Back to School

‘All that news that fits, I print”

Richard Guidone


As a teacher and/or student, you know it is important to keep up with what is going on in your chosen field. But how do you do that as well as teach, study and still have a life? Blogs may help and here are five of the most popular from Education Week, one of the foremost authorities on all things educational.

Curriculum Matters: Seasoned reporters Catherine Gewertz and Liana Heitin team up to bring you news and analysis of issues at the core of classroom learning.

Teaching Now: Education Week Teacher covers the latest in teaching, from the inspirational to the infuriating, from practical classroom tips to raging policy debates, and from news you can use to news of the weird.

Politics K-12: This must-read EdWeek coverage tracks and analyzes federal and state developments, so you’ll immediately learn about policy changes and political posturing across the country.

Finding Common Ground: Former elementary school Principal Peter DeWitt writes about the social and emotional health of students and faculty.

Do You Ever Admit to Being ‘Not a math person’, if so read on.

If you are a math anxious parent chances are you convey that math phobia to your children. Even worse if you are a math anxious female math teacher. What schools and parents can do about it is discussed in this informative article from the NYT Aug. 25, 2015 issue.

In a 2010 study, Dr. Beilock’s team found one significant factor, particularly for young girls: math-anxious elementary schoolteachers, almost 90 percent of whom are female.


Tools for the Organized Student

Apps for the Iphone and Android devices can be useful as study aids. On-line flash cards apps are a dime a dozen in the app store. New ones worth considering either for yourself or for your students include GFlash which allows you to embed audio, video, or photo files too. Need help with homework reminders? Myhomework Student Planner, free on iphone, keeps track of events on a time-based, period-based or block-schedule. See text and video explanation of each below:

What Our Kids Really Need to Know-Natalie Wexler

In a continuing debate as to whether to teach isolated reading skills or content, the author of this editorial looks at effects of standardized testing, Common Core and E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge philosophy.

‘The root cause of today’s narrow elementary curriculum isn’t testing, although that has exacerbated the trend. It’s a longstanding pedagogical notion that the best way to teach kids reading comprehension is by giving them skills — strategies like “finding the main idea” — rather than instilling knowledge about things like the Civil War or human biology. Many elementary students spend hours practicing skills-based strategies, reading a book about zebras one day and a story about wizards the next, flitting among subjects. That’s a problem for all students: Spending hours finding the main idea can get pretty boring.’


This Aint Your Father’s School Lunch

School Lunches Becoming Healthier, Statistics Indicate By SABRINA TAVERNISE 8/27/15

The humble school lunch, that staple of most every American child’s diet, has become healthier. That was the conclusion of a federal report released Thursday that showed that the nutritional profile of school meals in the United States had improved substantially since higher government standards went into effect in 2012. But are kids eating it and has it had any effect on childhood obesity rates in the U.S.?


Getting Schooled

Most of us who have spent a lifetime in education know that you cannot just throw money at a problem and think it will get better or go away. Tell that to Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook fame, who gave tens of millions of dollars to the city of Newark N. J. in an effort to make it be a demonstration city on how to effect change. “The Prize, Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools” by Dale Russakoff was reviewed in the NYT Book Review by Alex Rotlowitz. The reviewer refers to the book as being…..” one of the most important books on education to come along in years.” But where have we heard that before? See the whole review of the book here:


And finally, the debate rages on as to how much data is too much data when it comes to your students or your own children while in school. In an article entitled, ‘Tools for Tailored Learning May Expose Students Data”, by Natasha Singer in the 8/31/15 NYT, warns of how easily your student privacy may be compromised quite unknowingly. Many states are now adopting laws like Georgia…’barring online services designed for elementary through high school from selling or sharing students’ names, email addresses, test results, grades or socioeconomic or disability information. It also bars them from using the data to target students with ads.” See the entire article here:


Keep informed and have a great start to the new school year.





Kaleidoscope of Creativity

On Tuesday, April 7th, 2015, the School of Education hosted the 4thannual “Kaleidoscope of Creativity” art exhibit. 26 artists from Hamden Public Schools, North Haven Public Schools, Fair Haven School in New Haven, and Side by Side Charter School in Norwalk gathered at the North Haven campus for an Open House and recognition ceremony.   Artwork was submitted by students in grades Kindergarten through 12 and will be on display until April of 2016.




Richard B. Guidone

I like to type with this style of typeface called
‘Mom’s typewriter’ because it makes it seem like I am
using an old fashioned typewriter like we all used to
have before the invention of computers. The typeface
back then looked like this because, through frequent
use, the keys would get smudged from the ink on the
black ribbon which had to be replaced whenever you
came to the end of the spool on which it was wound.
When you wanted to change the type color to red you
had to press a shift key that would move the ribbon
into position so that it would type over the red part
of the ribbon rather than the black. The shift key on
the present day keyboard bears no resemblance to the
original functionality. Indeed, the whole keyboard
makes no sense as to the placement of letters in
light of the way in which letters are displayed on
screen. The common keyboard is known as the ‘Qwerty’
keyboard due to the letters on the top left side of
the keys going from left to right. Look, see them?
Back in the day when you pressed a key, that letter
would rise out of the deck of keys. Someone figured
out the frequency with which one key was pressed
more so than other keys and to keep them from
constantly crashing and sticking together they had
to be separated on the keyboard and in the deck, thus
the ‘Qwerty* keyboard.

So why is it still in use after all these years? Too
many of the older generation grew up having taken
typing class in high school and then continued those
skills in the business world. To unlearn all those
finger movements would have been too time and labor
intensive so the path of least resistance was to keep
tilings as they always were. Today your thumlis bang
out a text message using the same letter arrangement
though some new phones and apps allow users to
manipulate the keyboard to their liking. Mayfee that
will signal the end of the Qwerty keyboard. Perhaps
but it will never replace the clickity clack of the
typewriter and the little chime which told you to
hit the carriage return for the next line on the

Other remnants of the same time period still being
used when sending messages is the ‘GC1 option. Ask
anyone who remembers where they were when Kennedy
was assassinated and they are likely to know that to
‘cc’ a person in a message means to send then a carbon
copy of the message. Two pieces of paper were placed
in the roller and put into position for typing. You
had to strike harder since the keys had to go
through two pieces of paper, one of which had a
material called carbon, like the pencils of old, so as
to have the image on two. One copy often was mailed
out and other one was saved for your files. No copiers
back then either. So between changing ribbons and
handling carbon paper the average typist often came
home with blackened fingers smudged with ink and

Excuse me while I change the ribbon, clean off the
keys and wash my hands so I can continue to write.

A Letter from Spain

Dear School of Education professors,

I just wanted to keep you updated on my study abroad experience in schools in Barcelona. I was placed in a 4th grade classroom at a school 35 minutes away from my apartment called Escola Lavina. My University has never worked with this particular elementary school before so I was nervous going in on my first day. When I first arrived, I should not have judged the school by the outside appearance. It had barred windows, doors, and high security going in. I would agree that my first impression was scared, and even frightened. It turns out that my teacher was amazing, sweet, and a great mentor. My first day was teaching students about myself in English and having conversations with them. They asked questions in their broken English and it was one of the most incredible experiences I have had so far. The students ran up to me after the first day and asked if I was coming back because they really liked me. It is safe to say that my experience at Escola Lavina was a culture shock, but exciting. I wanted to share a picture with you so that if you wanted to show other students back at Quinnipiac and pass on my story, that would be fine by me. I hope the semester is going well, and I hope everyone abroad or at home is having a wonderful experience like myself. I plan on sending more pictures so stay tuned.

Thank you and good luck on the semester!

Stephanie Palmer

span school

Ready or Not, Here They Come


by Richard Guidone

Technology Committee Visits East Haven Academy.

Critical thinking, problem solving, communicating and collaborating, creativity and innovation, information literacy, media literacy, and technology literacy are all skills for 21st century teaching and learning as described in a recent professional development workshop for staff in the MAT department at QU. Staff wrestled with how to incorporate some, all or any of these facets into their teaching so as to inspire our teacher candidates to embrace same using the Ipad.

Yet all of this and more was on display in classrooms already on a recent visit to East Haven Academy 3-8 School by a group of staff that has been charged with surveying the state of technology in the various school districts serviced by our students as interns and/or student teachers. Principal Maryann Johnson took us on a tour of the school on a cold, brisk morning in mid-January. The temperature inside was quite warmer due not only to the heat, but by the human activity evident throughout the building. This school and district has adopted the Google Chromebook 1:1 model of instruction wherein each student has their own Chromebook loaned to them throughout the entire school year for use in and out of school.

We were able to stop and visit into classrooms from 3-6 grade and even the Mac computer lab to meet and talk with eager students and teachers about how they are using their new tools to transform teaching and learning in that school. In almost every classroom we passed, we could see students working on something using their Chromebooks. Many were working on class projects that required a degree of collaboration that would have been the envy of any college classroom. In one class of 5th and 6th graders who were studying the Feudal System, we saw students editing a presentation that contained multiple slides, files, links, shared documents, and student made movies embedded in the final presentations.

Every teacher has a Google Classroom set up where they can post lessons, collect, grade and return papers, create curated links for classroom searches and much more. See the link here for more on what you can do using Google Classroom:

One noteworthy reflection of this observer was the degree to which all staff had embraced this new method of teaching in such a short period of time. Usually there is a significant amount of time between implementation and adoption by larger numbers of staff. But at this school, there seems to have been a high degree of acceptance certainly created by the culture already in existence at this particular school.

The team members who attended, Marion Sparago, Monica Cavender, Judith Falaro and myself all had differing viewpoints here expressed using the tools of Google Docs to create this document. Our next step as a committee, is to see how to best apprise our students of the benefits and uses of Google for Education and to see how we as the SOE can model best practices when it comes to using technology.

Other participants commented thusly:

So many of our students worry about whether they will be able to bring creativity into their future classrooms; showing them what this school is doing would ease their minds. (Judy)

Great to talk to 3rd, 5th, 6th and see the gradual progression of learning in content and technical skill. Knowing that these skills are necessary in contemporary times as effective learning tools, critical in modes of communication and used on this year’s standardized tests, it was great to hear from the kids about their highly motivated learning experiences. (Monica)

Watching the 5th and 6th graders collaborate on their documentaries was truly inspiring. Each student in the group was eager to and capable of researching content , creating presentations and performing skits while using the technology to enhance their collaboration. They each naturally took on roles based on their abilities and respected the input of each individual. (Marion)

We Really Do Matter: A Pep Talk for Teachers from Diane Ravitch

BY: Kaitlyn Rogalski, Senior MAT Candidate

On Wednesday, October 8, the Quinnipiac community came together for a conversation on public education, led by Diane Ravitch, educational historian, author, professor, and speaker. The more Dr. Ravitch spoke, the more I was reminded that we chose one of the most influential professions in the world. Here are Dr. Ravitch’s most important reminders for teachers:

1. Children are children, and they need teachers who understand that.
I know this seems obvious, but as Dr. Ravitch explained, new educational reforms and standardized testing often ask students to perform and act in ways that they are just not yet capable of. The stress of testing can take the enjoyment out of learning, but it is our job to restore that joy. We have the power to foster creativity, the arts, and individualized learning that brings out the strengths of each child, which is exactly why we all chose to work in the classroom. As Dr. Ravitch reminded us, we may have to roll with new educational standards and reforms, but they will never be more important than the needs and stories of the children whose lives we affect every day.

2. Schools are an important part of the community.
I had the chance to ask Dr. Ravitch what she meant when she advised teachers to invite the community into their classrooms. Her answer? Open your classroom door to the members of your community. Remind them of the part that public education plays in it, and public support for you and your school will follow. She stressed to us that as teachers, we really do have the community behind us, and if not, the best way to change someone’s mind is to provide a great example of what teachers truly bring to the classroom and do on a daily basis. This idea also works both ways. One of our goals as teachers, after all, is to help children grow into productive members of society, who understand the difference they can make. When the community is invited to take part in our classrooms, our students learn that it is not only their school that is important to the community; they also each play a crucial role. Parents and community members should not be seen as obstacles, but as allies who want our kids to succeed as much as we do, and stand behind us.

3. Testing is Only a Small Part of Assessment.
Dr. Ravitch is not a woman to mince words, so when she told us, “standardized tests mean nothing”, it was clear that is her firm belief. She praised the effectiveness teachers of all kinds, those who teach children with special needs, those who work in low-income districts, and those whose kids are simply not developmentally ready to pass standardized tests. She then went on to say that the scores on the page do not determine whether or not a teacher has done his or her job. Teachers know that we have succeeded when the personal goals that we set for each student have been met or surpassed. Testing companies do not have a personal connection with our students and their learning, but we do, and should be the judges of whether or not we have effectively helped our students to reach a new level in their education.

Dr. Ravitch ended our discussion by answering the question of “what’s next for public education in America”. She truly believes that the state of education is going to improve, and that teachers are the people who will be able to effect this positive change by continuing to be nonstop advocates for our children. Diane Ravitch’s optimism is a source of inspiration for teachers to keep being the best at what we do, as we are ultimately the anchors for our students in the current tumult of educational reform.

Former MAT Student Chosen Middle School Teacher of the Year in Hamden

School of Education Spring 2014 002      By Beth Larkins-Strathy

John Simone, MAT `2009, was named Hamden’s 2014 Middle School Teacher of the Year. He is now in the running for Hamden’s Teacher of the Year. Congratulations and good luck John.

John always knew he wanted to help others. Initially he majored in Sports Medicine at QU, but found that it was not what he was looking for, so he switched to Education and found his niche. A Hamden Middle School Math teacher, John is truly connected to his students and is a very compassionate human being. Part of this stems from John’s passion for teaching children and the rest stems from his experiences as a student himself. John says he struggled with homework and often needed help learning in non-traditional ways. His experiences assist him when he is trying to meet the needs of many students, some who struggle like he did. John’s favorite saying? “Perpetuate the American dream, educating America’s dreamers.”

Although John tends to be on the shy side, he pushes beyond and is involved in both school and community leadership. He coaches baseball, chaperones ski trips, helps with soccer and track and is part of the SAILS program, a program for helping students achieve success. In the community he is involved with the Hamden Heroes Relay for Life Team, coaches a town baseball team and participates in food drives.

John said that his experiences in the MAT program helped him to be the teacher he is today. He said that being in the classroom from the junior year and working with caring and knowledgeable education professors were key. He has some advice for students currently in the MAT program:

1)      Be confident and really know your content.

2)      Make sure your lessons are culturally relevant.

3)      Not every lesson will reach every student on the first try. Just don’t give up trying.

4)      Stay away from negative people; stay positive.

5)      Tell yourself you are not stressed, just busy


#itsallworthit by Lucinda Kramer

All jobs have perks. Some perks are minimal, and some perks are financially staggering. Most perks only last the length of a job. Teaching however, offers a lifetime of perks!

I have never a met a teacher who hasn’t wondered how they have been remembered and have affected their former students. We work hard to design valuable lessons and fun activities hoping students will take solid knowledge and experiences with them as they progress to the next level.

Even today, years after retirement, I run into students who so kindly share their memories and fondness for my class. It’s a real perk. However, one of the most memorable perks I ever received is the one I share with you.

On the first day of a school year, about 30 years into my career, a student named Ashley approached me and informed me that I had her father Caleb in 6th grade at an elementary school in town. I was teaching at the Middle School at the time.

I had remembered Caleb vividly because he was in one of my first classes. After a brief chat about her Dad, Mom and grandparents nothing much was said. I figured I would see Mom and Dad at a Parent Conference or an Open House.

About a month later, Ashley brings in a note I had written to her grandparents about her father Caleb’s behavior. It was a note that informed Caleb’s parents that I would be keeping him after school for unacceptable behavior. This was going to take place on a Friday, late in June, in 1976!

What stunned me at first was that he still had the note. The next thing that jumped out at me was the date. Imagine, keeping a student after school, late in June and on a Friday yet!

I started to think that maybe Caleb was still very upset with me after all these years! It sort of frightened me to think he still had this note.

The year progressed uneventfully.  No more notes or reminisces about Caleb. Ashley was a good student and her Mom would show up for conferences and school functions.

However, her father never came to school.

Two days before the end of that school year, a burly, bearded man, about 40 something, shows up at my classroom door. He was holding a school- shaped planter filled with beautiful flowers and a card. I recognized him immediately. It was Caleb!

When he approached me, he instantly turned 12 years old and I became Miss Romano. It was as if time had never passed and we were in the same roles we were 30 years ago.

Caleb proceeded to tell me that Sixth Grade was his favorite year! He remembered many things we did in my class and he shared how much that year meant to him. After a pleasant visit, he handed me the planter and card. Upon his departure, I read the card which was filled with huge amounts of appreciation and gratitude. I was so deeply touched and awed on how I affected his life that year. It left me lost for words, which is very rare for me.

This was a lifetime perk that will be carried with me throughout my life.

Lucinda R. Kramer

Student Teacher Supervisor

Doing Good by Christina Pavlak


After having been fortunate enough to work at the School of Education as a visiting professor during the 2013-2014 school year, I have compiled a list of my top thirteen (it’s a Pavlak family favorite number) lessons learned during my time at Quinnipiac:

  1. Our student teachers are highly respected in the field. One staff member at a local elementary school even told me that if there were a “teacher draft” like there is in sports, one of our students would be the “first round pick.”
  2. The service work and dedication to the teaching profession of the QFTO are inspiring. One of my proudest moments this year was being asked by the officers to speak at a chapter meeting.
  3. The sense of community and the care shown at the School of Education are rare. Be it an unexpected death in the family or an unexpected (perhaps even embarrassing) trip to the ER after a baking accident, faculty and students embraced me with kindness.
  4. Our graduate students engage in original action research that has the potential to impact the field. I read thesis papers that could be submitted for publication.
  5. Faculty members are not only strong teachers but also exceptional scholars, regularly publishing educational research and poetry.
  6. Marion Sparago, if up to many of us, would win an award every month. She is that wonderful.
  7. The creativity of our students is profound and their ability to reflect on “big” issues is boundless, as evidenced by their thoughtful in-class presentations and their reflective journals.
  8. Social justice is at the forefront of many of our minds: early in the year, I participated in an extraordinarily enlightening activity around othering  with Professor Holmes and three classes of juniors. Wow.
  9. Students and faculty are not afraid to ask and struggle with the answers to difficult and important questions about racism, segregation, sexism, and classism in the schools and the curriculum.
  10. The early classes can be lots of fun, especially when the professor brings a big box of Apple Jacks or bubble gum.
  11. The vision and enthusiasm of students are inspiring: from questions about service learning, teaching ESL to adults, working in special education or internationally, getting a bilingual teaching endorsement, or joining the Peace Corps, they think beyond their immediate experiences.
  12. Using iPads in the classroom opens many opportunities for teaching and learning; thank you Professor Cavender for bringing this resource to our school.
  13. Students, staff, and faculty openly share ideas and resources and encourage one another to think about issues from multiple perspectives.

There is a lot of good at Quinnipiac’s School of Education. Years ago when I was an elementary school teacher my father bought me a canvas tote bag for Christmas. It was an excellent gift for a number of reasons: one, as a teacher I often carried numerous bags to school filled with books and supplies for my lessons. Two, it was decorated with a Minor Meyers Jr. quote that aligns with my personal and professional philosophies: Go out into the world and do well. But more importantly go out into the world and do good. It is my hope that, upon graduation from the School of Education, students are prepared and inspired to do both.

Kaleidoscope of Creativity


The School of Education hosted its third annual “Kaleidoscope of Creativity” last night. Thirty-eight K-12 students from North Haven Public Schools, Hamden Public Schools, Fair Haven School in New Haven and Side by Side Charter School in Norwalk have loaned their artistic creations to the SOE for display. The North Haven High School Ensemble provided musical accompaniment during the reception. Please stop by the SOE to personally view the artwork – you will be amazed!