Readiness? Readiness.

CapAndDiplomaSome educators are concerned that the measures that are purported to express college and career readiness do not, in fact, have much to do with college and career readiness at all. In our state, New York, the definition of college and career readiness is defined as earning an 80% on a math Regents and a 75% on the ELA Regents. Scores on a couple of state assessments do little to illuminate a student’s readiness for college and career, as we know well. Other measures, other than tested English Language Arts and mathematics test scores, tell us far more about a student’s readiness. We know that employers are looking for the four Cs: Critical thinking and problem solving, effective communication, collaboration and, creativity and innovation. We also know that character traits such as self-direction, persistence, confidence, responsibility, and efficacy have more than a little bit to do with readiness. Yet, we do not assess these skills and attributes, even though they tell us far more about readiness than just two Regents scores. Continue reading

Responsive Classroom® and the New York Teaching Standard 2

A blog series: Part 2 of 7
Standard 2: Knowledge of Content and Instructional Planning

LearningThroughAcademicChoiceIn the last OCM-RC Blog we looked at the connection with NYS Teaching Standard 1, the knowledge of students and student learning with the Responsive Classroom® approach.  In this second blog of seven we will focus those same connections with Responsive Classroom on standard 2: The Knowledge of Content and Instructional practices.

A Responsive Classroom teachers pay special attention to the content they teach and purposefully plan their instruction so that learning is engaging to their students. They take great care to scaffold the skills and knowledge needed by their students and design differentiated learning experiences for them.  When a teacher knows their content well, they can take their instruction to multifaceted levels (ST 2.1). Continue reading


FishBehavior, it happens every minute of every day.  When we observe appropriate behavior, we smile and feel good about what we see.  However, when we observe inappropriate behavior we often feel frustrated or even angry, especially when the inappropriate behavior occurs in the classroom and disrupts learning.  When we see appropriate behavior, do we always acknowledge the person engaged in that behavior?  I bet the majority of us do not.  However, when inappropriate behavior occurs, my guess is that most of us do respond to that. Continue reading

Historical Thinking = Prego Sauce (It’s in there!)

BodyWork2I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working with Career and Technical Education Teachers and the Standards for Literacy in the Common Core Learning Standards.  Initially teachers find it challenging to relate literacy standards to their instruction in Auto Collision or Welding or Culinary Arts.  Then they begin to see that the reading and writing skills outlined in the standards support their students to build their knowledge and skill about Auto Collision or Welding or Culinary Arts.  For content area teachers, the point is not to have students reading and writing about Moby Dick (as one content area teacher asked me).  The point is to have students reading and writing about using adhesive bonding procedures or oxyfuel cutting principles or establishing mise en place.  Reading and writing about these concepts is how students learn about the “stuff” of Auto Collision or Welding or Culinary Arts.  It’s an essential part of the process of teaching and learning the content, not a separate piece or an add-on. Continue reading

I Live by These Three Principles…

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Have you ever read a book where the author says…”I live by these three principles,” and you begin to wonder if this could be the core of your next Blog for work?  I’m sure many of us have these thoughts, correct?  Well, here are the 3 principles that I believe can assist us in our communications with one another.  First, “Say YES:”  when you are asked to help with something at school, when a student asks for time to talk, and when your frazzled supervisor looks like he/she needs a little boost.  “Say YES!”  Secondly, “Make Statements.”  Be confident in your answer, and demonstrate that you have the knowledge and expertise that will assist everyone in this situation.  “Make Statements.”  Thirdly, “There are no mistakes, just opportunities!”  Continue reading

Choosing Expectations

Kids-runningI found a column written by Cynthia Tucker this summer to be thought provoking.  The gist of the column was that kids don’t pick their parents and as research repeatedly demonstrates poverty levels have considerable impact on student outcomes.   “…new barriers have cropped up to limit the futures of children born to poor or working-class parent, whether they are black, white or brown.  A globalized economy and technological breakthroughs have conspired to abolish the good-paying jobs that used to be available to workers with high school diplomas or less.”  The article concludes by saying it is rare that a person’s  “achievement stretches far beyond the foundation he was given in his childhood” and that “the United States has the resources to pour money into giving less-affluent children a rich educational foundation –from early childhood.” Continue reading

Love Books?

GenreStudyWhat genre do you read? What do you love about it?

Developing a love for books happens at a very young age. We must foster that love for reading by helping our students explore genre. Genre can open many doors for our students.

Once again, Fountas and Pinnell, have created a resource to help us teach our students about genre.

You can check out this NEW resource on the Heinemann website. Continue reading

Get Creative

ScienceClassThere is always talk nowadays about making our children more creative to prepare for the jobs for the 21st century. The word “creativity” is used a lot, but do we really know and understand the true definition of it?  I think most of us know creativity when we see it.  We also have to admit that everyone, (maybe almost everyone) has some type of creative side. Continue reading

What’s Hot – What’s Not: And how knowing your students’ cultural climate may affect your classroom communication

Beach-SceneLast month I wrote that I plan to read more this year:  I am happy to report I have found my next book, Foreign to Familiar by Sarah LanieI.   I came across this book recommendation while looking at the ESL writing website from Colorado State University.

Perhaps I was drawn to this book and CSU’s own post regarding Foreign to Familiar by Sarah LanieI about how the climate where you live can be a predictor of cultural values and behaviors because of the unusually warm weather we are having in Syracuse.  Eating traditional cold climate comfort foods in 80 degree weather has been a bit peculiar.  Continue reading