Classroom Close-up


NJTV’s Classroom Close-up is a weekly television series that features innovative projects in New Jersey public schools. This collection of videos highlights strategies and practices that aim to enhance classroom instruction and shape a positive school culture.

Use the links to browse the video collection by topic area. 

  • NY Times Learning Network

    Freshmen at High Technology High School in Lincroft, NJ read an assigned article from the New York Times or the Asbury Park Press daily. The students then write about and discuss the current events--using journalism as a unique platform to learn English language arts and social studies. Teachers Sarah Gross and Jon Olsen incorporate Common Core literacy standards by using the NYTimes Learning Network, an online blog and news site for grades 3-12. The main goals of infusing journalism into the classroom are to make students better critical thinkers and to foster life-long writing and presentation skills.

    Grades: 13+
  • Project 79

    Project ’79 at Westfield High School is an alternative academic program with a rigorous college prepatory curriculum. Students in the program take the same classes as "mainstream" students; the difference is in the way the courses are taught. A team of Project '79 teachers collaborate to create interdisciplinary, hands-on projects that are meaningful and relevant to the students. Due to the small class sizes, pupils also get more individualized attention. The program's goals include helping students develop a positive attitude toward learning and critical intra- and interpersonal skills.

    Grades: 13+
  • Project Team

    Students from elementary through high school in Stafford, NJ participate in anti-bullying programs designed to increase self-esteem and promote compassion. At Southern Regional High School, students in the Student Team-Building Youth Leadership Experience (S.T.Y.L.E.) program teach students at Ocean Acres Elementary School about helping others, positive behavior, problem solving, resiliency, and leadership. One second grade teacher said that in the two years the initiatives have been in place, he has seen his students become less ego-centric and more compassionate.

    Grades: 13+
  • The R Word

    The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities visits Sandman Consolidated Elementary School to promote the elimination of the “R Word.” Students learn why the "R Word" is hurtful to people with intellectual disabilities, discuss "bullying language," and pledge to eliminate the word from their everyday speech. After the presentation, student ambassadors speak to other students about the R-word campaign and ask them to sign the pledge.

    Grades: 13+
  • Real Men Read

    Reading Specialist Marilu Bicknell in Glassboro, NJ was concerned by statistics showing that young boys are more interested in sports than books, so she created a literacy program to foster a love of reading among male students. Bicknell created the Real Men Read Literacy Project at the Thomas E. Bowe Elementary School in Glassboro. The program consists of regular breakfasts with men in the community (including alumni, the town's mayor, athletes, school janitors) and an afterschool book club for boys to explore various book genres with their peers.

    Grades: 13+
  • Rock Star Ralph

    Music teacher Randy “Ralph” Raab of East Hanover Township, NJ engages his students and addresses the diversity of skill levels in the classroom with a mix of teaching techniques. He introduces pre-kindergarten students to the mechanics of the violin before singing and dancing to a song about a cookie. For older students, he incorporates game-based learning to the study of classical composers and music theory. Raab believes that music programs increase student test scores, attendance and self-esteem, and advocates for their importance in schools.

    Grades: 13+
  • SELECT | Classroom Close-Up, NJ

    The Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark runs a single-gender classroom program called SELECT (Scholars Electing Lifelong Education Character and Transformation). Teachers address different learning styles of boys and girls and incorporate various teaching methods and activities for the girls and boys. The program was initially established to bridge the achievement gap for African American boys and strengthen proficiency in science and math for girls.

    Grades: 13+
  • Spanish E-Pals

    Seventh graders in Upper Saddle River, NJ use ePals Global Classsroom to exchange emails with native Spanish speaking peers living on the outskirts of Seville, Spain. Kristine Tesoriero, a Cavallini Middle School Spanish teacher received a grant from the Upper Saddle River Education Foundation for fifteen laptops to use in her classroom for this project. This made it easier than ever for her students to practice writing skills and share cultural information with their e-pals. The students view their e-pals as "new friends," and their digital interactions make learning Spanish more engaging and meaningful.

    Grades: 13+
  • Teaching from Space

    Five educators from Mountview Road Elementary School in Hanover Township, NJ bring their experience from NASA's Teaching From Space program back to the classroom. At the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, the teachers designed a magnet experiment that they completed during a 23-second "reduced gravity" flight. This experiment was repeated with twice the amount of earth's gravity. Back at school, teachers simulated the conditions by using fans and other objects to allow students to understand the variables and challenges of doing science experiments in space.

