Friday, December 27, 2013

Fabulous Discussion & Sentence Starters

There are amazing blogs and websites that deal with sentence frames, discussion starters, and academic language talk.
One of the best blogs in which a teacher walks one through the process of establishing accountable talk or academic language talk rules in class is Life in 4B. It is detailed with commentary and pictures. They have a lovely section on using peer conferences for students to be able to edit one another's writing. Scroll down to see the wonderful ideas about how to scaffold academic language or Socratic Seminar conversation in a classroom. The posters for the different types of discussion starters are wonderful and something to emulate.



Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sentence Frames in All Subject Areas


I read a fascinating paper about ways to increase the use of academic language in the classroom. In the move towards instituting literacy across all subject areas, it may start out simply with teachers modeling how to respond, and then through using think-write-pair-share, having students use sentence frames as a structured way to record their thoughts and to respond to one another in class.

The paper (click here) is entitled "Procedures for Using Sentence Frames to Scaffold the use of Academic Vocabulary and Text Structures." 

In making recommendations to teachers as well as to inform my own practice, It will start with finding sentence frames and making them large enough so that they can be referenced in the classroom.  Samples of really neat links are on the school website under "The Tools" tab under Sentence Frames. Click here to see it. 

Another piece that I wish to encourage in my teachers and in my own instructional practice is to use Philosophical Chairs and Socratic Seminars. In order to encourage those types of structured discussions. Samples of links about discussion starters are on the school website under "The Tools" tab under Discussion Starters and Frames.
Click here to see it.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Adding A Little SOAP to our School Initiative

Here at McKee: 

                                         i.    We use Marking the Text for Reading
                                       ii.    We use Cornell Notes for Organization
                                      iii.    We will use SOAP for Writing. When you read a piece, you have to identify the SOAP. As the writer, you need to know your SOAP. SOAP is straightforward. Check it out à
The SOAP method is an extremely helpful tool to anyone needing to read and write. What the SOAP method does, is break down your reading and writing so that you can figure out what your thesis is, because every essay needs a thesis. Once you have your thesis, the essay can be formed easily.
S-Subject 
Think about the subject you are writing about. For example, let's pretend I was writing about the benefits of ballroom dancing. My subject would be the benefits of ballroom dancing.
O-Occasion 
What is the occasion that you will be writing about? Why are you writing the essay in the first place? If I use my last example, I would say that the occasion of my essay is to inform readers the health benefits of ballroom dancing.
A-Audience 
Who are you writing your essay to? Who do you want to read it? This plays a big part of your essay because if you don't know who you're writing to, it will be pretty hard to come up with what to write. In my example, my audience is anyone who is wondering how to lose weight, and also anyone who is interested in ballroom dancing. When you know who you are writing to, you can figure out what kind of tone to take with the essay.
P-Purpose 
What is the purpose of your essay? Are you trying to persuade someone, simply inform someone, or describing something? If you don't know the purpose of your essay, you can easily get confused and lost. In my example, I am trying to inform readers about the health benefits in dancing to lose weight. That is my purpose.
Once you have these 5 things filled out, you have effectively figured out your thesis. With your thesis, you can start writing your essay. In my example, using this, I could do my introduction, and in the body paragraphs I could explain the benefits of ballroom dancing and then write my conclusion. 

This technique can be used in ANY subject area. Throughout the remainder of the school year we will learn how we can reinforce what is happening in English Language Arts and Social Studies by using SOAP & selectively using the rubric from the NYC Performance Assessment for Writing. Click here to check out the NYC Performance Assessment ELA Rubric for the 11th-12th grade .



