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Educator Effectiveness

Teachers' Top Three from ESE – June 4, 2015

  1. In the News: Two Massachusetts Teachers Receive Fishman Prize and $25,000
    Each year, TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project) awards the Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice to several outstanding educators across the nation. This year's four national winners were announced last week, and two were from Massachusetts: Erin Dukeshire, a sixth grade science teacher at Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School in Boston, and Zeke Phillips, a fifth grade English language arts teacher at Excel Academy Charter School in Chelsea. Both will receive $25,000 from TNTP and take part in a six-week summer residency.

    Both teachers said they are grateful for the award and excited about the opportunities it offers. Dukeshire is "looking forward to the Fishman residency because of the opportunity to reflect on my teaching practice alongside the other amazing educators who have been recognized with the award." Philips said, "It felt amazing to receive such an honor surrounded by the people who truly made this recognition possible - my students, my colleagues, and my family. Meanwhile, I'm very much looking forward to using this opportunity in order to continue to learn and grow as a teacher and educator." Several other Massachusetts teachers were finalists, semifinalists or on the honor roll for the prize. Congratulations to all!
  2. Get Involved: Space Still Available for Curriculum Training for Teacher Leaders
    The Building Aligned Curriculum Training is an opportunity for districts to better align existing curriculum to the state curriculum frameworks by implementing new curriculum units. The training, on June 17 and 18 in Westford, will prepare teacher leaders to work with teams of teachers to adapt and implement model curriculum units (MCUs). Teacher leaders will leave the training with the knowledge to successfully customize, pilot, and revise a new curriculum unit. This training is open to all districts, with priority given to districts designated Level 1 or 2. Registration is online. For more information, please contact Sarah Churchill Silberman, 781-338-3586 or Karen White, 781-338-3588.
  3. Teacher Reflection: The Importance of Play and Social-Emotional Learning
    Michele Leduc, a kindergarten teacher for Milford Public Schools and member of ESE's Teacher Advisory Cabinet, reflects on the important role of play in young children's social and emotional learning.

    Kindergarten has always been a place for children to explore, investigate, and play, but over the years, teachers have found it increasingly difficult to sustain this while covering all the content areas their students need in order to be prepared for first grade. I have found play to be extremely important in a student's social and emotional learning. Students who enter classrooms and know how to share, express their emotions, and manage conflict have an easier transition into higher grades. Play gives students the opportunity to learn and practice these skills.

    The new Pre-School and Kindergarten Standards in the domains of Social-Emotional Development and Approaches to Play and Learning were recently shared with the Kindergarten Readiness team in my district. I was so happy to see that play has been validated and incorporated into the state standards. I shared them with my kindergarten team and, needless to say, they were all very excited.

    Early childhood teachers can feel comfortable incorporating play into their day by providing time and space for students to apply what they learned and practice those lessons through play. A dress-up area, for example, can enable students to take on a role as a police officer based on what he or she learned from a community helpers unit. A puppet theater encourages students to retell and act out a story they listened to during reading workshop. Allowing a student to solve who goes first while playing Candy Land or having a child decide who should be the mom while playing in housekeeping gives students the practice they need to manage their social and emotional skills. Unfortunately, some teachers have taken play out of their daily routine and have traded it for a day made up of rigorous practice and work. It is my hope that as educators, we return to a more social and emotional learning environment and allow the learning to blossom in the simple act of play.
The Pre-School and Kindergarten Standards in the domains of Social-Emotional Development and Approaches to Play and Learning were passed by the Board of Early Education and Care in April and are in the final stages of the approval process. Use the #Top3FromESE hashtag on Twitter to share your thoughts about incorporating play. line Subscribe: Teachers' Top Three subscription form. We also invite you to connect with other teachers across the state and ESE staff on Twitter. Find us at @MASchoolsK12 and use #Top3fromESE to discuss items from this newsletter or suggest new topics. If you’re interested in writing a short piece for a future edition or have feedback or questions, contact us at

Last Updated: June 5, 2015

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