Sunday, December 30, 2007

Students Take The Stage To Think-Aloud

Click on the title to get strategies for how to get students to think out loud. The teacher as the producer gets the materials and models how to use the supplies. Here is the big part - it's about organizing oneself to set up the opportunities for students to move to the forefront and own the process of thinking out loud.

By the way - if students do not get it, then they did not learn it. One always has to collect soft and hard data to find out if students got it.

Yes, You Can Do Think Alouds Across Disciplines

Click here for think out loud strategies in math, science, reading, writing, and social studies.
Why? It is a great way to peer into the minds of the students to check on their metacognition skills. That's a $10 word for a teacher being aware of how learners are thinking and what learners are doing to process the information.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Yes One Can Do Think-Alouds in Math

Having one student answer only teacher directed questions is not enough.

Click on the title to check out how it is done.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What Does the Data Inquiry Team Do?

Click on the title to see the PowerPoint created by the McKee Data Inquiry Team. Using data can be a powerful tool for reaching common goals. Our school community is making strides to see how data analysis can be used at different levels in the school. Through looking at the current ways that people use assessment, parents, faculty, administrators, and the community can find out about student achievement.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yes - There is More Scholarship Information

Click on the title and away you'll go to the latest scholarship information. The blog is called? McKee Money: Scholarships.

Seagulls Represent at the Penny Harvest Celebration

Through your generosity, Ralph McKee contributed to the Penny Harvest at Rockefeller Center. Click on the title to learn more about how your hard work has contributed to students making choices to help the work in their communities.
Check out the poses and the smiles.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Posse Foundation Selects A Soaring Seagull

Kudos and congratulations to Walter Gonzalez, a senior from Ralph R. McKee High School for being one of the 21 New York City award recipients.
Never heard of the Posse Foundation? Click on the title to learn more about this philanthropic organization.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Click on the title. It is a treasure trove of information. Go ahead. Click on the title and you will zoom to online test preparation courses for the SAT, and the ACT examinations.
Calling all parents, teachers, and counselors, you will be able to track the progress of students as they go through the online tutorials, and practice sessions.

This very informative, detailed selection is F-R-E-E.

Key Dates in December

December 1 - Saturday Academy, 9-12
December 3 - Alumni Luncheon
December 3 - Department Conferences
December 4 - Senior Trip Payment ($85)
December 5 - 2nd MP Report Cards Distributed
December 5 - Ring/Cap Gowns
December 6 - Data Inquiry Team Mtg. Pd. 9
December 8 - Saturday Academy, 9-12
December 10 - Faculty Conference
December 10 - Teddy Bear Holiday Sale
December 11 - Senior Proofs
December 12 - Leadership Team Mtg. 3:30 PM
December 13 - Penny Harvest Celebration at Rockefeller Center
December 13 - Data Inquiry Team Mtg. Pd. 9
December 15 - Saturday Academy, 9-12
December 18 - UFT Meeting
December 20 - Holiday Door Contest
December 20 - Data Inquiry Team Mtg. Pd. 9
December 21 - Int'l Food Festival, 9:30-2:30
Dec. 22-Jan. 1 - Winter Recess

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Top Ten Signs that Tutoring is Needed

10 – You see the second marking period report card and are not pleased with the results or the second marking period report card never makes it to the house.
9 – You hear the words, “I give up” from your child or you think very strongly that “you want to give up."
8. – You get phone calls from the teacher that your child missed the test or failed a test.
7. You get phone calls from the teacher saying that your child is not doing homework.
6. – You get phone calls from the teacher saying that your child is missing or refuses to do the project for the marking period
5– You get phone calls that your child is late or absent.
4- When you talk to your child about what is happening at school they say, “Nothing.” You notice that your child never opens his/her notebook at home nor is he or she willing to go on the Internet to research answers.
3- Your child’s textbook makes a sound when you open it. The binding looks brand, spanking new.
2-Your child’s grades start to fall even when you receive a progress report from the teacher.
1- You never get any mail from school. Your child’s friends have progress reports, know when the next parent association meeting is, are aware of their child’s grades, know the address for their teacher’s blogs, know the address for the school’s blog, and are aware of the phone numbers of all the key people to help their children move successfully from one grade to the next.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

SAT Tips for High School Seniors

Calling all SENIORS. It is November.
Click on the title and it will take you to information about what to do during your senior year to get ready for the SATs.

Register by DECEMBER 26, 2007 for the January 26, 2008 SAT test for $43. The January date is the last SAT I exam that most colleges will accept. Yes, fee waivers are available.

SAT Tips for High School Juniors

Click on the title and that will zoom you to the steps to take as an 11th grade student.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Kudos and Congratulations to the McKee High School CISCO students for sweeeping all three categories in the 2007 CISCO ALL ACADEMY DAY Competition. This event was held at DeVry University on Friday, November 2, 2007.

