Responsive Classroom® and the New York Teaching Standards

A blog series: Part 7 of 7
Standard 7: Professional Growth

In the last six OCM-RC Blogs I have looked at the connections with NYS Teaching Standards with the Responsive Classroom® approach and practices.  In this seventh and final blog on this topic  I will focus those same connections with Responsive Classroom and NYS Teaching Standard 7: Professional Growth. RC-Assessment2

The NYS Teaching Standard 7 has four elements, the first 7.1 states that a teacher should reflect on their practice to improve instructional effectiveness and guide professional growth.  In the newly revised Responsive Classroom Course, teachers are given RC-AssessmentThe Responsive Classroom Assessment book so that they can reflect on the application of the learning they received during this course.  The assessment tool can provide teachers and administrators with the kind of feedback and support that is frequently missing in schools today.  Continue reading

When is it Okay to Use the Word Retarded?

ChartThe plain and simple answer to this question is: never.  The word retarded has increasingly become a part of everyday language.  When did that become okay?  The term mental retardation is no longer used as a disability classification in the educational system.  Students who were once classified as mentally retarded are now intellectually disabled, making an even stronger case that the word retarded should not be used. Continue reading

Survey Says!

How many times in a single day are we pestered with a robo-call or email blast asking for our opinion about something? While we might get frustrated with the bombardment of request, there is an important point in all of it: Surveys help business with information about customer habits and experiences. Surveys are a routine part of marketing and research.

Surveys can be a great help at school, too. They are a quick way to gather data and they send a positive message.

Concerts and other events are a great opportunity to gather data from parents. Most of them have had to drop off their child early to get ready for the concert and so you have a captive audience while they wait for the audience to begin. Why not use this opportunity to gather data from your parents? Continue reading

Historical Thinking = Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Photo: Wikipedia

No, this is not a historical look at the political allegory of The Wizard of Oz, or the symbolism of the song that Dorothy sings in the movie version. It’s a slightly roundabout allusion to the New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework that was adopted by the Board of Regents in April. The rainbow is used to illustrate the structure of the Framework, including both skills and content with an increased emphasis on inquiry. With apologies to L. Frank Baum, Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg, let’s go over the Social Studies rainbow and take a closer look at each band: Continue reading

Did YOU Take “The Challenge?”

imageThe Healthy Schools NY program @ OCM BOCES joined forces with many local stakeholders to host the first annual Healthier Central New York Challenge On Thursday, May 1, 2014. What’s the “Challenge?” First and foremost, it’s to get all students in CNY to move more and eat better; actually, we want our entire community to get healthier. But, The Challenge also has to do with meeting the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new food regulations in schools and strengthening their district Wellness policies. So, over 80 committed food service personnel, nurses, dieticians, students, public health professionals, teachers and community members converged on the Henry Campus to hear about these new regs directly from the source. We were fortunate to be able to have Mary Jo McLarney, Registered Dietician/Nutritionist with the USDA’s Northeast Regional Office, spend the day with us to talk about the changes that begin July 1st. Continue reading

Leveling the Playing Field for All Students

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once wrote, “The only constant in life is change.”  This is an accurate description for OCM BOCES Regional Summer School.  There are a multitude of changes occurring within the Summer School Program to better address the needs of students that attend our program.  Some of the changes are minor, such as having all four locations of summer school implementing a three block schedule that has been traditionally only at the Cicero-North Syracuse and Cortland summer school sites.  For the first time at summer school we will be using a universal English Language Arts (ELA) and literacy framework for all subject area teachers to incorporate and to utilize throughout the summer.  Perhaps the most exciting changes occurring this summer will be the way that we provide support services to students with disabilities (SWDs) and English Language Learners (ELLs). Continue reading

Classroom Design for 21st Century Learning

Recently my colleague and I were asked to do PBL-101 training for a local Teaching Center.  The venue assigned to us was on a college campus in a new building that had just recently opened.  The coordinator of the event met us at the door and led us down the sparkling new hallways of the building to the room we would be using for the 3-day training.  We walked into the room and were struck dumbfounded!  There before us was a room design that was familiar to us from our childhood, row upon row of tightly packed desks.  At first we started to try to rearrange the desks into groups of four, but due to the closeness of the rows and desks, there wasn’t enough space without totally redesigning the whole room layout.   My colleague and I looked at each other, then to the coordinator and announced in unison, “This room will not do, this is not designed for 21st century learning.”   At first, I think the coordinator thought we were joking, but we then clarified that PBL training engages learners in a collaborative, inquiry-based learning environment where they will work together to create their first PBL experience. Continue reading

No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship- Dr. James Comer

Photo: Jeff A. Johnstone, US Navy

In our work with teachers around the challenges and rewards of working with students, we frequently explore the research seeking what works to support achievement for struggling students.  Repeatedly, the concept of relationships of mutual respect surfaces as a key component. Positive relationships enhance student motivation and desire to learn.  Mutual respect doesn’t necessarily mean “liking” a student but rather recognizing each other as individuals of value. Ruby Payne of AHA Process  offers the idea that mutual respect means offering support, high expectations, and insistence — the belief that the individual is capable of meeting those expectations. She further defines relationships by saying that mutual respect is comprised of structure (boundaries), consequences (what if boundaries are not honored) and choice (individuals make decisions regarding parameters and boundaries). For me, the quote from Dr. Comer sums up the idea that motivation (the excitement, desire and curiosity for learning) comes from such relationships, whether it is with a student or a colleague. Continue reading

The Foundation for Organizational Change: School Culture


Photo: KOMUnews

Photo: KOMUnews

“Schools in America are the most difficult organizations to change due to the culture.”
– Dr. Dan Lordy


As the regent’s reform agenda was rolled out educators heard a great deal about the new Common Core State Standards, the evaluation systems and APPR, and even the push to use data to inform instruction. The area that we did not hear as much about was the need to transform school culture. A positive school culture is the foundational element for change, not only from which to begin to address these Regents’ Reform Agenda elements, but also in order to sustain the work. Continue reading

Teachers TryScience

I cannot help but share this great STEM information from Michael Gorman. Mike is an advocate for transforming education and bringing 21st Century Skills to classrooms. He was awarded Indiana STEM Educator of the Year.  Please take a read as it discusses a great program that you can share with your STEM students! Continue reading