Break-Out Presentations Fall 2007 Retreat

"Using Assessment to Derive Instruction Fostering Early Literacy Skills of Kindergarten and First Grade Students" Buffalo State College, Department of Education and Reading, Keli Garas-York; Bonnie Welsted, Kim Grudtisch, and Sean Morrisey; Pinehurst.

  • This collaborative project addresses the early literacy needs of students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 based on initial and ongoing assessments. BSC JP's along with a faculty member, school administrator, Pinehurst teachers and support staff will research phonemic awareness and phonics skills and activities, design mini-lessons and create materials for lessons in conjunction with guided reading books. These will be implemented by BSC students who are placed in Kindergarten, Grade 1, and K/1 classrooms and Pinehurst teachers based on the needs of the students.
  • To see their presentation click here.
 "Learn about" Claire Gershon.
  • Learn more about how your school can receive a small grant through this presentation explaining how the organization works and how your classroom can benefit. DonorsChoose is a simple way to provide your students with the books, technology, and supplies that they need to learn. Innovative and committed teachers like you propose ideas for needed resources. Individuals around the nation can search these student projects by areas of interest, learn about classroom needs and choose to fund the project idea(s) they find most compelling. Make sure your idea is next!
  • To see her presentation click here.
  • To see the teach flyer handed out during her presentation click here.

"Improving Mathematics Instruction with the Integration of English Language Arts" Buffalo State College, Department of Education and Reading; Dianne McCarthy; Lovejoy Discovery School #43.

  • This project seeks to improve the quality of mathematics instruction at Lovejoy Discover School #43 by integrating English Language Arts into Mathematics instruction using the discovery approach. At the primary level children's literature will be the focus of instruction, while writing will be an important feature at the intermediate level.
  • To see her presentation click here.
  • To see the list of her references click here.
  • To see a list of some of the books used in the project click here.


"Junior Participants Connecting with Parents Promoting Literacy Development in the Home" Buffalo State College, Department of Education and Reading; Maria Ceprano & Christine Tredo; Buffalo State College, English Department; Dr. Barbara Bontempo, Enterprise and Hyde Park.

  • Literacy Enhancement fairs will be held at two urban schools, Hyde Park Elementary School in Niagara Falls and Enterprise Charter School in Buffalo. The purpose of the fairs is to encourage literacy practices in the home by providing parents with a variety of ideas and activities. JP's at both schools will collaborate on the creation of eight Literacy Enhancement Stations. A noted children's author and storyteller will present at the fair. Participating families will receive children's books for their own use.

“Using Problem Solving as a Principal Instructional Strategy to Make a Shift in Thinking about Mathematics Instruction” Buffalo State College, Department of Education and Reading; Hibajene Shandomo; Poplar.

  • This project will focus on the impact of using the problem solving approach on teacher candidate practices and perceptions as well as student learning. Support for JP's making the shift from a view of mathematics that emphasizes procedural knowledge, knowledge of rules, symbols, and procedures to learning mathematics by doing is the important aspect of this project. Creating, presenting, and analyzing taped lessons will facilitate reflective practice and new perceptions of problem solving in mathematics at Poplar Academy.  

“Fathers are the forgotten parent in many American schools.” Buffalo State College, Department of Education and Reading; Dr. Wendy Paterson.

  • Over the course of our history, fathers who were once the most important voice in a child’s upbringing have been pushed farther and farther away from direct involvement in childrearing. For divorced dads, this alienation is enforced by schools who do not reach out to fathers if the children live with their mother. This presentation will present divorced dads’ perspectives on divorce and child-rearing after divorce, and catalog their frustrations over the way fathers are marginalized in the mother-centered culture of American schools.
  • To see her presentation click here.

West Street Elementary School, Niagara Wheatfield Central School District; Joan Blum and Jennifer Golias.

  • Two second grade classes in a rural/suburban school district collaborated to research, write and publish a library quality text on the history of the school district and the surrounding area. The classes collaborated with local historians and community organizations to research pertinent information. A teacher candidate from NCCC collaborated with the teachers on the project. Additionally, the students designed and planted an heirloom garden in the shape of Niagara County. The project also included producing birdhouses decorated to represent significant local buildings. These birdhouses were displayed in the garden. 

“What Works in Vocabulary Instruction Can It Make Better Students?”  Buffalo State College, Department of Education and Reading; Kim Truesdell; Winchester, and Kim McCartan. 

  • Based on the most recent work by Heidi Hayes Jacobs, this project will focus on third graders in the West Seneca School District. The Literacy Team at Winchester has created Vocabulary Notebooks for each student. The notebook is designed to implement a comprehensive approach to teach academic vocabulary based on the work of Robert Marzano. The district also possesses Powerful Vocabulary for Reading Success based on work by Cathy Collins Block. Teachers will be able to choose which type of instruction they will implement in their classrooms. After pre- and post-testing, we will determine which type of instruction is most effective for third grade students in West Seneca. We will also assess individual teacher’s needs regarding vocabulary instruction. In addition, the PDS teachers isolated a concept/unit of study and the associated vocabulary words. Teacher Candidates had to decide which vocabulary they would target. They then had to find books and supplemental materials to reinforce the vocabulary and explain the rationale. The topics were across the curriculum-math, social studies, and science.
  • To see their presentation click here.

“Literacy Development Impacted by the Visual Arts” Maureen Myers, Discovery School #67.

  • A school-wide project at Discovery Elementary School #67 designed to cultivate students’ awareness, appreciation, and interpretation of the visual arts while integrating this information into writing to enhance their written expression.  Our Discovery School philosophy is “hands on, minds on,” encouraging inquiry, creativity, and critical thinking at all levels.  Through explorations in our school’s discovery room and by touring the Albright Knox Art Gallery, it is our belief that our students will be enhanced by their interactions to communicate as the artist and they will create their own pieces for a school wide exhibit to be shared with their families.  It is our hope that as a result of this entire experience with the visual arts, literacy advancement in the area of written and oral communication will be noted within our learning community.

“Sharing Math Skills” Maria Violante; Kalfas Math Specialist, Linda Johnson; Kalfas 4th Grade Teacher, Maria Gorbach; Kalfas Kindergarten Teacher, and John Miller; Buffalo State Undergraduate Student.

The fourth grade students at Kalfas Magnet School developed Math Centers for the Kindergarten students. The students share math skills from NYS Standards. The project is a student driven, teacher mentored activity that was worked on over a two year period. The fourth grade students then presented, modeled and left their activities in the kindergarten classes to be used as reinforcement.  


Our annual retreat, PDS Possibilities Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow, was held on Friday, September 28, 2007 at Erie 1 BOCES in West Seneca, New York.

Summary of Events:




7:30-8:00 Set up
8:00-8:20 Breakfast Gathering and Networking in 2B/B
8:20-8:35 Welcome & Introductions: Leslie Day, PDS Director, Wendy Paterson, EER Chair, and Ron Rochon, SOE Dean
8:35-8:50 Announcements and Reports
8:50-9:20 PDS Timeline and PDS Pioneer Celebration
9:20-9:40 PDS Goal Setting
9:40-10:00 "Walk-about" and Break
10:00-10:45 First break out presentations - rooms A1,2,3,4
10:50-11:35 Second break out presentations - rooms A1,2,3,4
11:40-12:25 Third break out presentations - rooms A1,2,3,4 
12:30-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:00 Keynote: Motivational Speaker - Ron DeCarli
2:00-2:30 PDS Business and Retreat Evaluation

Thank you for helping make our retreat a success!