A Gold Star for Financial Literacy

Mr. App, on the left, teaches our seniors about financial literacy. In the spring the seniors take the financial literacy test sponsored by WISE. Mr. Tom Anderson, on the right, stopped by to present our school with the gold star for having 90% of the seniors who took the test receiving a high score.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Response Cards: Quick Formative Assessment Techniques

Turning Technologies Clicker

There are many ways to formatively assess what students understand about a topic. Acquiring Turning Technology Clickers is a hi-tech solution. A set of 32 clickers is approximately $1200. The software is plug in and play, user friendly and can provide a rich field of data. For example, one is able to find out the percent of students who marked each answer on a question. One can assign a specific clicker to a student. If one does not have the time to assign student names, put a number on a desk and the clicker number is matched to the number on the student's desk. Click here for more information about Turning Technologies clickers.

Yes / True / ABCD Response Cards

The flip side of the Response Cards

For a low-tech solution, try using response cards. When it is time to ask a survey question in class after 5 to 8 minutes of explicit instruction, tell students to hold up a YES or NO card. The YES card has NO on the other side. Get card stock paper. Use "Table" in Microsoft Word and make large 4 by 4 squares on the 8.5 x 11 inch paper. Use a paper cutter so that now one has a class set of cards. Encourage students to raise their hand high and in order to count the responses. One can easily select those students who said NO and use the arrow of recitation or "pass it on" for students to express their views.

The YES/NO card can easily be transformed into TRUE/FALSE.

Suppose you want to use regents level questions and want a quick way to see how many students are able to select the answer. Use 200 point font to create A-B-C-D on one side of the 8.5 x 11 inch paper and E-F-G-H on the opposite side of the paper. Use "Table" in Microsoft Word to make large 4 by 4 squares. Copy the letters onto cardstock. Use the paper cutter. Since a student is now dealing with four letters on each side, one needs to go to the 99 cent store or Costco to get the ziploc baggies in which the letters are placed at the end of class or after the end of that section of the lesson. 

Click here to check out the three different response card templates.

What a stunner - MSIT 70 - Curtis 69

I am constantly amazed by the drive and perseverance of students. Last night I went to my first basketball game as I finally managed to wade through the pile of digital paperwork to actually manage to see the dapper gentlemen of MSIT play. 

What a fascinating result. The final score at the basketball game on 12/6/13 is quite surreal. I have copied the link to let you, dear reader see the results: MSIT Stuns Curtis

Friday, November 22, 2013

Scrumptious Tasty Treats at Nov. 21st Bake Sale

You have got to check out these pictures from the PTA's bake sale on Thursday, November 21st, 2013. At the end of all of the lunch periods, only crumbs were left. Talk about a rainbow of color.


You can never underestimate a pumpkin brownie. I never even knew what one was until I tried it. Talk about "melt-in-your-mouth" goodness. 


Such a bake sale could not have happened without parents volunteering to add an expanded range of luscious treats. Ms. Melissa Greene, PTA President, speaks for all of us when she says, "a big thank you to all of the wonderful parents who volunteered their time and effort to make the goods and bring them in.



Sunday, November 17, 2013

McKee Advances to 2013 PSAL Bowl Championship Finals


McKee High School shares all of their sports programs with Staten Island Tech. The football team is known as MSIT. The advisor for the MSIT cheerleaders has "Fear the Flock" painted on the side of her van. Taking a page from Ripley's Believe It or Not, little old MSIT won today's semifinal football game against Bayside High School. They will play in the finals against South Shore High School next Sunday.

Click here to check out the article in the Staten Island Advance.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Engadget Cisco Networking Fair

Engadget along with Cisco Networking sponsored a fair at the Javits Center on Friday, November 8th, 2013. It was a feast for the eyes about a plethora of gadgets and electronics. Here are just a few pictures as to what our students from McKee experienced.
















Monday, November 11, 2013

PTA Meeting on College Information


Applying to college is a long, detailed process that requires persistence. Any information that can help alleviate the process is a blessing.

