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Mamaroneck Teachers Gather For First-Grade Workshop

Mirla Morrison instructs first-grade teachers on the use of Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES’s Integrated Social Studies English Language Arts Curriculum.
Mirla Morrison instructs first-grade teachers on the use of Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES’s Integrated Social Studies English Language Arts Curriculum. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- During the winter implementation workshop at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES this week, teachers whose school districts subscribe to BOCES’ Integrated Social Studies English Language Arts Curriculum, known as SSELA, were shown how to access books, videos, lesson plans and other resources that are part of the first-grade curriculum.

Other implementation sessions take place in the fall, and feedback and revision workshops are conducted every spring. To date, 125 school districts have subscribed to the SSELA curriculum.

For first-grade students, social studies focuses on “My Family and Other Families, Now and Long Ago.” The SSELA curriculum includes everything to help young children understand what it means to be part of a family, and to begin thinking critically about how people form communities.

All of the skills that students will need in upper grades – reading closely, comparing and contrasting, writing persuasively, answering questions based on documents, and more – are introduced in the first-grade curriculum.

Teachers, who had never used the curriculum before, from Mamaroneck, Rye City, White Plains and Goshen gathered for the Grade One workshop, which was led by Mirla Morrison.

A former Ossining teacher and social studies department chair, Morrison led the development of the Integrated SEELA curriculum. Morrison has published articles, presented at conferences, consulted to districts and public television, and trained and mentored hundreds of teachers throughout New York State.

The entire SSELA curriculum can be accessed online including background information for teachers, passages that can be read aloud to students, illustrations and glossaries, videos and web pages. All materials are updated continuously.

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