"Far too many students come to school with small vocabularies. This is a big deal: the size of a child's vocabulary is an accurate predictor of academic achievement and even upward mobility over the course of a lifetime (Hirsch, 2013)." - 101 Strategies to make Academic Vocabulary Stick.
March left districts tackling unprecedented times as they worked to transition from classroom environments to creating work packets and delivering instruction online. As teachers navigate this unknown territory, this article means to highlight three ways to incorporate vocabulary instruction utilizing the video conferencing tool Zoom. While determining which vocabulary to focus on keep in mind the following information, according to the New York State Education Department principles of effective vocabulary instruction include:
In 101 Strategies to Make Academic Vocabulary Stick, Sprenger speaks to the three stages of the Memory Process. The stages include Encoding, Storage and Retrieval. Encoding is the first stage of building long term memory and the author notes that vocabulary instruction at this stage is meant to pique the students interest, motivate and engage them. Here are three strategies (adapted from 101 Strategies to make Academic Vocabulary Stick) that focus on the Encoding process and can be incorporated within a Zoom session.
● Story Impressions
○ This is a pre-reading activity meant to spark curiosity. This will make reading the upcoming content more meaningful and help students with comprehension.
○ Choose keywords from a story or chapter, keeping them in the same order in which they appear.
○ Provide the list visually (word doc, whiteboard, etc.) for students by sharing your screen during a zoom lesson.
○ Go over brief definitions/descriptions and then either whole group, small group (breakout sessions) or individually have students use the words in a made-up story with a beginning, middle and end.
● Word Up
○ This strategy helps students hone in on their listening skills and highlight important vocabulary.
○ Zoom participants would be placed in Gallery View, so everyone could be seen at the same time (think Brady Bunch).
○ Identify 1-2 words you would like students to write separately on a piece of paper or an index card.
○ While you are reading aloud, whenever the students hear the appropriate word they would lift the paper or index card.
● Word Expert Cards
○ Before beginning new content, create a vocabulary list, including the page number where each word appears or online resources for them to access.
○ Divide your class so that there are 3-4 students in a group.
○ Give each group 2-3 vocabulary words. Students in each group are responsible for learning those words and then teaching them to the other groups.
○ Using the breakout group feature, have students with the same words discuss the best student created definition, its part of speech, the sentence from the text where it appears, illustration, and a made-up sentence by the group.
○ Move from group to group to check on accuracy. Then switch breakout groups and have those ‘word experts’ teach their words to other members of the class that had different words.
○ This will take planning ahead to determine the best breakout groups and movement by the teacher throughout the groups to encourage participation and on-task behavior.
Let's work together to help increase our students' vocabulary and ultimately have a positive impact on 'academic achievement and upward mobility over the course of a lifetime.'
For additional vocabulary strategies or questions, please reach out to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Jessica Rose, CA BOCES Professional Development
Hallmark 4 of Advanced Literacies Instruction: Academic Vocabulary and Langauge
Sprenger, M. (2017) 101 Strategies to make Academic Vocabulary Stick. ASCD
Leaders play a critical role in the implementation of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools. As a reminder, there are 5 competencies of SEL, they are as follows; self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and decision making. Several leaders from around the region gathered on March 10th to spend the day with Dr. Maurice Elias of Rutgers University to learn about just how significant their role is in the task of prioritizing and expanding SEL in our area schools.
Although SEL has been an educational priority for decades, attention to such learning has increased a great deal recently. Why? One reason is the mounting scientific evidence that proposes that SEL skills play a vital role in success in school and life beyond school, including one’s ability to understand and manage their emotions. Throughout the day, school leaders reflected on the significant impact that mental health and trauma have had on their students, families and communities, as well as the urgent need for SEL within the context of the school day. Additionally, interpersonal skills are in high demand from businesses around the world. Employers want people that are able to communicate and interact well with others.
So what do school leaders need for effective SEL leadership? First and foremost, they themselves must possess or improve upon their own SEL skills and SEL leadership skills. In the words of Dr. Elias, “The future of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Social Emotional Character Development (SECD) depends more than ever on the quality of leadership within schools and school districts, both generally and as focused on SEL/SECD.” Additionally, a clear vision, an understanding of the interrelationship between school climate and SEL, a current climate assessment, the ability to manage improvement/change initiatives and finally, the ability to inspire.
