Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lumosity - Your Brain, Just Brighter

I am fascinated with infusing brain based learning strategies into the classroom.

Why? Because I am looking at ways to improve how students who have different learning styles can stay engaged in a lesson and use different methods to help them acquire the skills to succeed on informal and formal assessments. More importantly, I think it is a wise investment for students to check out different exercises that tickle their brain rather than yet another pair of sneakers or jeans.

Check out Lumosity. Lumosity is a web based training program. It costs approximately $90 per year. The goal is to improve brain health through fun exercises in memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem solving.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Building Towers in CISCO

A senior, Victoria Caldwell, descends from the 3rd floor with her flash drive saying: “I was sent to you by the Gods.” I laugh and say, “What do you mean?” She said, “Take a look at how we are building our own computers in CISCO.” I excitedly upload the pictures, click on the first one and I am treated to a positively delightful array of photos showing young ladies and young men building their own towers. A tower is the brain part of the computer. Ms. Victoria Caldwell, who also happens to be the president and founder of the McKee Big Brother and Big Sister program, explains the difference between a whole computer and a tower by saying: The tower is the brain and the monitor is the screen. We are focusing on the tower because without the tower there is no computer. The tower is the main function of the computer. One cannot access any information without the key component. When we got the tower, there was nothing in it. It was completely empty. We were responsible for putting in the motherboard, CPU, CD drive, DVD drives, the fan, wiring, RAM (a chip installed into the computer that helps the motherboard work). We installed different products to make the tower work.”

Look and enjoy. I know I did.

Monday, February 14, 2011

MSIT the SIHSL Tournament Champions

The last time MSIT won the SI Championship was 35 years ago in 1976-77. Back then, the team was given a proclamation and their names were listed. In 1992, the Staten Island High School League Tournament was created in which basketball teams on Staten Island would formally compete against one another under PSAL rules.

From 1992 to 2010 - MSIT fought an uphill battle to get into the finals. On Saturday, February 12th, 2011, MSIT won over St. Peters through an intense display of artistry and team play. The final score was 57 - 54. Click here to read the details in the Staten Island Advance.

To get the details of the long wait of MSIT to becoming the Staten Island high school basketball champions, click here.

Way to go Soaring Seagulls!

Friday, February 11, 2011

McKee Students Know How To Tinker

Click here to check out the neat article in the Staten Island Advance about two McKee students heading to the sate competition on February 15.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reminders for the Beginning of the Spring Semester

The goal this second week of the spring term is to reinforce rules and regulations, engage students, and practice easy to use activities tied to helping students of different abilities to learn. All of the ideas, and graphic organizers are on under “The Tools.”
They are:
1. Integrating the smartboard into lessons
2. K-W-L - (really SQ3R)
3. Think-Pair - (check
4. Ball Toss – a neat way to do medial or final summaries in a lesson. Use a beach ball or small stuffed animal. Here are the rules:
• Teachers says – “Here’s the information ball. Time to review.” Start with the teacher tossing ball to individual students.
• Students can refer to their notes.
• Always toss the ball underhanded
• Take time responding to questions but only speak when one is in possession of the ball
• Build 2 small teams in which students must cite correct facts, spellings, definitions, procedures, or lists covered in the lesson.
5. Representative music/visuals/video clips of the time period (5-7 minutes at the most).

These are all strategies I used when I taught. The research to support using the activities is in Eric Jensen’s Brain Compatible Strategies.

KWL Chart That Works

Go to the school website: and click on THE TOOLS tab in order to see the KWL chart that helps students gather information, generate questions, find the answers to the questions, and the review.

The KWL chart will look a great deal likke SQ3R, which many teachers have found to be a more useful graphic organizer. Check it out.

Apture Multimedia