Monthly Archives: January 2015

SUNY Potsdam Graduate Student

Hello! My name is Julie Hollis and I am a graduate student at SUNY Potsdam. I am currently enrolled in the Literacy Specialist program and I plan on graduating with my MSED in May of 2015! I also attended SUNY Potsdam for my undergraduate and earned my BA in Early Childhood/Childhood education with a minor in History. I chose to continue my studies at SUNY Potsdam because the campus has a lot of offer. The professors are very supportive and the campus offers many of opportunities to help me enhance my resume. I felt very comfortable and content at SUNY Potsdam so I decided to stay for my Master’s degree. Continuing my education at Potsdam was one of the best choices that I made and I am excited to start my last semester.

I am from Buffalo, NY and even though I live around a variety of different colleges, I fell in love with Potsdam’s campus. Throughout my whole college experience, I have been actively involved in numerous campus organizations that has enhanced my college experience such as Wellness Advocates, TESA, Active Minds, and Greek life. Graduate students are also encouraged and welcome to join campus organizations. There are also paid opportunities on campus that are available for graduate students such as graduate assistantships.

As a graduate student, I feel that SUNY Potsdam offers so many options to become an active participant on campus. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Graduate Studies office. Campus tours are offered along with additional information on majors, scholarships, organizations, and more.


What I Learned From My First Day of Student Teaching

Day one of my first full-time student teaching placement, I learned a few tips to share with my teaching peers. Now, I am not and do not claim to be a teaching veteran, but this is fresh in my mind (of just a few hours ago), so if you want a first hand & current perspective, here it goes:

1. Be Prepared

Aside from being on time, dressing professionally, etc.,etc… There is another way you can be prepared on your first day of student teaching. Even if you’re not teaching a lesson or expected to write a lesson plan, be prepared in other ways. It is important to start placement off on the right foot, particularly with your sponsor teacher. Be prepared with questions. Establish your space in the classroom, reiterate expectations, and ask the questions that are making you a little nervous (like what to do at lunch?). Also be prepared to be patient. Your mentor teacher is also adjusting to this scenario, and to having a new person in the classroom. So, have something to keep you ‘busy’ (like making a schedule or checklists) while your teacher may be doing their own thing.

2. Say Hello

Say hi to every teacher, staff, or admin that you pass in the hallways. A smile and ‘hello’ can go a long way with a stranger, especially when that stranger turns out to be the principal or superintendent. It is easier to later introduce yourself if you recognize the person and vice versa. By portraying a positive persona in the public spaces of the school, you are making a name for yourself where people will be talking about you – in a good way.

3. Get Stressed… Then Destress

Allow yourself to get overwhelmed by everything that is new. Allow yourself to be nervous the night before and the day of. There is a lot to absorb on the first day… especially if it is your first time in the building. There is a lot going on that you think you will (but will not) remember, so carry around a pen and paper and take notes. Not only will this boost your professionalism – showing you care enough to write it down – but you will also have some tangible notes about what you need to follow up on. I find this is extra important on the first day because your teacher will probably want to throw tons of resources at you throughout the day. Be sure to star any notes that require attention after school. To destress and cure how overwhelmed you may be, take the first night of placement “off”. Don’t have a Netflix marathon, but but instead just take a night off of planning and stressing. Take your notes and look into the things you were interested in throughout the day. Watch that documentary your teacher says she always shows during the ‘climate change’ unit. From there, create a to-do list, or a few goals for the rest of the week because inevitably there will be some loose ends you want to tie up this week and questions you want to ask your mentor.

4. Ask To Be Introduced

Your teacher may no realize you haven’t met the administration. So if you haven’t, ask your teacher to take you to the office on prep or lunch and get those formal introductions out of the way.

More importantly though, ask to be introduced to your students. Yes, this does sound crazy. But since the first day is usually observation, it can be easy to get lost in the background of the class. Your teacher may not pick up on the students’ whispers of “who is that?”. It is surprising how many classes or days (true story) it can take before being introduced to the students your in the same classroom as. An easy way to bring this up with your mentor teacher is to say; “Would you like to introduce me? Or should I introduce myself?”. Make sure to bring it up with teacher right before the bell so it is fresh in their mind.

5. Develop Your Habits

This is day one. The things your begin on day one will be the things you can refer to as “I’ve done [blank] since my first day of student teaching!”. This may be something like developing an eating habit, drinking a third period tea, stopping to chat with the crossing guard, or high-fiving students as the enter the classroom. Developing a routine is beneficial for both you and the students (if they’re involved) because it is something to rely on. A routine can be something you count on everyday and can calm your nerves on a highly stressful day.

Five little tips I have realized, that I hope help you through your first day. Good luck & have fun!

MST Childhood Education

Are you looking into applying to be an MST in Childhood Education student?  Well then, here is a little bit of information and advice in terms of program requirements and the practicum experience.

As an MST student in Childhood Education (certification in grades 1-6), we all must complete our Practicum in Childhood Education before student teaching. This is where each student is provided with supervised classroom experience.

In this practicum, we must complete at least 100 hours in the field with all aspects of childhood curriculum, as well as at least 15 hours of special education field experience. It is expected at this practicum that you will use the prior knowledge from the classes you have taken in undergraduate, as well as graduate school.

By completing this Practicum, one will learn the modern technologies and curriculum including using the Common Core Standards of NYS. As an MST student, you will learn how to write a proper lesson plan, as well as implement the lesson in real life experience.

The practicum experience is very exciting and useful in the prerequisite to student teaching. I am so grateful for the opportunity the MST in Childhood Education program at SUNY Potsdam has given me to be enrolled in practicum. Here is some things you may need for the first day of Practicum.

5 things you need for your first day of Practicum…

  1. An open mind that is ready to learn
  2. An infectious smile
  3. Professional attire
  4. Pens and pencils
  5. Lunch

Literacy Specialists

For those who are trying to decide between the many different Master’s programs that SUNY Potsdam has to offer, here’s a little insight into one of the programs…

I am currently majoring in the MSED Literacy Specialist program, which I love!  This program has given me a great opportunity to get involved in the schools right away, while getting paid.  What college student wouldn’t want to make a little extra money?  The MSED Literacy Specialist program gives Master’s students the chance to work first hand with a Literacy Specialist at a local school.  However, this is nothing like student teaching or any type of practicum.

During this internship YOU are the teacher!

Each day I meet with different groups of students for a half hour at a time.  The groups range from one-on-one up to two students, but could be more depending on how many students need this service.  For each group I plan lessons that are focused on the students’ needs, and then teach the lesson.  Not only am I teaching, but I also assess the students to see if they are improving in their literacy skills.  Based on these assessments, the student’s services are either increased or decreased.  This means that my groups are changing constantly.

This internship lasts for two semesters, and takes place of the Literacy Practicum.  You are able to work for half a day, or for a whole day, depending on your schedule and what the school you are placed in offers.  I find that there can be some benefits to doing this internship:

1. You make money, while practicing what you are studying.

2. You are getting into a reading room right away, so you can see if that is what you really want to do.

3. Being involved in the classroom gives you a great opportunity to connect what you are learning in your courses to how it can be used in a reading room… Which you will do for ALL of your courses!

I have found this internship to be such a great opportunity!  I have made connections with many faculty members and administration, as well as learned so much in just the short time that I’ve been in the reading room.

If you are looking to become a Literacy Specialist, and proceed with the MSED Literacy Specialist program, I highly recommend that you consider taking advantage of this opportunity!

Good luck to all!

People of Potsdam

"My experience at SUNY Potsdam has been well so far...I have an
assistantship that not only gives me a break on tuition but it gives me
job experience and gets me ready for the future."

-Alyssa, M.M. in Performance, the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.

People of Potsdam shows the everyday faces of SUNY Potsdam's campus and

Adopt-A-Bear Cub Mentoring Program

Are you looking to get involved in the community and give back?  Well, the Adopt-A-Bear Cub Mentor Program is a great way to do so!  This mentor program gives area college students the chance to work with students at the local Lawrence Avenue Elementary School in Potsdam.

The school is located less than two miles from the SUNY Potsdam campus.  College students are given the chance to work with students either Mondays/Wednesdays or Tuesdays/Thursdays, from approximately 3:15pm to 4:15pm.  For the first half hour the program focuses on academics, such as homework, reading, etc.  The remainder of the time is given to playing games, going outside, etc.

Not only is this program a great opportunity for college students to get involved in the community, but the elementary students love seeing their mentor each day!  The elementary students involved in this program enjoy spending one-on-one time with their mentor, who they get to know and form a relationship with.  By the end of the program you won’t want to leave!  The elementary students involved in this mentor program are hand picked by the school counselor, Sue Pike.

I was a supervisor for the Adopt-A-Bear Cub Mentor Program for three semesters, an a mentor for multiple semesters.  As an education major, this program has taught me a lot about management, different home-lives that students come from, and much, much more!  Being a mentor also gave me the chance to form a relationship with a student who really benefitted from one-on-one time with someone who was always there for her.

I highly recommend being involved in this program no matter what your major!  This is a great opportunity for everyone, and only takes two hours a week.

If you are looking to get involved in this program I recommend that you fill out this survey:  Once you have filled out this survey you will be enrolled in a moodle course that provides a lot of information regarding the program.  Nicole Feml is the supervisor for all college students, and can be contacted at, or found in 112A Satterlee Hall.

In addition, there will be two training sessions:

Monday/Wednesday Volunteers:

January 26th, 2015: 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Lawrence Avenue Elementary School Cafeteria

Tuesday/Thursday Volunteers:

January 27th, 2015: 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Lawrence Avenue Elementary School Cafeteria

The program will officially start on:

January 28th & 29th, 2015: 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Lawrence Avenue Elementary School Cafeteria

And ends on:

May 6th & 7th, 2015: 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Lawrence Avenue Elementary School Cafeteria


Hi Everyone,

My name is Grace Cady, and I am currently a Graduate Student at SUNY Potsdam.  I just finished my first of three semesters in the MSED Literacy Specialist program here at SUNY Potsdam.  Not only am I completing my masters degree through SUNY Potsdam, but I also received my Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood/Childhood Education (Birth-Sixth Grade) specializing in English at SUNY Potsdam.  I just loved Potsdam so much that I decided to stay!

I am from a small town in the Adirondacks located on Lake George, called Bolton Landing,  What drew me to SUNY Potsdam was the small town community that both the campus and surrounding area has to offer.  The classes are small so you are able to be involved and form a connection with the professor and other students.  I have found that this really helps when there are group projects, or you are struggling.  These small classes really allow you to feel comfortable and succeed.

In my small hometown I was really involved in different activities in and out of school.  This carried over when I came to Potsdam.  The small community is great for getting involved!  It gives you the chance to join many different clubs, organizations, and other activities.  For those in education, there are many opportunities to substitute teach, or volunteer in the many surrounding schools.  This is a great time to get involved!

Feel free to come for a visit, or get in contact with one of our many Graduate Student Ambassadors to find out what else they have to say about SUNY Potsdam.  This is a great college to be a part of, and I hope that you are able to enjoy it just as much as I have!