Despite all of the learning that took place around the leadership role of comprehensive SEL implementation in early March, our leaders collectively realized that while we have many strengths in this area, we have work to do. No improvement initiative is simple, it cannot be remedied with a “quick fix,” it takes time and persistence. Some of the actionable goals for leaders that are vital, include, infrastructure development, school identity clarification integration, climate/culture/skills assessments, promotion of student voice, connection to existing mandates and making connections with schools/districts that are “walking the walk.”
We look forward to facilitating meaningful, collaborative experiences that center around SEL Leadership and Implementation to continue the necessary steps towards improvement. Together, we must guarantee that students are in a positive school climate and will systemically learn social-emotional competencies and character virtues essential for life, this cannot be optional.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
What do you see in this picture?
A leaf? What happens when we get closer?
3rd Grade students at Salamanca Prospect were able to get a closer look to a assortment of natural items. Acting like scientists, the students given a tool (Jewelers Loupe) and were presented with the task of trying to discover the different and natural ways things form. Students generated conversations as to how this could hurt or benefit that natural item. In the process of investigating and exploring, students uncovered that this work is being done in the real world by scientists and researchers and it’s called Biomimicry.
In the process, students were able to appreciate how nature has an extraordinarily effective way of surviving and functioning. Scientist are trying to harness that understanding to put it to use on our design and production of materials, structures, and systems.
Looking at our leaf, scientists have uncovered in their research that the way a leaf is constructed, can make fluid or electricity may flow much more effectively through a system. Can you think about how this can be used in a manmade system?
This is just one of the many Environmental Science programs that CA BOCES has to offer! For more information on this program or others available to you through Environmental Science please feel free to contact Lance Feuchter at (716) 376-8379 or email@example.com.
By: Lance Feuchter, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Wow! That’s about all I can say.
Our ISS team has been working around the clock to be “part of the solution” as our districts work to provide home instruction to students. We quickly realized we could help our region prepare for home instruction by doing what we do best, providing online professional development to regional educators.
Over the past eight days, we have convened job-alike educators in online sessions (viz Zoom technology) to share how districts will provide home instruction, to learn new methods and technology tools, and to serve as a "support group" for teachers who are, like their students, trying to make sense of what is happening in our world.
Our first sessions were packed with teachers working from home. And each day since, attendance has grown. So far, 2,641 participants have signed into sessions!
Working online has been so very rewarding. Our facilitators “passed the mic” to almost every teacher to build community with a large groups of strangers. It has been amazing to see our region at kitchen tables and in living rooms trying to take a step forward…and, as you know, any step forward right now feels so good. We have heard time after time the resolve that teachers have to attempt to connect with their students and to continue their learning. It has been so inspiring.
Our support will continue through this journey with new sessions starting on Tuesday (3/31). Contact your local administrator for our session schedule and connection information.
By: Tim Cox, CA BOCES ISS
Teachers and students in the Cattaraugus and Allegany County region have all-access to many high-quality online resources. Check out our guide. All resources can be accessed at http://resources.caboces.org Contact anyone on our team for username and password assistance.
All Access Content Includes:
It seems so much of our world has gone online and so many of us are using Zoom more than ever before. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to share some of Zoom’s security features so that any of your hosted meetings are as secure as you’d like them to be.
There are many settings worth exploring. And, there is a great team of people that can help you navigate these features. Feel free to reach out to anyone on our team for assistance:
By Tim Cox, CA BOCES ISS
What are the odds that two coordinators would schedule different lessons with the same grade level educators on the same day? While we don’t know the exact odds (perhaps a probability and statistics lesson for those of you interested), we do know that we were able to make this unlikely event happen.
With what was seemingly conflicting lessons, we then had to make a decision. Which lesson would stay and which would be rescheduled: coding or fossils? After a quick discussion and a lot of excitement, we decided something different altogether. Why not both?!
With Kevin Erickson, Cuba-Rushford Elementary School principal, and the 2nd grade team on board, we set out to make our lessons a pairing better than peanut butter and jelly (if that is even possible). Based on the response from students and teachers, we may have come close.
Students were placed in quasi-random groups and assigned with unique roles (i.e. excavation director, materials specialist, recording specialist, and site manager) to complete their task: locate anything at all from the dig site using only the appropriate tools, the excavation robot and the excavation trowel.