    Grades: 13+
  • We the People

    Developed by the California-based Center for Civic Education, We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is the largest civic education program in the country. The program focuses on the history and principles of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. About 250 students from across New Jersey participated in the culminating 2013 event at Rutgers University’s Busch Campus Center, where they demonstrated their knowledge via simulated legislative hearings.

    Grades: 13+
  • A Day in the Classroom

    This episode of NJEA's Classroom Close-up highlights the teacher for a day program in Logan Township School District where professionals volunteer as teachers and paraprofessionals to experience what it is like to be a teacher. The volunteers gain a better understanding of the school system, the state of education, and the day-to-day demands of being a teacher.  

    Grades: 13+
  • Robotics

    Students at North Brunswick High School are excited about building their STEM skills as they build robots and compete in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions in this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up. 

    Grades: 13+
  • Musical Thread

    In this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up, elementary, middle, and high school music teachers collaborate to form a musical thread tying students’ experiences together as they progress through the school system.  They are practicing what they call “vertical alignment,” a system for communicating about and collaborating on lesson plans across the different aged schools. They hope that other academic subject areas will adopt similar practices to ensure that students are prepared for the next steps in their education.

    Grades: 13+
  • Get on the Wall

    In this episode of NJEA's Classroom Close-up, watch as students at Reading-Fleming Intermediate School in Flemington, NJ "get on the wall" by creating murals for their school. The Mural Club is an after school program for students in fifth and sixth grade. Working closely with teachers, the students paint murals around the school that showcase their studies or extracurricular activities. For example, the mural club created a solar system mural for the science hallway in which the relative sizes of the planets were accurately portrayed. Students research subjects, plan the design, and collaborate to create their murals.

    Grades: 13+
  • Future Fuels

    In this episode of NJEA's Classroom Close-up, Eighth graders from Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick, NJ investigate alternative power sources for cars of the future. Students follow an engineering sequence of defining a problem, researching solutions, documenting the design process, and using trial and error to refine their design. For this project, groups of students design model cars powered by solar cells, hydrogen fuels cells or electric motors. Students apply their knowledge of physics, materials, and design in the hand-son STEM project.

     

    Grades: 13+
  • ESL Autobiographies

    School can be challenging for many students, especially when learning English as a Second Language (ESL). However, in this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up, ESL students at McManus Middle School learn English language skills in a meaningful way. An autobiography assignment gives the students the opportunity to research their family histories and hone their English writing and speaking skills while boosting their confidence! Their classroom is a safe space that fosters risk taking and mistake making to create a comfortable learning environment.  

    Grades: 13+
  • Docudrama

    Drama, film, and television students from Franklin Township High School collaborate to entertain and educate in this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up. Students examine the issues of today by exploring issues and events of the past. Together, they create a docudrama that incorporates acting, dancing, and multimedia video production to explore and teach about the Vietnam War. 

    Grades: 13+
  • Youth Engaged in Service

    This episode of NJEA's Classroom Close-up highlights the Youth Engaged in Service program at Hillside Intermediate School. The school integrates service learning across the curriculum. In science, students learn how to protect local environments. In language arts, students write and illustrate books for children. The school participates in projects that improve the lives of people and animals, as well as projects that promote environmental stewardship. Students have many opportunities to work directly with the people in the community that they are helping. Technology is used to document the service learning projects.

    Grades: 13+
  • Teaching the Tough Subjects

    Watch how educators present difficult topics involving human suffering in this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up. Teachers and community groups have created curricula on topics such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and school shootings. Middle school students made a website to raise awareness about modern day slavery. High school students wrote and presented a play exploring the complicated issue of bullying. While some topics may be difficult to discuss, they can be meaningful experiences for students if they are approached carefully.

    Grades: 13+
  • iRead

    In this episode of NJEA’s Classroom Close-up, students at Edgemont Elementary School are using tablet computers to improve their writing skills. Writing teacher Jennette Williams received a grant to buy several tablets for her students to use. Based on what topics they are studying, students are writing letters to different people. The students start by thinking about their audience and the purpose of their letter. Students use the tablets to write a letter, edit it, and then send it via email. The technology increases student engagement in the writing process.

    Grades: 13+

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