Sept. 2013_lots to learn!

September 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wow. The school year sure does come in with a roar. Tons to do!! No time to blog!
See ya.
Be well,
Mista Chocka


August 2013_PD — — — What is PD?

August 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hello Families, Students:

Since it’s August, and you’re preparing to go back to school (or send your child back to school), you may have looked at our district’s site & calendar.  It can be found here:


In the late days of August, before school resumes for students, you may notice that we have 3 days of PD.  What is PD?  It is “Professional Development,” and it’s part of teacher contracts.  We teachers need to learn new things too, especially in this ever-changing world of the latest and greatest technology apps, programs and software.  I can share that I have learned a few things that I will be using in this upcoming school year (2013-2014).

I am going to start using EdModo and Evernote.  EdModo is basically a “lite” version of Blackboard (the software used by many universities from which instructors teach and share all class documents, files and assignments).  It’s a kind of LMS (Learning Management System).  Evernote is basically an online digital notebook, from which you can save, edit and organize all the great things you find online.


Also, I am making the full switch to an online gradebook!  Our student information system is called Aspen, and we’ve been using it for a few years.  In the past, the schools used Aspen for all kinds of things, but mostly for attendance, student data and report cards (grades/ marks).  Teachers at BHS were allowed to simply enter “end of term” grades at the end of the term, while still maintaining a classic paper rank book, but now all teachers at BHS are required to put all grades, assignment marks, homework points, project grades and grades from tests, quizzes and writing assignments on Aspen.  It is now the main place for all BHS teachers to record students’ grades.  I am happy to learn something new, and so am happy to be a “paper convert;” thus switching completely from my days of the classic rank book, to the Aspen Gradebook! 

Thanks for reading!  Leave a comment!  Cheers, “Mista Chocka”


Summer advice _ July 2013

July 29, 2013 at 11:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hello Parents, Families:

Busy summer…?  Perhaps for some of you…  I know that others, like myself, are trying to enjoy some “R & R” … which stands for “rest and relaxation.”  Since I pour 100% into my teaching during the school year, I must admit that I try my best to “recharge my batteries” during each vacation.

I will however, share that I make my children, ages 9 and 7, do some reading and learning activities each day.  Yes, I require that my kids do: at least 10-15 minutes of age-appropriate/ skill-level appropriate reading (out loud, so I can help with decoding and pronunciation); some math (like flash cards, to reinforce those basic skills); and our daily music practice (piano lesson practice time).

I encourage you to insist that your child continues to improve their academic skills and increase their knowledge in ways that you think might help them in the upcoming school year!

Finally, let me also suggest day trips to expose your child to places that can enrich their life experiences and aid in their maturation process.  I suggest aquariums, museums, libraries, parks, beaches, rivers, lakes, historical sites, cities and towns, festivals, shows, concerts, camps, fairgrounds (aka fairs), university and college campuses, farmers’ markets, athletic events, fried seafood shacks and restaurants, old-fashioned car shows (aka cruise-ins), and amusement and theme parks!  Massachusetts has a lot to offer, especially in the summer.  The beaches are wonderful, and since this blog is mostly meant for the parents and families of my ELLs, in Burlington, Mass., let me suggest some beaches nearby.

Some of the most popular are:  Salisbury Beach, Newbury Beach, Salisbury State Beach Reservation, Crane Beach, Plum Island, and Hampton Beach (Hampton, NH), which is just over the Massachusetts border.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!

Signing off:

Mista Chocka


A Discussion of Vision and Mission_June 2013

June 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Let’s take a look at this one, from the “Draft District Improvement Plan,” for Burlington, for the 2012-2013 School Year.  In class today (6/4/13), I would like to articulate and help to explain the role and purpose of a vision and mission statement.  Please read this one below, and let’s discuss.