Once each excavation team made a discovery, each member fulfilled his or her role to ensure that the dig site was properly cared for, all team members were participating, and the appropriate materials made their way to each group’s respective work site.
Depending on what the excavation robot and trowel uncovered, each excavation team explored a variety of fossil concepts such as types, formation, and locations.
Whether the topics are technology and dinosaurs, Science and Social Studies, or Restorative Practice and mathematics, reach out to your friendly neighborhood Instructional Support Coordinators to help with your next interdisciplinary, co-teaching lesson.
By: Lance Feuchter & Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Learning Resources & Professional Development
P.s. We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Karen Insley, Distance Learning coordinator, for her valuable assistance and Wendy Sprague, CRCS Elementary Librarian, for allowing us to utilize the necessary space to conduct such learning opportunities.
Middle school math teachers at Pioneer Central School recently tried a new problem-solving model with educational consultant, Susan Rothwell. The teachers were looking for additional instructional practices that allowed students to collectively tap their knowledge in order to solve a challenging, multi-step problem in mathematics. Over the past few years, being able to successfully collaborate with others has consistently been identified as one of the most important skills employers are looking for. This model allows students to improve upon these skills as well as develop a deeper and more meaningful understanding of what they are learning. The problem-solving technique that was introduced to the teachers and students included the following materials and steps.
Problem-Solving Model Steps: (total time is 31-47 minutes)
By: Justin Shumaker, CA BOCES Professional Development
Did you know that as a part of the Distance Learning CoSer, you have access to 200+ K-12 virtual field trips already scheduled and most are recorded? These virtual field trips are from top fee-based providers scheduled out in advance for you to register for using your school email address. How amazing is that? All you need is a computer with internet access, smartboard or projector, and speakers. Set up is easy!
FieldTrip Zoom Zone is the live event calendar where you “tune into” live educational broadcast with many other classrooms and interact in real time via the chatbox feature in zoom. How do you access Fieldtrip Zoom? Just follow the simple steps below:
Step 1: Register Your Account
Once logged in, you can navigate to your FieldTrip Zoom Zone calendar of subject areas. Also, you can search for programs by grade range and subject area by clicking from the search menu. Click on any subject area to expand to the program details.
**Make sure you are in the Zone calendar (not class) when booking events.**
Step 3: Book Your Event
Check out the upcoming events for March on FieldTrip Zoom:
For questions or assistance with Fieldtrip zoom zone, please contact Carrie Oliver.
To see a preview of what the FieldTrip zoom events look like, check out this recorded session: https://player.vimeo.com/video/393456875
By: Carrie Oliver, CA BOCES Learning Resources
In my short experience working with the Instructional Support Services Team and being introduced to the online world that is available to our students, I have come to realize that I could have done so much more for my students in the classroom.
OK…. OK…. Don’t get all in a bunch!! I know that for us educators, doing more is always included when we are preparing for our classrooms of students each day…… BUT …… had I known about MOODLE I could have created blended learning experiences that also made my valuable time more efficiently used. Possibly even giving me some self-care time!!
I have been working and creating course work in MOODLE for the past few months, as well as completing some of free training that is available to help maneuver all the options within MOODLE. Of course…..it is something that will need to be created and set up, but once it is done it will allow for more time. Great resource and great experience for inclusion of the classroom.
We are always available to assist with any questions or concerns.
By: Lisa Scott, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Many districts in our CABOCES region have decided to use our ELA and Math Benchmark assessments to help prepare students for the NYSED 3-8 assessments. Mark Beckwith at CABOCES has those benchmark assessments and other documents on our 3 Tools to Improve Results site: http://bit.ly/3TOOLS.
This all came about from a discussion at Friendship with their administrative team trying to help teachers understand what they need to cover to prepare students for the 3-8 ELA and Math assessments. We used the released questions on the NYSED site and focused on the standards that have been asked the most since the Common Core tests started. CABOCES staff worked on creating parallel questions to these most asked released questions to make the benchmarks and tried to keep the overall look and feel as similar to the actual assessment as they could. The 3 Tools site has a tutorial on using the site, it gives educators the assessments along with Educator Guides for scoring the assessments and Data Analysis documents for analyzing the student results.
Next comes the quandary.....after teachers and administrators sit down to analyze these results, what do they do next? It’s great to realize where you have weakness (and strengths, it’s always good to make sure you keep doing well at what you do well), but what do you do to help students who struggle? What change in instruction happens? At Friendship teachers are going back to use the tests with each individual student and after two administrations to go back and show how much improvement (hopefully) that a kid has shown from one benchmark to the next last. Time is given in AIS/RtI and also teachers can go over it in class. There’s always room to improve and we hope they find value in getting to individual students to go over their own personal results and to come up with a plan to help them fix any gaps. We’re still looking for ideas to help close those gaps that they find from these benchmarks before the actualy New York State test.
What is the answer to that? Is it more of the same type of instruction? Is it more focused practice and if so how and when? Is it using a program like i-Ready or Castle Learning for more practice? I don’t know but would love to hear how other districts are going through this process to help close the gaps, whether you use these benchmark assessments or not. Please let me know at: Mark_Carls@caboces.org.
By: Mark Carls, CA BOCES Professional Development
In the United States, 34 million children have had at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE) -- ranging from abuse or neglect to parental incarceration or addiction. Children living in poverty are more likely to have multiple ACEs, compounding the effects of economic insecurity. In addition, the current opioid epidemic is devastating families. Many classrooms in America are touched by trauma.
Earlier this month 40 teachers and leaders from the region learned about the effects trauma has on the learning brain. In school, children with trauma are more likely to have trouble regulating their emotions, focusing, and interacting with peers and adults in a positive way.
Teachers learned how to take care of themselves in order to take care of the students in their classrooms. Teachers and leaders learned about the nine areas of self-care from Kristen Souer’s book; “Fostering Resilient Learners.” The nine areas of self-care are: sleep, eat healthy, drink water, exercise, sense of TEAM, breathe, limit screen time, challenges and gratitude.
There is some hopeful news in the research about kids and trauma. “We know enough about the science to know that teachers can make a huge difference.” The school environment is one of the places where students who are exposed to real challenges at home can find safety, predictability and consistency.
Relationship-building is an important element of addressing trauma because students rely on stable relationships.
Modeling apologies repairs relationships and develops students’ relationship skills.
ENCOURAGING RESPONSIBILITY is a sense of responsibility, it is important in trauma-informed classrooms because it fosters a belief in students that they are in charge of themselves.
PROMOTING REGULATION Regulation strategies such as soothing music and brain breaks allowed students to manage physical and emotional responses, which is especially important for students who have experienced trauma.
Many more strategies were shared at the workshop. If you would like to learn more about Trauma Sensitive Classroom Strategies, please feel free to check out any upcoming offerings at register.caboces.org
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES Professional Development
If you are a faculty member taking a college course or wish you had access to a specific book for professional use, Cattaraugus-Allegany School Library System (CASLS) may be able to get what you need at no cost. The Online Collaborative Library Consortium (OCLC) is comprised of public, academic, and school library systems across the nation who value resource sharing. However, rules for lending vary for each library.
A lending library may renew a book for an additional six weeks while others request the book be returned. We make every effort to provide borrowers with the materials and the duration for which they need and frequently ask for renewals. In the event a book must be returned after six weeks, we will make every effort to borrow a copy from another library so a swap can be made. Additionally, if a book is damaged or lost it is the individual’s responsibility to pay the replacement fee.
CASLS recognizes the value of loaning and borrowing books to support knowledge. In 2019 CASLS shared 95 books from our professional library to places such as Harvard University, University of Virginia, and Louisiana State University. Likewise, 252 books were borrowed for educators within CABOCES with the highest percentage going to teachers pursuing their master’s degree or SBL or SDL certification.
With CA BOCES’ new web page, requesting a book is very easy. Visit resources.caboces.org and log in using your school email; password is caboces. (If you need help, email Rachelle_Evans@caboces.org .)
If you would like to borrow multiple copies of the same title, reach out to Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org or Catherine_Dunkleman@caboces.org to avoid having to fill out the form multiple times. If you plan to renew a book, let us know and we’ll request an extension with the lending library. As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact Cathy or myself at our emails above.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
This month’s spotlight as we dig a little deeper into the resources we have available to our component school districts in our warehouse is…..Guitaleles!
In an effort to make sure that all of our educators in the CABOCES region can find something of use in our warehouses, we’ve been attempting to add more music and art kits as the music and art standards are being revamped. So....bring on the guitaleles!
We now have 10 Yamaha GL1 Guitaleles in our warehouse. Half guitar, half ukulele…100% fun. This is a unique mini 6-string nylon guitar that is sized like a baritone ukulele (17” scale) and plays like a standard tune guitar. The guitalele’s tuning is pitched up to “A” (or up a 4th) at A/D/G/C/E/A.
This is a student pleaser. It is small enough for Pre-K students to play. The nylon strings make it easy on the fingers and the neck size is great for smaller handed players as well as regular sized hands needing a break from the thicker necks of standard-sized guitars.
Take a look at our warehouse and give our guitaleles a try!
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
As adults, many of us travel to countless places, cities and even countries. We have access to unique experiences, cultures and pieces of history. Our students, however, do not always have those opportunities and experiences. I remember going to Boston while teaching 4th grade and taking so many pictures to bring back and show my students, wishing they could experience that themselves. When a 7th grade social studies teacher was looking for an engaging way to let his students expand their recent learning of The Liberty Tree and Boston’s history, I remember that feeling I had and we decided to introduce virtual reality using Nearpod VR.
Using a teacher led tour, students answered questions, posted on a collaborative board, and of course, experienced Boston in VR. With each location, students were able to walk around, look around them and make inferences and discoveries relating to the lessons they had recently learned. Rather than just hear about the monument plague where the Liberty Tree once was, they got to see it with their own two eyes in relation to the other stops on their tour. Some students have never been to a large city, so seeing the buildings and focal points of a major city was an added bonus experience.
The student engagement I was able to witness was what I found most exciting. Students were asking questions, pointing out interesting features to each other and showing genuine excitement over connecting their learning of Boston’s history to the amazing sights in front of them. There are so many opportunities we can bring students through VR and truly bring learning to life!
By: Chelsea Lobello, CA BOCES Model Schools
January is a great time to have a snowball fight. Every good snowball fight needs some kind of fort for protection and to build more snowballs under cover. Snowball fights are best suited for outdoors, but what about modeling one inside? This will be part of your challenge, building a fort to withstand attacks from snowballs. Since you will be modeling the activity, representing an idea, object, a system or process, think of the materials being used. What kind of structure makes the best fort? Are different shapes better than others? How can the materials be manipulated for best use?
Your snowball fort creation does have some criteria and constraints. The fort is being constructed out of 100 index cards and only 12 inches of tape. The fort has to be at least 9 inches tall and 10 inches long. To test the fort, determine how 3 snowballs (cotton balls or wadded up pieces of paper) can be fairly launched at the fort to test its durability.
Hints and Tips for Success
By: Clay Nolan, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Cuba, New York – Wednesday, January 15, 2020 – Twenty-seven VEX Robotics teams from across Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties attended the 2nd annual VEX Robotics Qualifying Tournament at Cuba-Rushford Middle/High School on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. Students competed with and against teams from Belfast, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Cuba-Rushford, Fillmore, Franklinville, Genesee Valley, Hinsdale, Pioneer, Portville, Salamanca, Scio, Wellsville, and Whitesville. The middle and high school students executed the 2019-2020 VEX Robotics Competition game, Tower Takeover, which is played by placing different colored cubes in towers and goal zones during a 2-minute match.
Congratulations go out to 4 teams from Cuba-Rushford and Franklinville. Specifically, 2 Cuba-Rushford teams (Rebel Robotics and Yellow Team), who formed an alliance and went on to become Tournament Champions. The Franklinville (Wasted Potential) team earned the Excellence Award and the Franklinville (The Ratz) team earned the Design Award. These four teams qualify to attend the Northern New York State Championship to be held in Syracuse on February 29.
Additionally, the Judges Award was presented to the Wellsville team (Big Cat Robotics) to acknowledge their outstanding Engineering Notebook.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Alex Palowitch from iDesign Solutions.
To prepare for the tournament, students worked together to design, build and program a semiautonomous robot that could quickly and efficiently solve the specific challenges of the 2019-2020 VEX Robotics Competition game, Tower Takeover. Teams studied electronics, programming, mechanical systems, animation, 3D CAD, computer aided machining, web design, and materials fabrication. An equally important set of skills is learned through competition: communication, negotiation, project management, time management and teamwork.
The tournament was possible because of a tremendous collaborative effort between Cuba-Rushford school and CABOCES. The CABOCES Tech Support team, along with ISS (Professional Development, Learning Resources, and Student Programs) worked together to make the tournament a success. Additional support and guidance, which was invaluable, came from Alex Palowitch from iDESIGN Solutions.
The Cuba-Rushford Qualifying Tournament is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. VEX Competitions are the largest and fastest growing competitive robotics programs for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and college aged students around the world. VEX Competitions represent over 24,000 teams from 61 countries that participate in more than 1,650 VEX Competition events worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring, with VEX Robotics World Championship, a highly anticipated event that unites top qualifying teams from local, state, regional and international VEX Robotics Competitions to crown World Champions. More information about the VEX Robotics Competition is available at RoboticsEducation.org, RobotEvents.com and VEXRobotics.com. To find out how to become involved in VEX Robotics in the CABOCES region, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716-376-8323.
About the REC Foundation
The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation manages the VEX Robotics Competition, which thousands of schools participate in around the world each year. REC states that one million students are reached worldwide through all the VEX robotics programs, classrooms, and competitions.
The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, sustainable and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the U.S. and internationally. Its goal is to provide these programs with services, solutions, and a community that allows them to flourish in a way that fosters the technical and interpersonal skills necessary for students to succeed in the 21st Century. The REC Foundation develops partnerships with K-12 education, higher education, government, industry, and the non-profit community to achieve this work so that one day these programs will become accessible to all students and all schools in all communities. For more information on REC Foundation, visit www.RoboticsEducation.org.
Jean Oliverio, Student Programs, ISS, CABOCES
Defining what mental health and wellness is and isn’t can be extremely helpful in order to demystify cultural perspectives regarding this topic of interest. Katie Mendell, CABOCES Community Schools Coordinator, shared with Scio’s faculty and staff a wealth of information regarding mental health and wellness and what we can do in education to help our students. Understanding the continuum of well-being around mental health and educating the importance of the mind-body connection benefits all learners.
New York State Education Department (NYSED) Board of Regents permanently adopted a proposed amendment in May 2018 clarifying for schools what health education should include in all grades. Schools are required to: include mental health and the relationship of physical and mental health; and designed to enhance student understanding, attitudes and behaviors that promote health, well-being and human dignity. Many school may already be incorporating these elements in their education of health, however this formalizes the new requirements in law.
Take a moment and think of a situation where you recently felt upset; What feelings did you experience? How about a situation that made you feel happy? What were you doing? Simply defined, mental health is how one thinks, feels, and acts. The spectrum of wellness on mental health ranges and often times we associate mental health with mental illness. Katie shared a wealth of information in order to demystify and redefine mental health as how we think, feel and act. Mental Illness is a diagnosable illness that affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions as well as disrupts the ability to engage in daily activities.
What can we do for our students? We can begin by reviewing and assessing our current K-12 health education curricula for alignment to new mental health education requirements; build capacity and strengthen relationships between educators and pupil personnel services (school psychologist, social worker, counselor, nurse); developing school-community partnerships with mental health professionals and organizations; identify strategies to engage families and students in supporting mental health and well-being; support a school climate “Culture of Care”; and leverage partnerships and build upon existing resources to develop a sustainable infrastructure for mental health. The following cards were shared with faculty and staff and also provided to students.
By: Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Recently we were asked if it was possible to record a CTE Program class for a student that was facing a medical issue that is preventing them from attending the class on a regular basis in the traditional fashion. Our immediate response was, “Sure!”. Then we started asking questions and learning more about the classroom set up and the technology the student had access to at home. Of course, our CA BOCES Distance Learning Tech Support, the CTE Program administration and the course teacher were involved every step of the way. In addition, the students in the class and the effected student also played integral roles. This was a true team effort!
I am proud to announce that we succeeded, albeit after several tried attempts! We have a system in place that is user friendly for the students and teacher, capitalizes on the technology available to our CA BOCES region and the student is able to learn the theory and see the practical skills being taught...however as soon as the student is able to return to the classroom, he/she has to catch up on practicing the practical skills they were able to be exposed too but not able to practice or tested on.
Basic equipment needed for such a venture include: a computer, a speaker, a microphone and at least one camera. We used Zoom software to connect and record the videos and are using Office 365 Sharepoint link to share the recorded sessions. In addition, the recorded video links, teacher created PowerPoints and other documents are available to students via Moodle.
How can we use distance learning to overcome obstacles in student learning?
