My Students Can’t Do That

My response to this statement is, “how do you know that?” I am lucky enough to love my job! What is my job? I educate. I have the very rewarding career of educating professionals, parents, and students about options available to students with disabilities after they leave high school.

Diplomas, exiting credentials, high school equivalency, what else? Opportunity! In order for our students to Continue reading

Same Old Song

Each year at about this time, following the release of 3-8 assessment scores and the ritual of listing districts in the newspaper, it is important to understand the assessments and their place in a balanced assessment and in a system of accountability.

The 3-8 state tests are designed for the purpose of accountability and they are simply not constructed to inform instruction. The state tests can provide information about program at some level but they aren’t designed to inform instruction. Continue reading

Teaching Social Studies = A Balancing Act

I have been doing far too much thinking this week, and by Jove it’s got to stop! I have been working on a presentation for the CNY Council for the Social Studies Fall Conference and it has led me to cogitate on the idea of the balance of content and skill that is at the heart of the NYS Social Studies Framework and the Toolkit Inquiries. I have been using that phrase (“a balance of content and skill”) a lot in the past few months and every time I do I stretch my hands out in front of me, palms upward, and seesaw them back and forth to symbolize balance. Can you see it in your mind’s eye? Continue reading

The Learning Connection: How Nutrition and Physical Activity Help Students Become Better Learners

“The content was the best I have ever received in 18 years in physical education. I have been to our state conferences in PE where I haven’t gotten as much quality information as I got today. Great, great job.”

“I loved the two guest speakers, both gentlemen had great delivery and pertinent information. It was especially excellent for me to hear Dr. Pangrazi….since he wrote my college textbook for physical education.”

“I loved the mix of research/best practices and the real life experiences shared by the panel.”

“I appreciated getting the knowledge and proof of the correlation of nutrition and physical activity with academic achievement.”

“It was good to hear the science behind nutrition. It makes it easier to sell this to other teachers.”

“It is increasingly rare that I am able to attend professional development that has specific relevance to physical education—great to know there are so many highly engaged professionals in PE willing to go to greater lengths to improve their students’ lives.”

Continue reading

Project-Based Learning with Students with Disabilities, Year Two…

Back in March, John Larmer, John Mergendoller, and Suzie Boss enhanced Buck Institute’s original Project-Based Learning (PBL) framework, highlighting essential elements that lend themselves to deeper learning. Many of the original pieces are there, but this new model, Gold Standard PBL, gives equal billing to reflection as an important part of the PBL experience. While students have always been encouraged to reflect throughout PBL, I think that an appearance on the Gold Standard Design graphic (2015) serves as a reminder for all of us when we are facilitating student learning. Continue reading

When ALL Really Does Mean ALL

Is it really the middle of October already?! This means that we have been meeting, planning, teaching and reflecting for about six weeks. We’ve been building solid routines and getting to know our students. We’ve had Open Houses and maybe even been to some professional development. But let’s take a moment to breathe and think back to this summer’s PLC at Work Summer Institute that OCM BOCES hosted and Solution Tree presented. For me, it was three days of pure, transformational inspiration. Continue reading

Are We Assessing What Matters?

My daughter, Lena, called from college the other day very upset after taking a test in her Media Communications course. She was required to read six chapters and then take a 200 multiple-choice exam. I asked her what she was learning in class, and she had a difficult time articulating what she had learned. Perhaps you have had a similar experience—I know I have. In my undergraduate course, I remember taking a 100 true/false final exam! This was a poorly constructed assessment with very high stakes. Both of these examples lead me to the question: Are we assessing what matters? Continue reading