Please keep in mind that even though it may seem lofty, having a positive vision for where the district can go, in all matters of growth and improvement, is essential for a healthy plan to improve.  We are at a critical point in modern history, in 2013, as our global networks have begun to really integrate with all areas of modern life.  I refer to the integration of technology in business, government, public affairs and education, among others.  We will look back some day, and realize this was the start of something big and new.  Please read this vision and mission statement below, and ponder what you think the future of education will look like here in Massachusetts, and across the country.

Burlington Public Schools
Draft District Improvement Plan 2012/2013
The mission of the Burlington Public Schools is to help all students acquire organized knowledge, master creative and intellectual skills, and understand ideas in ways that foster a positive self-image and lead to lifelong learning, self-sufficiency, and responsible

The Burlington School Department Vision is “striving for excellence” and will be accomplished by:
1. Helping students achieve their highest potential by providing a rigorous balanced curriculum.
2. Employing highly qualified teachers, administrators and support staff who are committed to the Burlington mission
3. Encouraging parents to take an active role in their children’s education through involvement with the schools to enhance
student academic success.
4. Providing opportunities for community members to participate in school activities to reinforce the goals and advantages of
providing quality educational programs for every student.


Great videos for your English Language Learner! (May 2013)

May 31, 2013 at 5:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

These series, “Real English Lesson” are wonderful because it’s authentic, yet more than just listening. On many of these, you get closed captions and explanations of the grammar, spelling, content, etc.

ELL Class Unit, post – April 2013

April 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Good day! Let me tell you what our ELL students are currently doing in our ELL classes (Burlington, grades 6 – 12). They are doing Unit 5 – A Personal Research Project: Learn what you want! You see, I know that in education, we most always are directing the students on what to learn about; what to study. Our direction and guidance is key, but I think it is also good for the mind and soul to be able to explore a topic or subject that “they’ve always wanted to learn more about.”
Mr. Chiocca had to obviously approve each student’s topic. We started with 10 “I wonder” statements created by the students. They needed to come up with, and write 10 statements about topics or subjects that “they’ve always wanted to learn more about.”
Most research was then done online, with support from me, about how to cite properly, and that you cannot “cut and paste,” but that you must read, learn and then paraphrase or restate what you’ve learned “in your own words.”
I know that too often, students are told to do projects that they may not “love,” and so I wanted the students to really enjoy learning more about their chosen topic. Here were the options on how you could make and then share your project with the class:

“Self-directed ELL Personal Research Project: Learn/ Work on what you want!”
April 2013

Students can pick one:

1. Choose to write a 3-5 page paper; then present to the class about your work;
2. Design a poster; then present to the class about your work;
3. Create an app, a website, a blog, a wiki, etc; then present to the class about your work;
4. Make a video/ photo slide show; then present to the class about your work;
5. Create a digital presentation (Haiku Deck, Power Point, Google Presentation, Prezi); then present to the class about your work;
6. Write a song, collection of poems/ raps/ short writing pieces; then present to the class about your work;
7. Videotape you interviewing someone; then present to the class about your work;
8. Create art; plant a garden; design an architectural model; engineering model; then present to the class about your work;
9. Build a model car, airplane, creature, toy; then present to the class about your work.

Students have begun presenting, and I can share one clip from a student’s project. He wanted to do a “Biography Study” of famous Indian Actors because he loves Bollywood. Me too now! Here’s a clip from the classic Bollywood film, Sholay.

icon2013 – Saturday, March 23rd, at the MSMS – Mr. Chiocca presenting 2 workshops – come and join us!

March 20, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Go here to register for the conference!

Holiday Traditions at Burlington High, December 2012

January 20, 2013 at 10:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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2012 in review_Posted January 1, 2013

January 2, 2013 at 7:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 790 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 2012, Preparations for our big Holiday Cultural Festival (1,000 + high school students to attend): HOLIDAY TRADITIONS!

December 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Seasons Greetings~

Holiday Traditions, our annual Holiday Festival, at BHS, is upon us. The Multicultural Club and I (club advisor) put this event on each December. It’s always on the last day before the winter break, which is Friday, December 21st, 2012 (during periods 1-3).

I’ll be sure to upload a video or two soon after the event!

Stay tuned.

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