Canva is a free graphic design platform that's full of templates to create posters, presentations, videos, infographics and just about any graphic you can need. A drag and drop interface makes customizing the thousands of templates simple and easy while giving you the freedom to make them your own. Canva's wide array of features allow you to edit projects like a pro, even if you have little or no experience.
Many of us have used Canva personally and professionally, but recently we have been given the opportunity to explore Canva for Education. As soon as this became Ed Law 2D compliant (Thank you, Ryan McGinnis) districts immediately became eager to try it out and see how it can be used for both teachers and students.
Cattaraugus Little Valley jumped on board right away and tried it out with students and noticed the benefits to learning and student ownership that it can bring. Dave Conner, 7th grade social studies teacher used Canva for students to brainstorm and ultimately create/present their upcoming projects. They began with a simple template that was already on Canva.
Dave began with the above template, then was able to edit and make it match the exact needs he had for his project and his students. When the template was ready and to his liking, he could deploy it (assign it via Microsoft teams) directly to his students so they could have and edit their own copies. Dave could then review each students work and give them with feedback.
This is just one simple example, but as these students become more comfortable, they will be choosing and creating their own graphic pieces. I think of the many times our student clubs need to promote things such as school events or showcase things they have done. Rather than us, adults doing that for them they can now take ownership and create them themselves. To me, that student voice and ownership is the most important and useful part of Canva. If you haven't checked it out yet, take a look at Canva for education! This is a link to a helpful blog post of ideas for using Canva in the classroom!
By: Chelsea Skalski, CA BOCES Professional Development
6th-grade science teacher, Mrs. Cole, and 7th-grade science teacher, Mr. Pleakis, recently paired up for an exciting microscope experiment. As part of the 6th-grade, Lab Aids “Ecology Unit,” students had the opportunity to learn about the microorganism Paramecium and observe its feeding and searching behaviors. First, students watched the Paramecia on the large monitors in the new science lab. After that, students prepared slides with a drop of the solution that contained the Paramecia along with some food particles, and then they observed their behavior; students loved the up-close view. At the end, the students recorded their observations in their science notebooks. The investigation was a huge success.
By: Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES Professional Development
Nationally teachers of second and third graders are seeing an increased need for Phonological and Phonemic Awareness instruction. Phonological Awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate sounds within words in larger units such as onset, rime, and syllables. Although very similar, Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. This skill is typically mastered by second grade, however, due to the pandemic and different platforms of learning over the past two years, students are now lacking these basic reading skills.
The Olean City School District has been working diligently to find a solution to close these Phonemic Awareness gaps while also choosing a curriculum that would align with their Phonics program by Wiley Blevins titled From Phonics to Reading. After a lot of research and consideration they chose Heggerty to explicitly and systematically teach Phonological and Phonemic Awareness to students. Heggerty contains daily lessons that are meant to be around 12 minutes. Each lesson encompasses Phonological and Phonemic Awareness skills such as rhyme repetition, onset fluency, blending words, phoneme manipulation, alphabet knowledge, and language awareness.
Over the past few months, I have had the privilege in training teachers in Pre-K and Title I reading to implement Heggerty with their students. Pre-K has implemented this program for several weeks with all their classroom students. Title I is beginning to implement Heggerty with their students and will benchmark students on a six-week cycle to adjust students through data meetings in the hopes that some students may close the gap by the end of the year.
If you feel like Heggerty may be a good fit for your district and would like further information, please contact me at Janelle_Freer@caboces.org
By: Janelle Freer, CA BOCES Professional Development
As we continue to navigate the new normal of Covid and “learning loss” (or as I heard it rephrased, “unfinished learning”) we’ve worked with other coordinators and teachers to develop and purchase some math intervention kits. As students continue to struggle with memorizing math facts and then using those facts in practice, it’s obvious that something isn’t transferring.
Over the summer, math specialist Graham Fletcher joined our Summer Math Institute and shared his knowledge of Building Fact Fluency Through Mathematical Storytelling, Harnessing the Power of the Purposeful Task (3-Act Tasks), and Demystifying the Fraction Rules We Teach. His sessions were well received, and he promoted new math kits he was working on.
Those kits are now on our warehouse shelves. Building Fact Fluency: A Toolkit for Addition and Subtraction and then another for Multiplication and Division are available to book for our teachers, instructional coaches, specialists, and interventionalists.
The Addition and Subtraction kit helps students learn their math facts by developing deep, conceptual understanding and procedural fluency at the same time. This comprehensive, research-based toolkit provides everything a teacher needs to help students develop number sense on the way to fluency—from cards, games, and videos to online resources, a facilitator’s guide, and hundreds of highly-engaging activities and tasks.
Research-based and standards-aligned, the Multiplication and Division toolkit invites students to think strategically about mathematics through multiple, rich, real-world contexts. These accessible contexts allow students to see how number facts connect to a wide variety of mathematical situations, explore the properties of the operations, and build a foundation of strategies they can draw from efficiently and with confidence.
LET’S BOOK SOME KITS!!!! Go to our resources page here to look at the new kits, older kits, and streaming resources. Keep checking back as we add more items to assist teachers in their craft and students in their learning.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Back in December of 2020, I shared a brief introduction to Microsoft’s Power Platform in the hopes that school districts would more seriously consider the opportunities available to create meaningful, digital solutions that were already protected under Microsoft’s data privacy agreement (DPA) and required no additional purchases. Who doesn’t love the sound of a product that doesn’t need another DPA and is free?
Since then, educators have not been wowed or interested much beyond Power Automate (to automate time off requests, mileage claims, and much more); but just recently, I was presented a simple request seeking a solution for a single scenario, and it evolved into solution for the entire middle/high school. Incidentally, the solution could work for your school too!
