Responsive Classroom® and the New York Teaching Standards

A blog series: Part 5 of 7 Standard 5: Assessment for Student Learning

GirlReadingIn the last four OCM-RC Blogs we have looked at the connection with NYS Teaching Standards 1 – 4 with the Responsive Classroom® approach and practices.  In this fifth blog of seven we will focus those same connections with Responsive Classroom and standard 5: Assessment for Student Learning.

All the blogs I have written making RC connection with the NYS Teaching Standards have been pretty easy, but this one I have found a bit more challenging, but with that said, I am going to forge ahead and make the connections I see within Responsive Classrooms and assessments. Continue reading

College, Career & Citizenship Readiness: More than 75% and 80%

WordleThe definition of College and Career Readiness in New State needs to be expanded. First, the definition should embrace Citizenship Readiness in addition to College and Career. Second, the definition must also be broadened far beyond a score on a couple of Regents exams, (80% on a math Regents examination and 75% on an ELA Regents examination).

To be College, Career, and Citizenship ready, our graduates must also be proficient at the 4Cs: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creative Problem Solving. Continue reading

What’s HOT?

hotHigher Order Thinking skills are!

The Common Core State Standards have been developed to be “Inclusive of rigorous content and applications of knowledge through higher-order skills, so that all students are prepared for the 21st century”.  So, is this something new that just came along with the Common Core State Standards?  Not really.  If you have studied learning taxonomies such as Bloom’s, then you have been at least exposed to ways that educators can be HOT teachers!

By applying higher-order thinking skills, the idea is that students are using more cognitive processing.  These skills include such things as:  critical, logical, reflective, metacognitive, and creative thinking; as well as analysis, evaluation and synthesis (creation of new knowledge).  Continue reading

How to Write a Grant Proposal… Even If You Don’t Have the Time or the Inclination

GrantImageIn this day and age of dwindling funding for education, school districts are looking for alternatives to making staff cuts or slashing programs. Grants have been an under used remedy to this situation due to an intimidating process. It doesn’t have to be this way.

In the past grant writing has been a daunting undertaking for school districts, especially small districts with limited staff. Continue reading

Historical Thinking = Making Evidence-Based Claims

If I had a nickel for every time I have used the word “evidence” in the last couple of years, I would have a substantial pile of nickels! We see the word evidence in the Common Core Standards, in the curriculum modules that have been developed to support ELA instruction and in every discussion of historical thinking. We want students to become skilled in finding and using evidence from text to support their analyses, their interpretations and their conclusions. We especially want them to be able to do this in their writing.

magnifying-glassThis is exactly what historians do for a living! What do historians do? They make claims about what happened in the past based on the evidence that they collect from primary and secondary sources. They analyze these sources to find patterns of agreement and contradiction, clarity and confusion, overlap and disparity. From that analysis, they formulate a claim: “Here is what I think this means and here’s why I think so.” Continue reading

How Sweet It Is(n’t)

imageIts origin can be traced back to India and the island of New Guinea sometime around 8,000B.C. Ancient Greeks and Romans imported it as a medicine, not as a food. Until the end of medieval times, it was considered a “fine spice” and, thus, very expensive. But, during the past 500-600 years, it has become a bulk commodity as our eating habits have changed to incorporate it into our daily lives. Mary Poppins even sang about it in the classic 1964 Disney movie….. Continue reading

Close Reading

close-readingClose reading, Close reading, Close reading. Our students need to be reading closely. It seems that everywhere we go there is conversation about the close reading that students need to be doing. The big question is what is close reading? How do we teach students to read text closely and why is it so important? As I have listened to conversations amongst teachers, I too have wondered well just what is close reading. Continue reading

Our New PBL Teacher Trainer: Denise Pawlewicz

Pawlewicz_Denise_WEBAs the newest member of the OCM BOCES Project Based Learning team of trainers, I would like to take this time to introduce myself. Let me begin by saying I understand the challenges of the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) and the shifts you have had to make in your teaching practices to embrace new instructional methods Pawlewicz_Denise_WEBthat involve teaching a deeper level of inquiry and problem solving skills. As an English teacher during this time of paramount change, I have been on the roller coaster ride of highs and lows, of seeing the gains and the losses, of feeling both rewarded and frustrated. I believe the implementation of the CCLS has made me a better teacher and my students are better critical thinkers, but there is that nagging feeling there is a piece missing from the puzzle of educational reform that completes the picture of rigor with relevancy. Continue reading

The Rider, The Elephant and the Path

During the month of December, the staff of four departments in OCM BOCES Instructional Support Services collectively read Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.   We divided into three groups and made “junk sculptures” to represent key ideas.   The materials available were all culled from recycling bins and kitchen- junk drawers.  This is a non-linguistic strategy that forces groups to summarize key ideas by creating metaphors for the key ideas.  McRel research on Classroom Instruction that Works indicates that this is a highly effective strategy for learners.  So research on strategies aside, what were the key ideas from our reading?

First, is the idea that we all can react to change in a rational manner, but may need some direction.  This can be accomplished by following bright spots (replicate what is working), script the critical moves (don’t go so big but rather identify small, specific behaviors) and point to the destination (know where you are going and why).   Here are:   Jenny Fanelli, Lisa Pye, Lisa Schlegel and Catie Reeve with their depiction of the first key idea which is to “Direct the Rider.”


Continue reading

Paying Close Attention to Teaching With Intent (part 2)

Conversations among literacy teachers continues around the topic: Paying Close Attention to Teaching with Intent.  In the last post, we explored the meaning of intentional teaching and its purpose.  As a continuation, this post focuses on how teachers are learning more in order to answer the question “What are we being intentional about when teaching?”

Most recently, our literacy understandings have taken shape around conversations and understandings about how we are helping students build knowledge and strategic processing.  Teachers purposefully create teacher-child interactions that build knowledge and promote literacy competencies as students learn language, learn about language, and learn through language. Continue reading