Why So Nervous?

I‘m in Rochester, NY attending the SAANYS conference.  SAANYS is my NYS professional organization for administrators, very similar to NYSUT.  Every year, they have an annual conference around this time.  I’ve been to some, and they always bring in folks from the field to share relevant information and great sponsors and exhibitors.

SAANYS follows me on my twitter feed.  They watched as I presented at the National Association for Elementary Principals conference in Baltimore this past August, following the tweets and reading up on our presentations.  About a month ago, Michelle Hebert emailed me to see if Tony Sinanis and I would be interested in presenting something similar to the SAANYS members.  Sure, why not we both said.  Unfortunately for Tony, he had a family emergency and couldn’t make it, so it’s me!  (She really booked me up too, four presentations around using Twitter and increasing your PLN.) Hence, why so nervous!  (Fortunately, I have some friends helping out today!)

Dave Burgess in his Teach Like A Pirate book states that we, as educators, do not consider ourselves public speakers, but yet, we do this EVERY day in front of our class.  It’s one thing to preach to kids, yet another to adults and peers.  You wonder, “What are they going to say about me, about my presentation?” But why do we feel this way?  I always had a very difficult time turning around and talking to the audience during concerts.  Then one day, during a guest conducting gig in Long Island, I made it a point to turn around and talk to the parents, the adults in the audience.  Mind you, this was a packed auditorium with parents lined up on the side aisles, talk about nerves.  The results were astounding and made for a more personable performance for them and for the kids on stage.  

So, why am I writing this?  Because ALL of you are professionals and you all have something to share.  The most powerful thing for us as a school, team and a learning community is to share what we know and what we do.  So, when I approach you and ask you to share, give it a try and your best.  You all have something great working for you.  What are your tricks?  What engages your students?  Don’t be surprised if I create a Smackdown google sheet for a sharing blitz of strategies and web tools.  Let’s learn and  share  what we know is working. You are the best of the best!  Have a great week!


  • Bus Duty for Oct. 21 – Nov 1 Team 4:  Jennifer Prevost, Marci Woods, Kathy Buell Oct. 21-Nov 1 Upcoming bus duty Nov 4 – Nov 15  Team 5:  Gina Caldwell, Kate Spriggs, Megan Weldon
  • Mrs. Bushey will or has put out an updated Math PD calendar.  You are all expected to use these days as grade level planning days so make sure that you are meeting  with your WS colleagues.   The expectations is that you sign-up on MLP and call in for sub coverage.  Lori will be updating MLP for these activities and is working to schedule rooms for you to meet.  Charlene knows about these dates.  These days will help you work together as a grade level and work the “kinks” out for upcoming math units.
  • I will be turning around and doing walk through’s again next week, so be ready.
  • The administrative team has set aside dates for 10/22, 10/23 and 10/24 to review the SLO/LLO process.  If you have questions and are not sure of things, I would plan to attend so that you can pose any questions that you may have.  Please see Mrs. French’s email regarding these sessions.  The sessions  start at 3:10p.m. and are being held in room 214F in the MS.
  • My friend Tony Sinanis writes another letter to our NYSED Commissioner
  • Peter DeWitt writes about how to use your community to improve literacy.
  • Carol Burris writes about the Common Core slip here: http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/20/common-core-the-growing-slip-between-rhetoric-and-implementation/
  • Please check the East Side Announcement page for updated dates, announcements etc.  Lisa is updating this continually!  http://gouverneurcentralschool.org/esannounce/
  • What are the five things you are grateful for?  Make a list daily.  It does wonders!
  • Be the change agent for kids!  Be a champion for kids.  Every kid deserves a champion!
Other Items of Interest
Resources for the Common Core-aligned Regents Exams have just been posted:
  1. ELA 11 resources
  2. A1 resources
  3. The transition memo (the September update)

WCNY’s grand opening is October 30th. Bob the Builder will be there — how about you?Check it out and help cut the ribbon!

Also just posted is the proposed framework for the Regents Research Paper (a Board of Regents item to be considered next week).

Twenty-eight questions you want your students to be able to answer. These might be more important than most of the questions we answer.

Using averages to calculate student grades is a mathematically inappropriate practice – yet we do it all the time. Here are some ideas to help you reconsider the practice.

The Teaching Channel continues to add more and more videos, including math videos for different levels:

Technology itself can’t have an impact on learning, but the manner in which we integrate technology into learning systems and school processes can.

Daniel Goleman explains how the emotional atmosphere matters in classrooms. It matters that students feel calm and safe in the classrooms. There are a number of videos from Edutopia that explain this and other impact of social and emotional intelligence.
Here are the Top Ten components to planning and delivering a Common Core-based math unit – in common: before, during, and after the unit.


If you want to learn what to expect on the PARCC assessments, these blueprintsoffer the most detailed explanation.


One of the most common applications of GoogleDrive in the classroom is for distributing and collecting assignments and work. Here are some tips to avoid some pitfalls.


Rick Wormeli suggests (on page 41) that making classroom decisions that are based on certain principlescan lead to better approaches to learning and teaching.


Re-blast: There are versions of Implementing the Common Core State Standardsfor secondary leaderselementary leaders, and school counselors.
File photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer


Although it is generally recognized that the understanding of subject-matter is important to successful teaching (and student learning), definitive research hasn’t materialized. Whether or not a teacher can anticipate student misconceptions and misunderstandings does matter.


Contrast NY’s 80%/75% definition of College & Career Ready with the School Success Rubric. Which do you think is closer to what our students need for their future?


An examination of textbooks over the last century suggests that the texts have not been dumbed-down, refuting a fundamental claim made in the Common Core that students need to be reading more complex texts. These authors maintain that the problem is that students are not proficient reading texts at the current level.


This report from the National Clearinghouse provides data about aggregatedcollege enrollment and persistence.

From The Teaching Channel:

Grade 5 | Social Studies | Reading | CCSS

I just love how Ms. Brouhard uses this lesson to help students not only determine important concepts in a text, but also how she empowers her learners.
All Grades | ELA | Evidence
One way to start good habits of close reading: be sure students have a clear purpose for their reading, something that anchors how they interact with a text.In this video, Ms. Norris shows us how a highlighter — matched with clear purpose — helps students close read.
Grades 9-12 | ELA | Engagement | CCSS
Mr. Wallace invites us into his classroom where wesee how three different exercises help students read closely to construct summaries.
A Touch of Humor
Close to Home

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