Who wouldn’t love the opportunity to earn college credits from a local university? Our Learning Resources Department and Distance Learning Program has been working with Houghton University to provide university courses to students in districts that participate in the CA BOCES Distance Learning Program.
For the past year, the Distance Learning team has been working with Houghton University to offer a program that offers a variety of content areas courses to our participating district students. Students have been enrolled in courses such as Psychology, Sociology, Microeconomics, History of Rock and Roll and Financial Accounting just to mention a few.
We have just completed another enrollment session bringing our student enrollment numbers up close to 50 students that have been fortunate enough to take advantage of this program. There is another session scheduled to begin on January 8, 2024, take a moment and visit https://www.houghton.edu/early-college/ to view the list of available courses.
Students can reach out to their Guidance Counselors for more information and to see if they can enroll in a course at Houghton University. School leaders can contact anyone on our Distance Learning team for more information:
Clay Nolan- Clay_nolan@caboces.org
Justin Shumaker- Jusin_shumaker@caboces.org
Lisa Scott- Lisa_scott@caboces.org
Ed Cruz- Edelmiro_cruz@caboces.org
By: Lisa Scott, CABOCES Learning Resources
Thanks to our Learning Resources team for organizing the BOCES-wide Toys for Tots campaign! Thanks to everyone at CA BOCES that donated to this important cause. We work everyday to help children in our region, and this is a shining example of the commitment to our work...our cause...our children!
An inch of rain in the entire month of May. Heavy snows followed the next day by massive melts. Ticks, ticks, boom. Wildfire smoke invading our clean summer air.
…And we thought western NY was a climate oasis.
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today, even impacting “climate oases” like our region. It is critical that we take a proactive role in educating our students about this important topic. As the next generation of leaders, it is so important that young people understand the science behind climate change, its impacts, and the actions they can take to mitigate its effects.
Climate change is a scientifically established fact, with the overwhelming majority of climate scientists in consensus that the Earth’s climate is changing rapidly and that human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation, are contributing to this change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other scientific organizations have warned that if we do not take immediate action to reduce our carbon emissions, the impacts of climate change will become increasingly severe, including rising sea levels, more frequent and intense heatwaves, droughts, and natural disasters, and the loss of biodiversity.
In order to tackle this issue effectively, it is essential that students have a strong understand of the science behind climate change. This will help them to make informed decisions about the actions they can take to mitigate its effects, such as reducing their carbon footprint by using public transportation or renewable energy sources, or by supporting local leaders who prioritize action towards sustainability. Furthermore, by educating students about climate change, we can help to foster a sense of environmental stewardship and encourage students to become advocates for sustainability and leaders of tomorrow.
Climate change is a global issue that affects everyone. It has the potential to impact every aspect of our lives, from the food we eat and the water we drink, to the air we breathe and the places we live. As such, it is important for students to understand the implications of climate change for their own lives, as well as for the lives of people around the world.
Learning about climate change can also help students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skill. Climate change is a complex and multi-faceted issue that requires creative solutions. By engaging in discussions about the causes and potential impacts, students can learn to analyze information, consider different perspectives, and collaborate with peers to develop solutions. This type of hands-on learning can be particularly powerful, as students are more likely to remember what they have learned when they have had the opportunity to apply it in a meaningful way.
Learning about climate change can help to foster a sense of global citizenship and promote empathy and compassion. Climate change affects everyone, regardless of race, religion, or socio-economic status, and it is important for students to understand the impact that their actions can have on people in their community and around the world. By learning about the ways in which our changing climate is affecting people in different parts of the world, students can develop a greater sense of empathy and compassion for others, and be inspired to take action to make a positive difference in the world.
Finally, it is important that we teach about climate change because it is a rapidly evolving issue that is changing the world in real-time. As such, it is essential that students have access to accurate and up-to-date information about his issue in order to understand its implications for their lives and be prepared for their futures.
In conclusion, teaching about climate change is a vital obligation for us as educators. By giving our students the opportunity to learn about climate change and sustainability, we can foster a sense of environmental responsibility, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, promote empathy and compassion, and help them find a meaningful and successful path for their lives.
Stay tuned to hear more about why and how our students can benefit from climate change education in future articles.
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Is the beautiful drive to your district each morning deceiving?
Each fall, Portville’s new teachers and their mentors participate in a district-wide bus tour. This year, the teachers were led by Dave Youngs, Portville’s Transportation Director, and retired Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, Tom Costa. The goal is to experience how big the district really is by traveling to some of its borders; the district covers a lot of ground, bordering Allegany; Ceres (NY & PA); Cuba; Eldred, PA; Hinsdale; Little Genesee; and West Clarksville. Dave and Tom share historical aspects of the region along with some of the responsibilities of the transportation department that teachers aren’t always aware of. Teachers often comment on how rural much of the district is and, depending where families live, how long children are on a bus each day. It’s a shared experience that builds empathy and compassion. One teacher commented that it was such an important trip that she’d recommend it for any faculty and staff member who hasn’t participated.
