Integrating Technology Keynote Address

Click above for my prezi delivered at the Brockport Annual Conference on Education

Free Educators’ Workshop on Modern Turkey: What to Teach in the Global and US History Classroom

Pittsford Central School District has graciously extended an invitation to the social studies teachers of Greece Central School District. Courtesy of a grant from the Turkish Cultural Foundation and World Affairs Council of America, they are offering a social studies workshop on Modern Turkey. The workshop is free and dinner is included. Registration is filling up quickly, but they still have a few open spots.

They have confirmed the participation of Ambassador Ricciardone through the State Department and are excited to offer this unique opportunity for area social studies teachers.

The registration deadline is April 23rd and I hope you are able to join them! 

Send me an email if you are interested in attending!

Attached is their itinerary.

Spotlight on Turkey 2012 4.26.12

Helping Students Critically Analyze Text

The Common Core State Standards are asking us to critically analyze text in a deep and meaningful way for students.  Please click on the above video to see what methods some teachers are using to help students identify key concepts in a text.  This is a 5th grade example from but can easily be modified to meet the needs of all learners.

As we continue to look at excellent in class writing strategies check out what Mr. Stressing is doing over at Athena High on their blog!

Greece Athena Staff Blog

Carl Stresing has developed a strategic and targeted process for teaching his students how to write effective and analytical essays in his classroom.

Mr. Stresing uses mind maps and graphic organizers to force his students to think analytically, write more thoroughly, express there thoughts more extensively and align there responses to the essay question specifically.

This format aligns well with our new Common Writing Framework (CEDA) and Mr. Stresing reports that his students’ writing is dramatically improving through the use of this strategy.

Here are a few of the graphic organizers students use in Mr. Stresing’s class.  Click on any of them to download a PDF version of the organizer.

Click on the images above to view the entire graphic organizer packet in PDF format.

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Vocabulary Words to Help You Pass the Global Studies Regents Examination!

Over the past several weeks several teachers and I poured over the Global Studies Regents Examinations that were given in the last 5 years.  Several vocabulary words that were not always specific to just social studies began to reappear as a pattern on these exams.  These “Tier II” vocabulary words were put into a program called Quizlet by Teresa Inclema-Currie (Thank Teresa!)  This program will allow students to learn these words through online virtual flash cards or through other activities on the Quizlet website.  Click here:

Quizlet also offers an App for Iphone and Ipad for practiving these on the go!



Also thank you to Diane Boni for suggesting the following steps by Marzano for:

Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement

The six steps to effective vocabulary instruction outlined in Marzano’s Building Background Knowledge for      Academic Achievement(2004)

  • Step       1: the teacher provides a description, explanation, or example of the new term

    Step       2: students restate the explanation of the new term in their own words

    Step       3: students create a nonlinguistic representation of the term

    Step       4: students periodically do activities that help them add to their knowledge of vocabulary terms

    Step       5: periodically students are asked to discuss the terms with one another

  • Step       6: periodically students are involved in games that allow them to play with the terms

Capzles: A New Presentation Tool!

Capzles is a fantastic web 2.0 tool for the classroom. Use it as an alternative to traditional presentations. Upload all sorts of content including documents, text and video. If you have a PowerPoint presentation…upload it as well! You can also write blog posts directly into the presentation. When your content is loaded, you will have a linear gallery similar to a slideshow or timeline.

In Capzles, every piece of content is called a “moment.” Let’s say you have several images that are closely related. You can “stack” them into one “moment.” When you are presenting, each moment will appear as a thumbnail image. Click it to enlarge.

Try Capzles to build lessons and presentations. Your students will love it!

Check it out here:

Writing Practice is the Key to College and Career Readiness.

“If we could institute only one change to make students more college ready, it should be to increase the amount and quality of writing students are expected to produce.”

From: “The Challenge of College Readiness” by David Conley

Ryan Johnson and Kendra Daman from Arcadia High School shared come of the Collins writing strategies they have been using with students on a recent visit.  It is based on a very structured system to articulate the writing from “Type One” to the finished product of “Type Five”

One example of their use of graphic organizers to begin their planning of the final draft can be seen in their example CFA Asoka

The steps below are from


Type One writing gets ideas on paper it’s brainstorming. Type One is timed and requires a minimum number of items or lines to be generated. Questions and/or guesses are permitted.

  • One draft
  • Outcomes are evaluated with a check (√) or minus (-)


Type Two writing shows that the writer knows something about a topic or has thought about the topic. It is a correct answer to a specific question.

  • One draft
  • Graded as a quiz


Type Three writing has substantive content and meets up to three specific standards called Focus Correction AreasSM (FCAs). Revision and editing are done on the original.

  • One draft (saved)
  • Read out loud and reviewed to see if the draft completes the assignment, is easy to read, and meets standards set for the focus correction areas.


Type Four writing is Type Three writing that is read aloud by someone else.

  • Two drafts (saved)
  • Writing is critiqued by a peer and revised by the author


Type Five writing is error free and of publishable quality.

  • Multiple drafts (saved)
  • Published work