Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, Greater Southern Tier BOCES and Alfred University’s Department of Education joined forces to provide insight into a new and exciting way to teach art for over 45 art teachers in the area.
Officially known as choice-based art education, the method has grown in its number of practitioners over the last few years. Several of these teachers who have incorporated this style of teaching in their classrooms have started a group known as TAB – Teaching For Artistic Behavior. The classroom becomes a studio and the students become artists and the teacher is a facilitator of artistic experiences for each individual student.
Anne Bedrick, teacher, author and artist was the keynote speaker for this day-long seminar. Anne is the author of the e-book CHOICE WITHOUT CHAOS. In her book she includes numerous images and video clips of how she uses choice-based art in her K-4 classroom at Rye Country Day School in Rye, New York. For the seminar she gave a more in depth view of her book and its contents. Ms. Bedrick also presented her story of how she “discovered” TAB and how she transitioned into it and the trials and tribulations associated with it as it is much different from the teacher-directed learning in traditional art classrooms. Throughout her presentation she answered questions as well as a question and answer period at the end of her presentation. Also included in the seminar were presentations by some area teachers who are familiar with TAB and are currently using it in their classrooms. Andy Reddout, an elementary art teacher from Bloomfield Central School and Chris Brown, a K-12 art teacher from Whitesville Central School each gave a presentation on their own personal experiences using choice-based art education. Corrie Burdick, Art Education Professor at Alfred University, and graduate assistant Liz VanHouter also gave a brief presentation on choice-based art education and its effects over various educational settings.
After lunch the teachers were treated to a glass-blowing demonstration by Angus Powers and his students in the glass blowing studio in newly renovated Harder Hall. Teachers were also given a brief tour of the renovations. Upon returning to the Knight Club on the AU campus to continue the seminar the teachers organized into groups (elementary, middle and high school) and had a roundtable discussions on how choice could affect assessment, APPR and strategies to use choice in their classrooms. Many teachers left more enlightened about choice-based education and its principles and eager to learn more and even experiment with it in their classrooms.
This program would not have been possible without the help of CABOCES, GST BOCES, Alfred University and Corrie Burdick who has been a key figure in promoting choice-based education and its benefits to area students and teachers.
By: Chris Brown, Whitesville CSD Art Teacher K-12
Mr. Bernys and his 9th grade Cattaraugus-Little Valley English students just finished reading the Module text, Romeo and Juliet. The students in each section of his classes were grouped into sets of four students. Within these groups, the students filled the role of the Verona News Team broadcasting “live news” from various scenes in Romeo and Juliet. In these simulated news broadcasts, the students needed to compose a script and write lines for each participant. The students needed to base the scripts on the on Romeo and Juliet’s death, the fight in the streets between the Montagues and the Capulets, and the Capulet Ball. The students shared text-based information pertaining to the major events in the book. Each group’s presentation lasted about 5-7 minutes. It was great to see the students so excited about a classic text as well as how much they retained from the lessons. Mr. Bernys and I got to participate with the students for some of the skits.
The students had the opportunity to use the TV/Video production room which simulated a real news anchor experience. This very unique room at Cattaraugus Little Valley is a state of the art studio containing running cameras, camcorders, digital video switchers, microphones, sound mixers, green screen, Teleprompters, and lighting equipment. It also has graphic and editing computer work stations that are used to generate productions. Mr. Chris Maguda, teacher of a Broadcasting class at CLV, assisted with the audio/visual production along with the students. It is lessons like these that allow students to showcase what they have learned, increase student engagement and enjoyment.
By: Kristen Meier, CA BOCES and Cattaraugus-Little Valley
“Wow. Mr. W. look what I did,” said Evan. “Oh yeah...Look at what level I’m on,” said Julia. Evan and Julia think they are playing a game. In some ways they are playing a game. The game teaches Evan and Julia, and students like them in Ms. Grube’s class, some basic ideas. The students learn the concepts of repeating, functions, if: then statements and looping. These concepts have to do with logic and they also are foundational skills for computer programming.
By the year 2020, statistics say that in America we will have 1 million more computing jobs than students to fill them. The fascinating thing is that the year 2020 is only 6 years away. All of the students in Kirsten Grube’s class just love working on the iPads. They are very engaged. Students work in centers and spend about 15 to 20 minutes a day learning to be young computer programmers.
Computers are everywhere and that makes some people want to avoid them. I just don’t think you can avoid computers any more. Businesses involving agriculture, automobiles, manufacturing, healthcare and entertainment, just about every thing somehow involves computers. Avoiding computers is about as equivalent to not using a school book or a pencil and paper. More and more jobs are requiring graduating students to know how to use computers as a tool to complete work. To a bit of a lesser degree, right now, not only will students need to know how computers function, students will have to be the ones who engineer the computers to be a better tool for others.