The district tour is a powerful way for teachers to better understand the whole district community, and it provides an authentic, meaningful, and relevant way for teachers to build stronger relationships with their students and their families as well as the district transportation department. The tour is a tremendously beneficial adventure for everyone.
Please reach out if you have any questions about coordinating district bus tours or facilitating mentor/mentee experiences for your new teachers.
By: Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES Professional Development
Do you feel like you are stuck in a lesson-planning rut? Would you like to learn about new resources, while having time to experiment with them all? Join Brooke Neamon and Alex Freer for the Educator Play-Day Workshop!
Participants of the Educator Play-Day Workshop are invited to tour the Learning Resources Warehouse to explore resources specific to their content and/or grade level. We will provide a sampling of resources (both physical and digital) that will meet the needs of students at each grade level! During the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to create lesson plans, center activities, projects, assessments, or standard-driven instruction based on the provided resources. There are several different sections available (noted below) to meet the needs of all teachers across the region.
On October 12th, we had our first workshop in the series for PreK-Grade 2 teachers. There were 11 participants who enjoyed touring the warehouse, learning about new and exciting resources, and many of them even took home kits with them to try with their students. Some of these kits included the ever-popular Osmos, Breakout EDU lock boxes, robotics (including the new Sphero Indi), Fairy Tales Problem Solving kits, and more.
By: Brooke Neamon, CA BOCES Professional Development
Preparing students for computer-based testing (CBT) is essential in today's educational landscape. CBT is different from traditional paper-and-pencil tests, so students need specific skills and strategies to perform well. Here why Castle Learning can help you prepare students for CBT:
1. Familiarize Students with the Testing Environment
- Let them practice using the same type of computer or device they will use during the test.
- Familiarize students with the testing platform and user interface.
2. Understand the Test Format:
- Ensure students know the structure of the CBT, including the number of sections, types of questions, and scoring methods.
- Make sure they are familiar with any special features of the CBT platform, such as the ability to flag questions for review.
3. Provide Practice Tests:
- Offer practice tests that mimic the format and content of the actual CBT. This helps students become comfortable with the format and identify areas where they need improvement.
- Review and discuss the results of practice tests to identify strengths and weaknesses.
4. Simulate Testing Conditions:
- Conduct practice tests in an environment that simulates actual testing conditions, including distractions, time limits, and the use of the same devices they will use during the test.
Overall, preparation for computer-based testing requires a combination of technology skills, test-taking strategies, and practice. By guiding students through these steps, you can help them feel more confident and perform their best on CBT assessments. Castle Learning’s equation editor mimics what they will see on the Questar browser and will prepare your students for the upcoming state tests.
If your teachers need training and time to work on the Castle Learning interface, please check the registration system for upcoming workshops or reach out to me directly.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
This past June the New York State Education Department administered the first ever USHG Framework Regents exam. This new exam design has 28 MC questions that are attached to a stimulus, a Part II Stimulus Based Short Essay task where students write 2 responses to 4 documents, and a Part 3 six document Civic Literacy DBQ Essay. The purpose of this new Regents exam is to align assessment to the content, skills, and practices of the Framework and teachers have been anxiously anticipating the arrival of the new exam and curious about both the content and assessment structure.
In order to get a better understanding of the exam and student performance, teachers were invited to a regional workshop to analyze the exam and compile data surrounding the content and skills the exam was measuring.
The information collected was combined and shared so that teachers would have a record of what content was being asked from the Framework, and the types of sources used within the assessment that students would be working with.
At the completion of this work teachers had a better understanding of the exam structure and state expectations and were able to look at student results to develop ways in which to better assist and prepare for future administrations.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Student Programs is bringing Theaterworks USA performances back to the CABOCES region next spring, through CoSer 403 (Arts in Education). Districts are invited to choose the shows, locations, dates, and times that work best for their PreK through fifth-grade students.
There is widespread excitement over two Theaterworks shows based on best-selling books that are making their debut in the region in 2024.
The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System
This Theaterworks show, already sold out on the East Coast, offers a stellar opportunity to build upon the excitement of the upcoming solar eclipse on April 8th . Ms. Frizzle will blend the science of the cosmos with fast-paced, colorful entertainment. Students in first through fifth grades have a unique invitation to attend the show at local theaters, the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Saint Bonaventure University, New York, and the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts in Jamestown, New York on February 15th and 16th, 2024.