Tom Simon, superintendent of Portville Central School (PCS), asked Dave Suain, the director of the Envisioneering Center (the name of the space many schools would think of as a STEM/STEAM lab) to think about a digital solution to simplify the process of students obtaining a pass permitting them to attend the Envisioneering Center. Think about what a digital solution can do to improve the analog process of getting a hall pass in this situation: it eliminates the time that it takes to walk to the Envisioneering Center, it eliminates the time to walk back to class or to the room of the teacher needing to approve the pass, it can instantly notify each teacher as well as the student, etc. Since I help provide on-demand technology integration support roughly once per month at Portville, Dave asked my thoughts about creating the best solution.
After a little brainstorming, Dave and I settled on creating the quickest, functional solution possible to show how easy creating digital solutions to workflows can be with Power Automate so we could identify whether a more robust solution in Power Apps was worth the time and effort. Essentially, we created a workflow that is automatically triggered by a student submitting a response to a Microsoft Form containing three questions (What period do you need the pass? Who is your teacher that period? and What do you intend to work on during the period?), sends Dave the data from the Form, creates an approval process that terminates when Dave denies the pass or continues when he approves it, sends the pass details to the appropriate teacher if approved by Dave, and finally creates a Chat group in Teams communicating with everyone involved whether the pass was approved or denied. In not much time at all, the workflow was tested and ready to go.
Thankfully, Mike Torrey, PCS Technology Director, was apt to make sure that the IT department was in the loop during these discussions since technology specialists Wan Leong and Nicole Ramsey provided great support in making sure the workflow runs smoothly. This process will be piloted through the Envisioneering Center with a small group of students who frequent the space after they have returned from winter break.
Without hesitation, Wan acknowledged that the workflow would not be able to handle passes for the entire middle/high school, so we discussed how Power Apps was a much more desirable solution for that context. For example, any time we work with manually entered data, we must account for user error. In the workflow mentioned above, the student manually had to type in the teacher’s name into the Form, and Dave then needed to type in that teacher’s email address correctly in the approval process in order for the workflow to run correctly. In Power Apps, we can use connectors like Office 365 Users, Office 365 Groups, and/or Azure Active Directory (AD) to retrieve both student and staff names and email addresses exactly as they appear in AD so we can be certain the appropriate people are included in any of the notifications.
The app is still a work in progress, but we made a great start. It also bears repeating that the app itself is not being utilized at this time, but it is available for future use and development. Use the how-to guide below to get started in your district, too.
Getting Started with the Digital Hall Pass Power App Template
Step 1: Create Three SharePoint ListsLists is Microsoft’s take on what were formerly known as SharePoint Lists to allow users to create lists (i.e. tables or collections of data) without having to establish an entire SharePoint site. Rather, Microsoft Lists is now its own application that can be found by signing into your Microsoft 365 home page and finding Lists in the App navigator.
Although my preferred data manipulation tool is Excel, Power Apps seems to interact with SharePoint much nicer; and since Lists is built directly on SharePoint, Lists are the recommended data source for beginners. Power Apps allows for other connections such as Microsoft Dataverse, Access, or a SQL server, but most people will not have a need to interact with these more complex alternatives. Lists is also a great application for monitoring and sharing item inventories, tasks, and more since it can be shared with viewers and collaborators in the same manner you would share a file from your OneDrive.
For the Digital Hall Passes Template, you will need to create three lists, each of which using the same column titles and column types (it will be less work if you completely establish the first list and copy it as a template):
Step 2: Create an Automated Workflow in Power Automate
In order to help the app run more efficiently, it was not designed to delete records from any of the SharePoint Lists but rather modify specific records for their respective approval statuses. Therefore, the process also requires an automated workflow in Power Automate to remove expired records from the Active MHS Passes list, delete records older than 30 days from the Last 30 Days MHS Passes list, and update the PassStatus to PAST in both the Last 30 Days MHS Passes and All MHS Passes History lists if either adult did not acknowledge the pass before it expired.
This workflow requires four steps outlined below:
Step 3: Import the Digital Hall Passes Template in Power AppsAmong the many benefits to Microsoft 365 is the ability to collaborate and share resources; thankfully, Power Apps shares this benefit making it simple for district leaders to download the Digital Hall Passes .zip file and upload it to Power Apps by selecting the “Import canvas app” option.
Upon importing the app, you will need to update the import to create the file as a new app, and after minimal processing the open will be ready for a few final touches to make it operational:
Before sharing this app with students and staff, I would recommend making several other adjustments that may not be necessary but will give the app the personalization it deserves for your district. I have listed only a few, but don’t let your imagination stop there.
Beyond that, I say we should go to the drawing board and think of all the ways we can create in-house, digital solutions that require no additional purchases or DPAs.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Many adjustments and new learning experiences came into being in classrooms since March 2020. One of those new learning experiences came in the form of virtual field trips. So many more virtual field trips were added in response to safety guidelines and the ease of connecting to an expert or an educational experience, like a museum or zoo.
In response to the changing learning experiences available to classrooms we have added programming from Virtual Field Trips: Explore the World without leaving your classroom. Virtual Field Trips has pre-recorded videos in the following content areas: social studies, geography, life science, and ancient civilization curriculum that are standards aligned, span grade levels from Kindergarten through 9th grade and offer additional resources like worksheets, printables and assessments with each video.
Each video is narrated, some are even available in a world language! Videos range in length from 5-35 minutes in length. Since the videos are pre-recorded they are NYS Education Law 2d compliant and can easily be added to the district platform that is used to communicate to students about learning experiences.
This will be a value add feature to the Distance Learning CoSer 420. This is offered at no cost to your district classrooms if you are in the CoSer. We are finalizing access to this new offering so it will be easy and useful for educators. Please don’t sign up for an account on the website. We would like all CA BOCES accounts to go through our program for cost as well as data privacy concerns.
You can learn more at the website: virtualfieldtrips.org
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
It is not uncommon for educators, particularly those with a keen focus on teaching and learning (as opposed to maybe business or technology), to analyze education through three lenses: curriculum, instruction, and assessment. As Thomas Guskey (and others) have noted, what is missing, however, since “few leaders have training on effective grading practices” is a fourth lens of grading and reporting. Although, I have been quite encouraged over the last several months of working in the CA BOCES region to be involved in numerous conversations focused on this fourth lens with a variety of school districts.