Some of us, in my generation, took computer programming, around the 1980s, in high school. Some of us took to it and some of us did not. In many cases in high school, back in the 80s, students where just thrown into BASIC computer programming. Many of us had a bad experience with programming because we did not learn some of the necessary foundational skills to programming. What happened to many students in the 80s was the equivalent of being thrown into the language class Spanish 4 without having Spanish 1, Spanish 2 or Spanish 3.
That is not what is happening in Cattaraugus Little Valley. Some students, from an early age are learning how to make a computerized robot make a square on a computer screen. Some students are learning that if they don’t want to write out code over and over again, code that does the same thing, then they can use a loop. I have no doubt, that one day, we will hear about Evan or Julia, or some other student, who has helped to put people on Mars, contributed to cars that drive themselves or invented a micro controlled nanoparticle that cures cancer.
By: Rick Weinberg, CA BOCES
Technology in Education: Extending Professional Development Experiences for District Representatives at the Annual NYSCATE Conference
When we think of technology in education, many make mention of SMART Boards and iPads, but technology in education has taken on new forms. At this year’s annual NYSCATE conference, a statewide consortium dedicated to the exploration of technology resources and innovation in tech-focused classrooms, several of our component schools were able to see the new wave of technology that could become a part of today’s 21st century classrooms.
As a part of the Eisenhower Consortium, several districts elected to send representatives to the annual conference to engage in and learn more about the innovation and inquiry that can stem from the infusion of tech tools in the classroom. Teachers, technology integrators, and other district personnel from Genesee Valley, Cuba Rushford, Pioneer, and West Valley became immersed in a world of technology and the innovation that can stem from a vast array of resources.
NYSCATE, which offers a self-directed conference experience, highlighted sessions on coding in the classroom, iPad implementation in a 1:1 environment, and Chromebooks in educational settings K-12. The theme of this year’s annual event was ReThink, ReImagine, ReCreate, inspiring educators to think beyond the scope of a traditional educational setting and reimagine the ways in which we deliver a high-quality educational experience to all.
Jason Latimer, who served as one of the all-inspiring keynote speakers at the 2014 event, incited participants to think about the power of a question as the gateway to transforming the educational system we offer to today’s 21st century learners. Latimer, who believes that knowledge is built upon the questions we ask, encouraged conference attendees to use questions to drive their classroom and use questions to drive the way in which technology is used in education. “The illusion of knowledge is what causes you to stop asking questions.” Latimer’s words resonated in the minds of many as the conference took hold. His ideals seemed to inspire the sense of wonder that comes with how we shift the mindset of modern-day education. “The world was not shaped by its answers; it was shaped by its questions.”
Anne Cater, staff specialist for Professional Development with CABOCES and curriculum coordinator for both Belfast Central School and Genesee Valley Central, spoke to her own personal NYSCATE experience. “I felt like a kid in a candy store, learning about all the great innovations that can help our students learn. Today’s students are much attune to the role technology plays in society, so in bringing innovations in technology to the classroom, we can help to not only prepare students for the future, but inspire them to ask questions and think beyond the everyday curricula.”
NYSCATE 2015 may be a year away, but all are encouraged to attend this unique conference experience. For more information about the organization, please visit http://www.nyscate.org/. Until next year, consider how technology can serve as a force of innovation to drive questioning and inspire teachers and students to ReThink, ReImagine, and ReCreate.
By: Lauren Stuff, CA BOCES
You may already be aware that CA BOCES has been awarded a nearly four hundred thousand dollar grant from New York State Education Department, but do you know how the Teaching is the Core grant is affecting our understanding of assessment design?
For the past three months, the thirteen districts participating in this grant have been looking at their current classroom assessments to see if they have a strong alignment to the Standards. We are also looking to see how assessments are used to inform instruction – the way in which feedback is provided to students during the assessment process; the way in which teachers use the results of the assessments to inform their instructional decisions; and the degree to which assessment results are used to address the needs of diverse learners (including students with disabilities, English language learners, and gifted learners). We are analyzing the timing of classroom assessments – a balanced assessment system should include diagnostic, formative and summative assessments as well as pre/post measures to assess growth. We are also looking at the types of assessments we are giving – are they rigorous and authentic? Do they ask students to recall information, create a product, demonstrate their learning through a performance or explain their thinking processes? What we are discovering is that our current assessments are rarely modified to meet student needs and do not allow students various ways to access content and/or demonstrate their learning. And finally, we are questioning the reliability of our assessments – how do we know if teachers have the same vision for quality and agree while scoring student work?
Most of our work during these first few months focused on assessment audits – looking at assessment artifacts to see if we need to replace, revise or keep our current assessments. The primary purpose of this grant is to support districts in their efforts to improve the quality of all educational assessments, while also reducing the number of assessments that do not contribute to teaching and learning. In addition, this grant can help districts identify and/or develop high-quality assessments already in use for instructional or other curricular purposes that can simultaneously be used for Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) purposes.
