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Hebrew Academy of Five Towns & Rockaway
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Middle School Instructional Focus

  • HAFTR’s Middle School educators and school leaders are unified in common purpose.
  • We are committed to developing each student’s capacity for academic and intellectual achievement.
  • We are committed to developing each student’s capacity to learn both individually and collaboratively.
  • We are committed to developing each student’s “Growth Mindset.”
  • We are committed to developing each student’s metacognitive and social-emotional learning capacities: self-awareness, social awareness, decision-making and relationship skills within and beyond the classroom.
  • We view every HAFTR student as our student.
 
In HAFTR’s instructionally rigorous classrooms:
 
  • Complex and open-ended Essential Questions frame each unit of study and course progression.
  • Students develop deep conceptual understandings regarding the How (processes) and the Why (significance of) learning as it relates to each unit of study and course progression.
  • Student-led discussions, in small group and full class configurations, feature high-level questions, evidence-based responses, and a range of opportunities for students to learn from and with each other.
  • Students self-identify and articulate their “next moves” as learners: they articulate the content understandings and skills that they are developing anew or reinforcing within a unit of study or course progression.
  • Students apply their content understandings and skills toward the creation of high level, authentic, responses to complex, open-ended, questions. Students engage in public exhibition of their work.
 
Growth Mindset

Part of our Instructional Focus includes the cultivation of a “Growth Mindset” and the teaching of this concept to our students.
Mindset is a simple idea developed by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talents instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

Please review the following resources now and use them as reference throughout the year-- they will be critical in developing a pedagogy that is grounded in the “Growth Mindset.”

Resource 1: “Developing A Growth Mindset,” https://stanfordconnects.stanford.edu/watch/developing-growth-mindset
Resource 2: Grit by Angela Duckworth
Resource 3: Growth Mindset for Parents: https://www.mindsetkit.org/growth-mindset-parents
Resource 4: Neuroplasticity video from Sentis
https://www.mindsetkit.org/static/files/YCLA_LessonPlan_v10.pdf
Resource 5: New York Magazine: “How Not to Talk To Your Kid”
http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/
Resource 6: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck