Ms. Pelligrino’s 7th and 8yh grade students are bringing literature to life by creating virtual reality reenactments of their favorite scenes. Virtual Reality is a 3d generated image or video that makes users feel like they are actually inside that environment. Users can view virtual reality through the use of head mounted viewers (Google™ Cardboard).
For this lesson the students chose a scene from a book they are reading or recently read. The students chose a part of the book that they wanted to share with other people. After choosing the scene the students examines the visual elements in the story, the character’s interactions with the environment and the critical elements. After noting these the students got to work creating their virtual worlds.
We used a free website called cospace.io. The students got a quick tutorial in the software and quickly created. The students were able to build the scene and use computer code to create interactions. Dialogue for the characters was created using thought bubbles.
Creating Virtual and Augmented Reality could be easy for students. Here are a couple free resources teachers and students and teachers could use to create content:
By: Rob Miller, CA BOCES Professional Development
What would your ideal classroom look like? Sound like? Is it a place where there are minimal distractions, students are respectfully collaborating and engaged with each other, sharing ideas, and learning is taking place? Have you ever seen a classroom where students respect each other and their teacher, positively comment on and support each other’s opinions, are eager to learn, motivated, determined to do their best, and excited to try new things? Does this classroom even exist?
It does! Though it’s not easy and requires a lot of work on the teacher’s part. If the commitment is made and the plan is meticulously carried through, this could be your classroom. Many teachers say that they don’t have the time to establish this sort of classroom. It’s easy to see why, with so many things expected of teachers including curriculum to cover, tests to prepare for, and required extracurricular activities.
However, in order for student learning to be optimal, effective classroom management is a must! In spite of the time commitment, research overwhelmingly shows that teachers that invest in their classroom management techniques have fewer discipline issues and increased learning occurs. Don’t worry about losing a little time at the beginning of the school year since with effective classroom management practices in place, you will get that time back plus some throughout the rest of the school year! Effective classroom management is a TIME SAVER not a time killer.
Wait, didn’t John Hattie’s meta-analysis research in Visible Learning state that classroom management has an effective size of 0.35? If you are unfamiliar with Hattie’s work, the primary basis is that teacher practices with an effective size over 0.40 are the ones that have the most positive influence on student learning. So why is classroom management so important then?
Successful classroom management practices are the foundation leading to more effective student learning. These practices lead to better classroom discussions, higher self-efficacy and effort amongst students, more time on task, and more. Research continually proves that classroom management leads to a more effective classroom experience for students.
The classroom described in the opening of this article may seem far-fetched but it is completely attainable. It is also never too late to try and implement in your classroom. Start today if you haven’t established a classroom you are happy with. Furthermore, if you would like to hear more about the research behind successful classroom management practices and how to obtain a similar classroom yourself, consider joining Patty Rhinehart and myself in an upcoming workshop on the topic. No dates have been confirmed yet but stay tuned, they are coming! In the meantime, here are some quick DO’s and DON’Ts of successful classroom management practices to tide you over.
By: Justin Shumaker, CA BOCES Professional Development
It is my belief that students do well when they can, not simply when they want to. Furthermore, students learn best when their physical, mental and emotional needs are met. This type of scenario is ideal for schools, but it is not the reality. What does it look like when a student’s needs are not met? Avoidance, distraction, disengagement, defiance, disrespect, aggression, truancy, anger and the list goes on. Educators have seen the impact of unmet student needs within their classrooms and report, that the impact is greater than ever.
The rural landscape of the Cattaraugus-Allegany Region presents a unique set of barriers that increase the complexity of existing systemic barriers for school districts, educators, students, families and communities when it comes to ensuring that all students have access to necessary resources. Despite the pressure, barriers and growing scope of student needs, is it possible to create conditions that enable every child to succeed?
Not only is it possible to create such conditions, it is necessary. This school year, with the help of 17 of our component school districts, Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES has begun the work of building the brand new Community Schools CoSer within their Instructional Support Services Division. The community schools strategy, is an exceptional, evidence-based school improvement tool that enables schools to create supportive conditions for students by sustaining an integrated focus on student support services, expanded learning opportunities, family and community engagement and collaborative leadership.
Each community school is unique and defined based upon needs and assets specific to the respective local context and community. Therefore, the Community Schools CoSer will also be unique as it grows and develops to fit the needs within the local context of our rural, regional area. In an effort to influence the region in a meaningful way, we are working collaboratively to complete a thorough assessment of needs and assets, at the district level, as well as at the regional level.