As we proceed to phase two of the grant, districts will have multiple opportunities to learn about quality assessment design, how to develop performance-based tasks, designing assessments that increase rigor and authenticity, and protocols for looking at student work to provide meaningful feedback to students and their families.
The districts served through this grant include Allegany-Limestone, Andover, Cuba-Rushford, Genesee Valley, Hinsdale, Olean, Pioneer, Portville, Randolph Academy, Salamanca, Scio, Wellsville, and West Valley. The lead facilitator for this grant is Jennifer Borgioli, Senior Consultant from Learner-Centered Initiatives, Ltd. www.lciltd.org
By: Mary Morris, CA BOCES
On Friday, December 12, sixty teachers and principals came together to learn with and from Tom Dewing of Thoughtful Education. Mr. Dewig spent the day introducing the strategies from the book; “The Core Six, Essential Strategies for Achieving Excellence with the Common Core.” Each participant received a copy of the book, and went in-depth with two of the strategies and jig-sawed the other four strategies.
Thanks to more than 40 years of research on classroom strategies, we now know better than ever what works in classrooms. If teachers want to get results, the six strategies need to be treated as learning strategies rather than end-of-learning assessments.
The Core Six are strategies that have been refined over time with the intent of making research come to life in the classroom.
1. Reading for Meaning helps students develop the skills that proficient readers use to make sense of rigorous texts. The strategy helps build these CC skills: managing text complexity, evaluating and using evidence, and developing core reading skills.
2. Compare & Contrast teaches students to conduct a thorough comparative analysis. The strategy helps build these CC Skills: conducting comparative analysis of academic content, comparative reading of 2 or more texts, and integrating information from multiple sources.
3. Inductive Learning helps students find patterns and structures built into content through an inductive process (analyzing specifics to form generalizations). The strategy helps build these CC skills: finding patterns and making logical inferences, supporting thinking with evidence and mastering academic vocabulary.
4. Circle of Knowledge is a strategic framework for planning and conducting classroom discussions that engage all students in deeper thinking and thoughtful communication. The strategy helps build these CC skills: speaking, listening and discussing, collaborating with peers and integrating and evaluating information.
5. Write to Learn helps teachers integrate writing into daily instruction and develop student’s writing skills in the key text types associated with college and career readiness. The strategy helps build these CC skills: developing higher order thinking through writing, writing key CC text types and writing for a wide range of tasks, audiences and purposes.
6. Vocabulary’s Code is a strategic approach to vocabulary instruction that improves student’s ability to retain and use crucial vocabulary terms. The strategy helps build these CC skills: mastering academic vocabulary, improving literacy across the strands building back ground knowledge as a foundation for success.
Instructional strategies like the Core Six give teachers proven and practical way to respond to the rigorous demands of the Common Core. When used, the strategies incite students’ thinking, turn the process of learning into an active quest, and build the skills students need to be ready for college and careers.
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES and Whitesville
With the new High School Geometry standards and first installment of the Geometry Regents this June, area teachers have met to start collaborating on the best path to address this new assessment. During the summer and then again in early October in face-to-face sessions high school math teachers . These sessions will continue with online collaborations through Adobe Connect after New York State Education Network Team dates. Through these sessions teachers shared ideas to best address these new standards from different textbooks to utilizing technology like Geogebra and pacing out material for the year.
Perspective. Is the glass half full or half empty? Our attitude determines our altitude. We cannot see the forest for the trees. Yada, yada, yada. However trite, there is truth to this.
Before my years in education, I spent over a decade in the business world. The transition between the two was culture shock. I was suddenly immersed into the world of Curriculum Mapping, Teacher Evaluation, and the Common Core (oh my). Dorothy, you are no longer in Kansas!
It was a totally different work environment and it took some adjusting on my part. Though it all, I was grateful for the experience and thoroughly loved being a teacher. I learned more things than I ever thought I would, and I learned some things I really never wanted to (If it is wet, and not yours, don’t touch it!) I was eager to learn more about my profession, how to be better, and so availed myself to many of the professional development opportunities offered by CABOCES. I distinctly remember going to a training and thinking to myself, “Now that is something I would like to do”.
Fate is a funny thing. Here I am, suddenly immersed into the world of SNAP, Digital Resources, and CoSers (oh my). It is another totally different work environment and will take some adjusting. I have no doubt that my years in the school system will make me a more well-rounded Staff Specialist and shape my perspective. In many ways I feel like Robert Frost. I have taken the road less traveled…and it has truly made all the difference. Let’s all be part of that difference!
Alexandra L. Freer
Staff Specialist for Digital Resources & Technology