The emphasis of these regional conversations has been standards-based grading (SBG), and I would say naturally so. For example, how do curriculum coordinators and other educational leaders typically audit or analyze curriculum, instruction, and assessment? It is from a standards-based approach. Why, then, should grading and reporting be any different? Furthermore, SBG has presented many benefits that are often neglected in percentage-based practices, and those percentage-based practices have many pitfalls that need to be addressed.
What’s Wrong with “Traditional” Grading Practices?Before I present several concerns that arise with traditional grading practices, I need to mention that these practices aren’t completely flawed and do have some merit. For example, teachers can and have gained much insight into what students know and do in analyzing summative assessments through item analysis and more. I am not saying that these practices have no good or merit; I am, however, saying that these practices need dramatically improved.
1. Percentage-based practices aren’t the only traditional practices.
Thankfully for me, my mother decided to gift me with my first-grade report card for my birthday this year, and I was intrigued by the categories used to identify the learning I had demonstrated. For instance, when I observed an S-, S+, or an O on the report card, the legend clarified whether I was working toward satisfactory progress, I demonstrated satisfactory progress, or I had demonstrated outstanding achievement, respectively, in the areas shown. The competency- or proficiency-based model shown here (such as what we see in SBG) has also been around for three decades or more.
2. Averaging scores is an inaccurate reflection of what students know.
In ninth grade, I refused to study for a geometry exam because I “knew” the material, and I also “knew” my time that week would be better spent playing my favorite Playstation 1 game. When I completed the test, I also “knew” that I failed it. Thankfully, I was 0 for 3 in being right that week, but I did end up with a 66% on the exam; I remember that vividly not only due to the conversation I had with my teacher upon her handing back my work but also because she allowed me to prepare for a substantially more difficult assessment in which I received (I think) a 98%. The real question, then, is which score should go in the gradebook? 66%? 82%? Or 98%?
In my experience, I find that most teachers would submit the 82%, a decision that is both inaccurate (since the student has evidence to demonstrate they achieved a 98%) and a disservice to the student who met the goal that you wanted them to meet in the first place: they have the knowledge and skills you wanted them to have for that assessment.
3. Averaging scores does not accurately represent how evaluating and reporting works in most real-world environments.
Nearly every example that I can think of when trying to determine how people are evaluated is based on a proficiency model, typically either pass or fail; and for each example, if someone receives a passing rating or a highly proficient rating, then that is their evaluation, not the average of the previous evaluations.
Consider a sports analogy here. Imagine your favorite college basketball team is an 11 seed in the NCAA Championship Tournament with an 18-15 (wins-losses) season record. Because they managed to achieve more wins than losses and have found their way into the NCAA tournament, you rate their success as a B going into the tournament. However, to your amazement, your favorite team wins the tournament and is titled this year’s NCAA tournament champion (congratulations!). Unfortunately, when averaging the wins and losses for your team, they still only receive a B. See the problem here?
The same holds true for occupations such as doctors and attorneys and even educators. We are assessed regularly; we are given opportunities to demonstrate proficiency and improve if previous attempts are not up to the established standards; and we receive proficient ratings, obtain medical degrees, and licences to practice law if we meet those standards.
4. Zeros are debilitating.
In many ways, zeros glorify failure and do not accomplish what many educators claim they intend to. Educational Partnership’s Research Brief and The Case Against Zeros in Grading both point to how we, as educators, need to more greatly scrutinize assigning a score of 0 in percentage-based systems. In essence, a 0% or a score of zero communicates “this student knows nothing here,” and in most instances, that simply isn’t true.
5. Percentage-based practices are highly subjective.
The next time you are looking for an experiment during a staff meeting, have your staff write their answers to the following questions on Post-Its and have them review everyone’s answers. You are likely going to get nearly as many answers as you have staff, and you will likely find that it is difficult to achieve consensus in response to each question.
Notice how a student in Classroom A and Classroom B would fail whereas a student in Classroom C would pass the course when the teacher set up the gradebook to disassociate what the student did from what the student knew.
Why Does SBG Have More Appeal?Like my disclaimer for percentage-based practices, I need to add one for SBG as well. I do not think SBG is the only pathway to improve educational practices, nor am I convinced that it is necessarily the best way (consider A New Kind of Classroom, A Crusade to End Grades in High School, Schools and Grading, and The Case Against Grades), but it does seem evident that SBG has more merit than traditional, percentage-based practices.
1. SBG is a proficiency model.
The major benefit to this point is the shift in philosophy and thinking. In a traditional grading model, if a student receives a 78%, the emphasis is “here is what I did wrong,” “I messed up,” and “this score has finality to it.” In SBG, however, the emphasis is always placed on specific goals and growth. Furthermore, there is always opportunity to do just that, grow and improve.
2. SBG emphasizes quality over quantity.
I think it is most common to use a 4-point scale in SBG models (although it isn’t necessary), so we will use that model for our foundation. This scale is qualitative, not quantitative, since each identifier (1, 2, 3, and 4) represents a category. When a student receives a rating of 1, they understand that they do not yet possess the knowledge and skills to demonstrate proficiency on the intended learning target even with support from the teacher; receiving a rating of 2 they understanding that they are working toward proficiency; receiving a rating of 3 they understand that they have demonstrated proficiency with the intended learning target; and receiving a rating of 4 the student understands they have exceeded the proficiency expectation for that target.
3. SBG clearly communicates students’ content knowledge and skills.
As stated in the point above, parents also are able to state what a 1, 2, 3, and 4 represent whereas it is left partially to the imagination to establish what something like an 85% means (since it depends on any number of variables and scenarios). In essence, when seeing a 1, parents and guardians should acknowledge that their student needs substantial support; seeing a 2 means the student is working toward proficiency; seeing a 3 indicates the student has met proficiency; and seeing a 4 means the student exceeded expectations. Furthermore, these indicators are also associated with specific standards to provide additional context and clarity.
For the student, communication also includes clear expectations on learning goals and assessment measures (see the ELA, Math, and 3-8 Performance Level Descriptions for examples).
4. SBG disassociates academic achievement and student behavior.
Because SBG requires clear expectations and assessment criteria, student behavior is clearly distinguishable from academic achievement (as opposed to most percentage-based systems). I would like to point out, though, that opinions here start to diverge depending on which proponent of SBG you follow. On one hand, some contend that student behavior should be absent from a gradebook, whereas others argue that behaviors should be measured according to explicit targets but reported separately from academic performance.
5. SBG is more “valid, reliable, fair, and useful.”
Thomas Guskey states that “reporting must be valid, reliable, fair, and useful.” Others such as Rick Wormeli and Robert Marzano agree due to SBG’s increased focus on descriptive feedback and an emphasis on mastery learning.
What Do We Do Now?Minimally, I hope you more thoughtfully consider how you and your school and your district implement grading and reporting practices, and I hope you tackle some of the hard questions. Questions like, “What about the transition from high school to university?” and “Can we convert from our SBG scale to a 4.0 GPA?” Then, I hope you work toward more effective grading and reporting practices, and hopefully, I will be able to help along the way.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
When students let their minds drift off, they are losing valuable learning time. Getting all your students focused, eager and on task in class can be challenging. Lack of engagement interferes with students’ learning and retention. When students are thoroughly engaged; they are actively listening and learning.
To increase classroom engagement, teachers need to create a toolbox of routines and activities. The activities can be general purpose and apply to various subject areas. The activities will allow students to tap into various regions of their brain and move them from the recall level to more advanced thinking and learning.
A few RULES of ENGAGEMENT
Class Warm up that involves collaboration and competition.
More student voice than teacher voice.
Class Check in with a quote, a challenge, or quick write.
Physical Movement gets kids focused: Brain Gym, Chair Yoga, hand-clapping patterns, snapping/clapping in pattern.
Create TEAMs (Together Everyone Accomplishes More).
Use Quick writes when you want quiet think time and reflection.
Attention Signal when giving directions: Give me 5, chimes or chant.
Equity Sticks: create equity and gives everyone an opportunity to show what they know.
Teaching Styles: to keep kids engaged and motivated move from teacher-centered to student-centered throughout the lesson.
Cultivate engagement and be aware when your students are paying attention and deeply engaged. Teachers should create an active learning environment in which all students are on task in their thinking and speaking.
If you are interested in learning more about student engagement, there is an upcoming regional workshop entitled, Student Engagement Strategies for Learning, on January 11, 2022.
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES Professional Development
An increase in stress and burnout among teachers have been at the forefront of conversation since the onset of the pandemic. Our systems have directly experienced the implications of such issues, in several unforgiving ways. Combined with the number of additional challenges posed to our schools, and the impact that each issue can have on another, the search for solutions has been an ongoing, yet urgent process.
In working with Wellsville and considering research in developing a district strategy for supporting teachers throughout the 2021-22 school year, a monthly schedule of offerings focused on educator resilience, entitled, “Empowered Educators,’ was created. The sessions are offered monthly, for one hour after school hours and are optional.
Over the past few months teachers have come together during this session to connect, reflect, process and specifically focus on individual resilience building strategies to counter the impact of stress and burnout.
A few of the resources utilized to support this work are “Onward,” written by Elena Aguilar and “Paws to Comfort,” written by Jen Marr. Aguilar’s research focused around the 12 strategies that hold the most leverage for cultivating educator resilience and have been central in the development of specific tasks throughout each session. Marr’s work addresses the significant need for the act of comfort and the gap that exists, as she refers to, “the awkward zone,” in which individuals choose not to respond and comfort due to lagging skills. Both resources are relevant to the present challenges facing teachers, both individually and collectively, and have been invaluable in the work that has taken place thus far at Wellsville.
As the school year progresses, an open invitation to join the monthly sessions exists. In addition, the group continues to work collaboratively to reflect on this model of support, in the hopes to grow and evolve this type of support within their district moving forward.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
Natural phenomena are observable events that occur in the universe and that we can use our science knowledge to explain or predict. The goal of building knowledge in science is develop general rules, based on evidence, that can explain and predict phenomena. Despite their centrality in science, phenomena have traditional been a missing piece in science education, which too often has focused on teachers passing on general knowledge that students can have difficulty applying to real-world contexts. By centering science education on phenomena that students are motivated to explain, the focus of learning shifts from being told about a topic to figuring out why or how something happens. Students work through figuring it out because they are wondering how it works. If we simply give students the scientific knowledge, we kill the wonder. Don’t kill the wonder!
Magic Milk Art Investigation
PHENOMENON: How does soap get greasy dishes clean? Better yet, how does dish soap get greasy ducks clean?
Click here to observe the phenomenon.
This activity involves demonstrating a supporting phenomenon and then attempting to explain it by designing an investigation. Post a photo of your students in action in our comment section or post a comment on how you modified the activity to work in your classroom.
This phenomenon may be used for the following NYSSLS standards:
Students in elementary grades may likely not be able to explain in scientific terms what is happening. Allow them to draw their explanation or explain in their own vocabulary. The important part here is the wonder. With younger kids, they don’t need the real explanation at this point.
TO DEMONSTRATE THIS PHENOMENON:
STEP 1: Start by pouring your milk into a baking dish or other flat bottom surface. You don’t need a lot of milk just about ¼ of an inch. Then if you have one, place a cookie cutter in the milk. Allow the milk to settle before moving to the next step.
STEP 2: Next you want to drop some coloring onto milk (outside of the cookie cutter).
STEP 3: Pour some dish soap into the small cup. Dip your cotton swab tip into the dish soap so the cotton is coated in soap. Then bring it over to your milk dish and gently touch the swab to the surface of the milk. What happens?
DEVELOP AN INVESTIGATION:
Can you explain how this phenomenon works?
OPTION 1: Change the milk. Develop a data table and try repeating this experiment with different types of milk and liquids (skim, 1%, 2%, whole milk, half & half, heavy cream, or even plant-based milks or water, vegetable oil, olive oil, canola oil, etc.).