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Let’s face it. Much of the technologies recommended for teaching and learning need to undergo greater scrutinization since many of those technologies are too far down the wrong end of the spectrum of shiny only to beneficial for learning. However, a shiny technology tool should not be dismissed simply because it is attractive; we must evaluate the tool to determine whether teaching and learning can be meaningfully improved.
Rather than focusing on a specific tool, let’s now consider more generally the tech. tools that utilize coding. The robots in this category have (and rightfully so) raised a lot of eyebrows. For example, it would be ill-advised to bring the tooth brushing robot into your classrooms as a tool for teaching and learning (feel free to email me with a counterexample if you’d like to prove me wrong). While the tooth brushing robot isn’t available for reservation, there are many robots that reside in the CA BOCES Learning Resources warehouse that can yield a meaningful impact on learning.
Lastly, unless the course objectives specifically include a focus on a specific technology, we are creating a disservice for learning when the tech. tool is the end goal rather than a means to reach other learning targets. To help avoid this trap, I have given a few reasons technology, such as augmented or virtual reality (AR or VR) or robotics, can be a meaningful tool to help students master learning targets.
1. Explore Content Learning Standards
Whether used for pre-teaching or re-teaching, technology can provide meaningful interactions with social studies topics (pictured left; the AR app 1600), science topics (pictured right; the AR app Quiver), and more. The benefits demonstrated above are amplified because the technology was integrated with effective instruction. The tech. tool didn’t replace the teaching. The teaching didn’t require students to imagine only. The pairing of technology and effective teaching created more meaningful connections to content learning standards.
2. Foster Creativity and Problem Solving
For struggling learners, students who don’t eagerly or correctly construct sentences, paragraphs, etc. or solve mathematical problems, technology can provide opportunities for increased engagement and flexibility. Parrot mini drones are one of those technologies that, arguably, fall too far down on the shiny end of the spectrum at first glance, but this tool does not have to be attractive only.
For instance, Chelsea Lobello, CA BOCES Model Schools coordinator, worked with an Ellicottville Central School student to complete provided and self-directed missions using block programming; this student not only demonstrated his ability to code and sequence blocks in order for the drone to complete a mission, but he also demonstrated his ability to code and sequence words to meet his language goal.
Later that same day, two other students also programmed the drones to complete self-created missions. During these missions, I was able to have students simplify expressions and solve equations using rational numbers, a topic directly related to their mathematics learning goals and standards.
3. Character Education
Of all the technology integrations that have taken place recently in the CA BOCES region, the upswing of VEX robotics has been the most exciting for me. This year’s competition, Tower Takeover, as well as those from previous years, is more than just an engineering challenge. Students must demonstrate more than academic ability if they want to be successful in this arena.
The REC Foundation includes a similar sentiment on their website:
“In addition to learning valuable engineering skills, students gain life skills such as teamwork, perseverance, communication, collaboration, project management, and critical thinking. The VEX Robotics Competition prepares students to become future innovators with 95% of participants reporting an increased interest in STEM subject areas and pursuing STEM-related careers.”
Almost always, technology should be a tool, not the goal. The scenarios above followed this approach of utilizing technology as a means to an end, providing meaningful benefits on teaching and learning. Hopefully your pursuits with technology are equally as fruitful.
By: Mark Beckwith, Model Schools
Districts are gearing up for the holiday season by traveling to the North Pole. You heard that right. Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Pioneer, West Valley, Fillmore, and Salamanca will be traveling Around the World with Santa and spending time with Mrs. Claus this season, right in their classrooms! These are just some of the types of trips available from the Distance Learning Department.
Christmas trips not really your thing? Randolph is participating in the classic Gingerbread Boy Virtual Experience from the Center of Puppetry Arts. We also have classroom collaborations like “Brown Bear” for elementary, or Career Connection Conversations for high school students that are all free to attend. December’s Career Conversation is with Meme Yanetsko of the Olean Area Chamber of Commerce. These free collaborations are brought to you by the New York State Distance Learning Consortium. The NYSDLC offers out a classroom collaboration for elementary and a Career Conversation session monthly for free for being a part of Distance Learning. Is there a topic you want to see in the offering? Let us know! We are always looking for new ideas to benefit our teachers.
We can find a virtual field trip experience for just about any topic that you come up with. We try our best to provide free/low cost opportunities that work with your curriculum. For more information or to schedule a Virtual Field Trip contact Carrie Oliver at email@example.com.
