APPR 2.0

StatusMy last post was about the disheartening comparison of teacher evaluation scores from district to district. The incredibly wide range of scores that the exact same teacher would get in different districts threatens to undermine any credibility in the system at all. Our system and our APPR plans need to be upgraded to APPR 2.0.

Our governor and legislature have decided, through the budget process (which I certainly don’t understand), to avoid the question of whether Triborough applies to Annual Professional Performance (APPR) by deciding that existing APPR plans remain in effect until replaced by a new, approved plan. Is this good news, or bad news? Or, is it both bad and good? Continue reading

Guiding Principle #6 of the Responsive Classroom®

FamOver the past 5 OCM BOCES’ Responsive Classroom blogs, I have been sharing the guiding principles behind the approach and its 10 teaching practices. This blog entry will focus on Principle 6:  Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children we teach.

In the Responsive Classroom we believe that family involvement is essential to children’s growth in education and learning.  We like to start the year asking parents what their hopes and dreams are for their child’s learning socially and academically.  Those goals are related to the child’s goals for the year.  We use the hopes and dream to formulate our classroom rules and classroom community. Continue reading

Effective Feedback

SpecEdWe have been talking a lot about how to continually check for understanding as you are instructing.  Use of Popsicle sticks, wipe off paddles, response cards, and choral responses are just a few of the ideas that have already been shared in our past blogs. Effective Feedback is the last part of Checking for Understanding and a step that is necessary for solidifying the learning for all students. Three types of Effective Feedback are:  Echo, Elaborate, and Explain. Continue reading

Historical Thinking = Habits of Mind or What Does it Mean to Be Well-Educated?

This will be a short, pithy post, my friends.  We are all up to our collective eyebrows in preparing for, administering, scoring and recovering from NYS Assessments, so you will see no lengthy verbiage from yours truly.  You’re welcome!

CapAndDiplomaI have had reason this week to wonder what it means to be well-educated.  Do you know someone that you would describe as well-educated?  What qualities and characteristics does that person possess?  Is it factual knowledge?  Lots of knowledge of a wide range of subjects, or deep knowledge in one focused area?  Advanced academic degrees and a lengthy resume?  The ability to use sesquipedalian vocabulary?  If we want our children to be well-educated, what do we want them to know and be able to do?  What do we want for our students and, ultimately for ourselves and our society?  Continue reading

Positive Youth Development, How Do You Do It?

SocialClassroomFor Positive Youth Development to occur we need to turn big classes into smaller units and open avenues for voice and choice with students. Students need to collaborate, belong, and work on projects that motivate and apply to the “real world.” Students have much to offer and educators need to encourage their input and build on the ideas that are generated from their choices.

When students are engaged in their learning, collaborating with their peers and contributing to the knowledge of the whole, then we are promoting mental health in the classroom. Continue reading

Adding Up

numbersNote to the reader: I am hesitant to post this. I fear that the opponents of a new system of Teacher and Leader Evaluation will use this as another reason to reject the new system of evaluation and include it as another reason to return to our old, utterly ineffective system of evaluation. Most of the attacks on the new system of evaluation are an indiscriminate defense of the old system of teacher evaluation and a decidedly un-leader like display of resistance to change and a romanticism of an ineffective past. Nonetheless, the findings I described here should be known and addressed. Otherwise, much of the promise of a new evaluation system will remain unrealized due to these inconsistencies. Detractors will use this to undermine the system – when a new system is necessary.

82, 80, 56, 61, 66, 84, 83, 69, 82, 82, 82, 85, 79, 83, 70, 62, 81. What do these numbers have in common? No, this post is not about the Common Core Mathematics Standards or Mathematical Continue reading

Emily Dickinson, Demons, and the NYS Teaching Standards

Teacher EvaluationJust as teachers must define what students should know and be able to do, the NYS Teaching Standards define what teachers should know and be able to do.  Adopted by the Board of Regents in January 2011, the Teaching Standards are deceivingly simple at first glance.

  1. Knowledge of Students and Student Learning
  2. Knowledge of Content and Instructional Planning
  3. Instructional Practice
  4. Learning Environment
  5. Assessment for Student Learning
  6. Professional Responsibilities and Collaboration
  7. Professional Growth

Closer examination of the Teaching Standards document reveals a web of interrelated criteria referred to as Elements and Performance Indicators – the “what” and the “how” of the seven broad categories listed above.  Continue reading