Dot, Dot, Dot: A New Musical
This brand-new show is coming to the region May 29th through 31st, 2024 for students in first through fifth grades. The inspirational new musical is based on the Creatrilogy trio of books by Peter H. Reynolds, The Dot, Ish, and Sky Color, and artfully celebrates creativity and selfexpression, inspiring young minds to make their mark.
Additional Theaterworks performances include Pete the Cat on May 22nd -23rd, 2024 followed by Ada Twist, Scientist & Friends (originally called Rosie Revere, Engineer & Friends) on June 6 th -10th, 2024.
Whether districts intend to incorporate performances into their lesson plans and curriculum or use them as ‘end of the year’ field trips, the shows are invaluable resources for classroom teachers, art and music teachers, and librarians.
Additional opportunities to extend the learning experience beyond the theater and into the classroom are available for all shows. Educators can also contact Learning Resources at 716- 376-8354 to check out supplemental books from the professional library or Interlibrary loan.
The 2024 lineup of shows emphasizes creativity, innovation, and STEM education, and aims to inspire, entertain, and enrich the lives of young learners. For more information about bringing the arts and education together through the magic of theater, contact Student Programs at 716-376-8284. Thanks go to Genesee Valley Central School, Salamanca Central School, and Franklinville Central School for opening their auditoriums up to the Theaterworks cast and the students and teachers in the region.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
On February 13, 2023, Friendship Central School witnessed an exciting and enlightening workshop as one of its own educators, Rick Weinberg, presented the SAMR model to the school's faculty. SAMR, which stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition, is a framework used to evaluate the integration of technology in education. The workshop was a resounding success, as it not only introduced teachers to the SAMR model but also showcased its practical application with real-life examples. This event marked a significant step forward in the school's journey towards enhancing technology integration in the classroom.
The SAMR Model: A Brief Overview
The SAMR model, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, offers educators a structured way to think about how technology is integrated into teaching and learning. It comprises four levels, each representing a different stage of technology integration:
Substitution: Technology is used as a direct substitute for a traditional teaching tool, with no functional change.
Augmentation: Technology enhances the original task or process without fundamentally changing it.
Modification: Technology allows for significant redesign of the task, leading to new possibilities and improvements in learning outcomes.
Redefinition: Technology creates entirely new learning experiences that were previously inconceivable.
The Workshop: Unpacking the SAMR Model
Rick Weinberg began the workshop by explaining the SAMR model's key concepts and its potential to transform education. Participants were introduced to the idea that the SAMR model can help teachers move beyond using technology as a mere substitution for traditional methods and toward more innovative and transformative uses.
To illustrate the model's practical application, Rick Weinberg distributed a series of example lessons created with the assistance of ChatGPT. These lessons covered various subjects and grade levels, showcasing how technology could be integrated at different SAMR levels. Each example lesson was designed to encourage active participation and discussions among the faculty members.
Practical Examples: Categorizing Lessons Using SAMR
The teachers were divided into groups, and each group was tasked with categorizing the example lessons into the SAMR levels. As they reviewed and discussed the lessons, they gained a deeper understanding of how technology could be applied in their own classrooms.
Substitution: Lessons that merely replaced traditional tools with technology, such as using a digital textbook instead of a printed one, were categorized under this level.
Augmentation: Lessons that incorporated technology to enhance learning, like using interactive quizzes to test knowledge retention, fell into this category.
Modification: Lessons that fundamentally transformed the learning experience by allowing students to collaborate globally through video conferencing or engage in multimedia projects, for instance, were classified as modification.
Redefinition: The most transformative lessons, which opened entirely new possibilities, such as using virtual reality simulations for historical reenactments or crowdsourcing scientific research, were categorized under redefinition.
Teacher Appreciation and Takeaways
The faculty at Friendship Central School found the workshop to be both enlightening and empowering. They appreciated the practical examples and discussions, which helped them see the potential for technology integration in their own classrooms. The SAMR model provided a clear framework for teachers to assess and elevate their use of technology in education.
Moreover, the use of example lessons generated by ChatGPT demonstrated the wide range of possibilities that technology can offer, regardless of the subject or grade level. Teachers left the workshop feeling inspired and motivated to explore new ways of incorporating technology to benefit their students.
The SAMR model workshop presented by Rick Weinberg on February 13, 2023, was a pivotal moment for Friendship Central School. It not only introduced faculty members to a valuable framework for evaluating technology integration but also provided them with tangible examples to inspire their own teaching practices. As educators continue to embrace the potential of technology in the classroom, students at Friendship Central School are sure to benefit from more innovative and engaging learning experiences. This workshop was a testament to the school's commitment to fostering a culture of continuous improvement and educational excellence.
By: Rick Weinberg, CA BOCES Professional Development
Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES Exceptional Education had 55 Teacher Assistants experience the virtual realities of poverty in a unique poverty simulation conducted on Thursday, August 24th facilitated by Jillian Putnam, Janelle Freer, and Kelli Forster from the CA BOCES ISS Professional Development Team.
The Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) was designed to help people better understand the realities of poverty. “This program helps people to understand the complexities and frustrations of living in poverty day to day,” and “With a greater awareness of its impact, we can more effectively address the poverty issues in our community” were a few statements made by participants during the simulation.
Using a simulation kit, participants role-played the lives of low-income families. Some were TANF recipients, some were disabled, and others were senior citizens on Social Security. They had the stressful task of providing for basic necessities and shelter on a limited budget during the course of 4 15 minute “weeks.” They interacted with human service agencies, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officers, and others.
More than 37.2 million people are living at or below the federal poverty level or 11.4% of the U.S. population, were living in poverty in 2020, based on official poverty thresholds. 11.6% of Cattaraugus County families live in poverty. 16.7% of the population for whom poverty statis is determined in Allegany County, NY (6.92k out of 41.4k people) live below the poverty line, a number that is higher than the national average of 12.8%.
CAPS enables participants to look at poverty from a variety of angles and then to recognize and discuss the potential for change within their local communities, said Elaine West executive director of the Missouri Association for Community Action, which made the simulation available nationwide. The simulation was designed to sensitize those who frequently deal with low-income families as well as to create a broader awareness of poverty among policymakers, community leaders and others.
The Missouri Association for Community Action is a network of community action agencies throughout the state that provide a variety of services to low-income individuals and families. More information about the Poverty Simulation can be found at the following website www.communityaction.org.
By: Jillian Putnam, CA BOCES Professional Development
Even prior to the COVID pandemic, remote learning via Video Conferencing courses was an option for districts in the region. As teacher shortages have picked up, their importance has only grown. As many teachers can now attest to, teaching synchronously online differs greatly from in-person. As a result, there are teaching strategies that are better adapted to online learning experiences. We’ll explore the best teaching strategies for remote learning below.
Engagement: The Key to Remote Learning Success
As you may have guessed, engagement is absolutely critical for teaching effectively in a remote environment. To keep students actively participating, educators must be able to leverage various tools and techniques. One strategy is the integration of multimedia elements such as videos, interactive simulations, and engaging presentations. These resources not only break the monotony of text-based learning but also better cater to diverse learning styles, ensuring that all students are engaged.
Furthermore, fostering a sense of community in the virtual classroom is vital and more importantly, foundational. Establishing regular communication channels, both synchronous and asynchronous, enables students to connect with their peers and instructors. Discussion boards, group projects, and virtual office hours encourage interaction, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas, mimicking the social aspects of a traditional classroom.
Communication: The Glue That Holds It Together
Effective communication is also crucial for success. Instructors must be clear, concise, and readily available to address students' questions and concerns. Establishing a well-defined communication protocol, including response times and platforms, ensures that students can easily seek assistance when needed.
Moreover, providing timely feedback is critical for student growth. Utilizing digital tools for grading and feedback speeds up the process, helping students stay on track and adjust their learning strategies accordingly. This continuous feedback loop fosters a sense of progress and achievement, motivating students to stay engaged.
Adaptability: Flexibility in the Face of Challenges
Remote learning environments can be unpredictable, as students face various challenges, such as technology issues, distractions, or personal commitments. Educators must be adaptable and empathetic to these challenges. One effective strategy is to provide multiple modes of content delivery, including recorded lectures, written materials, and live sessions. This flexibility accommodates different learning preferences and allows students to access materials at their convenience.
Furthermore, educators should be prepared to modify their teaching methods based on student feedback and evolving circumstances. Regular surveys and assessments can help gauge students' experiences and adapt the course accordingly. Being open to changes and willing to experiment with different teaching approaches ensures that the learning experience remains effective and engaging.
Assessment: Measuring Learning Effectively
Assessing student progress and understanding is a fundamental aspect of teaching, even in remote settings. Traditional exams and quizzes can be adapted to online platforms, but educators should also consider alternative assessment methods, such as project-based assignments, presentations, and peer evaluations. These methods promote critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration, skills that are essential in today's interconnected world.
Additionally, embracing technology for assessment can provide valuable insights into student performance. Learning management systems (LMS) often offer analytics tools that allow instructors to track student engagement, monitor progress, and identify areas where students may be struggling. This data-driven approach enables educators to provide targeted support to students who need it most.
The CA BOCES region has excelled in leveraging remote learning with in-person learning but it hasn’t come without its challenges. Teaching remotely takes extra preparation and creativity in finding what works best for your students. If you are interested in becoming more adept at teaching via Distance Learning, come and join me on September 28 from 8:30-2:30pm. We’ll meet at Learning Resources and explore strategies for each of the areas discussed here as well
as others! Have your district representative register you at https://register.caboces.org/seminar/view/8481?workshop_id=2461.