To see upcoming events check out the flyer here: https://www.smore.com/40vj6-upcoming-virtual-field-trips
By: Carrie Oliver, CA BOCES Learning Resources
CA BOCES offers a collaborative music library with over 215 music charts for borrowing. Thirty-two charts have been checked out this fall for band concerts making this a well utilized resource. Music teachers in participating districts send purchasing requests to Catherine_Dunkleman@caboces.org who then orders the music through an approved vendor. Upon receipt, Cathy catalogs the charts into Insignia. With a simple search, music teachers may view a chart's summary, select "Click here to watch" for the score, and easily book an item for delivery and use for a semester or school year. When returned to Learning Resources, inventory is taken and any missing or damaged sheet music is replaced per copyright law.
For those curious to see the music collection, visit resources.caboces.org and log in. Search by selecting call number and type in ML. Searches may be narrowed by categories located in the left column of the web page.
Some choral teachers have expressed an interest in having a similar collection. If your school is interested in joining this service, contact Amy_Windus@caboces.org or Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org
By Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
With the start of a new school year, Community Schools hosted the inaugural, bi-annual Community and Schools Together Event. Nearly 100 educators and community partners came together on September 30th to teach, learn and collaborate with one another. The region collectively chose to focus on advancing mental health and wellness at this event. This came as no surprise, considering that 46% of children experience at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE) and approximately 20% of adolescents have diagnosable mental health disorders. School and community partnerships are key to the growth and development of policies, procedures and best practices for mental health.
Dr. Liz Anderson of Binghamton University’s NYS Community Schools Technical Assistance Center welcomed the group and set the stage for the day. She discussed school and community collaboration, and reminded us that collaboration challenging, yet rewarding. “When we collaborate, we know that our strengths will be maximized, our weaknesses will be minimized and the result will be better for families, schools and communities,” said Anderson. The relationship between a community and a school is reciprocal in nature. Communities provide schools with a context and an environment that can reinforce the values, culture and learning. In addition, communities can also expand the variety of opportunities and supports available to students and families. In return, schools offer the community an enduring public institution that often serves as the “hub” of the community, especially within our rural region.
This event truly reflected the four pillars of the community schools strategy, which include, expanded learning opportunities, collaborative leadership and practices, family and community engagement, as well as, integrated student supports. A combined total of twelve breakout sessions took place throughout the day, and were facilitated by school leaders and representatives as well as community agency representatives. Sessions covered things such as family engagement, community trauma coalition, probation services and new legislation, model mentoring programs, addressing traumatic stress with restorative practices, school resource officer support, utilizing the community schools strategy in rural context, health services in school settings and substance abuse prevention and intervention services for schools.
As we move forward to begin planning the next CST event, to be held on March 23rd, we welcome schools and community partners to participate in the planning process. Our goal is to build upon the collaborative spirit that was developed during the inaugural event and increase the outcomes for our region.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
We are preparing students for a world that wants go-getters, decision makers, designers, creators, and dreamers. The old system of school is focused on compliance, but if our students are compliant when they leave us, they will always need to follow someone else’s rules and our society is not made for that. Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning? by John Spencer and AJ Juliani challenge our thinking about engagement in schools and push for classrooms that empower our learners.
This fall, Ryan McGinnis, Tessa Levitt, and Sarah Wittmeyer hosted a 6-week online book study on Facebook centered around the Empower text. 30 teachers from the region logged in weekly from 8-9pm to participate in discussion of the ideas presented in text.
We explored how to shift the classroom and put the learning into the hands of the students. How can we, as teachers, facilitate learning experiences that put students in control? Where can we let them take over the process? How do we do this within the parameters of curriculum, standards, the schools we work in, etc.? How do we give students more ownership in the learning process? What have we done in our classrooms to empower our students? Where do we start?
The best part of the entire discussion was learning how teachers in our region were upping the game for their students. From genius hour, to inquiry, to project-based learning, and beyond, our students are so lucky to have such creative and innovative teachers!
We will be having a “face-to-face” meeting at the end of November as a culmination to the learning and a check-in to see how things are going with empowering our students. If you are interested in learning more about our Facbeook book studies, please reach out! We will be hosting another in Spring 2020! Stay tuned!
By: Sarah Wittmeyer, CA BOCES Professional Development