Instructional Technology, Not Testing Technology

Photo credit: William Warby

The emphasis on instructional technology in New York State should shift from preparation for computer based testing to an emphasis on the use of technology to help learning and to prepare students for their future in a world that regularly uses technology to research, communicate, collaborate and construct meaning. In addition, technology access should be equitable throughout the state. Teachers will require Continue reading

Responsive Classroom® and the New York Teaching Standards

A blog series: Part 6 of 7
Standard 6: Professional Responsibilities and Collaboration

ProfDevIn the last five OCM-RC Blogs we have looked at the connection with NYS Teaching Standards 1 – 5 with the Responsive Classroom® approach and practices.  In this sixth blog of seven we will focus those same connections with Responsive Classroom and NYS Teaching Standard 6: Professional Responsibilities and Collaboration.

NYS Teaching Standard 6 states, “Teachers demonstrate professional responsibility and engage relevant stakeholders to maximize student growth, development, and learning.”  Element VI.1 of this Standard says that Teachers will uphold professional standards of practice and policy as related to students’ right and teachers’ responsibly.    Continue reading

Meet Two Goals With One Strategy

BirdsIn my work with Non District programs many themes and needs come through clearly especially in this era of change.  One theme that I think is universal for all teachers and schools is the question of, “How do I teach everything I need to teach in the time that I have?”  Certainly there is no easy answer to this question as we are forever in education putting something new on our plates without ever taking something off our plates.  A second theme that also transcends Non District programs in working with students with Emotional Behavioral Disabilities (EBD) is the historically abysmal long term outcomes for this group of students. So, by now you must be thinking, “Where is she going with this?” Continue reading

Cutting through the Red Tape of Homeschooling

ManThe “Why”

With the hope of making the New York State Homeschool compliance regulations to feel more manageable for both parents of homeschoolers and school districts; OCM BOCES is going to begin offering a service to help component districts and families that decide to home school their children a way to navigate the red tape of New York State Department of Education (NYSED) Regulations.  Many may ask: Why do school districts need help ensuring families who have decided to homeschool their children are in compliance?  Continue reading

10 Step Process: Moving from Content Coverage to Content Literacy

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Image

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Image

Part of my job at the Network Team is to work with teachers in the academic disciplines on understanding the Common Core Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (Literacy Standards). Content area teachers are required to incorporate more reading and writing into their classes and most teachers I work with acknowledge that this can be a challenge.  Often, I hear statements and questions similar to the following: Continue reading

Historical Thinking = Creating His (and Her) Story from Evidence

This past week, we had a meeting of the TAH Teaching Fellows, a group that has been meeting all year to talk about the scholarship on the teaching and learning of history and to develop action research projects on historical thinking in their
classrooms. We talked about the idea that all of history is a narrative, created from the evidence or, as Bob Bain calls it, “residue” that is left to us. Historians need to base their narrative and make inferences that build logically on th2eir sources. This idea of historical narrative led me to think about the piles of materials and books that I brought back from the conference of the National Council for History Education. I had the privilege and pleasure in March of attending three days of presentations and keynote speakers. I also returned to Syracuse with more luggage than I left with! I wonder what historical narrative we can create based on that evidence. Let’s take a look at some of the residue… Continue reading


Eye“I am a survivor of a concentration camp.  My eyes saw what no man should witness:  Gas chambers built by learned engineers, children poisoned by educated physicians, infants killed by trained nurses, women and babies shot and buried by High School and College Graduates.  So I am suspicious of education.”

“My request is:  Help your students to become human.  Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmanns.  Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.”   Chaim Ginott, 1972 Continue reading

Mama, Why Do Zebras Have Stripes?

PBL-Graphic_3When my son Cory was a young boy, he would ask me questions in which I did not have quick, concrete answers.  “Mama, why do zebras have stripes? Why is the sky blue? How does a plane stay in the air?” Cory was naturally curious about the world he lived in—he wondered and he asked questions because he wanted to learn. As he grew older, he complained about school, and his questions took on a different form. He asked questions like “Why do I have to take English? How will I use Social Studies in real life? Why do I need a high school diploma?” Thankfully, Cory graduated from high school, but he will be the first to tell you it was only because I made him. He will also say the only high school learning he found useful was his BOCES construction courses. He has owned his own construction business since graduation. Obviously, the learning was relevant and interesting to him. Continue reading

Make the Best Better

As a child one of my earliest memories was of young men (from my preschool perspective) coming to our home for 4-H meetings as my father was a 4-H leader. I would often hang out in an adjacent room and eavesdrop! I looked forward to the day Mindsetwhen I would be old enough to join a club myself.  Hearing the pledge and motto recited around our kitchen made a lasting impression on me because over the years when I have been asked about my professional goals and desires, I have often responded with an expanded version of the 4-H motto:  to make the best better.

Recently our department has been reading and discussing the ideas from Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset.  Through our discussion, we have explored examples in our lives of growth and fixed mindsets.  We have talked about and shared how growth mindset manifests in work environment, home and in schools.  Continue reading

Paying Close Attention to Teaching with Intent Part 3

Math ClassThe last two literacy blog posts explored the topic: Paying Close Attention to Teaching with Intent. The first post explained how teachers shaped their literacy understandings by exploring the definition of teaching with intent and its purpose.  The second post layered teachers’ thinking and assisted with developing new insights around what to be more intentional about when teaching.  As a continuation, this post focuses on how teachers continuously shape their understandings around teaching with intent in order to answer the question “How do we intentionally teach to empower students to control their own learning?” Continue reading