Simultaneously, while working directly with school leaders within each district, there have been ongoing opportunities to meet directly with community partners that provide supports and services to students and families. The Community Schools CoSer hosted the first Service Showcase in September, bringing community partners and school leaders together to learn about specific services available to districts. School leaders were provided more information about school based dental care, substance abuse prevention curriculum and a mentoring program. As a result, six additional districts have school-based dental services available to students and four additional districts have begun preparing to implement a mentoring program for students.
Students do well when they can. Period. Through continued collaborative work and problem solving, our region can provide all students with equitable access to resources that allow them to exceed our highest expectations.
By: Kathryn Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
On October 19th, 2018, Cuba-Rushford staff welcomed Mollie Lapi, behavioral specialist from C-A BOCES. Mollie presented the staff with an overview of brain research on trauma, how the brain works after a student experiences a traumatic event, and trauma informed interventions A brief overview of the biology of the brain and how it reacts to trauma was addressed. “This “fight or flight” response is a natural response to stress”, she said. Mollie also addressed Adverse Childhood Experiences, also known as A.C.E.S. (Adverse Childhood Experiences) can dramatically affect the quality of health and wellness. Trauma is toxic to the body, and we can do something about it.
Mollie, then talked about strategies to help support the students. She said, “Educators can make a difference; believe your students can grow, change, and succeed? The common denominator could be YOU! Help promote resiliency within your classroom.” Mollie also talked about the “sweet spot”, which means being able to provide emotional nurturance and still expect our students to perform and own, but not judge, their shortcomings. It is a PROCESS. There has to be a balance between availability and accountability with the students.
The staff was also challenged to make sure to take care of themselves. Mollie stated, “it is so important for the adults working with any students to make sure to manage their own stress. Health, and wellness are not to be forgotten, especially to help regulate the body and mind.” The morning was filled with fantastic learning, and the staff was thankful for Mollie’s presentation.
By: Kathleen Agnello, CA BOCES Professional Development
This month’s spotlight as we dig a little deeper into the resources we have available to our component school districts in our warehouse is…..our Real Care Baby Simulators!
RealCare Baby® 3 (formerly known as Baby Think It Over® or BTIO®) is the world’s most advanced infant simulator. Educators around the world use this unique learning aid to add meaning and accountability to teach early childhood, parenting, infant health lessons and sex education. This smart baby uses wireless programming to track and report on caregiver behaviors, including care events, mishandling actions, time in a car seat and clothing changes. Baby includes four sets of curriculum and activities to help instructors create learning experiences that are relevant and career-driven.
The RealCare curriculum sections are:
Basic Infant Care – covers child safety, emergency procedures, child abuse prevention, and infant/toddler development.
Life Skills and Healthy Choices for Middle School Students - an abstinence-plus, comprehensive curriculum focused on sexual education and pregnancy prevention for youth 12-14 years of age.
Parenting: A Guide to Parenting Skills for Life – focuses on the stages of child development, parenting styles/impact, the costs involved in raising a child, and much more.
Healthy Choices: Relationships, Sexuality, and Family Planning – an abstinence-based, comprehensive curriculum focusing on teen pregnancy prevention. It covers relationships, self-esteem, refusal skills, adolescent health, and reproductive issues, among many other topics.
All sections are aligned to the National FACS standards and include Crosswalk documents.
So what are you waiting for? Take a look at our warehouse and give our RealCare Babies a try!
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
The distance learning team at CA BOCES, including Christina McGee, Justine Lombardi, and Karen Insley, have been busy traveling all over the region getting students enrolled in credit accrual and credit recovery courses. Students have a chance to increase the breadth of their transcripts, develop interests, try out vocational fields, and develop skillsets that can’t be offered within their districts. Further, if students are on medical leave or injured, they can keep up with their curriculum, and even with gym classes, in an online setting. Students also have opportunities to recover lessons, units, quarters, and semesters through the CA BOCES credit recovery program, meaning that students can catch up before they need further interventions. The CA BOCES team offers courses through seven different providers, including courses taught by our own teachers, Christina McGee and Justine Lombardi.
The most popular courses this year are Sociology, Health, Forensic Science, Marine Science, Physical Education, Spanish, Careers in Criminal Justice, English 10, Introduction to Military Careers, Physics, and Psychology. Students are also learning about astronomy, sports marketing, digital art, 3D Modeling and animation, world religions, mythology and folklore, social problems facing the world, and many other notable studies.