The results in the categories were:
Semester I - First Place
Semester II - First Place
Quiz Bowl - First Place

To quote Ralph Kramden - "How sweet it is!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Open Parent Conferences

571 parents, guardians, and caregivers made
their way to our school over
the two days, October 25 and October 26
for the Open Parent/Teacher Conferences.
Way to go McKee Community.

Monday, October 1, 2007

1 Hour...32 Minutes...54 Seconds

These cherubic volunteers were just some of the students from McKee High School at the Tunnel to Tower Run/Walk held on September 30, 2007 in honor of all of the fallen heroes of September 11th. They were part of the international event that attracts a sea of thousands in retracing the steps of the firefighter Stephen Siller, a first responder.

Oh yeah and the numbers mentioned at the top of this post was my time at the end of the 5K or 3.2 miles. Pretty good for a woman who six weeks ago did not walk more than an eighth of a block before getting into her car.

Our intrepid Ms. Mullen, the A. P. of Security finished the course in the lightening fast time of 23 minutes. I also saw Mr. Xuerb, one of the few allowed to take pictures of the incredible ceremony, particularly the hundreds of firefighters who extended hands, clapped, encouraged the runners and walkers; and carried American flags and poster sized photographs of the 343 lost on that fateful day.

What an amazing event that at turns was tearful, emotional, and celebratory.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blogger Privacy

Your blog can be private. It does not have to be advertised to the world.

1. After you sign in, click Manage Settings.
2. Click on the Basic tab.
3. Three questions from the top you will see the following: Add your Blog to our listings?
4. Use the pull down menu to select: No
4. At the bottom of the screen click Save Settings.

Blogger Control

It’s entirely up to you whether or not your blog shows, or hides comments from others.

1. After you sign in, click Manage Settings.
2. Click the Comments tab.
3. Four questions from the bottom of the page you will find: Enable comment moderation?
4. Click Yes
5. Enter the email address you want Blogger to use to notify you if a non-member leaves a comment on your blog.
6. The last question at the bottom of the screen says Comment notification address.
7. Enter the email address you want Blogger to use when anyone leaves a comment on your blog.
8. At the bottom of the screen click Save settings.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Why Projects Based Learning Works

Projects based learning is a comprehensive way for students to engage in higher order thinking in which they gain an in depth understanding of facts and concepts. Pupils take part in projects and use a variety of skills that can span the range from English Language Arts, math, science, Social Studies, music, technology, graphic arts, construction, and pre-engineering.
Click here for McKee High School project ideas.

Click here for project based learning checklists.

Click here for information about projects that are working for schools throughout the country.

Independent Study - Making it Virtual

McKee High School is turning independent study into a virtual learning experience. Students have the opportunity through on-line, guided, standards based lessons to advance gaining credits. Pupils go to their guidance counselor and request to sign up for Independent Study.

What is needed? A check-up on eligibility, the desire, drive, and awareness to correctly complete the assignments that call on students to creatively display their wide range of talents through completing a series of projects.
Click here for more information about Independent Study.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Welcome Back Breakfast a Blast

Kudos and congratulations to the organizational efforts of the McKee PTA Executive Board for the successful, well attended meeting of parents and staff members on Saturday, September 8, 2007. There was a great cross section of parents from every grade level.

The breakfast was scrumptious and the presentations highlighted the many exciting programs occurring in the school. I am so proud of the incredible turnout. The next step for me to learn how to do is increase my eye-hand coordination so that I can take pictures with my cell phone.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Back to School Preparations

What a busy two days before the students enter the school on Tuesday, September 4th.
I have been deeply moved by the range and breadth of the detail provided in our colleagues' September timelines of curriculum that are posted in classrooms and in departmental offices.

Blogs are popping up all over in the McKee Community. I am delighted by the creative entries from the multi-talented staff that will keep both students and parents in the loop as to what is happening in the classroom.

Hats off to Anthony Pigis for his comprehensive blog. Click here to check it out.

Every year, every principal has to go over the Chancellor's regulations. Now I know why. I thought I knew but I had no idea until I refreshed my memory by making a quick guide so that salient points would stick in my brain. Check it out.
Click here for The Abridged Guide to the Most Recent Chancellor's Regulations.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why Wikis Work

Children love technology. A wiki can help your students build a sense of community. Groups of students can work collaboratively using the free wiki that you launch today. Why not use this free tool to empower your students? Oh, and did I mention, it is free?

Click here to view my wiki.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Puzzles for the Puzzlemaker

Want to create word searches, crossword puzzles, math squares, cryptograms, number blocks, hidden messages, cris-cross puzzles, and hidden messages? Check out the site:

As much fun as it was for me to create the puzzles for my classes, the learning curve grew when students were responsible for assigning vocabulary lists generated from the word walls developed over the course of the week. I would have a team or row responsible for creating the lists, the puzzles and distributing them to the classes. At first I started simply with word searches.