By: Justin Shumaker, CA BOCES Learning Resources
In August, the CA BOCES region hosted Dr. Pam Kastner for the Science of Reading kickoff event at Good Times of Olean.
Pam is an educational consultant at the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) Harrisburg, where she serves as the State Lead Consultant for Literacy.
She shared her years of work, expertise, Instructional Routines and Best Practices in Reading research with 50 area educators. Her work has been featured nationally, with The Reading League, Voyager Sopris Learning, and more.
Some focus areas for the day were: Scarborough's Reading Rope, how teaching Spelling is essential, key components to building fluency and vocabulary development. Teachers were involved in key routines that are quick-hitting, effective ways to embed decoding, fluency, spelling and vocabulary into everyday use.
Dr. Kastner also shared her Wakelet, full of hundreds of resources and evidence-based best practices.
The event was led by CA BOCES Staff Specialists Tessa Levitt and Sarah Cartmill and brought light to the decades of research around structured literacy/explicitly teaching reading.
By: Sarah Cartmill, CA BOCES Professional Development
The much anticipated “new look” of Castle Learning is beginning its roll-out. Finally! We are so excited to provide this invaluable resource to our districts, and even more so now due to the improved look of the site as a whole, and the upgrades made for CBT in particular.
This image show what the new Teacher Page looks like. The same content is there as is in the classic Castle Learning Teacher Page. However, it is now much easier to navigate and is more intuitive and user-friendly. The phase-in of this new facelift will be in stages. Teachers have the option now to choose between the classic look or the updated look. Some portions of the updated pages are not yet available, so be aware that it is not a glitch...it is a work in progress. Two more updates will take place this school year so that by the time CBT rolls around, the new look will be complete.
In addition, Castle Learning is Ready for NYS CBT Testing with these features:
• Toolbar that mimics NYS
• Equation Editor Automatically pops where needed for a constructed response question.
• Grade Appropriate Equation Editor
• Grade Appropriate Calculator
• Grade Appropriate Reference Sheets
Castle Learning has the released exams which make it easier for teachers to find relevant examples as well as assess the data from the student practice. In addition, ANY assignment that students are given K-12 utilize these features making the preparation for online testing easier for everyone. The future is online, and students should be prepared – PSAT, SAT, College Assignments/Exams, etc.
As always, I am available for training teachers on Castle Learning. Whether you have veteran teachers who have used Castle forever, or if you have teachers who need a bit of help in navigating the site, I’d be happy to work with you as an essential partner!
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
As summer draws to a close and the days start getting shorter, the unmistakable energy of a new school year begins to fill the air. Amidst this whirlwind of excitement, there's one place within the school that holds a special allure for both voracious readers and curious minds alike – the library. And with the start of a new school year comes a collection of new titles that promise to captivate and inspire!
If you’re a long-distance commuter like me, try listening to an audiobook. It won’t put you to sleep and you’ll find yourself relaxed once you get to your destination!
Once you download the Sora app onto your personal Wi-Fi devices (no more than five), locate your school library and log in. You’ll find a collection of over 7000 titles, and if you need help logging in, ask your school librarian.
New titles for adult level readers include:
The infusion of new titles into this virtual library collection also presents an opportunity for educators to incorporate fresh content into their lesson plans. From assigning relevant reading materials to organizing book discussions, teachers can offer a variety of book formats to enrich teaching strategies and deepen student engagement.
Sora is now a partner with TeachingBooks, a fantastic resource you can access once logged in to resources.caboces.org. Find lesson plans for many titles used in K-12 classrooms, author interviews, book and movie trailers, and vocabulary-building activities. If you wish to have personalized training in using Sora or TeachingBooks, or wish to schedule an in-school training, reach out to me at Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Community Schools at CABOCES was busy this summer! We had workshops focusing on mental health, social and emotional learning, resilience, wellness, and so much more. As a reminder, any of these workshops and offerings can be brought to your district! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in bringing Community School resources and workshops to your district!
Mental Health First Aid
Just as physical health emergencies demand swift action and support, so do mental health crises. Mental health first aid is a vital skill that empowers individuals to provide immediate assistance to those experiencing mental health challenges. Like traditional first aid, which addresses physical injuries, mental health first aid equips individuals with the knowledge and tools needed to offer initial aid and support to someone in emotional distress. In this article, we delve into the importance of mental health first aid and how it contributes to a more compassionate and understanding society.
Participants were able to understand:
Key Components of Mental Health First Aid
Recognize Signs and Symptoms
Have Effective Communication
Provide reassurance and Support
Encourage Professional Help
Practice Self-Care and Boundaries
Benefits to Society:
Mental health first aid is an essential component of a compassionate and empathetic society. By educating individuals about recognizing signs of emotional distress, offering non-judgmental support, and facilitating access to professional help, mental health first aiders play a crucial role in creating a safer and more inclusive environment for everyone. Just as physical first aid is a standard skill, mental health first aid should also be widely embraced to promote emotional well-being and foster a society where no one feels alone in their struggles.