For more information please contact Distance Learning at 716-376-8270.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
As Pre-kindergarten-2nd grade teachers start the 2018-19 School Year they took a moment to focus on the importance of learning through play and movement. 66 educators from across the Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES Region attended a professional development opportunity with Lisa Murphy, M.Ed., an Early Childhood Specialist. Lisa Murphy has been involved in early childhood education for over 20 years, teaching and learning with young children. She is the founder and CEO of Ooey Gooey, Inc., and is a nationally recognized presenter and keynote speaker. Lisa’s topics for the workshop sessions included:
What if Today Was Their Only Day? (Keynote)
In this motivational keynote address Lisa shared the powerful story of her first day of school. Through active and engaging storytelling Lisa brought participants back to her first day, taking you on a grand tour of Miss Mary’s Nursery School. And, in the style she has become famous for, she shared many observations, lessons and anecdotes about how early childhood has changed along the way. Lisa shared the sights sounds and smells of the place where, at the young age of three, she decided to become a teacher and identified the how, and why, that one day solidified her decision to become an educator. This inspiring keynote encouraged participants to get back in touch with their personal how and why.
Identifying and Creating Child Centered Environments
This session provided an in-depth exploration of the 9 points within the framework of Lisa Murphy’s approach to working with children. Via interactive lecture, true-to-life examples, anecdotes and her signature “learning and laughing” style, this session presented what it really means to be a hands-on, play-based, child-centered program. Lisa stated that “Environments that encourage play are environments that are preparing children for kindergarten, future elementary school academics, and a love of life long learning. This foundation then supports the house of higher learning.” Educators must create, move, sing, discuss, observe, read and play with children through daily interactions.
The Importance of Early Experiences: How play IS Kindergarten Readiness!
During this session Lisa identified the seven things we need to do with children each day. These seven things make up the foundation that supports the house of higher learning. There is nothing wrong with the “academic” expectations within this house: reading, writing, math… the trouble is that many early childhood educators are being pressured to build a house where there is no foundation. Lisa stated, “And you do not need to be an architect to know that if you build where there is no foundation, the house will come crashing down!” Playing is “getting them ready” and through an investigation of each of the “seven things,” Lisa showed us how.
Lisa concluded the workshop with encouraging educators across the region to create a 10-day challenge for themselves. She encouraged educators to identify a workshop takeaway after 10 days that they are still thinking about and use that as their baby step for creating engaging experiences in the classroom!
By: Jillian Putnam, CA BOCES Professional Development
Deselecting books, also referred to as weeding, is necessary for maintaining a school’s library collection of resources. The process of deselecting includes removing damaged, outdated, or books no longer relevant to the curriculum. Prior to deciding what should be removed from the library, librarians often use Titlewise by Follett to analyze the collection’s strengths and weaknesses based on industry standards. For example, a book on computers with a copyright date of 2000 will likely be outdated, (perhaps not if the focus is on the historical aspect), and books on robotics, forensics, and artificial intelligence may be recommended for strengthening the sciences.
When recently asked to help a librarian ‘weed’ the elementary library, I found a book on New York City with a copyright date of 1998. Although it appeared to be in new condition, the Twin Towers were pictured, and Governor Pataki has since been replaced. Some other examples of weeded books include The Lincoln Library of Sports Champions featuring Terry Bradshaw, Peggy Fleming, and other popular athletes at the time this text was printed; and The Chinese in America with a copyright date of 1959.
When a library has not been ‘weeded’ for many years, the process can be overwhelming. Making room for new materials offers an additional opportunity to make the library attractive and inviting. Similar to marketing strategies used by retailers, displaying products often piques the interests of those who may be visiting for another purpose.
Research studies have shown college students prefer to read materials in print rather than in electronic format (Baron, 2016; Foasberg, 2014; Mizrachi, 2015), and a large percentage of students ages 4-15 enjoy reading print books (Kleeman, 2016). Although the popularity of Amazon Kindle and Apple’s iPhone beginning in 2007 made reading books electronically convenient, print publishers have remained constant for the past ten years ( Mcilroy, 2017). Balancing the library collection with print and electronic resources is a necessary duty that not all librarians have time to do.
Schools needing assistance with the deselection process may contact the school library system coordinator: Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Baron, N. (2015). Words onscreen: The fate of reading in a digital world. New York, NY: Oxford University Press,
Foasberg, N. (2014). Student reading practices in print and electronic media. College & Research Libraries, 75(5), 705-723.
Kleeman, D. (2016). Books and reading are powerful with kids, but content discovery is challenging. Publishing Research Quarterly, 32(1), 38-43.
Mizrachi, D. (2015). Undergraduates' academic reading format preferences and behaviors. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41(3) 301-311
Mcilroy, T. (2017). Startups within the U.S. book publishing industry. Publishing Research Quarterly, 33(1), 1-9.
Check out this month's Advancing STEM Challenge!
