September Faculty Meeting

11 Sep

Please sign in with your SAU 15 Google Account to Access this Presentation:

Underhill School August Faculty Meeting

26 Aug

Blogging as Pedagogy: Facilitate Learning | Langwitches Blog

4 Jun

Blogging as Pedagogy: Facilitate Learning | Langwitches Blog

Click the link below for another straight forward blog post from Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano on her Langwitches blog.  She breaks down all the different ways blogging can facilitate modern learning.  Just reading the list can provide multiple ideas in how to expand your classroom based blog.  My favorite is within the reflection section regarding the meta-cognition; thinking about your thinking.  Reflection can’t just be for reflection’s sake, it has to drive improvement.  What’s yours?

Blogging as Pedagogy: Facilitate Learning | Langwitches Blog.

End of Year Burnout: How to Finish the Marathon in Stride | Edutopia

14 May

End of Year Burnout: How to Finish the Marathon in Stride | Edutopia

Please read the post below from Rutgers University professor Maurice Elias.  The post, found on Edutopia (always a good read) focuses on helpful strategies to help keep yourself and your students focused through the final stretch of the school year.

What strategies have you found helpful to have a “Focused Finish?”

What questions do you have about the final push?

How has the end of the school year changed from years past to now?

Post your comments and questions below or email me at


End of Year Burnout: How to Finish the Marathon in Stride

Image credit: Thinkstock

The end of the school year can feel like the final few miles of a marathon. Not only does your body not want to go on, your mind wants to be elsewhere. It’s not helped by the fact that the dreaded tests are over. Feeling burned out is quite common. In one of my previous blog posts, I drew upon the work of expert Cary Cherniss, whose book, Beyond Burnout, gives great guidance about factors most likely to lead to teacher burnout and some ways to detect and prevent it.

But the end of the year is different. Detection is not the issue. Neither is prevention. You are at mile 23 and your lungs are bursting, your legs are cramping, your mind is in a jumble, and you just want say, “Beam me up, Scotty.”

Yet, just as the marathoners make it to the finish line, so can you. Here are five ideas that work:

Idea #1: Reconnect your kids and with your kids. Not your “students,” your kids. Whether 7 or 17, they are kids at heart and this is your chance to reconnect with them as people. Talk with them about their interests. Ask about what books they have read, videos they have seen, sports they are following, teams they like, foods they most enjoy, favorite things to do during the weekend, museums or parks they have visited. To make this more comfortable, you might want to have them start out some of these conversations in small groups, or in round robins, or in speed-dating formats, to keep things lively and to help them better connect to each other. You could also have them write or draw about it.

Idea #2: Share your interests. Talk to them about things that interest you. Not part of the syllabus? Make it so. “Speaking of geometry, we have been trying to find a new table for our kitchen, and we have not been able to figure out the right shape — rectangle, circle, oval, square, pentagon — I bet you hadn’t thought about the geometry of a kitchen or dining room! You could announce something like, “Today, as part of our English lesson, I wanted to talk with you about London, which is in England, and therefore part of the English curriculum. It’s my favorite city in the world. What are some things you might go to see in London?” Or, “Before we talk about our science topic today, I have a question for you: Do any of you have pets at home? We have been having some trouble with our dog and I can use some advice.” Even if they don’t care about the subject matter you are talking about (not exactly a new event during a school day), they care about you and will enjoy that you are sharing with them in a personal way.

Idea #3: Talk about the summer. In some of my work in schools this year, I have been surprised about how many students want to talk about the summer. There seem to be three groups: kids who just want to think about the summer the way marathon runners think about the refreshment tent beyond the finish line, kids who have specific things they are looking forward to, and kids who dread the summer because they have to spend time at home, or work at things they don’t want to do. Either way, giving your students a chance to talk about the summer, as a class or in small groups, will help them, and help you. One approach is to ask students to raise their hands if they are really looking forward to the summer, sort of or not really, or really not looking forward to it. Then, you can put kids in those three groups for a preliminary conversation to share their particulars. You can visit each group, and then have an overall class sharing. You can also talk about your feelings about the summer, as you think appropriate.

Idea #4: Engage and encourage their aspirations and dreams. “Ok, today we are not taking out any books or papers or anything. I want you to take out your imaginations and your hopes and dreams about the future. Put them on the desk and look them over. What do you hope for in the future? What do you want for yourself, and your family? Your education and your career? Let’s talk about it.” From here, you can guide small groups or a class discussion, individual writing or mindful contemplation, etc. There is a lot of research showing that, in terms of learning, the aspirations of students matter. You will find it valuable to learn what they think about their future and you can devote more productive classroom time to helping your students more realistically plan for their futures, expand their aspirations, and understand the importance of turning their dreams into reality, than by any bits of lesson content you will cover in those last few classes. And you will find yourself re-engaged in why you went into education — to make students’ lives better and to help them make a positive mark on the world.

