Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why Are Rubrics Needed In The Classroom?

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 communicates goals and results to students, parents, you, and others.

Click on
It is a user-friendly site that provides step-by-step directions for generating rubrics for a wide variety of situations.

How do you grade student work using rubrics?
Use the language provided in the descriptors that represents the quality of work the student turned in. Want to know more? The door is open. Stop by Room 111.

What Does Ms. Henry Look For In A Satisfactory Lesson?

1. Is the teacher standing by the door greeting pupils as they enter the classroom?
2. Is there an Aim / Agenda, Do Now? What is the procedure to collect classwork and homework?
3. Is there a motivation of 5 minutes in the form of a visual, audio, pop culture tie in connection to the lesson or reflection (such as a journal entry)?
4. What part of the motivation will enrich the knowledge of the students after they present their responses?
5. Is there a mini lesson in which the skill to be learned is modeled, and the content is discussed?
6. Does the teacher appropriately use one of the sites to help students make important connections to the lesson content?
7. Is there distribution and explanation of the rubric?
8. Is there an explanation of the group work, or differentiated instruction with designated group roles or steps pre-posted on chart paper, PowerPoint, or handout?
9. Is the teacher walking from group to group (with a seating chart) monitoring the progress of the students by taking anecdotal notes as to who is on task, who is advancing, and who is struggling?
10. Are the students either doing a gallery walk of posted group work, or share out core understandings that build toward answering the aim?
11. Is the final summary provided by the students? Are the pupils able to either repeat, or elaborate on the answer to the aim?
12. Is the homework assignment highly structure; scaffolding the learning from the day's lesson?

What Did Ms. Henry Do During the Summer of 2008?

Ms. Henry went to Kumon to sharpen her math skills.
Because learning is a life-long process.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

McKee's Graduation Rate in the News!

Want to see a neat article in the Tuesday, August 12, 2008 edition of the Staten Island Advance about McKee High School's graduation rate? Click on the title or Graduation Rate Holds Steady on Island

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Value of Establishing Classroom Routines

In my first few years of teaching I used to wonder: what is the big deal about having a set of procedures for routine classroom tasks such as dealing with lunch cards, metro cards, taking attendance, motivational work and collecting homework? I used to think, I can handle these tasks as they come. You know what happened next. One day I was blindsided. It seemed as if every announcement and bit of paperwork hit every period on the same day and I realized that I needed to have established procedures. Why?
1. Procedures greatly reduce the amount of time that is robbed from the lesson
2. Procedures give students the responsibility.
3. Procedures set an immediate purpose because it puts the students in charge of important classroom routines
4. Procedures save time, particularly when the routines are posted
5. Procedures organize the classroom
6. Procedures greatly reduce the number of lost, messed up or mixed up papers.
It is worth it to get the file organizers that allow you have to place labels on the front. I used to put the period and subject of the class. It was an incredible time saver. When I had to travel between two classrooms, I would get the rolling file cabinet that only included the work of the classes in that second room. I would negotiate with the teacher of the second room a space that I could use and I would place my inbox/classwork and outbox/homework and exit passes.

Here is a great list of established procedures:
1. Entering the classroom in a respectful manner. Yes it really is important to stand in the hallway or near the door. It helps set the tone. A student enters noisily, quietly address the student, and have them re-enter. You are teaching them the power of "first impressions."
2. Placing homework in the in box. I had a box for each group or subject so the work was sorted. The homework had to be in the box within the first 5 minutes of class. I made sure that each class practiced this routine during the first week of class until it went smoothly.
3. Using the restroom. Stick with the school rules. No one takes the pass during the first 10 minutes or last 10 minutes of the class. Do not putt the pass out during those time periods.
4. Recording the homework into the Class Homework reminder book. When you have a blog, have the student leader type the homework onto the blog site.
5. Set the timer countdown to complete the opening motivational question or problem.
6. Have monitors pass out handouts and materials.
7. Either have the first person in the row or leader in the group of tables be responsible for returning the materials.

Reinforce the classroom routines and rules. I found it was vital for me to be disciplined by being consistent. The more I stuck to the rules, the more the students realized it was important. I did not have to say I believe in organization and discipline. The students saw me live it, breathe it, refer to it, walk it, and do it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The 2007-2008 Learning Environment Survey Is In

Hi McKee Community:
Only three more weeks before the start of the fall term. Click on the title in order to see the 2007-2008 Learning Environment survey for McKee High School and find out how you felt about the school.

What are some points that stand out for you about from the 2007-2008 Learning Environment Survey?

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