Great Common Core Lessons Pioneered Here at Greece




Special thanks to Joe Pastor of Olympia HS for inviting me in to join his students for a deep reading of Pericles’ Funeral Oration. His students were deeply engaged in the text and became excited when they found vocab words that they have been learning in class imbedded inside this complicated classic. Mr Pastor consistently reminded the students to cite specific evidence in the text to support their answers. As the text based questions became more rigorous Mr. Pastor reminded the students that this is difficult work and that even he had to reread sections of it to prepare for the lesson. By doing this it seemed to create an atmosphere of being in this together and the students seemed to appreciate his efforts.

This is just another example of the great work that you all do everyday to move our students toward success.

If anyone would like help creating a CCLS lesson or would like me to swing by an see one in action PLEASE do not hesitate to contact me.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

M&T Bank To Offer Instruction On Real Life Economic Lessons



As a teacher of AP Economics for years I asked M&T bank to come into my classroom and help prepare the students for the real world of economics.  Instead of dissecting market structures and calculating GDP, M&T Bank discusses the most important lesson that anyone can learn… the lesson of personal finance.  Three major topics that they will discuss are Credit 101, Banking 101 and Budgeting 101  If you are interested in having a representative from M&T Bank come in and discuss this with your students (even if you don’t teach economics) please contact me to get it set up.  Click on the links to see some of what they will present.



National History Day 2012

Curriculum guides and rule books for the National History Day competitions for 2011-2012 school year are now available. Interested teachers (grades 6-12), students, and parents can find them by visiting the websites of the National History Day program ( and the New York State History Day office in Cooperstown (

Those sites also provide information about the theme for the year, “Revolution, Reaction and Reform.” In addition, there are suggested topics that students might investigate.

Dr. Preston Pierce, Regional Archivist at the Rochester Regional Library Council, can present a workshop orientation to National History Day on request for teacher or parent groups, students, and classes. Dr. Pierce has more than 25 years’ experience as a teacher and judge with local, regional and state NHD competition. Teachers and parent groups can contact Dr. Pierce at <>.

National History Day encourages students to explore topics in local, state, national, and world history related to the annual theme. Students conduct extensive research by using libraries, archives, museums, and oral history interviews. They analyze and interpret their findings, draw conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, and create final projects that present their work. These projects can be entered into a series of competitions from the local school to the state and national level. At each level the projects are evaluated by professional historians and educators.

Projects can include individual research papers as well as table-top displays, original website creations, documentary videos, and one-act plays created by individuals or small groups.

In the Rochester-Genesee Valley area, the Ontario County Historical Society (Canandaigua) and Genesee Country Village and Museum (Mumford) serve as regional coordinators. Those two organizations host regional competitions for those students who wish to compete beyond the school level. The Finger Lakes Regional competition will take place in Canandaigua, March 9, 2012. State competition takes place in Cooperstown in May.

Possible Global 1 and Global 2 Regents Exam?

While attending the Network Team Institute in Albany this week I asked the Commissioner of Education Dr. John King, about the possibilty of splitting up the Global 1 and Global 2 Regents Exam, and how will the new social studies regents exams allow teachers for more dealving into complicated texts at the risk of running out of time for content.

His reponse was encouraging.  He very much supports the Global 1 and Global 2 exam split.  Providing that the Board of Regents votes to divide them, we could see it happen in the next year or two.

He also indicated an increased focus on deep reading and the ability to cite their responses from texts on the exam.  Essentially this would create a DBQ section of the assessment that would be much larger and more indepth than we see today.  As we are in the very early stages of this it is hard to say what it will look like exactly at this point.

Using Technology to Reteach

While at the Network Team Institute training in Albany this week we looked at how data should be used to infom instruction and act as a diagnostic tool to determine which lessons the student mastered and which lessons the students may need addional support with.  Instead of simply reteaching the lesson (which can take a lot of time away from other duties, two alternative reteaching tools were demonstrated to the teams by the NYS Departement of Education.  Learnzillion and The Khan Academy are new and free ways to allow students to independently be tutored by programs that have been proven to make a difference in E-Learning.  Check out the hundreds of social studies lessons that are online.

I infact used the Khan Academy a few times in my class and the students were very receptive to it!  You can get is as an app on the iphone as well.

Click on the links below for the links to each page.