Wellspring Resilience with Gerry Daly
Gerry Daly joined us for a two-day workshop on Wellspring Resilience Technique. This is an innovative methos for increasing long-term resilience, defined as the ability to bounce back from setbacks, for educators working in high-stress environments. These sessions focused on helping participants to develop and appetite for resilience in their own lives to identify the specific habits that they are prepared to commit to and incorporate into their day to day lives.
Mental Health for Students Book Study:
Our schools are facing a significant number of children and youth suffering from mental health challenges, and many don’t receive that treatment. Teachers can play an important and sometimes lifesaving role for children who are experiencing mental health challenges. Educators from the region joined together using the book, “Supporting Student Mental Health; Essentials for Teachers” by Michael Hass and Amy Ardell to fill in the gaps providing basic information and guidance a teacher needs. It provided time for educators to learn how to recognize, respond to, and sometimes refer for help, the students who show up to school with mental health needs.
Emotion Regulation with Kelley Burt:
Emotions are an inherent part of the human experience, coloring our perceptions, decisions, and interactions. However, navigating the vast spectrum of emotions can be challenging, often leading to distress and turmoil. Emotional regulation, the ability to manage and control one's emotions, plays a pivotal role in maintaining mental well-being and cultivating healthy relationships. Below are some strategies to keep in mind with students in building and maintaining emotional regulation strategies:
Mindfulness and self-awareness
Time Management and Relaxation Techniques
Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Emotional regulation is a skill that can be cultivated through consistent practice and intentional effort. By incorporating mindfulness, cognitive reframing, expressive writing, physical activity, social support, time management, and healthy lifestyle choices, individuals can enhance their ability to navigate complex emotions. Remember, emotional regulation is not about suppressing or avoiding emotions, but rather about understanding, acknowledging, and managing them in a constructive and healthy manner. By embracing these strategies, students and individuals can pave the way for a more balanced, resilient, and fulfilling life.
By: Kelli Forster, CA BOCES Community Schools
Loose Parts and Play: Meeting New York State’s Developmentally Appropriate Practices in Early Childhood Framework
An overarching theme of the Next Generation Standards for Early Learning is to protect developmentally appropriate expectations and practices. NYS in collaboration with NAEYC define developmentally appropriate practices as a framework of principles that promote learning and development. According to the NGSEL Introductory Document, these principles highlight the need for educators to:
Loose parts play inspires children to develop creativity and innovation. As children use loose parts, they deepen critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It also provides a pathway to celebrate multiple outcomes. Loose parts are sustainable items that learners manipulate through exploration and analysis. Children also engage in rich conversation, learning to use vocabulary and discussion as a method to self-regulate so that they can collaborate with others who think differently than they do. Through loose parts play children engage in developmentally appropriate practice that empowers literacy learning for all.
In a world where joy can be difficult to find, the loose parts environment makes joy the central theme of the school day. It is through play that children and adults find joy. In finding joy, creativity and innovation flourish. When children flourish, they experience success in a way that honors dignity and supports learning. Several teachers will be exploring this learning with students in the new school year. It will be an exciting transition towards the Next Generation Standards and the NYS developmentally appropriate practices framework initiative.
If you are interested in exploring this initiative and how it informs your classroom or district, please reach out to Michelle Rickicki at email@example.com
By, Michelle Rickicki, CA BOCES Professional Development
The CA BOCES Summer Tech Camp 2023 is a 2-day event that highlights resources and tools to aid with technology integration for the classroom. It is a great way for participants to stay up-to-date with the most current trends in technology and to get new, exciting ideas for implementation. This year, the event kicked off on Tuesday, August 15th and culminated on Wednesday, August 16th. It was the first time Tech Camp had been held entirely in-person since 2019.
Dr. Angie Ridgway and Nate Ridgway, dynamic educators and co-authors of Don’t Ditch that Tech, joined as the Keynote speakers for the event. Their sessions on student differentiation and accessibility by utilizing different types of technology inspired and delighted the attendees, over 40, each day.
Topics for other sessions this year included Microsoft Office updates, Chat GPT, the SAMR model, Castle Learning, coding, the Computer Science & Digital Fluency Standard, district round tables and the ever-popular Osmo. Heather Francisco, STEAM Instructional Coach from Wellsville, also presented on Canva, a tech tool that has revolutionized presentations, poster creation, video creation, and more. Participants were able to choose which of these sessions they wanted to attend so they could create a learning experience that was most meaningful to them.
