Social Capital

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher growing up. I remember watching my fourth grade teacher writing across the chalkboard and being in awe of her. I thought to myself, ‘I want to be just like her when I grow up.’ The moment I said it out loud, the wheels were set in motion. I was surrounded by teachers, parents, friends, etc. who encouraged me and pushed me to fulfill my dream.”

I had the social capital to make my dream become a reality. Social Capital is defined as the networks of relationships among people Continue reading

Teaming with Paraprofessionals in Your Classroom ~Or~ “What Do I Do With All These People?”

A new school year has begun and you are getting to know your new students. Many teachers are also getting to know their Supplementary School Personnel (Teaching Assistants, Teacher Aides and 1:1 Aides). 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 received little or no training in working with or managing the other adults in our classrooms. Additionally, the role(s) of paraprofessionals, especially Teaching Continue reading

It’s that time again!

Teachers are scurrying to set up their classrooms and prepare for another year of learning with a new group of students. As I recently had the pleasure of working with a group of teachers getting ready to launch a successful year of co-teaching for students with disabilities, I am reminded of what it takes for high-impact co-teaching.

Let’s face it. There is Continue reading

Engaging All Learners through Questioning

In order to help all students think at higher levels, we need to ask questions that help them to move up Bloom’s Taxonomy and deeper into Webb’s Depth of Knowledge. This is very difficult to do “on the fly”. In order to add rigor to our classroom instruction, planning for the kinds of questions you ask your students is critical. Good questions are not only relevant and purposeful, but they entice your students to openly engage in the learning. Although all of our students are not always fantastic readers, or perhaps even average writers, they can be outstanding thinkers!

As part of my job responsibilities I perform hundreds of classroom visits at various buildings throughout the school year.  One of the things that I have noticed over the years is that there tends to be more learning taking place when the teacher practices asking open questions, gives students time to think and process, and encourages a variety of Continue reading

The Power of Why?


Image: CC U.S. Army.

When children are little, they often ask, “why?” about everything.

“Why is the sky blue?”
“Why did my pet die?”
“Why do centipedes have all those legs?”
“Why do I have to go to bed nooooowwwww?”

Children are naturally curious and they remain that way, it seems, until adults train them not to be.

Admit it, what parent or teacher does not at times get annoyed at the child who seems to be asking a million questions?  Some of which we do not know the answer to….and some that do not really seem to matter to us! We just want them to simply comply, to sit and 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

Measureable Goals in the Co-Taught Classroom

More and more these days you see Integrated Co-teaching as the service delivery model on the individualized educational programs (IEPs) of students with disabilities (SWDs). The special education teacher pushes into the general education classroom and works together with the general educator (and possibly other teaching assistants and service delivery professionals) to meet the needs of all students. In this model it is especially important for all staff working with students with special needs to know and understand the students’ annual measurable goals.

At times, as a Special Education Continue reading