Advancing STEM Challenges are designed to bring engineering and design to your classroom in a simple, easy-to-implement, challenge-based way. Modify our Advancing STEM Challenges for your classroom. A new challenge will be posted monthly.
A truly successful schooling experience for students starts with a healthy and supportive school climate. Above all else, when students know they are cared for, they can truly focus on their educational experience and learning all that they can. Two staff developers and over thirty teachers and administrators from around the region took it upon themselves to collaborate and discuss ways to make positive changes to their school climates to better the learning experience of our students!
In late spring, Tessa Levitt and I had an idea to do a professional book study around a book we were both highly interested in ourselves, Lead with Culture, from author and Principal Jay Billy. This book is one of the Dave Burgess Publishing Company’s titles, made famous from the Like A Pirate series of books. We discussed different methods for how we wanted to approach this book study, and we both knew we wanted to try something “unconventional” in the sense of our current professional development opportunities.
We eventually decided that with it being summer and all, we wanted any participation to be completely voluntary from those interested in the book study. We also wanted to harness the power of the summer, and conduct the book study from an online platform, where participants wouldn’t need to physically be all in the same place to share ideas, discuss topics, and raise their questions to one another. In the end, we created a Facebook group, #BOCESLeads Summer Book Study, and anyone that expressed interest in participating in the book study was invited to join the group.
We met in person once, at the beginning of the book study, to distribute copies of the book to the participants, and to outline the dates and the layout of the Facebook page itself: We would meet online, from 8:00-9:00 on the Facebook page, Tessa and I would post questions from a few chapters at a time, and they could respond and share ideas and questions with one another, with Tessa and I there to help moderate and facilitate discussions.
The support and discussion from the participants were highly overwhelming! The amount of ideas shared and questions posited to one another were powerful, and really made this an interesting and unique experience for professional growth. The response from the participants was also noteworthy, as they liked being able to chime in from wherever they were at the time, and if they missed the discussion window, they could still go to the Facebook page and comment or discuss between the arranged question-posting days. The flexibility and freedom were lauded from those who took part!
Once the book was completed, we were excited to commence upon the final aspect of the book study: a live chat hosted on Zoom with author Jay Billy! Participants were able to take part in an online discussion forum with Jay himself, who answered their questions, shared advice, and helped spur more creative ideas for those who were able to join in. The session was also recorded and posted on the Facebook group page for those who were unable to make the meeting, so they could view it at a later time.
Overall, this experience was a phenomenal new approach to combating some logistical issues that we all experience: wanting to take part in something, but time and location not cooperating to allow it to happen. The discussion was rich and powerful, and multiple great ideas were shared and collaborated upon throughout the course of studying this excellent book. One of the most impactful results from this book study? The request to keep the discussion going over the course of this school year through the online group page and with regularly scheduled meet-ups for those that can attend, bringing that flexibility and freedom even further into the process. We look forward to continue documenting the journey of the region in regards to building and supporting the students of our schools through a positive and caring school climate and culture. When all else fails, lead with culture!
By: Ryan McGinnis, CA BOCES Professional Development
What if instead of going to math class, English class, or science class, students went to school? Would they be able to say things like “I don’t like math” if they were unable to differentiate between math class and history class? While this idea may seem like an impossibility, a team of 8th grade teachers at Genesee Valley Central School hopes to make this vision a reality.
On paper, Mark Levine, Kelley McGinnis, and Donna Slawson can be identified as a technology, English, and history teacher, respectively, but in reality, innovator, risk-taker, and enthusiast would be more appropriate. This team of 8th grade teachers, in conjunction with Chris Gyr and Lindsay Simpson, technology integrators at GVCS, has implemented an interdisciplinary teaching and learning model, referred to as STEAM 8, with a focus on increased student learning by reevaluating time and relevance.
Buying Back Time
Possibly the most important concern for educators, time structures were re-examined. Hypothetically, if all 8th grade students, for instance, have either 1st period technology, 2nd period ELA, or 3rd period history, do they all need, say, 40 minutes of each period? What about the students who need 10 minutes for a quiz and others 20 and others still 40? How can we effectively ensure all students are productively and continually meeting learning targets at all times? With their new learning model, the teachers at GVCS decided to embrace these challenges.
By eliminating the “I have 40 minutes to teach ____” barrier, teachers recognized they now have 120 minutes to teach everything for the three content areas. Now, the students’ learning needs drive how time is allocated. For example, the 15 minute science lesson just allowed 25 more minutes to have a more meaningful, in-depth round-table discussion of the Battle of Gettysburg. Another option is to redistribute time as shown in the weekly schedule below in which students were teamed in group A, B, or C.
