20 + 20 + 60 ≠ 100

1310_APPR-Lead-Evaluator-Training_REWe’re now in our third year of Lead Evaluator Training as required by the law, regulations, and rules for 3012(c). At OCM BOCES, we’ve trained (and continue to train) hundreds of leaders in the required nine components of Lead Evaluator Training:

  1. New York State Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards
  2. Evidence-based observation
  3. Application and use of Student Growth Percentile and VA Growth Model data
  4. Application and use of the State-approved teacher or principal rubrics
  5. Application and use of any assessment tools used to evaluate teachers and principals
  6. Application and use of State-approved locally selected measures of student achievement
  7. Use of the Statewide Instructional Reporting System
  8. Scoring methodology used to evaluate teachers and principals
  9. Specific considerations in evaluating teachers and principals of ELLs and students with disabilities Continue reading

Responsive Classroom® & the NY Teaching Standards – Part 3

Part 3 of 7
Standard 3: Instructional Practices

KidsIn the last two OCM-RC Blogs we looked at the connection with NYS Teaching Standards 1 & 2 with the Responsive Classroom® approach.  In this third blog of seven we will focus those same connections with Responsive Classroom on standard 3: Instructional Practice.  NYS Teaching Standard/Element 3.1 states, “Uses research-based practices and evidence of student learning to provide developmentally appropriate and standards-driven instruction that motivates and engages students in learning” is supported by the use of the 10 Responsive Classroom teaching practices. Continue reading

Frog and Toad Go to 5th Grade

FrogAndToadI recently had the opportunity to attend the NYS Reading Association conference in Albany.  As I scanned through the 100 break out session titles over the course of the two and a half days, of course, text complexity and close reading were hot topics across the board.  The one that drew my attention was presented by a known author of elementary teacher resources and literacy consultant in schools across the country.  The session was titled, “When Texts Get Complex: Assessing Comprehension, Crafting Goals, and Getting Students to the Next Level.” Continue reading

Historical Thinking = How You Read It, Not Just What You Read

MarkedI am currently in the middle of choosing a history book for a discussion that we will be holding in January as part of our Teaching American History grant, and I am having trouble deciding which book to choose. The book needs to be intriguing enough to whet people’s appetites so that they will sign up for the discussion group in the first place, and it needs to be accessible and readable enough for those people to actually follow through and read it. It also must have enough meaty ideas and themes to be fodder for good discussion. And if it’s a little controversial, presenting some well-known person or event from a new perspective, so much the better. Continue reading

All Roads Lead to Research



Many of you math experts out there may know the saying “All roads lead to Algebra.”  Well, in the ELA world, we have sayings too!  As we continue to develop an understanding of what Common Core aligned instruction looks like and what College and Career Readiness means for our students and their success, we may need to create some new sayings and make them our mantras to keep shifting our thinking… and our instructional practice.  Continue reading

PBL 8 Essentials: 21st Century Skills

21C_BIGSince the beginning of the school year I have been working closely with the East Syracuse-Minoa School District, spending 40 days in-district coaching and teaching Project-Based Learning in their 4 elementary schools and middle school.  This past week, the 7th grade STREAM Team (Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Arts, Math) finished up their first project they started with Joanne Keim and myself during our summer PBL-101 in-district training.  Their 7th grade project was called “Back from the Dead: The Onondaga Lake Project” and their public audience and presentations happened appropriately on Halloween.  The students looked at the history of the lake and made recommendations for the future use through different lenses: Native American, Business, Recreation, and Environmentalists.  Continue reading

Healthy Debate

ChinaEvery now and then I encounter a column or blog where I find the comments and rebuttals just as thought provoking as the original column.   Thomas Friedman from New York Times published a column on Oct 22 titled, “Chinese schools succeed with relentless focus on basics.”  Of course, I was drawn into reading the column to learn what he thought were the “basics.”  He states that there is no secret but that the basics are: Continue reading

How am I teaching with intent to promote purposeful learning?


More often than not, educators’ minds are constantly reflecting on best teaching practices, effective literacy programs, the review process for Response to Intervention, and more importantly, on the answer to the above question. In order to reflect on how you are teaching with intent to promote purposeful learning, you must first develop an understanding of what it means to “teach with intent.” Recently, literacy experts Irene Fountas and Mary Rosser exposed other literacy specialists to several informative articles to help develop a deeper understanding of what it means to teach with intent. Continue reading

Bedtime Anytime

Bedtime Math
by Laura Overdeck, Illus by Jim Paillot
ages 3-8, Feiwel & Friends, 2013

Reading a story at bedtime is a ritual that certainly presents itself in my house every night.  Even on those nights when I am just too exhausted to move, my 3 ½ year old little boy reminds me that we must have a story before bed.  No excuses! There are so many benefits to reading to your child; language literacy, increased vocabulary, etc. etc. If you are reading this blog, I am CERTAIN you know all about those benefits!

In the days of informational text, literacy skills, and core research, I have often been asked for reading suggestions for science.  There are many options available with relevant science content, from a variety of vendors.  You can visit the Science Center’s website for more information (sciencecenter.ocmboces.org).  More and more I am also being asked about what types of informational text is available for math.  How can we get kids reading about math? Where can we find valuable texts and reading resources surrounding math? Continue reading