OPTION 2: Change the soap. Develop a data table and try repeating this experiment with different types of soaps (shampoo, liquid hand soap, laundry detergent, or bar soap).
What happens? Do you get the same effect, or does it change? Which liquids produce the most dramatic effects? Does it help you to explain how this phenomenon works?
Can you explain how dish soap gets greasy pans or greasy ducks clean?
Teacher Hints and tips:
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
What would you have said a few years ago if someone had told you that schools would have a complete virtual option, and that it would be utilized in our public-school settings? How about this: What would you say to teaching Driver Education from the virtual world?
Well, CABOCES did just that this past summer. Hundreds of Cattaraugus and Allegany County students benefitted from the offering of 12 sessions of online Driver Education throughout the months of July and August 2021. Due to the pandemic in the Summer of 2020, driver education was not available to students per the NYS guidelines within the school settings, so the ability to offer the course in the online format opened an opportunity for students who missed out the year before as well as those qualifying this year.
The course is housed in the CABOCES Moodle Learning Management System (LMS). The students participated daily in Zoom meetings and accessed Moodle to complete the required content and hours to fulfill the NYS Guidelines in order to earn their NYS Diver Education Certificate. The 24 hours of instruction time, paired with 24 hours of guided parental supervision behind the wheel, earns the student a certificate that allows additional privileges and safe practices as they hit the road, alongside all of us. The online course and the plan set in motion through CABOCES was a great success!! Hundreds of students received their Driver Education Certificate. They have been exposed to the training and safety measures that the Driver Education Course is designed to provide. In the future we are hoping to offer this online Driver Education opportunity throughout the school year in addition to our traditional summer program. Be on the lookout for more information about online Driver Education!!!
By: Lisa Scott, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Ninth-grade students at Portville High School were learning about Ancient River Valley Civilizations, and they were using the G.R.A.P.E.S. organizer as a tool to categorize the information for each civilization:
An essential part of studying ancient history is for students to learn that a great deal of what’s known of these civilizations comes from archeological evidence. This is especially true for the Indus River Valley Civilization because their writing has never been successfully translated; everything known is from the work of archeologists. Because of this, an idea was born. Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Carey’s students became archeologists. Mr. Carey spent time highlighting critical aspects of the Indus River Valley so that during “the big dig,” students could infer connections from the artifacts that they discovered.
“The Big Dig”: Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Carey found artifacts that represented each section of the G.R.A.P.E.S.organizer. Next, they put the items in Ziploc bags and buried them in the school’s long-jump pit.
This active exploration proved to be a great simulation for the work of archeologists; students were able to infer what the artifacts represented and demonstrate a better understanding of the civilization. An example of an artifact used was a die and a game token. These items illustrated true archeological findings in the Indus River Valley as numerous game pieces were found but very few weapons, suggesting it was a peaceful and prosperous society.
The students rotated through six stations (G.R.A.P.E.S.) and really enjoyed digging, finding, and making inferences and connections about each item’s importance. Active student engagement increased their interest and understanding. As learners and educators, “WE DIG IT!”
By: Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES Professional Development
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is certainly not new, but if it wasn’t already, it is certainly now a top priority since the beginning of the pandemic. Students’ overall well-being has suffered, giving schools an extra challenge to deal with as instruction has returned to five days a week this school year.
One way Pioneer Middle School has addressed this challenge is by incorporating a program called Second Step. Second Step describes itself as “a holistic approach to building supportive communities for every child through social-emotional learning.” Started successfully in the district’s elementary schools during the 2018-19 school year, the middle school has embraced the program by incorporating Second Step Wednesday’s, where homebases are extended twice a month to allow for a particular SEL lesson to take place.
With vertically aligned and scripted lessons for teachers that are research-based and aligned to SEL standards, the program has thus far been a success. In addition, all teachers and students in the school are involved in the program allowing for common themes in each lesson to continually be supported and intertwined into instruction regardless of the class subject area.
But what exactly is Second Step? (https://www.secondstep.org)
Ultimately, the school will measure the success of the program by using the administration of a SEL screener, last given in April 2021, in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. The screener analyzes student responses to a number of questions to determine if the student is at normal, elevated, or extremely elevated risk. By utilizing the screener, those students who are identified as elevated or extremely elevated risk are given a second chance to get the support they need to succeed, support they may have previously not received had it not been for the Second Step program.
By: Justin Shumaker, CA BOCES Professional Development
The State Library of New York provides free access to GALE databases through NovelNY and every school library and public library has a link to this fantastic resource! Databases for kids through adults, professionals and hobbyists, can be accessed directly from the Learning Resources page at resources.caboces.org, (second row of icons). If you do not know your log in information, or are wondering how your students can access, contact Rachelle_Evans@caboces.org.
A brand new feature is now available to help readers who do not see well, have reading disabilities, or simply want choice. In addition to existing features, like adjustable text size, the vendor has added display option tools for customization, including:
· Additional font choices, such as OpenDyslexic, for readers with different needs.
· Optional background colors to better view text on the screen.
· Line, word, and letter spacing, so individuals can choose what style is easiest for them to read.
Below is a screen shot of where the tool for accessibility is located:
Additionally, all articles have audio read aloud and text translation for accommodating those whose native language is not English.
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By: Cece Fuoco, Learning Resources
The goal of education is to encourage young minds to develop creativity, seek solutions and become forward thinkers who learn more than what we currently know. Many teachers in our caboces region are experimenting with play as an instructional tool so that children can make connections between disciplines and understand how the pieces of the world fit together. It is through play that children comprehend learning as a lifelong process of discovery and joy.
Early childhood experiences are critical to brain development. Studies show that positive early learning experiences through play allow children to develop social-emotional skills, deepen relationships, gain executive function skills, and manage stress. Over time, children who experience learning through play-based instruction have better overall health and longer life expectancy.