Why Do I Need This?
Beyond better use of time, STEAM 8 teachers have built greater connections between and stronger relevance in the curricula. For example, the first unit of instruction of the year for this team of teachers covers the Civil War. Consequently, Mr. Levine, Ms. McGinnis, and Mrs. Slawson use the Civil War as a means of meeting all learning targets. This approach as allowed students to review the Civil War holistically while simultaneously learning how to research, write, solve algebraic problems, and so much more; and although STEAM 8 isn’t comprised of your typical “STEM” teachers, they are undoubtedly addressing each strand of STEAM education.
Pine Grove Middle School
STEAM 8 is, in part, a product of the work with GVCS and Jason Fahy, middle school science teacher at Pine Grove Middle School. Jason was able to experience, first-hand, how changing both the physical environment and the instructional approach can heavily impact student learning. However, one glaring difference worth noting between East Syracuse Minoa Central School District and Genesee Valley Central School District is the focus on physical environment. ESMCSD was able to vastly change the manner in which learning took place due to its extensive structural changes; GVCS has made similar instructional changes while making minimal changes to the physical building.
Do not underestimate the importance of this difference. Often times we allow ourselves to get discouraged in thinking “I don’t have enough space,” or “we don’t have the right technology to do that.” Yes, GVCS did repurpose some of its space and has updated that environment, but as any successful educator can attest, good pedagogy supersedes good stuff.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
This is what creativity and problem-solving looks like at Seneca/Salamanca Odyssey of the Mind
This is an exciting season for supporters of New York Odyssey of the Mind. This year marks NYSOMA’s 40th anniversary. The inaugural NY State Tournament was held in Binghamton, New York in 1979. The 2019 NY State Tournament, in Binghamton, will be a celebration of 40 years of creative problem solving.
Region 19 is starting the festivities early by launching a 40 in 40th Campaign, meaning that the goal this season is to host 40 teams at the Regional Tournament on March 2, 2019 at Wellsville Middle/High School. To celebrate NYSOMA’s 40th anniversary, Region 19 will party like it’s 1979 all season long with extra incentives and fun activities.
Opportunities for support and training will be offered to all teams and coaches, as well as additional experiences like buddy teams and Spontaneous Zoom practices. Training sessions can be scheduled “virtually” and in person at school districts.
Do you know of a school district that:
This IS the year to make it happen. Regional Odyssey experts will provide the help needed to meet the school districts’ goals and ensure an unforgettable experience for Region 19’s creative minds.
For more information about Odyssey of the Mind, visit odysseyofthemind.com and nysoma.org.
For more information about getting involved in Odyssey of the Mind in Region 19, email or call firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-376-8323.
For more information about partying like it’s 1979, you’ll have to show up at Wellsville Middle/High School on Saturday, March 2, 2019 and see for yourself.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
Simply put, trauma is toxic to the brain as well as the body and learning. There has been vast amount of research conducted on the brain and its function over the last 30 years. In the midst of extreme stress our bodies are forced to respond in a state of heightened alert. When children are exposed to stress, the brain shifts from development to stress response, this can have a lasting effect on LEARNING!
The brain need 9 things to be HEALTHY FOR LEARNING and GROWING!
Based on Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom by Kristin Souers and Pete Hall
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES Coordinator for Professional Development
On August 14th, ELA teachers from the region connected to the Globe Theatre in London to learn and explore the play Macbeth with the guidance of a Shakespearean actor. The teachers spent approximately three hours with the actor as they explored ideas to help bring Macbeth to students in their classrooms in new or different ways. Plans are in the works for another connection with the Globe Theatre. Stay tuned for more details!
Constitution Day is September 17th. Check out these resources for grade level appropriate content.
International Dot Day will happen near September 15th. The day is based on the book, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. You can find more information about the international events here: www.thedotclub.com and follow email blasts from our Distance Learning Team.
How can we connect your students to the world around them?
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Coordinator for Distance Learning
Seventh graders at Randolph Central School were given a unique opportunity to participate in a year end activity that combined the activity of geocaching with the mind puzzles of a BreakoutEDU! Geocaching requires participants to use a hand-held GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) device to follow specific coordinates to an exact location. A BreakoutEDU activity has participants solve a number of clues to unlock several different types of locks as they work to open a box. Seventh grade teacher Erin McLure used combinations of these two different activities to prepare an afternoon of fun to close the year out.