Participants also got to explore our “playground” each day with a variety of digital resources and physical resources that can be borrowed through Learning Resources, via the Insignia page. The digital playground included links to resources like Gimkit, BreakoutEDU, Padlet, CodeMonkey, and more. The other resources that were on hand for participants to experiment with included a variety of Osmo games (the Monster drawing activity and the Coding Awbie games were a hit). There were also robotics available, including like Sphero-Mini and the new Sphero-Indi.
Couldn’t attend but interested in viewing some of those resources from Tech Camp? Visit our Wakelet with a variety of presentations, websites, and other resources. There is also a Padlet with even more resources. Please check them out!
If you have any questions or would like further information about any of those topics, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can connect you with the staff specialist who can best meet your needs.
Summer Tech Camp will return next summer in August of 2024. Stay tuned throughout the year; look for announcements about the Keynote speakers and other exciting topics that will be featured at next summer’s event. We hope to see you there!
By: Brooke Neamon, CA BOCES Model Schools
SEL is an essential aspect of personal and social development, particularly during childhood and adolescence, but it also relevant throughout a person’s life.
The core competencies of social and emotional learning typically include the following:
Creating a social and emotional collaborative learning community requires thoughtful planning and intentional efforts to foster a supportive environment that promotes both academic and emotional growth.
On Thursday, July 6th, educators in the Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES region came together for our first SEL CLC of the new 2023-2024 school year. Together, we gave program updates, shared best practices, created, and planned for workshop/book study ideas, and discussed future planning. The next SEL CLC will be October 17th, 2023, at the Olean Main Center. It is going to be an amazing year of building student and adult SEL in the classroom and in the community.
Good vocabulary instruction helps children gain ownership of words, instead of just learning them well enough to pass a test. Good vocabulary instruction provides multiple exposures through rich and varied activities to meaningful information about the word. (Stahl & Kapinus, 2001). Students learn vocabulary indirectly when they hear and see words used in many different contexts i.e., through conversations with adults, through being read to, and through reading extensively on their own. Students learn vocabulary directly when they are explicitly taught both individual works and word- learning strategies. Direct vocabulary instruction aids reading comprehension.
When all teachers in a school focus on the same academic vocabulary and teach in the same way, a school has a powerful comprehensive approach. When all teachers in a district embrace and use the same comprehensive approach, it becomes even more powerful. Research shows a student in the 50th percentile in terms of ability to comprehend the subject matter taught in school, with no direct vocabulary instruction, scores in the 50th percentile ranking.
The same student, after specific content- area terms have been taught in a specific way, raises his/her comprehension ability to the 83rd percentile.
Steps to Effective Vocabulary Instruction
Ask student what they know
Explain in everyday language
Use a video or other visual
Tell a story that uses the terms
Have students investigate the meaning and do a skit
Use current events to relate to the term
Describe your mental picture of the term
Find or create pictures that illustrate the term.
Effective Classroom Strategies to Implement
Frayer Vocabulary Model
Math Word Wall
Math Alpha Boxes
Math Picture Books
The ability to read, write and speak the “language of math” is ESSENTIAL for mathematical concept development and mastery!
Math Concepts = Math Vocabulary
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES Professional Development
Last month CA BOCES staff specialists associated with the Statewide Social Studies Group for Social Studies Curriculum and Professional Development had the opportunity to hear a presentation from author Mathew Kay, a teacher from Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Mathew was a guest presenter to the Statewide group and shared thoughts and ideas surrounding his book Not Light, But Fire. Participants left the presentation with numerous strategies and ideas of how to lead meaningful and insightful conversation in classrooms surrounding the topic of race.
Many people operate under the assumption that the school environment in which they teach allows all those present to share their ideas and thoughts safely. Mathew challenged this thinning with a segment from his book regarding Creating Safe Spaces. His focus was on helping people to understand what goes into creating a safe space by challenging their thinking with ‘6 Safe Space Myths”.
I’d used Osmos before going to Ellicottville Elementary. When I returned to work at Instructional Support Services, I went to learning resources, worked with Clay Nolan and figured out some of the learning games available through learning resources. One that I really liked was the Osmo.
Osmo is an educational technology platform designed for elementary classrooms. It combines hands-on manipulatives with digital gameplay to create an interactive learning experience.
The Osmo system typically includes a base that holds an iPad or a compatible tablet and a variety of physical objects or manipulatives that interact with the tablet's camera. These manipulatives include tangible shapes, letter tiles, number tiles, and drawing boards.
Using Osmo, students can engage in various educational activities across subjects like math, spelling, coding, and creativity. The physical manipulatives are placed in front of the tablet's camera, and the Osmo software recognizes and interacts with them in real-time. The tablet's screen then displays the corresponding digital activities or challenges.
