Don’t Go on a Wild Goose Chase

There are two typical responses to the release of 3-8 state test scores. For some districts who are disappointed in these scores, Chicken Little comes to mind. Other districts strut their stuff because their scores are high. A few districts don’t pay too much attention. Which is the right approach?

It’s a political reality that these scores do get some political and public attention (although it does seem that the interest in these scores is waning possibly because of all the drama and possibly fatigue). The thing about these scores, though, is that it is practically impossible to do anything about them.

ChartThe biggest reason why it is exceedingly difficult to move the scores is that the scores measure the rate of economic disadvantage of a district more than they measure anything else. The department, in their press release that accompanied the release of the 2013-2014 3-8 scores stated: Continue reading

Teaching Social Studies = A Corps of Discovery

Welcome to the first edition of the transformed Teaching American History blog, now the Teaching Social Studies blog! Although I will continue to write about historical and critical thinking, standards and teaching and learning in the classroom, the focus will widen to all social studies content.

I just (finally) finished the book Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose, the story of the Corps of Discovery and their trip of exploration of the Northwest from 1803 to 1806. I had started it in the spring in preparation for our first TAH book giveaway, but I was not able to finish it as the school year got busier and busier. I am now on a mission to complete the pile of books that I have started and half-read, so that I can move along to the pile of books that I want to read but have yet to start. So many books and so little time!! Continue reading

Starting the School Day with a Walk


Image: MoBikeFed

Schools are back in session and families are getting back into the swing of things. There are lots of changes at the beginning of the year…new teachers, new students and lots of new things to learn. Schools started implementing the new Smart Snacks guidelines set by the USDA and are seeing healthier options for both meals and snacks. Staying healthy is an important step in learning and being physically active is just as important as eating healthy. Continue reading

Who’s Doing the Thinking?


Nathan and Madelyn 2014-15

One year ago, I had just started a brand new job and, therefore, was writing my first blog for OCM BOCES Instructional Support Services. I was thinking about new beginnings, the excitement and challenges of change, and the promise of the new school year. I was also thinking about how much I love back to school photos… which is something that I suspect will never change!
Continue reading

Amp Up Student Learning Using Web 2.0 Tools

Summer has ended and school has started bringing with the new school year new learning opportunities. A new learning opportunity may well be to use Web 2.0 tools to amplify your content and student learning. As an English Teacher, I would use Web 2.0 tools to extend student learning in a number of ways—blogging, podcasting, and creating Wikis for example. Trying new web-based tools was exciting for my students and for me. Now, as a Project-Based Learning trainer, I see how these same tools can be used in a project. In June, I attended PBL World where I participated in a two-day workshop highlighting Web 2.0 tools both teachers and students can use to design, assess, and manage aspects of the project. I am excited to share with you my learning from this workshop, which includes some Web 2.0 tools and the realization that effective Web 2.0 integration amplifies student learning through active engagement, collaboration, immediate feedback, and connection to real-world resources.

“Web 2.0” is a frequently used buzzword but many do not know what it means. Continue reading

Lists, Lists, Lists

As I was thinking about the start of another New Year- several lists came to mind. And no, not just my to-do list or the back to school supplies for my son! I think it may be because those of us in the education field know that New Years is not really Jan 1 but rather the day after Labor Day! It is a time of new beginnings for educators and students- complete with shiny, clean classrooms, books full of promise, and perhaps, folders yet unripped or tarnished, with our favorite animals or colors. This is then also a time for resolutions, clean slates and optimism— and lists! Happy New Year to All Educators! Continue reading

An LLI Opportunity for You

Do you want to learn more about Fountas and Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) Systems? Is your district starting to use LLI this Fall? Do you have new teachers who will be using this intervention this school year? Would you just like to know more about this powerful LLI intervention for grades K-5?

If the answer is YES to any of the above questions, then don’t wait another minute to sign up for a great event happening at OCM BOCES this Fall 2014:

OCM BOCES will be hosting an LLI Overview presentation sponsored by Heinemann Representative Susan Reynell