Teacher Appreciation Day

Just wanted to extend a sincere Thank You for all you do in our classrooms everyday.   This year has brought change, excitement, success, and challenges.  Through it all, student learning and development has remained the focus.   I have had the privilege of working with many of you, and have experienced excellent and innovative learning lessons for students.  Congratulations on a successful and rewarding year so far…and thank you for all you do with our students.


Moving Forward with Common Core Training

All schools in Greece have been moving forward with the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards.  At the secondary level, teachers have been exploring connections between Common Core Standards by content, combined with the practices and skills of each discipline area.

For example,  teachers have started to analyze the five practices of social studies identified by NYS, and connected them to Common Core skill development.  At Arcadia, social studies teachers in grades 6-12 have started to explore vertical alignment in terms of essential content, CCLS skills, and targeted social studies practices; “Doing History.”


At Athena Middle School, staff worked through both tiered vocabulary training, as well as text-dependent questions activities.  Both are at the heart of CCLS across all content areas.  Click on the links below to view each PowerPoint, as presented by Principal Dave Richardson.

Text Dependent Questions – PowerPoint outlining the creation, process, and evaluation of Text-Dependent Qs.

Tiered Levels of Vocabulary – A second PowerPoint that summarizes the different tiered levels of vocabulary and how to effectively implement these in classrooms.

That’s it for now…please email with questions or comments: matthew.schultz@greece.k12.ny.us



Holocaust Remembrance Week

Remembrance Day

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 8), the Greece social studies department invited Mr. John Kula to speak with students.  Currently, John works in the security department in Greece, and he has a rich family history dating back to the 1930s and 1940s in Europe.  John visited Arcadia High School, Arcadia Middle School, and Athena High School over the week.

John’s parents were both captured by Nazis during the Holocaust, and placed in labor/concentration camps.  After the liberation of those camps by both the Russians and the US, his parents met at a refugee camp, were married, and John and his older sister were both born in Europe in those camps.  John and his family arrived in the United States, via Ellis Island in 1949.

photo                 photo1

For John’s presentation, he walks students through his very personal connection with the Holocaust, share pictures, talks about the experiences of his parents, and answers questions.  He also outlines the major causes, events and results of the Holocaust, and includes major individuals as well.  Lastly, he completes his talk with the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and passes around pieces of the wall that he owns.  John’s message to the students is centered on celebrating the diversity and uniqueness of individuals, rather than allowing those things to create negative situations and devastation.   He connects this overall theme to bully prevention strategies, and creates an argument that focuses on never forgetting about our history, and making history a personal journey.


Reading Like a Historian…

Hi all,

Here’s the Link: Stanford’s History Education Group – Reading Like an Historian.

Reading Like an Historian

Please check out this website – it is a great one for all social studies teachers, and it connects our content to Common Core and skill development in text analysis.  Brad Fiege from Arcadia presented this to the social studies department, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

The website is an excellent resource for social studies teachers for a number of reasons.  First, lesson plans are created with Common Core in mind.  The center of these lesson plans is textual documents, primary sources, maps, etc. that are historically relevant.  The push is to have student “Doing History” rather than simply learning about it – and that is at the heart of the Common Core standards within social studies.  Second, it is easy to access these plans, and they are free.  Simply register once, and you have access to these plans in PDF format.  All materials are printable, and you can save them as well.    As well, the lessons are created through the Stanford History Education Group, and the resources are grade level appropriate for our students.  Many documents are from the Library of Congress as well.

There are numerous lesson and documents available right now in US History, and just last month, Global lessons were added too.  That database will continue to grow.  There are currently 15 lessons in the Global History database.

CCLS Training in Social Studies

Hi all,

Over the past two weeks, and continuing into April, social studies teachers at Arcadia have been working with the Common Core Learning Standards through professional development from Dr. Marijo Pearson (Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES).  The focus has been on integrating CCLS into the Social Studies content by focusing on the standards and connecting them to current best practice.

imagesCAJUIFGKOn March 5th, teachers will continue their work as they begin to explore the CCLS Standards, and work with evidence guides to plan and teach a Common Core lesson in the next few weeks.  I hope to be able to work with teachers and share in this process.  Our last two sessions will focus on text dependent questions, as well as text complexity.   More to follow soon…



9-12 Social Studies Framework Posted

From Engageny.org:

Each instructional content area must include standards and frameworks that describe the knowledge and skills required for students to progress toward College and Career readiness. NYSED has taken steps to align the current social studies learning standards (United States and New York State History; World History; Geography; Economics; and Civics, Citizenship, and Government) with the requirements of the Common Core State Standards. This work has been developed in consultation with teachers and leaders in P-12 schools and higher education institutions. The draft New York State Common Core K-8 Social Studies Framework was posted in September 2012 for public review and comment at http://engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-common-core-k-8-social-studies-framework. A survey was conducted during September and early October and results were reviewed by the Social Studies Content Advisory Panel in October.

At the September 2012 meeting, the Board of Regents discussed a requirement for dividing the current Global History and Geography course of study into two units of study. The Social Studies Content Advisory Panel met in October and discussed this proposal. At the November 2012 meeting, the Board directed staff to seek public input on the proposed changes. A limited survey was conducted in December and the results supported a chronological approach. This information was reviewed with the Board of Regents at the January 2013 meeting and this draft New York State Common Core 9-12 Social Studies Framework was developed accordingly (See:http://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2013Meetings/January2013/113p12d3.pdf).

The draft framework represents a chronological approach to the Global History and Geography course of study, with the first unit addressing the Neolithic Revolution to the beginnings and causes of the Industrial Revolution (approximately 1750), and the second unit beginning with the Enlightenment and continuing through modern times.

This draft framework also incorporates the Key Ideas and Conceptual Understandings for the following courses: United States History and Government; Participation in Government; and Economics, the Enterprise System, and Finance. The draft framework is posted online for public review at http://engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-common-core-9-12-social-studies-framework.


Evidence Guide for Common Core…

One way we can strive to include Common Core activities in our classrooms is through a simple checklist.  Below is a link to an evidence guide for implementing Common Core activities in social studies.  There are similar ELA Common Core guides at achievethecore.org.  This guide for social studies is based on those.  The guide is broken down into three parts, and focuses on the following three pedagogical strategies:

1) Building knowledge through content-rich non-fiction texts and documents.

2) Progression of reading and writing supported with textual evidence.

3) Integration of social studies themes and practices, as identified by NYS.

There are indicators for each of these three areas, withing lessons, across the school year, and even beyond the classroom.  Another great aspect of this guide is that it connects Common Core practices with the NYSUT Teacher rubric used in APPR evaluations in Greece.  By no means should this guide be used solely for evaluation purposes, but it does provide teachers with a great amount of evidence that relates to all 7 different standards in the NYSUT rubric.

Evidence Guide for Common Core Standards

Any questions, please email (matthew.schultz@greece.k12.ny.us).