Friday, January 30, 2009

Juniors and Seniors Can Apply for Leadership Program

High schools / Deadline: February 20

High school juniors and seniors can apply for the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s Student Leaders Program. Since its inception in 2004, the program has recognized more than 1,000 high school students identified as exemplary young people with a passion for helping their communities. Selected student leaders will participate in a paid summer internship with a local nonprofit organization, where they will experience first-hand how they can help shape their communities. They will also participate in a six-day, all-expense paid Student Leadership Summit in Washington DC July 19-24.

You can download a flyer about the program at For additional information, visit The application deadline is February 20.

Students Can Apply for Free Summer Arts Institute

Middle and high schools / Deadline: February 27

Students entering grades 8-12 in September can apply to attend the Summer Arts Institute, a free, four-week intensive arts program held at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan in July. Seven tracks of study are offered: dance, drama, vocal music, instrumental music, photography, film, and visual arts. Students may apply to and audition for only one discipline. The program is designed for students at an intermediate or advanced level of study in their chosen art form. An experienced staff of teachers and artists will guide students in developing their skills and creativity as they prepare for their next level of study.

Admission to the program is by application and competitive audition. For more information and an application, visit The application deadline is February 27. Please encourage your arts teachers to share this opportunity with their students. For additional information, e-mail

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hands On Differentiated Instruction

As we get ready for the spring term, just like the energy saving lightbulb in the picture, you will see me working through my ideas in room 115, the UFT Teacher's Center, learning about the SENTEO clickers, and practicing on the SMARTboard.

Rita Kelly, our chipper staff developer and UFT TC coordinator is always available, accessing really cool information. Click on the title or this link, Differentiated Instruction, for PowerPoints, Graphic Organizers, and Web sites for lessons across every subject area.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

10 Hours of Community Service

All students at McKee High School must complete 10 hours of community service a year.

Never has community service been emphasized on a national scale - by a president - in such clear terms. Click right here - Renew America - to find out about how to join public service events. Already doing public service and wish to share your positive experiences, you can call, text or and upload pictures documenting your public service efforts at Renew America.

Don't know what to do or where to go to do community service?
Go local. Check out McKee After 3 in room 404.
Check out the Student Government in room 425.

Still don't know?
Learn how to be a peer mediator with Ms. Klages, Ms. Ruano or Ms. Mullen in room 321. This group will provide powerful tools that can lead to future college and career opportunities.

The point - community service is good. Try it. You'll like it.

This is what your build of up community service should look like for 2009:
Freshman year - 10 hours
Sophomore year - 20 hours
Junior year - 30 hours
Senior year - 40 hours

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ways to Develop Vocabulary

Words are our friends. That is the mantra we say to our students, but how do we make that so in the classroom? We should teach what we do.
Given that students are kinesthetic, audio, and visual learners, we as teachers have to constantly be mindful that all students need to see, hear, and manipulate words in academic writing and language in each daily lesson.

Below is a list of classroom teaching strategies that focus on developing vocabulary in students. As the McKee Community contributes information, this section of the blog will become more interactive.

1. Vocabulary Sandwiches
  • When you click on the words Vocabulary Sandwiches you will see two 8.5" X 14" handouts. The key point is that students can be responsible for selecting a word, defining it, indicating the part of speech. Students should write an original sentence and/or interpret a sentence from the text. One can even make a game of it by having the students stand in line around the room making sure that they are responsible for correctly alphabetize the words, or making a human crossword puzzle.
2. Analogy graphic organizer
  • Teaching analogies is a step by step process. Make sure you model finding an interpreting an analogy. Click here to see the directions.
  • Next, click here to make sure that you have a blank analogy graphic organizer sheet to give students the opportunity to spot analogies or to create their own.

The suggestions and handouts are from Doug Buehl's highly useful book entitled Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Construction Skills 2000

Congratulations to 15 McKee students who have entered the highly sought after and competitive Construction Skills 2000 Program. This apprenticeship is a bridge for highly dedicated and committed students to enter building and construction trades.

The students are:

Leon Crowder, Robert Cusick Daloia, Robert DeMarzio, Sean Fitzgerald, David Gjondrekaj,
Maurice James, Ryan Longobardi, Christopher Moore, Daniel Morales, Daniel Perez, Michael Ramos, Joshua Randle, John Rosado, Walter Shulman and Ronald Wilson.

GNYADA's New York City Regional Competition

Four students from McKee High School will be at GNYADA's New York City Regional Competition at Regan Pontiac-Buick-GMC Truck, Inc. this Saturday, January 10, 2009. The competition will start at 8:00 a.m. and the teams are:

Team 1: Mike Palumbo
Luis Diaz

Team 2: James Chagnon
Joseph Augustine

Good luck, gentlemen!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Putting the Oomph into SMART Board

SMART Boards. They are an interactive whiteboard.

So what does that mean. It means that they are more than just a projection screen.

Our challenge throughout 2009 - to make the SMART Board an instructional tool in which students are able to demonstrate their learning.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Apture Power

What is Apture?
It is an amazing site that is a multimedia source locator. It has the capability of making one's website, blog, or wikispaces go from being purely text to three dimensional pages that appeal to many different learning styles, particularly visual and audio learners.

How does it work? When a person comes upon the entry in your website, blog or wikispace, they just point and click on the highlighted word and presto - they will see additional information about the term.

I will be using it to highlight the the educational terms that we all frequently encounter in our emails, articles, books, and meetings.

The instructions are user-friendly. If I can get it, and believe me, I was pushed to learn it by the inventive, inquisitive, insightful, tech-savvy students at McKee to learn it, then anyone can use it.

By the way, it is - f-r-e-e. That's right - FREE.

Good Morning - McKee Community to 2009

Welcome back to the New Year – 2009.
Here are a few reminders.
1. Monday, January 5, 2009 will be a faculty conference, either period 9 or period 10. Please be prompt.
2. We will be going over the 90-90-90 goal
a. 90% attendance
b. 90% high school graduation
c. 90% college admissions

3. It is important to communicate the following to the students during the month of January:
a. The steps to pass the third marking period
b. The homework’s and projects they must do
c. The steps to pass formative assessments (quizzes, quick surveys)
c. The steps to pass the summative assessments (finals, projects)
d. How to pass the regents

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Monday, January 5, 2009 in the teacher’s cafeteria.

Apture Multimedia