Teaming with Paraprofessionals in Your Classroom

Teacher EvaluationThe school year has begun and teachers are getting to know their new students. Many teachers are also getting to know their paraprofessionals (teaching assistants, teacher aides and 1:1 support staff). While some teachers may not have the support of a paraprofessional, others may be struggling with the sheer number of adults in their classrooms.

As educators we receive little or no training in working with or managing the other adults in our classrooms. In addition, we may be faced with teaming with a paraprofessional who has been in his or her role for many years. Continue reading

Find the Time

Image: fdecomite

What’s the resource that is more precious than gold? Why, of course, the most precious resource is time. Mary Anne Raywid, in Educational Leadership, said it this way: “Collaborative time for teachers to undertake and sustain school improvement may be more important than equipment, facilities, or even staff development.” Yet, it is rare that we invest as much energy and resources to collaboration that we do for equipment and facilities. This has to change! Continue reading

Be Your Best Self


Recently I had the opportunity to attend one of our Youth Development workshops entitled “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Matters.” This particular workshop was facilitated by Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and one of the developers of the RULER Approach to Social and Emotional Learning. This is a whole-school/district-wide approach to teaching social and emotional learning that is based on principles of child and adult development and emotional intelligence theory. Through ongoing research with more than 50,000 teachers and school leaders and 500,000 students and families, schools that utilize the RULER approach have demonstrated more positive climates (including improvements in empathy, leadership, social competence, respect, and prosocial behavior) and an 11% increase in academic performance. Continue reading

Teaching Social Studies = Continuity and Change Over Time

LeavesChange has been very much on my mind lately, both personally and professionally. Evidence of the change of seasons is all around us as the weather patterns change, the inevitable garden clean-up begins and pumpkin and apple flavors infuse everything from lattes to candles. Family and friends are dealing with significant life changes: marriages, births, new jobs, career changes and retirements. Professionally, I see change everywhere. There are new standards, updates and revisions of curriculum and ongoing work on assessments at every level. Continue reading

Celebrating Our Team

Our first staff meeting for this school year was held on National Talk Like a Pirate Day – Sept 19, 2014. One of the items on our agenda was to start a way within our office to celebrate and recognize each other and the work we do. So we now have a treasure basket with pieces of eight (well, Hershey nuggets wrapped in silver and gold). Our staff is invited to leave a treasure or “piece of eight” to thank, celebrate or recognize a co-worker.

I am so proud of the accomplished work that the CI&A, Literacy and Network Teams provide for OCM BOCES districts (and beyond). So this month, I am sharing abit about who we are and what we do! Continue reading

Common Core Parent Concerns

Image: EngageNY

In the news lately and in our communities, we have encountered parents frustrated with Common Core. In some case, parents are seeking to understand expectations and progressions within the Common Core to assist their understanding and enable them to support their children. Engage New York has included a section specifically for parents and offers multiple resources for families to increase understanding of WHAT the Common Core seeks to accomplish. Continue reading

In My Middle School

I invite you to click on the accompanying link from the Teaching Channel and observe how NYC Poet, Taylor Mali, has captured the essence of Project Based Learning (PBL) in his poem titled “In My Middle School.” His spoken verse tells listeners that in his school, ‘there is no 7th grade. It’s been replaced with a year of law school for 13 year olds. Because that’s what they’re really good at, arguing for justice.’ Students in this grade study forensics and Spanish for law enforcement. Continue reading