Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week - Mohammed Aziz

Check out McKee's own Mohammed Aziz.  Coach Scott Crabbe submitted his name for Scholar Athlete and he was selected by New York 1. Click here or copy and paste the link into your browser:

Please note: In order to see the original video, one has to be a subscriber to Time Warner Cable.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Student vs Faculty Basketball Game

The score: 81 to 62. The Student Government organized the McKee High School student vs. faculty game, which happened on Thursday, March 20th, 2014. In the first 5 minutes, one could tell the students were going to DOMINATE. Actually it was a win-win event as it was an opportunity to giggle and cheer. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Engaging Teaching Strategies

Click here for active engagement teaching strategies that will enliven the learning experience. This article was in the March 2014 edition of Principal Leadership.

BTW - I did my first Socratic Seminar in my freshman Pathway to AVID class. Was it perfect? No.  Did I follow all of the rules? No. Did 5-7 minutes go by in which the students were responsible for responding to one another's inquiry and statements using civil conversational tones occur? Yes. I now realize all of my angst about doing a Socratic Seminar was me putting my own self in a headlock.  Now I need to ground the practice, follow more of the Socratic Seminar protocol so that it is not just a controversial question they are answering but substantiating their argument with evidence from two articles.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Upcoming Test Dates - Spring 2014

Upcoming Test Dates for McKee High School students for Spring 2014. Click here or copy and paste the following link into a browser:

All students and parents/guardians/caregivers should post the chart on the refrigerator, mirror, and closets.

Kudos - SkillsUSA New York City Regional Leadership & Skills Championships 2014

Hats off to the 40 students from McKee’s chapter of Skills USA who competed all day on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at the SkillsUSA New York City Regional Leadership & Skills Championships at Thomas Edison High School. Nine (9) students walked away with awards + Mr. Reynoso.
Check it out:

Zakiya Rahman
Advertising Design
2nd – Silver Medal
Alaric Hyland
Architectural Drafting
2nd – Silver Medal
Thomas Maron
Auto Maintenance Tech.
3rd – Bronze Medal
Mayancela Washington
2nd – Silver Medal
Christopher Sosa
3rd – Bronze Medal
Joseph Kent
Computer Maintenance Tech.
3rd – Bronze Medal
Adriana Ortega
Cosmetology Senior Level
3rd – Bronze Medal
Hagi Garcia
Extemporaneous Speaking
2nd – Silver Medal
Christina Daquieno
Job Interview
3rd – Bronze Medal

*Mr. Jorge Reynoso
2014 NYC Skills USA Advisor of the Year*

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Race to April 11th

Saturday, March 8th, was action packed. I had Saturday School, PTA meeting; and a short cabinet meeting to chart the next school wide initiative for writing. On the very same day approximately 40 students met at 6:30 a.m. in the morning for the citywide SkillsUSA competition in Queens. I pray that the students had a good time at the SkillsUSA competition and come back cherishing the fun, the level of competition, and the interaction amongst the wide range of like-minded peers from other schools.

It's Sunday, and I am fighting the last remainders, hopefully, of the flu.  I am at home continuing to enter  low inference evidence for teacher evaluations. It's a race. I have 15 evaluations left to do by April 11th, which means I have to be focused like a laser. As I sit here, typing and munching on toast and drinking tea, there are fans gathering at South Shore High School to see the PSAL "A" Boys Varsity Game for the quarter finals. MSIT is one of the teams in competition. I pray for a miracle for those intrepid young men to advance to the next level.

The theme for this week and the upcoming weeks until and through June 30th is best indicated in the title of Susie Morgenstern's children's book, I Will Make Miracles.  I received a copy of this children's book from the head educator of the city system, as did all principals, to provide inspiration and ongoing motivation. Time to dig deep and continue to shape and provide the environment for "miracles."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

MSIT Advances in the PSAL "A" Boys Varsity Playoffs. Click here to check out the article in the SI Advance. 

Click here to check out more pictures.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Summer Youth Employment Program

Information for the Summer Youth Employment program is here.

Teens can apply online at: 
Remember to apply on line by the deadline, April 25, 2014.

Call YOUTH CONNECT at 1-800-246-4646

Monday - Friday, 9 am - 7 pm

Email Youth Connect at

Visit DYCD at

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday School and PM School at McKee

 Saturday School began on March 1 and will end on June 7.
Dates include:

·         March: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

·         April 5, 26

·         May 3, 10, 17, 31

·         June 7

Classes will run from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

PM School will begin on March 3 and end on April 29.
Dates include:

·         March 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31

·         April 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 23, 24, 28, 29

Classes will run Monday-Thursday from 3 – 5 p.m.

PTA Events in March

Here is a list of events fresh off the press from the PTA for the month of March:

March 8th --> PTA Meeting
March 14th -->Perkins 7am-11pm
March 19th--> Buffalo Wild Wings 6-9pm
March 20th--> Bake Sale
March 28th-30th --> 5 Below

I love my dynamic PTA Board.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Periodic Table by room 103

Check out the periodic table made courtesy of Ms. Lapenta's 1st period Chemistry class. The periodic table is by the 1st floor science lab.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Mr. Sarno and Mr. Gordon - 2014 CTE Awards Recognition

Kudos and Congratulations to Mr. Sarno for being awarded the UFT CTE Teacher of the Year for McKee High School. Our heartfelt congratulations also go to Mr. Leo Gordon for receiving the Adobe Award for his contributions to the development of our students in Graphic Arts.

