BPS Instructional Priorities

  • INSTRUCTIONAL PRIORITIES: Literacy

     

    PURPOSE:

    The Instructional Coaching Tool for Literacy Across the Content Areas articulates a vision and set of priorities for effective literacy instruction in all content areas and both monolingual and bilingual settings. While the priorities below are not inclusive of every element of a lesson, they are a distillation of the most important instructional practices that will best prepare students to be successful readers and writers. Please note that this tool is not intended for use during RTI, neither is it intended to be evaluative. Rather, it should be used to support and develop teacher practice. 

    CULTURE OF LEARNING: Are all students involved in the work of the lesson with the appropriate level of support? 

    • Students consistently follow behavioral expectations, including the norms of digital citizenship. 
    • Students efficiently execute transitions/procedures (e.g., 21-Day Planner). 
    • Adult interactions with one another and students are encouraging, respectful, and promote high expectations for learning. 
    • Restorative practices and social emotional learning are integrated into the instructional day as appropriate. 
    • The classroom positively reflects the diversity of the students and school community. Possible examples include relevant books, posters, artifacts, images, symbols, multilingual signs in students’ home languages, and posting current student work. 
    • Students are involved in academic work from start to finish (e.g., completing instructional tasks, volunteering responses, questioning.) 
    • The learning and criteria for success are communicated to students. Students demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of the lesson. 
    • When appropriate, the teacher models and/or demonstrates the targeted skill. Students participate in guided and independent practice. 
    • Equitable participation techniques are used to provide all students with the opportunity to participate in discussions (e.g., name sticks, think-pair-share, wait time). 
    • The teacher deliberately checks for understanding throughout the lesson (e.g., discussion boards, chats, oral questioning, technology enabled). 

    DISTRICT MATERIALS: Are District materials and curriculum being used effectively and with skilled fidelity? 

    • Module and/or lesson numbers are clearly posted each day. 
    • Teachers plan and use the District curriculum and materials as intended, including inquiry-based and explicit approaches. 
    • Relevant technology is integrated into instruction to enable and enhance learning. 
    • Social-emotional resources are infused into lessons as appropriate (e.g., District-approved SEL curriculum, Second Step curriculum, PEDALS). 
    • Connections are made between the cultures, backgrounds, and personal experiences of the students and the curriculum. 
    • Culturally and linguistically relevant teaching resources are infused into lessons (e.g., District approved materials such as the NJ Amistad resources, myON, Nearpod lessons, and approved literature that incorporates diverse perspectives). 

     FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS: Are foundational skills being taught explicitly, sequentially, and systematically? 

    • The foundational skills being taught are aligned to grade-level standards. 
    • Foundational skills instruction is explicit and includes teacher modeling, guided, and independent practice. 
    • Foundational skills instruction is systematic and sequential, as outlined in district curriculum. 
    • Students connect acquisition of foundational skills to reading from texts and composing writing. 

    NB: Foundational skills include phonemic awareness, phonics, letter formation, spelling, fluency, grammar, usage, mechanics, and sentence construction. This is generally seen in primary classrooms. 

    ALL STUDENTS READ: Do all students read anchor texts independently on a routine basis? 

    • Students routinely engage in independent reading of grade-appropriate anchor texts. 
    • Teachers chunk readings and assign accountable tasks (e.g., annotations, prompts, summaries) as students read silently. 
    • Outside of foundational skills lessons, students spend the majority of class time reading, writing about, and discussing appropriate texts. 
    • Opportunities are provided for students to read culturally relevant materials from diverse authors using district-approved materials (e.g., trade books, myON, Amistad, district-provided classroom libraries). 

    ALL STUDENTS WRITE: Do all students write to demonstrate deep understanding of the anchor text on a regular basis? 

    • Students have frequent opportunities to write independently in response to text-based questions, using evidence from the text to demonstrate their understanding. 
    • Students respond to higher-order thinking questions (HOT!) that target the depth of grade-level standards. 
    • Opportunities are provided for students to investigate, discuss, and analyze social justice issues, as well as for promoting student advocacy. 

    DIFFERENTIATION: Do all students have the support they need to access and engage deeply with rigorous, culturally responsive, grade-level content? 

    • The teacher continually adapts the lesson to address student understanding. 
    • The teacher scaffolds instruction and tasks for various students allowing students to access grade-level content and demonstrate independent understanding without reducing the rigor of the standards. 
    • The teacher pre-teaches, re-teaches, or reinforces important skills and concepts through teacher-led small group instruction. 
    • The teacher differentiates activities for use in groups or learning areas to provide targeted practice of previously taught skills/concepts. 
    • Students’ home languages and dialects are accepted, while also teaching literacy skills and conventions. 
    • Teachers leverage technology to meet the needs of individual students (e.g., BPS online programs, audio/video recordings) 

    1 In science classes, exceptions include well-designed experiments. In Social Studies, texts may be comprised of a variety of grade-appropriate materials, including political cartoons, speeches, source documents, textbooks, etc. 