Thanks to Jennifer Miller and Leo Gordon for working together to put on a solid presentation for the PTA on Saturday, November 9th in which they shared elements about how parents can help their children apply for college.  The hearty brunch was courtesy of MADE - McKee Advertising and Design Enterprise, which is overseen by Mr. Gordon and run by the top upperclassmen in the Graphic Arts and Commercial Design Program.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Check out the McKee High School SkillsUSA  Executive Board at the Fall 2013 Leadership Conference in Syracuse, New York. Looking mighty sharp in the red jackets.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ground Breaking Ceremony 10/31/13

Councilman Oddo attended the ground breaking ceremony for a new field on the Staten Island Tech campus. This is the first time that I have participated in a ground breaking ceremony. 
29 McKee students were in attendance. The ring of balloons represents both school colors intertwined, which is just like the athletics programs. The colors of McKee are green and gold. The colors of SIT are black and gold. Both schools join together to put teams on the road. 

The new principal at SIT is Mark Erlenwein. Yours truly is on the left. It was a lovely day and the students, as always looked great. Get a look below of the "before picture" of the field.  I know there are proponents who feel strongly that it is great to play on a natural field. The coaches have stories, way too many stories, of what they had to do to make the field safe for the students to use.

Halloween Quick Pix - 10/31/13

Halloween at McKee had an interesting little twist. For the first time in my  career, I saw someone who impersonated me. Can you guess which one?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

McKee's New Cardio-Fitness Center

Why do I have such a big smile on my face? I am at the "green-ribbon" cutting ceremony held on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, for McKee's new cardio-fitness room.  The person responsible for the renovation is Councilman James Oddo.

Check out the write up in the Staten Island Advance: 

Check out the pictures:






Saturday, October 19, 2013

McKee Shows Green & Gold at JHS Articulations

Let's take a look at what one sees when McKee shows up at an articulation night at a junior high school.
It's great to have student representation. Here we see the Mardikos twins representing two different CTE programs (L) automotive technology and Graphic Arts Design (R).

Our Advancement Via Individual Determination program is very successful. Our first graduating class was June 2013. 100% of the students who entered the program graduated on time, and went onto 4 year colleges. The AVID Way has become so strong throughout the school that all students are learning the Cornell Note Format. All students are encouraged to have binders. All students are learning to dissect what they read through "marking the text."

 In the center, standing tall, is Mr. David Sarno, McKee's automotive technology instructor. Mr. Sarno is also the Scholars At Work-Based Learning Program coordinator. His drive, energy and enthusiasm is a major reason why we were able to stage a joint CTE Advisory Board meeting for the very first time in October 2013.
Thank goodness for the production team of MADE aka McKee Advertising Design Enterprise led by the Graphics Art instructor - Mr. Leo Gordon.  What you see to the left and below is due to the team's efforts. It adds a wall of green and gold to put thee xclamation point to the articulation presentation when we visit the junior high schools.

Here's Mr. Hatton (Social Studies and AVID teacher, above) and Ms. Ippolito (guidance counselor, to the right) wearing their green and gold and talking about McKee.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

YEA for Adam Said of McKee


Congratulations to Adam Said of McKee High School for being accepted into the inaugural class of the Young Entrepreneur's Academy (YEA) sponsored by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Welcome Back Breakfast on Sept. 21, 2013

Check out the first event organized by the PTA Executive Board of 2013-2014.

Parents on a Saturday. So cool.


A Kohl's representative making a contribution to the PTA.


Of course, Ms. Greene (PTA President) presents a token of McKee's gratitude to the representative from Kohl's.


Ms. Mullen, in charge of English, Social Studies, ELL, AVID Coordinator, and now Advanced Placement Supervisor. McKee now has 3 Advanced Placement courses. We're starting small and building with the help of the citywide initiative called the APEX Program. Very exciting.


Mr. Sarno is the instructor for the Auto Program and also the Work Based Learning Coordinator. He helps our students gain internships.


Who is this new face to McKee. His name is Mr. Lambert. We are putting him through his paces as he takes on a number of different roles at McKee.


Where did all this talking and where did all these people gather? - Why at the the annual Welcome Back Breakfast. This event always jump starts the first PTA meeting. This year it was held on Saturday, September 21, 2013 in the student cafeteria.

Apture Multimedia