English Teacehers: Review for the Periodic Assessment Team

The DOE's Periodic Assessment Team is seeking experienced High School English Teachers and Supervisors to provide input and review content as we prepare to pilot new versions of the Acuity Instructionally Targeted Assessments for high school English during the 2010-11 school year. Educator review committee sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, June 23 and Thursday, June 24 from 3:30 - 7:30 p.m. To find more information and apply for this per session opportunity, please click here. (teacher posting is #308; supervisor posting is #309). The application deadline is June 9; please contact with any questions.


Free Copies of "America: the Story of Us"

Schools can receive a free copy of the new History Channel miniseries "America the Story of Us", which accounts pivotal historic moments in America's history.

A form to pass on to your principal can be found here.

More info about the series, including study guides are here.

Volunteer This Summer With BrotherMelo


BrotherMelo is a developing non-profit organization that provides after school and summer programming for NYC youth.  This summer, the program will be providing enrichment activities for youth in Red Hook, Brooklyn, including literacy, art, film, sport, and other activities, along with running a summer basketball tournament for over 300 youth from across NYC. 

The program is looking for volunteers to provide learning experiences and mentoring for young people, as well as to share in the creativity of the organization by bringing in new ideas and talents for supporting NYC youth.  Other opportunities are available upon inquiry. Interested participants should e-mail Daniel Lilienthal at


Improve Your School's Technology

Deadline: Ongoing

Up to $1,500 available for middle and high schools whose students submit votes to improve their school's technology. Learn more.

Miss something from last week's FellowBlast?
Whether it's a grant opportunity, a special discount, or a great teacher tip, you can be sure to find it all here.


Make a difference in your life and in the lives of those around you.


Spotlight on Michael Doig

Cohort 12 biology Fellow Michael Doig was recently selected for The Maury Project, a national program of teacher training based on studies of the physical foundations of oceanography.  The goal of the Maury Project is to train members of underrepresented fields in the sciences and significant numbers of pre-college students from underrepresented groups.

Through the program, Michael will study at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, and will be eligible to receive three graduate-level college credits after conducting two workshops in oceanography at his school next year.

Spotlight on Tiffany Braby

Cohort 10 Fellow Tiffany Braby teaches at M.S. 319, a community school in Washington Heights, which was recently featured in New York Teacher . The article highlighted the school's best educational practices with a wide range of in-house health and social services, and after-school activities provided by the Children’s Aid Society.

Tiffany describes the school as  “a private school in a public setting.” But, unlike most private schools, 90 percent of this school’s population qualifies for Title I and more than 50 percent are or were English language learners from the largely immigrant community outside its doors.

To learn more and to view the photo gallery, click here.

Please join us in congratulating these exceptional Teaching Fellows!


Raising Expectations: Finishing Off Strong

As June approaches, I can always sense the restlessness and anticipation that often creeps up on my students around this time of the year. I always demand the very best effort from my kids and I frequently stress that sometimes the best time to step on the gas is when everybody else is relaxing. In the past, I've been wary of the end of the year drop-off in concentration, so this year, I decided to try something a little different.

I decided to raise expectations and introduce a completely new learning strategy the last month of school in order to keep my kids locked in and focused. This has been my experience:

The Strategy - I decided to introduce Reciprocal Teaching, a teaching strategy designed to hone higher-level thinking skills by essentially having students teach sections of the text. The idea is that learning how to teach a text forces students to think critically. Reciprocal Teaching requires students to predict, summarize, question, and clarify while leading a group discussion as a teacher would. My plan was to have students be responsible for "teaching" short sections of our text in pre-assigned small groups.

My Doubts - I'll be honest, I knew that this was going to be a challenge for my reading intervention students and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Because so many of them are struggling readers, it's often tough just to get them to comprehend main ideas, let alone trying to get them to teach critical thinking. Even with copious scaffolding, I still wasn't sure if all of them could come up with good "teacher" questions that would spur intellectual discussion. I also knew that many of them were shy when it came to discussing in class and I was afraid that some of them would have problems being group leaders.

The Results - So far, Reciprocal Teaching has been a huge success. My reading intervention students are focused and they're conversing at a level of thought that you would expect to find in an honors class. The end of the year drop-off in concentration is gone and my kids are more engaged than ever. When reflecting, many students admitted that initially, they were not happy that the class was getting harder, but they all agreed that in the end, it was a powerful learning experience. They pointed out that they felt empowered by the fact that they were leading intellectual conversations. They commented that teaching and generating thought provoking questions is much more difficult than just participating. Still, many of them asked if we could continue to use the strategy through the remainder of the year!

Justin Lim

You Tell Us!

What are some of your favorite year-end teaching strategies? Write to us at


Spotlight on Staying Healthy

•     Brain Breaks help students refocus
      and gain concentration.

•     Search lesson plans relating to health and nutrition.

•     This brochure is written for teens: TeenSpeak… About
       Getting Fit

•     Scholastic has some excellent lessons on a range of health


Secretary Duncan Visits NYC Public Schools

Statement of Secretary Arne Duncan, New York City School Visit (as prepared for delivery):

"I am here to talk about the importance of preventing devastating job losses while also continuing to tackle reform. All across America, layoff notices are going out. Estimates run as high as 300,000 education jobs are at risk – and that means that our children are at risk. Vital programs are also at risk -- summer school, after school and early learning programs – sports, music and language programs – extra activities that make school fun, enriching and well-rounded – are now facing cuts. Continue reading...


Overheard in P.S. NYC

First-grade student en route to a field trip at the Bronx Zoo while passing a cemetery:

"Oh look! There's heaven!"

Submitted by Norah Robb
Cohort 6

You Tell Us!

Listen up and send us your funny and/or inspirational student quotes! E-mail us at to be featured in a future edition of the FellowBlast.

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