A play-based approach to learning requires child-initiated experiences and teacher supported learning. This learning requires careful cultivation and teachers are coming together to rethink how they are supporting our youngest learners. On October 22, 2021, teachers who attended the Foundations for Change: Rethinking Early Childhood Education workshop “played” with play-based learning kits from caboces learning resources. As they played, ideas for lessons, discussions, and questions flowed through the room. One walking by may have heard questions like:
Teachers engaged in discussion around the thinking of play as a tool for children to develop social and cognitive skills. They mature emotionally and gain the self-confidence required to ask questions. The conversations and interactions that happen through play are valuable opportunities to support children as they develop their identities early in life. Positive early experiences at school give children another opportunity to grow in a nurturing, language-rich environment.
Play-based learning also honors a child’s home experiences by building on the foundational skills learned at home. Parents are a child’s first teacher. Honoring each child’s home values inspires children to develop their identity and feel included in the learning environment. These ideas were reinforced by Robin Fuller, Early Childhood Development and Education Coordinator of Ardent Solutions in Wellsville, NY. Robin works tirelessly to make sure families with young children in Allegany County have access to resources. Robin presented teachers with materials to distribute to families. She also shared fun family activities that supplement free books donated through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Through the Imagination Library, children (birth – age 5) in Allegany County are eligible to receive free monthly books in the mail. Check out the website for more information: http://www.ardentnetwork.org/dolly-partons-imagination-library.html
If you would like to learn more about play as an instructional tool for learning contact Michelle Rickicki or Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith.
By: Michelle Rickicki, CA BOCES Professional Development
We continue to stock our shelves at the Learning Resources warehouse. As a nod to the wave of online learning and use of technology, we’ve upped our game by adding many Osmo kits for teachers to book.
What is Osmo? Osmo turns an iPad or a Fire tablet into a learning device with games that are so fun and engaging, student won’t know they are learning! Osmo combines online gamification with physical game pieces. With the games we have on our shelves, students can draw, code, spell, do math, and more. Studies show that active learning can boost critical thinking skills, information retention, motivation, and interpersonal skills. By incorporating physical game pieces, Osmo ensures students learn by doing, even in front on a screen.
Here is what we have available to book:
Osmo base: This is a must. The base is the launch pad to the world of Osmo and is required to play all Osmo games.
Osmo Math wizard is a self-paced, curriculum-inspired series that combines hand-on learning with digital adventure, helping students build math confidence and understanding.
Using Osmo Pizza Co., students make pizza, make change, and (hopefully) make profits when they run their very own cartoon pizza shop!
With a lean towards the creative side, Osmo Monster blends real-life doodles with on-screen action in amazing ways.
Osmo Coding transforms a tablet into a hands-on coding adventure. The Coding Starter Kit builds coding skills in progression with 3 hands-on learning games. Watch your students learn to code as they connect colorful blocks of code in the physical world to chart the adventure on their screen.
And lastly, Osmo Genius Numbers has students digging into math. Use physical tiles, including dots and digits, to match the numbers on the screen, and cartoon bubbles burst with a satisfying POP! Kids count, add, subtract, or multiply as they travel across the world to find aquatic animals in their native environments.
LET’S BOOK SOME KITS!!!! Go to our resources page here to look at the new kits, older kits, and streaming resources. Keep checking back as we add more items to assist teachers in their craft and students in their learning.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Self-care has become the new buzz word in education. The pandemic reignited the importance of investing in SEL for students, but to reach students investing in educator self-care and wellbeing is a crucial part of this process. To ensure educators can model good self-care techniques they themselves must experience it. When we practice self-care and model it in the classroom early on, students can better model it in their own lives.
Let’s start first with a clear definition of self-care. Self-care is anything you do to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally well. Research suggests self-care promotes positive health outcomes, such as fostering resilience, living longer, and becoming equipped to manage stress.
Self-advocacy-promoting and supporting our own interests and well-being requires reflection and self-awareness. Like many districts across the region, Olean City School District has made staff self-care a focus by providing support and resources through their monthly Personnel and Wellness (PAWS) newsletter. Each month, the newsletter provides a topic that centers on monthly themes from the Onward Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators text written by Elena Aguilar. Staff have an opportunity to participate in a variety of SEL opportunities including some of the following:
As educators we must make the commitment to prioritize self-care in order to successfully be able to help others. These are some of the many ways to incorporate self-care with educators around the region. It’s like the saying goes “You cannot serve from an empty vessel” Eleanor Brownn.
By: Jillian Putnam, CA BOCES Professional Development
As school districts around the region approached the start to another school year during an ongoing global pandemic, many leaders recognized that social emotional learning (SEL), must continue to be a priority within their schools. Like many other districts in the region, Cattaraugus Little Valley, designated time within their opening staff days to provide SEL support, tools, and resources to educators.
On August 31st, CLV faculty and staff gathered to kick off the school year learning about an SEL tool that fosters a supportive learning environment. It is especially important when talking and learning about social and emotional skills and SEL, that adults take the time to self-reflect. In doing so at CLV, the group embraced the understanding that SEL starts within each one of us. As human beings, we are social, we are emotional and many of our daily interactions demonstrate this notion. Whether or not we explicitly teach “SEL” within our classrooms, we are modeling skills constantly, for students. Individually, each participant took inventory of their own social and emotional skills and attitudes by completing the “SEL Self-Reflection,” and then further discussed their perspectives on how their own strengths and weaknesses may impact interactions that they have with students, colleagues, and families, daily.
One thing all educators at CLV walked away with, was a practical SEL tool that can be used in classrooms district wide, regardless of class size or grade level: The 3 Signature Practices of SEL. As the group discussed each of the three practices, many concluded that they were doing more SEL within their classrooms or learning environments than previously understood.
What are the 3 Signature Practices of SEL?
