Graders at Bugbee last month. As a joint study of social studies and mathematics, our students had the opportunity to explore our state and apply their learning!

First, students engaged in a Geography lesson where they learned to identify geographic features on the map. They identified the state capitol, lakes, rivers, areas of elevation and mountain ranges using a map key and symbols. Students followed the paths of the rivers in Connecticut concluding that all rivers flow into the Long Island Sound. Next, they identified cities and towns along rivers, comparing them with those settled further from water sources. Students learned that the first towns settled in Connecticut were settled along the water in order to provide a source for hydration, fishing, farming, bathing and transportation. As the lesson concluded, the students learned that we are fortunate to have major waterways running through Connecticut, but that we need to keep them clean and free from pollution. Later this spring when our students visit Spice Bush, they will learn about runoff and continue to study the risk of pollution to our waterways.

Did you know....

  • Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford were the first three towns founded in Connecticut.

  • West Hartford used to be part of Hartford.  It was called the West Division.

  • The Connecticut River is the longest river in New England.

  • There are 169 towns and 19 cities in Connecticut.

  • Lake Candlewood, one of the largest lakes in Connecticut, is actually man-made.

During their second visit to the Giant Traveling Map, Mrs. Mary Lestini, Town-Wide Curriculum Specialist for Mathematics, taught students how they use math when reading at a map. During this lesson, our students measured the distance between two locations on the map. Pictures below show students using string and chain links  to measure the distance between cities. They learned to read the map scale and calculate the distance between locations. Further, students learned how the population of towns and cities are reflected by visual markings on the map. We are so thankful for the authentic learning and cross curricular connections afforded through the use of the Giant Traveling Map!



A special thanks to the Curriculum Office, Mary Lestini, and  Ashley Callan for supporting these lessons! Bugbee students are so thankful for the opportunity to engage with the giant map of Connecticut!

 

Curriculum in a Nutshell

More about...

What are the Connecticut Core Standards?

K-12 academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy adopted by the CT State Board of Education and by states across the country in 2010.

  • Establish what students should understand, know, and be able to do as they progress through grades K-12

  • Curriculum units based on these standards will be implemented in both mathematics and English-language arts in grades K-5 this year

For more information, go to www.corestandards.org