To quote from the 2014 CTE Awards site:

“CTE today is the cool thing,” proclaimed UFT Vice President for Career and Technical Education Sterling Roberson, setting the tone for this year’s CTE Awards Recognition Ceremony. More than 35 educators were recognized for their work at the Feb. 6 celebratory event at the UFT’s Shanker Hall. “When you see students engaged in a whole different setting, a student who all of a sudden lights up, that’s what CTE is all about,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew praised the awardees. Awards were also given by the union’s industry partners, including Adobe, the Municipal Credit Union and Johnson Inc.

Friday, January 31, 2014

What are the expectations of an "Effective" Classroom?

1.    In the Classroom

The strong start in the semester semester of a school year is in establishing the rules, fairly applying the rules, and being consistent as much as possible with the rules. Use the subject area content and knowledge of child development to get the students minds open for learning. By the way - using games to reinforce content can be a powerful tool. There is elegance (and fun) to applying games from one's youth to have students remember content.
·       Use your Danielson Framework/CCLS aligned lesson plan as a blue print.
·       Remember the ladder of referral for disciplinary issues.

2.  What are the expectations of an Effective Classroom?
a.   Greeting students - monitoring entrance into the classroom. Opening exercise. Routine established for handling late book and bath room pass. Expectations stated at the start and at each major point in a lesson

b.   Overarching Essential question posted in the classroom for the term.

c.   Essential Question on PowerPoint/Smartboard
                                         i.    CCLS stated on board / chart paper
                                       ii.    Routine to collect homework established

d.   Motivation – 5 minutes in the form of a visual, audio selection, journal entry or connection to the lesson. The audio selection can be a music or video clip aligned to the subject matter.

e.   Mini Lesson  in which the content is discussed and the skill modeled. – Use Vygosky:
                                         i.    I do – student watches
                                       ii.    I do – student helps
                                     iii.    Student does – Teacher helps
                                     iv.    Student does – Teacher watches/evaluates

f.   Students process and demonstrate what they know in applying the skill through various grouping strategies: turn and talk, think-write-pair-share, gallery walk, etc.
                                         i.    Practice differentiation every day. Embed a slide with the steps in your PowerPoint/SMARTboard presentation. Check out The Tools on the school website:  There is a treasure chest of instructional practices.

g.   Quick formative assessment of student comprehension: hand cards (Yes/No; True/False; ABCD), thumbs up/down, red light/green light;  electronic clickers
                                         i.    Have a mid-summary
h.   Differentiated Instruction:
                                         i.    Check “The Tools” for Ideas and Icebreakers. Differentiate by content and/or by learning style.
                                       ii.    Steps for the activity should be pre-posted on chart paper, PowerPoint and/or handout

i.     Circulate the classroom. Check on their Cornell Notes.

j.    Use Costa’s Levels of Questioning or Bloom’s Taxonomy or Depth of Knowledge.
                                         i.    Students respond to one another through conversation or question starters.
                                       ii.    Have students “pass it on,” repeat, comment or expand on the answers of other students

k.   End of Lesson Summary – provided by the students answering what did they learn, how did they learn it, why is it important.
                                         i.    Summary should be completed in their Cornell Notes
                                       ii.   Exit Pass

l.     Homework assignment

Monday, January 27, 2014

McKee Merchandise Is Coming

McKee merchandise is coming. Here's a preview:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2014 NYC Regional Automotive Technology Competition Results

Kudos and Congratulations to the automotive technology students of Mr. David Sarno who participated in the 2014 NYC Regional Automotive Technology Competition sponsored by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association on Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 . The two students on the left: Oscar Wan and Nick Mardikos won 1st placeThey received: 

  • ·         GNYADA First Place Trophy
  • ·         Official Competition T-Shirt & Hat from GNYADA
  • ·         Snap-on Screwdriver
  • ·         Automotive Career Information
  • ·         $12,000 Automotive Training Center Scholarship
  • ·         $10,000 Lincoln Technical Institute Whitestone Scholarship
  • ·         $10,000 Lincoln Technical Institute East Windsor, CT Scholarship
  • ·         $7,500 Universal Technical Institute Scholarship
  • ·         $5,000 Ohio Technical College Scholarship
  • ·         $2,000 New England Institute of Technology Scholarship

The students on the right, "Shedier" Jones and Tyler Texier came in 3rd place.They received:

  • ·         GNYADA Third Place Trophy
  • ·         Official Competition T-Shirt & Hat from GNYADA
  • ·         Snap-on Screwdriver
  • ·         Automotive Career Information
  • ·         $7,000 Automotive Training Center Scholarship
  • ·         $5,000 Lincoln Technical Institute Whitestone Scholarship
  • ·         $5,000 Lincoln Technical Institute East Windsor, CT Scholarship
  • ·         $2,500 Ohio Technical College Scholarship
  • ·         $2,000 Universal Technical Institute Scholarship
  • ·         $1,000 New England Institute of Technology Scholarship

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Apture Multimedia