Welcome & Inclusion Activities: brief interactive experiences that increase connection and allow all voices in the room to be heard
Engaging Strategies: vary in complexity, include reflection and processing time and can include brain breaks or transition techniques
Optimistic Closure: an intentional closure of any learning experience, that can be done individually or collectively and allows for a sense of accomplishment and forward thinking
Not only did the group walk away with a better understanding of SEL and the 3 Signature Practices of SEL, but they were each given a copy of the 3 Signature Practices Playbook, as a resource. The playbook offers a structure to support thoughtfully selecting and facilitating these practices. In addition, it offers a connection to the research base as the foundation for each practice and outlines key SEL competencies and skills for each suggested activity.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
CABOCES Student Programs is collaborating with iDESIGN Solutions to bring more esports gaming opportunities to middle and high school students in the region. The newly created Empire Esports League (EEL) is set to kick off with pre-season scrimmages during the first week of October. There will be two eight-week seasons, Fall 2021 and Spring 2022, offered this school year. A seasoned esports league commissioner will oversee all play. Three to eight players can form a team and districts can field multiple teams. Teams will have the flexibility to choose the day and time to play their opponent each week. All match results will be submitted by 10:00 pm each Friday.
Regular season play of the Fall 2021 league, featuring Rocket League, is set to begin October 11th. Bolivar-Richburg Central School, Cuba Rushford Central School, Wellsville Central School, and Whitesville Central School have already registered teams.
A Championship event will take place in December, either remotely or in-person in Buffalo, New York. Banners and trophies will be awarded to the top schools.
The Spring 2022 season will follow a similar timeline, with new games added.
For more information on the Empire Esports League (EEL) go to https://empireesportsleague.com/
To learn how to start an esports program in your school or to register a team, go to https://empireesportsleague.com/events and contact Jean Oliverio (Jean_oliverio@caboces.org, 716-376-8323).
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
School librarians are required to have a graduate course in copyright law, and it was one of my favorites for its practicality. It’s relatively easy to understand when applied to the rights of the creator, however, this understanding can become muddled when Fair Use is applied. Librarians not only manage resources but have a professional code of ethics to follow, in which one of the eight articles specifically mentions copyright. With this knowledge, school librarians have a responsibility to provide guidance in how resources are viewed, used, copied, and streamed within the public-school setting.
Years ago, before technology provided fingertips easy access to a plethora of resources, there were simple guidelines for using music, photocopying print materials, and viewing videos. Not only has technology changed how we retrieve resources, but it has also drastically changed how we share resources - like videos.
Streaming videos from Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Netflix into the school environment is quite easy to do but the licensing agreement applies to the subscriber’s in-home use only. Even with a movie license purchased through SWANK/Movie Licensing USA and Motion Picture Licensing Corp. (which may be purchased through the Library 510 CoSer), streaming a movie from a personal account is not permitted.
So how do educators use videos for classroom use? There are three options. One is to use a physical DVD and measure its use against a Fair Use checklist, like this one from Cornell University: https://copyright.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/2016-10/Fair_Use_Checklist.pdf The DVD may be from a home collection, rented from a vendor like RedBox, or borrowed from a library.
The second option is to use streamed videos from CA BOCES’ Learning Resources. PBS, Discovery Ed, and CCC Streaming. Videos are educational, entertaining, complement curricula, and have already been vetted for Fair Use.
The third option is purchasing video streaming services through SWANK/Movie Licensing USA. It is rather inexpensive and offers 200 popular titles frequently requested by educators. Additionally, a school may submit an additional 15 titles into the collection.
What if an educator, parent group, or student club would like to host a movie viewing for entertainment? An umbrella movie license is required and is relatively inexpensive when purchased through the Library 510 CoSer. If a movie’s title is within the bank of titles listed, the video may be shown but it cannot be streamed from a personal account. Many schools choose to have a community event and host a free movie night. Snacks and beverages may be sold to raise funds. If admission is charged for viewing the movie, it must be applied to the cost of the movie license.
Although this is a quick overview due to limited space, I am happy to provide you with further information or answer additional questions. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org or (716) 376-8206.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
For the last several years, educators have been keen on utilizing drones as a tool for teaching and learning and have had to overcome a few obstacles along the way. Insurance options? Check. Students verified as recreational users? Done. Part 107 preparation for educators? No problem. However, with several changes in regulations taking place over the last year, it is due time to highlight some key details to help ensure that educators are appropriately taking to the sky.
As of April 21, 2021, new regulations regarding operations over people, over moving vehicles, and at night went into effect. “Drone pilots operating under Part 107 may fly at night, over people and moving vehicles without a waiver as long as they meet the requirements defined in the rule” (FAA).
Similarly, “All drone pilots required to register their UAS must operate their aircraft in accordance with the final rule on remote ID beginning September 16, 2023” (FAA). Essentially, this rule indicates that drones must be enabled with the ability to be identified remotely by other parties.
Most importantly, as of June, 2021, recreational fliers must pass The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST). Public schools this is both good and bad news. One the one hand, it is good since there has been additional clarity offered regarding whether educators fall under the commercial or recreational use classification; it seems more clear, now, that schools meet the requirements of a “community-based organization” and educators can be acknowledged as recreational users when utilizing drones for educational purposes.
The down side, albeit minimal, is that students also fall within the recreational user definition, and consequently, must be able to verify a completed TRUST certification as well. While the certification process itself is simple, the list of providers minimally require an email address and a name for the individual seeking certification which means a data privacy agreement must be obtained to be in compliance with Education Law 2-D. Until agreements have been reached, it is recommended for students to obtain their TRUST certification at home under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
DJI Mavic Mini/Mini 2
Not only are regulations changing, but the technology is as well. To make sure drone pilots were more easily able to fly and avoid Part 107 regulations, DJI released the Mavic Mini (and more recently the Mini 2) weighing only 249 grams, 1 gram beneath the regulation requirements. While this drone is small, it still captures high quality photos and video.
Like the larger Phantom and Mavic models, the Mini is extremely easy to operate, but the fly more bundle is substantially cheaper for the DJI Mavic Mini and the DJI Mini 2 at $399 and $599 respectively.