Idea #5: Have some fun. Check out my recent blog post on humor in the classroom and, most importantly, the fantastic ideas and comments added by the Edutopia community. They provide testimony that the best antidote to burnout is humor and fun.

Perhaps unlike a marathon, we don’t have the option to quit before the finish line. And we can’t make the terrain any easier. But we can spend the time in ways that will actually lighten our stride and allow us to cover more ground — in this case, time — without it feeling quite so burdensome. And you might even get a “runner’s high” on occasion. What are ways you beat burnout?

Smarter Balanced Practice Tests

30 Apr

Click Here: Smarter Balanced Practice Tests

I just received this email from the ETNews Listserv from the Office of Educational Technology at the NH Department of Education.  It is a SBAC in New Hampshire update written by Stan Freeda.  I encourage everyone to experience this assessment.  It will provide a clearer understanding of what our children will experience in a year when they take this assessment for the first time.

Click Here: Smarter Balanced Practice Tests


The Smarter Balanced Practice Tests were released in the spring of 2013 to help students and teachers understand the format of the Smarter Balanced test as well as the tools and resources that are available to make the test more accessible. The refreshed Practice Test scheduled for release in May 2014 includes new questions and performance tasks. Enhancements also include additional embedded universal tools, designated supports and accommodations. The practice tests in English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics for grades 3 through 8 and 11 each include approximately 30 questions as well as a new performance task in ELA.

The updated Practice Tests more closely mirror the operational assessment and includes the following features:


  • Questions that include the range of item types expected to appear on the operational assessment, including a new question type that allows students to enter information directly into the cells of a table
  • Questions that span a range of difficulty for the grade level from “very easy” to “very difficult” and performance tasks that utilize more open-ended response types to allow students to explain their thinking on complex, real world problems
  • Improvements to question wording, format and directions based on input from experts in content and accessibility and accommodations experts


  • New or revised reading and listening passages
  • Improvements to question wording, format and directions based on input from experts in content and accessibility and accommodations experts
  • Questions that include the range of item types expected to appear on the operational assessment, including matching tables and short-text questions
  • Revised scoring rubrics for teacher use


  • For the math assessment in every grade, glossaries are available in 10 languages and several dialects
  • Full stacked Spanish translation available for the math assessment in every grade

Accessing the Practice and Training Tests

The Practice and Training Tests are not compatible with all operating system versions and web browsers.  See Operating System and Browsers Compatible with the Practice and Training Tests for detailed information on compatible operating systems and browsers.

Take the Practice Test


Important Limitations: The Practice and Training Tests provide a preview of the Smarter Balanced assessments, but they do not encompass the full range of content that students will encounter on the spring 2014 Field Test or on the operational assessments, and should not be used to guide instructional decisions. In addition, students and teachers will not receive reports or scores from the Practice or Training Tests. Although the operational assessment system will be computer adaptive, the Practice and Training Tests follow a fixed-form model.

Experiential Learning

7 Feb

This story is fantastic… If you cannot view the video below, click here to see it on CBS’s website.

Is Jack’s curiosity something he was born with?

Was it fostered?  If so how?

How does nature and nurture play into his life experiences?

Strategies To Support Mathematical Thinking

6 Feb

Strategies To Support Mathematical Thinking

Strategies To Support Mathematical Thinking

Click the link above to read a great article that provides useful and simple suggestions for supporting mathematical thinking in your classroom while also bolstering engagement.  The author, Lily Jones of the Teaching Channel, includes videos to help explain and describe her strategies.  It’s a very informative and practical resource.  Enjoy!

Math Workshop at Underhill School

22 Jan

Math Workshop

Click the link above to view our newest addition to the Underhill School blog family.  Amanda Stark, our Title I math tutor, has compiled a variety of resources and information regarding our implementation of Math in Focus at Underhill School. We believe the more we can communicate with our families and community, the more our students will learn!

November Faculty Meeting

14 Nov

Below you will find our November faculty meeting.  You will only have access to this if you are a member of SAU15 staff.




13 Nov

Photo on 11-13-13 at 2.59 PM

Movember United States – Home

So, I have a goofy mustache this month.  It might even classify as pathetic; but it’s all in the name of men’s health.  The foundation, MOVEMBER, is literally changing the face of men’s health by changing the faces of men.  Through encouraging men like me to grow a mustache for the month of November (Movember), the group is raising funds and awareness for men’s mental health, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.  If you are interested in supporting the cause, click the link below to donate.