Students were brought to Weeden Park where they were divided into groups of four different colors, and then separated again into smaller groups of five students. Each group was given a hand-held GPS, a writing utensil, and a clue sheet. They were given a set of coordinates and then worked together to enter them into the GPS and work their way to the destination. Once they found the cache, then needed to solve a riddle and figure out their next clue. Various thought provoking prompts were collected by Mrs. McClure from her other seventh grade colleagues to be given to the students. The grade level team also assisted in supervision and carrying out the activity.
Once all the clues and riddles had been solved, and a final Mathematical problem completed, the answer enabled the students to receive a ‘cool’ prize that was a welcome relief from the war summer day. This unique experience was a tremendous way to combine elements of different activities that students had experienced throughout the year in a memorable activity that was enjoyed by all.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
This month’s spotlight as we dig a little deeper into the resources we have available to our component school districts in our warehouse is…..our Leveled Reader Kits!
Bring science to life with these engaging, colorful science readers! Elementary students will be able to understand new scientific content with the help of easy-to-read informational text, vibrant images, and examples of scientific practices. Each reader in this kit includes instructions for a fun science activity and related practice problems to provide additional support and a hands-on learning experience. Support STEM education with these 5E lessons that are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and incorporate writing to increase overall comprehension and concept development.
Science Reader Kits include:
So what are you waiting for? Take a look at our warehouse and give Leveled Readers a try!
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
In order for a student to be considered college and career ready, a few of the essential overarching skills they need to embody include: creativity, problem solving, and collaboration. At Pioneer Middle School, the Pioneer MineCraft club, led by advisor Gio LoBianco, provides students with the opportunity to practice these essential 21st century skills in a game based environment.
The Pioneer Minecraft Club meets once a week in the Library Media Center. This club is exceptionally popular, and often times, has a wait list of two to three weeks. Over forty different students have joined the club this year alone. So, what exactly is Minecraft? Minecraft is often referred to as a “sandbox game,” meaning that the world students create within the game is based on their own imagination; there are no levels and no directions. Students break down and mine resources (blocks) that allow them to build personalized structures that look and function in the ways they desire. The more resources a student gathers, the more elaborate the structure they can build. Additionally, they can create circuits to build working machines such as automatic doors that open and close when the character approaches it, or creating a catapult. Ownership and self-efficacy are developed within this student driven, constructivist environment.
Every week students can play in different ways. The only hard and fast rule is that students cannot destroy something another student has made. Students set personalized or collaborative goals and depend on the expertise within their peer group in order to teach one another. The club also supports the development of social skills, as students work together in an environment that relies on communication, resilience and decision-making. Another exciting aspect of this gaming environment is that many students who aren’t traditionally successful in the classroom, have found engagement and success in this learning environment, and positioned themselves as leaders with their peers.
There are multiple opportunities for classroom teachers to extend the learning derived from the Minecraft Club and integrate it into the classroom curriculum. Teachers could create assignments for students to demonstrate understanding of the setting within a novel, develop math challenges, or represent geography skills by utilizing Minecraft as an instructional or assessment tool. “Minecraft develops creative thinking in the same way that chess develops logic and systems thinking- by promoting intense, focused mental engagement” (Spencer, 2017). In this digital age, Minecraft provides a platform for students to construct personalized understanding, utilize their creativity, partner with their peers, and foster creativity. What an outstanding opportunity for Pioneer students!
By: Colleen Root, CA BOCES Professional Development
Second Wave: CA BOCES will offer Teaching All Kinds of Minds (TAKOM) during the 2018-2019 School Year
Since 1996, All Kinds of Minds (AKOM) has served as the preeminent organization advancing the use of a neurodevelopmental-based approach to help all students learn and thrive. Now a part of QED’s suite of initiatives, it will continue to play a pivotal role in helping educators and students understand how individuals learn, discover unique learning profiles, and personalize both teaching and learning.
The Neurodevelopmental Framework for Learning (NDFL) developed by AKOM and taught in its programs involves:
The available resources are numerous, and all serve, ultimately, to foster learning communities in which students have personalized learning plans, understand their unique learner profile, and can leverage their strengths and assets to passionately pursue their life aspirations. Toward this end, educators interested in building their capacity to better serve and empower students, will be able to register for the 3-day TAKOM course starting in the 2018-2019 school year. Join us as we catch the second wave.
By: Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES Professional Development
The end of June marks the beginning of a unique season for educators. We are given the opportunity to reboot after ten months of instruction, assessment, and exhaustion. If you have not yet established a plan for your summer reboot, feel free to use the URER model:
Since the summer months, seemingly, pass much more quickly than others, it is important to have a plan for managing your time and learning during this season, so you don’t find yourself unplugged come the end of August.