Lastly, I think it is important to bring us back to educational implications. There are limited curricular resources written that utilize drones as an educational tool and are freely available, so educators must carefully consider the ways in which they intend to facilitate learning with these devices. To keep the conversation going around educational drone curriculum, reach out to Mark_Beckwith@caboces.org
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
After a year of practicing resiliency, building technology and self-management skills, and navigating emotional turmoil, students are preparing to return to a rigorous school experience without some of the skills they would have built in a normal school year. A recent study from Stanford University (https://edpolicyinca.org/publications/changing-patterns-growth-oral-reading-fluency-during-covid-19-pandemic) illustrated the flattened growth of Oral Reading Fluency during the pandemic. In a broad sample of school districts, second and third graders performed about 30 percent behind expectations, with the most severe impact concentrated in already struggling schools. In an environment of continued disruption and uncertainty, Microsoft is introducing Reading Progress as a resource to help build opportunities for students and educators to get back on track in a non-stigmatizing and highly customizable way.
Reading Progress in Teams supports students in building fluency through independent reading practice, educator review via video, and educator insights. Teachers can upload a single reading fluency assignment or differentiate for their class’ many levels. Students read their passages out loud, creating an audio/video recording that a teacher can access and review at their convenience. Traditionally, tracking students’ fluency is irregular and time consuming because it requires one on one close listening, while somehow still managing the remainder of the class. Creating recordings allows educators to check students’ progress more regularly while also freeing up time for active instruction. By empowering students to complete their reading fluency assignments regularly and independently, Reading Progress keeps the focus on practice and growth, not performing under pressure. Now reading fluency practice can happen anywhere!
Educators can use the Auto-detect feature for quick review, or manually code any errors; either way, valuable data is collected in Insights. Teams Education Insights dashboards help visualize class and individual progress. Insights also provides a holistic view of trends and data including accuracy rate, correct words per minute, mispronunciations, omissions and insertions.
Some newer components to Reading Progress include:
Reading Progress inside of Microsoft Teams is rolling out right now and can be accessed via the “Create Assignment” selection, then clicking “Add Resource”, where a new choice for Reading Progress will show. Educators can then upload a Word or PDF document with the passage of their choice, set the “pickiness” level for the AI software, and then assign to the class. Teachers can access all the students’ recordings from a single locale and watch back the video while seeing the students’ mispronunciations, omissions, self-corrections, insertions and repetitions.
By: Ryan McGinnis, CA BOCES Professional Development
Summer. A time to relax by the pool, take vacation and . . . Summer School. Yes, Summer School.
The 2021 version of CA BOCES Regional Academic Summer School (BRASS) was fully virtual with educators and learners utilizing Zoom for class sessions and Apex for course curriculum. BRASS is in the Student Programs CoSer which is led by Mary Morris in conjunction with the Distance Learning CoSer. This year was much like last year except for one significant difference. This year there were 483 student registrations from 17 districts! Last year, we had 198 students registered in BRASS.
Our five teachers rose to the challenge. They built courses in Apex that met the New York State requirement of 20 hours of content/learning activities and then engaged with students in groups of as many as 45 at one time. The educators conducted social emotional check ins, provided content support and were champions for the learners daily. The learners realized much success over the course of the five-week session. 90% of the learners passed with an average of 65%+; 10% failed (includes late drops), final grade class averages ranged from 73.5 - 88.25. Congratulations to the learners and educators!
In addition to the success of the BRASS program, we also offered for the first time a blended New York State Certified Driver's Education class. Our Educator for Online Learning, Lisa Scott (also a New York State certified Driver's Education Instructor), built the course in Moodle based on the New York State provided content. The educators and learners connected via Zoom for fifteen 90-minute sessions, per New York State Driver's Education course requirements. 368 learners were led by 3 educators during 12 different sessions. So far, 166 MV-285 Driver Education certificates have been issued to learners after receiving their parent supervision certification and driving log.
These two examples of innovation and risk have helped make the summer of 2021 memorable for educators and learners in our region. I am proud and humbled to have been a part of both components of BRASS. Congratulations to all!
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
As the school year drew to a close, most teachers across NYS would welcome the end of June in a fashion indicative of rest and relaxation, particularly after the tumultuous 2020-2021 academic year. However, the end of June for many teachers in the Salamanca School District was one focused on professional development and personal growth. Various teachers from the Salamanca School District spent the end of June discovering the aspects of personalized and blended learning, delving into their current instruction practices to reflect on their forms of instruction, and designing personalized learning experiences for their grade level and content areas that can be used with their students next school year. This was certainly a contrast to many other educators across the state and a way for them to take a personal approach towards student achievement.
Participating teachers were first led in examining the aspects of personalized, student-centered learning and were introduced to ways in which student choice and personalized learning can be tailored to student interests and needs. They explored ways to create a classroom environment and structure that gives students ownership over their learning, and how to leverage technology in a blended environment to promote student achievement through interests, choice, and adaptation of tasks. They spent time reflecting on current instructional practices, looking for ways to incorporate a blended and personalized approach into their current instructional model, and worked to construct resources aligned to those principles.
Through exploration of the various methods and materials used for instruction and assessment, teachers worked to create resources that would assist their students as they travel down their individualized learning path during the upcoming school year. Depending on grade level, content area, and achievement objectives, teachers would work with various models and methods they had learned about to create a personal learning experience for their students.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
The Common Core asks students to read stories and literature, as well as more complex texts that provide facts and background knowledge in areas such as science and social studies. In doing so, students are challenged and asked questions that push them to refer back to what they’ve read. This stresses critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that are required for success in college, career, and life.
To aid in this initiative, Learning Resources has put new Focus Readers on the shelves. These new nonfiction readers have captivating topics, accessible text, and vibrant visuals to motivate young readers in grades K through 7. Focus Readers books combine the best elements of library books and classroom materials.
We have over 600 texts to choose from with varying reading and interest levels. For every title, we have hard copies of lesson plans, curriculum standards, and quizzes. Additionally, teachers can visit focusreaders.com for educator resources, including online lesson plans, curriculum correlations, resource links, and book-related downloadables.
LET’S BOOK SOME KITS!!!! Go to our resources page here to look at the new kits, older kits, and streaming resources. Keep checking back as we keep adding more items to assist teachers in their craft and students in their learning.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
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