Let your voice be heard – Complete the draft NYSSLS survey

The draft New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS), were released for public review, on November 19, 2015. A survey to collect feedback on the draft NYSSLS is open until February 5, 2016. It has been approximately 20 years since we have had the opportunity to welcome new science standards. The adoption of new science standards to incorporate the most recent research related to how students learn science and prepare students for their future is overdue. The opportunity new science standards provide occurs infrequently. We need to maximize this opportunity by taking the time to understand the draft NYSSLS and respond to the survey.

The OCM BOCES Center for Innovative Science Education has developed a resources page to support Continue reading

Making PBIS Happen

So, what exactly does it take to successfully implement PBIS in schools? While there may be several components to successful implementation, the general answer far and wide is consistency. It really takes “everybody, all the time” to move a school forward. Sounds easy enough but, how to get “everybody to do it all the time” is the question. We’re talking about staff buy-in here. And that’s not so easy. Frankly, there are a lot of reasons that teachers don’t “buy in” to PBIS or any other program that’s introduced.

First of all, many teachers already have strong classroom management skills and simply feel that they don’t need any extra help. Their systems work fine for them. In addition, PBIS is Continue reading

Good Teaching

I am currently reading Best Practices at Tier One: Daily Differentiation for Effective Instruction by Gayle Gregory, Martha Kaufeldt and Mike Mattos. In the introduction, the authors highlight that Response to Intervention or RtI ranks second in the most effective influences, inside or outside of school that can increase student performance according to Hattie (2012) meta-analysis (p. 1). The authors go on to point out that the entire RTI framework and process is founded upon effective, grade-level core instruction- or in other words Tier 1 instruction. Continuing on, they make the point that the most common reason that schools struggle to successfully implement RTI goes back to having (or not having) effective core instruction. Continue reading

Teaching Social Studies = Overcoming Barriers, Part 3

Welcome to the new year! This blog is the third installment in a series of four about the challenges that students have with using primary sources for historical inquiry as presented in the Jeffery Nokes’ article “Recognizing and Addressing the Barriers to Adolescents’ ‘Reading Like Historians’” (Nokes 2011). Nokes has reviewed the research on historical thinking in the classroom and has identified four barriers to student success with historical inquiry. For each barrier he presents some ideas for what we can do about it in the classroom. In last month’s blog I discussed the issue of students lack of background knowledge and their tendency toward “presentism” – applying today’s values and ways of thinking to the past that prevent them from successfully analyzing historical documents. This month we’ll explore the issue that students often have unsophisticated world views that pose barriers toward their being able to think historically. Continue reading

A New Year, A Healthier New You!

Last month I blogged about a potential hazard of overeating during the holidays: annual, compounding weight gain. Research indicates that most of us never lose those couple of pounds, innocent as they might seem at the time. But, that doesn’t have to be the case! Since it’s now “Resolution Season,” let’s discuss the reality of taking that weight off now and utilizing those same strategies in the future.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: there is no magic pill. Sorry. Our society is rife with books, testimonials, television shows, infomercials, websites, organizations, etc. that endorse a specific diet, eating pattern, cleanse, nutritional supplement, etc. They all promise a slimmer, healthier you. Some work, some don’t. Some are safe, some are not. Some are free, some cost mega-bucks. Making significant changes to your diet can be overwhelming, time-consuming and expensive. Continue reading

A Little [APPR] Relief

On December 10, 2015, the Governor’s Common Core Commission issued 21 recommendations about the Common Core and related issues. The 21st recommendation targeted the use of Common Core-based assessments for teacher evaluation and suggested a four-year moratorium on the use of Common Core assessments and Common Core-derived growth scores for evaluation. On December 14th, just a few days later, the State Education Department suggested several emergency regulatory changes to the Board of Regents in order to implement the Commission’s 21st recommendation. These regulatory changes label the interregnum between now and the 2019-2020 school year as a “transition period.” These sudden changes threw both §3012-c and §3012-d districts into the uncomfortable position of having parts of SED-approved APPR plans that were now in conflict with regulations. Now, as of January 15th, some of the questions have been answered with SED-provided guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Continue reading

Attention Content Area Teachers: You Can Help Students Understand Your Content Area While Developing Literacy Skills!

Standards can be found in almost every area of our daily lives, but why do we need them? Imagine if the healthcare industry did not have standards or the food service industry. What would healthcare and food service look like without standards? I dare say the quality and consistency of healthcare and food service would not be the same. Standards provide a common language and set of expectations regardless of the industry.

Watch this video to learn about the creation of the Common Core Learning Standards.

The NYS Common Core Literacy Standards serve this same purpose and requires all teachers, regardless of content area and grade level, to embed literacy into their curriculum. This task does not fall on the shoulders of any one discipline area like English, but all discipline areas. Another way to say this is that all teachers play a role in developing literacy skills so that students are prepared for college and career after high school. Continue reading