Take some time to set your professional goals temporarily aside to meet your personal needs. Whether that includes 24-72 hours to literally unplug from technology or it is a family vacation, your social, emotional, and physical needs should be met if you expect to find success in your professional life.
If you have been in the world of education for any length of time, you have most likely heard of John Hattie or, at the very least, his meta-analysis of 138 influences and effects on student achievement, Visible Learning. If effect size is something new to you, then it is important to note that effect sizes of 0.40 or more represent a growth of one year or more when you examine the updated list of factors related to student achievement. Effect sizes of less than 0.40 indicate less than one year of growth. Whether you are reevaluating your instructional practices by removing ineffective practices or refining your skills with larger effect sizes, Visible Learning is a great resource to reference as you prepare for the upcoming school year. However, regardless the resource(s) you reference regarding effective pedagogy, it is important that you reevaluate your instructional practices. Are your practices effective? How do you know your practices are effective?
One amazing aspect of being an educator is also being a lifelong learner. In addition to reevaluating and refining our skills, we are able to explore new technologies, assessments, and instructional strategies among other things. Furthermore, the summer months are ideal for exploring new strategies since most educators have more time in their schedules to be flexible, reflective, and responsive. Whether you explore a new conference such as the International Society for Technology Educators (ISTE) conference, you independently research a topic, or you attend a workshop through CA BOCES, there are numerous avenues ready for exploration this summer. For a complete list of workshops through CA BOCES, visit the CA BOCES Registration System.
The ISTE Annual Conference that took place in Chicago marked the first of many summer explorations for me. This year’s conference broke all of its records for membership, conference attendance, and vendor sponsorship, and with hundreds of presentations and several thousand people in attendance, learning opportunities lurked around every corner. In a few short days, I was able to embrace sessions and conversations focused on increasing accessibility through Universal Design for Learning (UDL), becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator, empowering educators to share their best ideas in a TED & ISTE partnership, and a variety of others.
My favorite learning experience was when I attended a session on accessibility with Kendra Grant, Chris White, and Keynote speaker Luis Pérez. The presenters provided a great means for thinking about UDL with clear goals (it’s as easy as your ABCs). When creating learning opportunities, we need to explore options for authentic Access to all aspects of the lesson prior to Building anything to ensure everyone is able to Capture the intended message and construct a path forward. In addition to the definition of UDL, the presenters shared some challenging questions such as “Bicycles are designed as a one size fits all, so why would your lessons be?” And “Are you providing the appropriate tools for all students to have access to deconstruct and construct the content provided?”
The most difficult aspect of summer break for most educators is moving past step 1. Too often educators find themselves unplugged for far too long, dreading the notion of plugging back in before summer comes to a close. However, if we can convince ourselves that learning isn’t on a ten-month time schedule, if we enter a cycle of evaluation such as the URER model, then I believe we will all begin to notice a vast improvement in the world of education. We will want to unplug less, improve our educational practices, and become better able to serve our educational communities.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Digital Badges or Micro Credentials are small rewards given to students for mastering a skill, completing a task or good behavior. Badges are often an element of gamification. Some teachers assign students XP (experience points) based on classroom activites and award badges when certain XP thresholds are met enabling students to "level up" in class.
Many digital learning tools have badge options built in such as Moodle, Canvas, Schoology, and Power School LMS. Or use a standalone badge tool such as Open Badges and Class Craft.
Check out this month's Advancing STEM Challenge!
Jumping into June
Advancing STEM Challenges are designed to bring engineering and design to your classroom in a simple, easy-to-implement, challenge-based way. Modify our Advancing STEM Challenges for your classroom. A new challenge will be posted monthly.
Young students from nineteen area schools experienced live theatre this month. Almost 2500 preK through first graders from Cattaraugus and Allegany counties attended the TheatreWorks USA performances of Pete the Cat. A cool cat named Pete, along with Jimmy and the Biddle family, went on a lively and colorful adventure filled with songs, dance and an insightful message about friendship.
The show at Olean High School on May 10 held added excitement for two local classes, who, thanks to their teachers, learned first-hand about forming new friendships. First grade teachers, Stacey Clayson of Prospect Elementary and Kristin Yehl of Portville Central, and their students were both traveling to Olean High School to watch the TheatreWorks performance. Their students had been communicating as pen-pals, but hadn’t actually met in person. The 35 eager students were able to meet their long-distance friends before the show started. Front row seating was reserved for the special guests. It was exciting to witness the kids’ enthusiasm as they met face-to-face for the first time. Both teachers were equally as enthusiastic and allowed the pen-pals to sit together to watch the show.