For example, in a math activity, students might use number tiles to solve equations or arrange shapes to learn geometry concepts. In a spelling activity, they can use letter tiles to form words and receive immediate feedback on their spelling accuracy.
Osmo is designed to make learning more engaging and interactive for young learners, combining physical manipulation with digital elements. It promotes hands-on exploration, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills in a fun and educational way.
Students in Mrs. Norton’s 2nd grade class loved using Osmo. It’s easy to reserve the Osmos. Just go to the Ensignia Page on the Learning Resources website to reserve them. Don’t forget to make sure to reserve the bases with the Osmos.
By: Rick Weinberg, CA BOCES Model Schools
In addition to online, asynchronous courses that are offered through education platforms such as Edmentum, Imagine Learning, and eDynamic Learning, synchronous, video-conferencing courses are another option for students looking for increased learning opportunities. Classes such as College Sports Management, College Music Appreciation and Music Theory, Pyschology, Sociology, and French 3, to name a few. What exactly are video conferencing courses, and what are all of their advantages?
Synchronous video conferencing courses are where students and instructors participate in real-time through video calls. These video calls are oftentimes through Zoom or Micrsoft Teams Video Calls, but can be hosted on additional platforms as well. Some of the advantages include:
1. Real-time Interaction: Synchronous video conferencing allows for immediate and direct interaction between students and instructors. Participants can ask questions, seek clarification, and engage in discussions just as they would in a traditional classroom setting.
2. Enhanced Engagement: The live nature of synchronous video conferencing helps maintain student engagement. The visual and auditory components of video conferencing can provide a more immersive learning experience compared to asynchronous methods.
3. Collaboration and Group Work: Synchronous video conferencing enables students to collaborate with their peers on group projects, discussions, and activities in real time. This fosters teamwork, encourages collective problem-solving, and promotes social interaction among students.
4. Personalized Feedback: Instructors can provide immediate feedback during synchronous sessions, addressing questions or concerns in real time. This timely feedback can enhance student understanding and facilitate the learning process.
5. Structured Learning Environment: Synchronous video conferencing courses often follow a set schedule, which helps students establish a routine and maintain discipline in their studies. The structured format can promote time management skills and create a sense of accountability.
6. Simulates Traditional Classroom Experience: Synchronous video conferencing can closely replicate the experience of a physical classroom. It allows for face-to-face interaction, non-verbal cues, and a shared sense of community, fostering a more personal connection among students and instructors.
7. Accessible and Inclusive: Synchronous video conferencing can provide access to education for students who may not have the means to attend physical classes. It eliminates geographical barriers, allowing students from different locations to participate in the same course, fostering inclusivity and diversity. It also increases opportunities for students to take courses that their school otherwise wouldn’t be able to offer.
Scheduling of video conferencing courses for the 2023-2024 school is ongoing. If this sounds like something your students would benefit from, you want to know more about how it works, offer a course from your district, or inquire about current offerings, please reach out to Justin Shumaker at Justin_Shumaker@caboces.org for more information.
By: Justin Shumaker, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Teachers throughout the CABOCES region were given the opportunity during the 2022-2023 school year to attend seminars designed to support and assist teachers who were either new to the profession or new to a district. This Collaborative Learning Community called New Teacher Academy was divided into two cohorts, one for each of our two counties in our region. Each cohort met three times during the school year separately. Then, on May 31st both cohorts combined to spend the day together at the CTE center in Olean celebrating the completion of their collaborative learning through the past school year.
On behalf of the New Teacher Academy team, best wishes to all of you as you move forward in your career. May the relationships that were built and the skills that were developed during this time assist you in becoming the best educators you can be.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
2022-2023 was a record-breaking year for Student Competitions. A total of four teams from the Cattaraugus-Allegany region excelled at their regional qualifying tournaments, advanced to the State competitions, and earned advancements to the World competitions. Congratulations to two VEX Robotics teams from Wellsville Central School, coached by Justin Skrzynski and Caitlin Bowen. These two teams traveled to Dallas, Texas last month to compete in the ‘Spin Up’ game. Check out next year’s game, ‘Over Under’ at https://www.roboticseducation.org/teams/vex-roboticscompetition/. CABOCES will host TWO Qualifying Tournaments next year, December 20th, 2023 at Belfast Central School and February 14th, 2024 at Franklinville Central School.
Congratulations to two Odyssey of the Mind teams from Salamanca Central School, coached by Janette McClure and Brenda Windus. These two teams traveled to Michigan State University this month to compete in Problem 4, ‘Where’s the Structure?’. Next year’s Long-Term problems have just been released and will be posted at odysseyofthemind.com. CABOCES will host the Region 19 Odyssey of the Mind Tournament next year, Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 at Salamanca Central School.
For more information about CoSer 506 Student Competitions, contact email@example.com.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
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