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Beginning in the spring of 2017, NYSED will create committees comprised of stakeholders, practitioners, and experts in the field to provide recommendations on assessments and evaluations that could be used for evaluations in the future. Committees organized by topic area will review all important components currently and potentially in teacher/principal evaluations including the current landscape of options being employed nationally as well as review the existing structure of the NYS evaluation system. A proposal for an evaluation system will be brought to the Board in the spring of 2018 for 2019-2020 implementation.

If we could create a system for teacher and leader evaluation from scratch, what would it include? The Aspen Institute presented a whitepaper to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) with their recommendations: Continue reading

OCM BOCES-Responsive Classroom® Blog: “Surviving the Late-Spring Jitters” – A reprise

I have been a Responsive Classroom® trainer since 2003. Back when I first started training, participants received the “Responsive Classroom Guidelines” (©96,97 by Northeast Foundation for Children – 8th printing April 2001). Since that time, the Responsive Classroom training has been revised and training materials changed. The Northeast Foundation for Children has also changed their name to The Center for Responsive Schools since the time of when we used the “Responsive Classroom Guidelines”.

Each year, I find myself thinking about a memorable article that was included in the old training materials called “Surviving the Late-Spring Jitters”. This article is out of print and no longer available online anywhere that I can find. I feel there were many helpful tips that teachers may find useful, especially now, as they put closer to their school year.

In the late spring many teachers will report to me that they are seeing more children beginning to test behavioral limits almost like they did the first few weeks of school. Teachers may feel a sense of frustration but the article encourages teachers,

“don’t despair and, most importantly, don’t give up! This is a phenomenon that occurs every year, in every classroom to some degree, without fail. It’s called “end-of-the-year-anxiety” or “the late-spring jitters.” Continue reading

How do I support English Language Learners who are struggling in my classroom?

This question may be easy if you have a background in Teaching English as a Second Language, but what if you don’t have a degree in TESOL or have never even had students who speak another language in your class? It can seem like a huge mystery. What do I say? How do I say it? If you, as the professional teacher in the room, are having these panicky thoughts- imagine what it must be like for our students we call English Language Learners.

It is an exciting time in New York State for teachers of ELLs. Lots of attention is being devoted to this rapidly growing population of students. However, this excitement may also manifest itself into panic for teachers who may have never had linguistically diverse learners in their classroom. Continue reading

It’s Time to Pump (Clap) You Up!

Have you gotten your 30 minutes of physical activity yet today? Well, you better get moving as it’s National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Whether physical activity is already a part of your lifestyle, or is something that ‘you’ll get around to’ when you have more time, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) designates the month of May to remind all Americans that creating physically active lifestyles and participating in favorite sports should be a top priority for us all. If you’re one of the ‘I’ll get around to it’ individuals, use this month to set new goals to start getting fit and active. These new habits will have a positive effect on you now as well as for the rest of your life.

According to the PCFSN, less than five percent of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day, and only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of activity each week. Kids are more physically active than adults with the help of physical education classes and recess; yet only 33 percent are getting active every day. Continue reading

Teaching Social Studies: Facts ≠ History

I am recycling my very first blog (with some revisions) from October of 2012 as I find the ideas are still relevant as we consider the continuing changes in the teaching and learning of social studies in New York State. In two years we will see the new Regents in Global History. This year’s eight graders will be the first to take the new test. Their learning and the learning of all students must be substantively different, not only for the test, but to meet the increasing demands on citizens in the 21st century.

My 7th grade Social Studies teacher was the estimable Mr. Weckel. Mr. Weckel’s job was to teach American History to a group of less-than-motivated 12 and 13 year olds, but his mission was to make his passion for history come alive in our minds and hearts. He yelled, sang, told stupid jokes, wore costumes, ranted, and put on one-man skits. He intimidated us, entertained us, scared us one minute and made us laugh the next. He was also the advisor of the High School History club, of which I was President for two years, in large part to help plan and participate in the club’s trips to Boston and Philadelphia. I remember Mr. Weckel, walking the Freedom Trail through the streets of Boston with a scruffy group of high school students, carrying a rather large American flag and singing I’m a Yankee Doddle Dandy at the top of his lungs! Continue reading

All Kids Can Do PBL

Authenticity: The Power of the Community Connection

We talk often about what Project Based Learning does for instruction, but what about its effect in and around the community? Recently, a group of students in the OCM BOCES 12:1:1 STAR classroom (Skills Toward Adult Responsibility), led by an exceptional teacher and teaching assistants, completed a project to master literacy standards, namely writing and speaking, while also learning about Civic Participation, as part of the social studies curriculum.

The project focused on empathy, particularly empathy for the elderly individuals who reside in a facility near the school. Inspired by a visit and powered by the question Continue reading

Teaching Social Studies = Finding History Everywhere!

To tell you the truth, the past couple of weeks have been less than historically oriented for me. I have been doing income taxes for our household and those of a couple of my children. I have been writing curriculum for some Career and Technical Education programs (think welding, culinary arts and automotive technology) and I have been trying to keep up with teaching my undergraduate writing class at SUNY Cortland. Also in the midst of those activities I was helping move the OCM BOCES office (not so much my stuff because, well, I’m retired!!!), attending assorted Doctor’s appointments for me and family members, making plans for my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday party, cleaning the house for the arrival of #2 son and girlfriend for said birthday party, and oh yes, trying not to have a stroke while mostly not watching the SU basketball teams compete in their respective Final Fours. Sheesh!! What time is there for thinking about history?? Wait a minute…let’s find some history in my mish mash of activities: Continue reading