    2 Student writing opportunities include both longer, process writing (e.g. brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revising, editing) pieces and/or shorter on-demand writing (e.g., In the page you just read from Romeo and Juliet, use evidence to draw and support one conclusion about Romeo’s character traits). Exceptions to writing in response to texts include lessons targeting foundational skills of reading and writing and narrative writing. 

  • INSTRUCTIONAL PRIORITIES: Mathematics

     

    PURPOSE:

    The Instructional Coaching Tool for Mathematics articulates a vision and set of priorities for effective mathematics instruction in BPS in both monolingual and bilingual settings. While the priorities below are not inclusive of every element of a lesson, they are a distillation of the most important instructional practices that will best prepare students to be successful. Please note that this tool is not intended for use during RTI, neither is it intended to be evaluative. Rather, it should be used to support and develop teacher practice.

     

    CULTURE OF LEARNING: Are all students involved in the work of the lesson with the appropriate level of support? 

    • Students consistently follow behavioral expectations, including the norms of digital citizenship. 
    • Students efficiently execute transitions/procedures (e.g., 21-Day Planner). 
    • Adult interactions with one another and students are encouraging, respectful, and promote high expectations for learning. 
    • Restorative practices and social emotional learning are integrated into the instructional day as appropriate. 
    • The classroom positively reflects the diversity of the students and school community. Possible examples include relevant books, posters, artifacts, images, symbols, multilingual signs in students’ home languages, and posting current student work. 
    • Students are involved in academic work from start to finish (e.g., completing instructional tasks, volunteering responses, questioning.) 
    • The learning and criteria for success are communicated to students. Students demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of the lesson. 
    • When appropriate, the teacher models and/or demonstrates the targeted skill. Students participate in guided and independent practice. 
    • Equitable participation techniques are used to provide all students with the opportunity to participate in discussions (e.g., name sticks, think-pair-share, wait time). 
    • The teacher deliberately checks for understanding throughout the lesson (e.g., discussion boards, chats, oral questioning, technology enabled). 

    DISTRICT MATERIALS: Are District materials and curriculum being used effectively and with skilled fidelity? 

    • Module and lesson numbers are clearly posted each day. 
    • Teachers plan and use the District curriculum and materials as intended, including inquiry-based and explicit approaches. 
    • Relevant technology is integrated into instruction to enable and enhance learning. 
    • Social-emotional resources and materials are infused into lessons (e.g., District-approved SEL and Second Step curriculum, PEDALS). 
    • Connections are made between the cultures, backgrounds, personal experiences of the students and the curriculum being taught. 
    • Culturally and linguistically relevant teaching resources and materials are infused into lessons (e.g., District approved materials such as the NJ Amistad resources, myON, Nearpod lessons, and approved literature and articles that incorporate diverse perspectives). 

    ALL STUDENTS ENGAGE IN GRADE-LEVEL MATH: Do all students engage in daily independent work with grade level math at the appropriate level of depth? 

    • Students consistently demonstrate understanding by independently completing grade- and standards-aligned mathematics. 
    • Instruction targets the aspect of rigor (conceptual understanding, procedural skill/fluency, or application) aligned to the standard and lesson. 

    ALL STUDENTS EXPLAIN THEIR THINKING: Do all students consistently explain and justify their thinking? 

    • Students consistently share, explain, and justify their thinking and strategies for problem solving, orally and/or in writing (e.g., chats, discussion boards, submitted assignments). 
    • Students consistently ask questions about, discuss, and/or critique the thinking and solutions of others. 
    • Students use mathematically precise language when discussing mathematics and sharing their thinking. 
    • Students persevere in solving problems and explaining their thinking in the face of initial difficulty.  

    DIFFERENTIATION: Do all students have the support they need to access and engage deeply with rigorous, culturally responsive, grade-level content? 

    • The teacher continually adapts the lesson to address student understanding. 
    • The teacher scaffolds instruction and tasks for various students allowing students to access grade-level content and demonstrate independent understanding without reducing the rigor of the standards. 
    • The teacher pre-teaches, re-teaches, or reinforces important skills and concepts through teacher-led small group instruction. 
    • The teacher differentiates activities for use in groups or learning areas to provide targeted practice of previously taught skills/concepts. 
    • Students’ home languages and dialects are accepted, while also teaching literacy skills and conventions. 
    • Teachers leverage technology to meet the needs of individual students (e.g., BPS online programs, audio/video recordings)