Do not be surprised if you have to first model crossword puzzles. Also do not be surprised how quickly students became very good at generating rigorous questions, and developing pop quizzes with ease to stump their peers.

Question Power

Here are 7 powerful ways to support students to think deeply about the work. All of the suggestions are question starters adapted from the text Asking Better Questions by Norah Morgan and Juliana Saxton.
1. I wonder how much...(use the words from the student)
2. I wonder if we could say the same... (use the idea stated by the student)
3. Remember our aim is... Can we look at this answer again, keeping in mind that...
4. Can you be more specific about...?
5. What makes you think that?
6. What about the other side?
7. How might other people see this?

Ok, let's say a teacher asks one of the above questions and gets a one word answer, or silence or a shrug. Well, here is where the teacher can use the prior knowledge of the student based on what the student sees or hears in the world.

How would you do this? Check out the following scenario from the Morgan & Saxton (2006) book:
Teacher: Where have you seen a flag flying?
Student: Outside the school.
Teacher How many of you notice the flag when you come into school in the morning?
Students: A show of hands.
Teacher: I wonder why a national symbol flies over our school?
Student: To show that this is an American school.
Teacher: Of what sorts of things does our flag remind us?

I pulled the following question prompts from the above scenario and will now add them to the above list:

8. Where have you seen...? Where have you heard...?
9. How many of you notice...?
10. I wonder why...? I wonder how...?
11. Of what types of things does (the symbol) remind us?

I now have 11 ways of starting questions that I can now use in class that I can chart or put on or on a blog that will serve as a reminder and a model for students to frame their questions.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

School Leadership Team Meeting - Aug. 10, 2007

Teachers, parents, staff from the school, students, and members of community-based organizations are welcome to attend School Leadership Team Meetings. At each meeting we will set the Calendar of Events for the upcoming month.

Calendar of Events - August to September, 2007

Aug. 30, 2007 - Staff Returns
Aug. 31, 2007 - Staff Barbecue
Sept. 3, 2007 - DAY OFF - Labor Day
Sept. 4, 2007 - Students Return
Sept. 8, 2007 - Welcome Back Breakfast for McKee Community
Sept. 13 - 14, 2007 - TWO DAYS OFF - Rosh Hashanah
Sept. 20, 2007 3:30 - 5:30 pm - School Leadership Team
Sept. 29 - 30, 2007- High School Fair (Location TBA)
Sept. 30, 2007 - Tunnel to Tower 5K (3.1 Miles) Run/Walk

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

NYLearns is an excellent, FREE source of standards based, teacher created, peer reviewed lessons for all grade levels.

What do I mean by FREE?
You do NOT need to type in a user name or a password to use the site.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Are you sure of your certification?

As a result of No Child Left Behind, beginning on February 1, 2004,
a great deal has changed regarding certification requirements.

If you do not have permanent certification, these changes affect you.

Additional changes went into effect as of March, 2007.
For example, 65 Court Street no longer handles certification applications. If you go there, they will redirect you to apply online.

Do not wait until the last minute. Do not assume you can get an extension. Check your status online.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Click here for help creating rubrics

Why Rubrics Rule

1. A rubric helps instructors define excellence and shows students what level they must achieve.
2. A good rubric helps teachers to be accurate, detailed, unbiased and consistent.
3. A good rubric tells students how to evaluate their own work.
4. A good rubric tells goals and results to parents and others.

Brilliant Bulletin Boards

What makes a brilliant bulletin board:

1. A type written title of the project in a large font
2. A type written brief description of the project in a large font
3. The name of the teacher, and the class
4. A rubric that explains how work was graded
5. Projects with a range of grades and comments by the teacher

Coming soon: pictures of the wonderful work covered in our classrooms.

How do you quickly learn the names of your students?

1. Assign them seats, and have students make individualized name plates for their desks
2. Put students in groups, and have them make a group resume
3. Just use the attendance sheet

The Power of Pop Culture

1. Suppose you are teaching English, and you want students to understand the term conflict.
2. You could have the students indicate the traits of two controversial singers, movie stars, or celebrities.
3. Elicit the type of trouble those two singers, movie stars, or celebrities are in.
4. Have the students state the type of conflict this represents, and link it to the academic language of internal conflict, or external conflict.
5. Now that you have your students engaged, move on to the lesson.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Thank You Councilman Michael McMahon

I am pleased to announce that Councilman Michael McMahon has graciously worked on behalf of Ralph McKee High School such that $500,000 will be used to install a security camera system, $400,000 will be used to renovate the library and $1,000 will be designated for the PTA.

Apture Multimedia