Kristin Yehl, from Portville, explained, “It was such a special treat meeting our pen-pals at the play. My kids were over-the-moon excited to meet up, and extremely happy to have seats reserved up front. We really enjoyed the play. They always do a great job keeping the audience entertained and engaged. We’re busy now writing back to our pen-pals because they delivered letters to us at the play.”
TheatreWorks USA is a professional acting company based out of New York City. It is America’s largest and most prolific professional theatre for young audiences.
BOCES Arts In Education, CoSer 403, helps schools enrich the lives of their students by providing opportunities to experience the performing arts. Fillmore Central, Olean High and Arcade Elementary opened their auditoriums to host these performances. For more information about bringing TheatreWorks shows to your area, contact Student Programs at 716-376-8284.
By: Jean Oliverio, CABOCES Student Programming
The second Southern Tier Annual Film Festival (S.T.A.F.F.) was held at the Cuba-Rushford Central School District auditorium on Friday, May 18. Participating schools included Allegany-Limestone, Belfast, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Cuba Rushford, Fillmore, Olean, and Whitesville.
Administrators, teachers, parents, and students gathered together to watch and vote on student productions to see which district would take home the trophy.
Leading up to the event, Courtney Brisky, a student at Olean High school, created the artwork for posters to be distributed throughout districts across Allegany and Cattaraugus counties to advertise and promote the festival. Student submissions for the festival were due in mid-April and the finalists for the event were decided by graduate students at the University at Buffalo.
Audience members watched forty-three films, voting in a mere six films as finalists.
Finally, the moment came for the audience to choose the winning film and they selected a parody of the popular television sitcom, “The Office.” Students DeAndre Ahrens, Gabby Dutton, Hannah Erwin, Cody Findlay, Dana Hatch, Colston Saulter, Jonah Williamson, and Trenon Zeager took home the trophy for Cuba-Rushford. The trophy was previously housed at Fillmore Central School District and will now spend the year at Cuba-Rushford until next year’s festival.
Teachers have been preparing for this festival throughout the year by attending ongoing professional development offered by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES and presented by Dr. David Bruce at the University at Buffalo and Dr. Sunshine Sullivan at Houghton College. At the ongoing events, teachers hone their skills, brainstorm, and develop curriculum for teaching students to craft narratives, investigate the correlation between images and narrative, develop writing and media skills, and tap into creativity.
The first film festival developed out of a week-long summer professional development opportunity offered to English teachers through the region through a partnership by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, Houghton College, and the University at Buffalo. This opportunity culminated with the creation of the Southern Tier Annual Film Festival by teachers because they wanted to offer their students the same kind of enriching experience in the classroom and give students the chance to present their work to a live audience.
“Writing with Video: Rural Voices” is going to be offered this coming year to teachers in every discipline to hone their skills, collaborate, and plan future film festivals. If you have interest in bringing this unique opportunity to your students, look out for the upcoming summer institute as well as for future film festivals.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Barb Busack is an Olean native whose parents nurtured an appreciation for nature. Whether it be traversing through the jungles in Costa Rica, hiking the west coast of Greenland, or walking in Spain, Barb enjoys nature and learning about different habitats. With digital camera in hand, she captures a variety of images from her adventures and readily shares with others. It is no surprise that Barb’s experiences and energy for life have allowed her to successfully grow CA BOCES’ Environmental Science program, CoSer 416.
Barb meets with approximately 5000 students each year, engaging them hands-on activities that complement classroom curriculum such as studying habitats (see photo), or creating a molecular model of a snowflake (see photo).
Barb is state certified in geology, biology, and elementary education. Every summer, she takes 7th graders from Cuba-Rushford to a three-day camp where they take guided nature walks, learn about snake hunts, identify edible plants, and observe insects and amphibians in the Allegany State Park. She especially likes providing instruction on animals and plants in the region, and the Three Great Cycles (water, soil and air) that sustain our life.
In this photo, Barb is speaking to students about ladybugs. Ladybugs are highly beneficial to gardens since they eat aphids and are an important part of our ecosystem.
Although most of Barb’s interactions are with elementary students, Science on the Seneca is a research program sponsored by Hobart-William Smith College that provides high school students an opportunity to be on a research boat and participate in a plankton drag. Students view plankton under a microscope, conduct a chemical analysis of water, and dredge up soil to analyze its contents (see photo). The results are then added to the college’s findings to assist in ongoing research.
Barb’s creativity and enthusiasm for nature is a true passion and contagious! If you would like to know more about the Environmental Science Program, please contact Amy_Windus@caboces.org at Learning Resources.
By: Cece Fuoco, School Library Coordinator for CA BOCES