Do you think communication is an important skill? I’m sure you immediately answered, YES, It sure is! Students in Mr. Donald Griffing’s Chemistry class found this out, first hand. Here is the backstory as to how this all happened. I experienced this activity at my professional development retreat at the beginning of January, and thought it would be a great way for the CRCS staff to experience the importance of communication. So, during the high school’s faculty meeting, Cuba-Rushford teachers and staff went through the same activity. Mr. Griffing found the communication exercise so valuable, he wanted to repeat the activity with his Chemistry classes. He hoped the students could see the importance of specific directions, and common vocabulary. He thought this would be a great way to remind them about being careful and clear in their lab reports, specifically with their data tables.
The entire class was given a chance to become familiar with two of the six objects the activity called for, before the activity started. The class had to come up with common terms to call each item. This would help with visualization and familiarity while building the items in the activity. Students were placed into groups of four. To set the stage for the activity, two students volunteered to be blindfolded and then were given a task to complete, while blindfolded. One of the students was given an object, already put together. This student was the “direction giver”. He or she was then asked to describe to the other blindfolded student how to put this object together…the problem was, this student’s object was in six pieces. The student responsible for building the object, was called the “direction receiver”. The other students were observers, and were instructed to only watch the activity. They were not allowed to help. They would be sharing their observations after the activity was completed.
This was not an easy task! It became very clear to all students how crucial specific vocabulary, as well as specific directions, were to complete this activity. There was a lot of explaining, questioning, and re-explaining during the exercise. Once the duo thought they were done, they raised their hands for their constructed objects to be checked for accuracy. The students worked diligently on getting their objects built. It was very difficult for some, and to others it felt impossible. The great thing is, NO ONE GAVE UP! They persevered through it all. The conversations afterward were interesting to hear, as the perspectives of the observers were heard, as well as the challenges the receiver and the giver faced.
By: Kathleen Agnello, CA BOCES Professional Development
According to several teachers and students, Freedom Train was one of the best performances ever in this area! Eighteen area schools provided an inspirational experience for their students last week. Over 1800 fourth and fifth graders from Cattaraugus and Allegany counties attended the TheatreWorks USA performances of Freedom Train. Freedom Train told the motivational story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. The audience enjoyed dramatic story telling, dance and powerfully performed songs from the time period.
TheatreWorks USA is a professional acting company based out of New York City. It is America’s largest and most prolific professional theatre for young audiences.
BOCES Art-In-Education helps schools enrich the lives of their students by providing opportunities to experience the performing arts. Genesee Valley, Franklinville and Arcade Elementary opened their auditoriums to host these performances. For more information about bringing TheatreWorks shows to your area, contact Student Programs at 716-376-8284.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programming
Check out this month's AdvancingSTEM Challenge!
AdvancingSTEM Challenges are designed to bring engineering and design to your classroom in a simple, easy-to-implement, challenge-based way. Modify our Advancing STEM Challenges for your classroom. A new challenge is posted monthly.
Post a photo of your students in action in our comment section or post a comment on how you modified the Challenge to work in your classroom.
High School ELA students in Jessica Brassard-Moore’s ELA class in Cattaraugus-Little Valley decided that they would use it to solve problems. After reading Bram Stroker’s “Dracula” the students determined a character as their custome and used the engineering design process to create a solution for that customer. Most of the students chose Van Helsing as their customer and designed products that would help him defeat Dracula.
The students individually brainstormed solutions and then worked on designing. The used a free 3d modelling website called Tinkercad (https://www.tinkercad.com/) to design their projects. Some students were given a quick tutorial, but soon became experts in the program sharing their newfound 3d design skills with each other. When students finished designing their projects, they were able to 3d print an actual product and “pitch” the products to their teacher and classmates.
The lesson idea originated form the website http://www.novelengineering.org/. In a Novel Engineering lesson: “Students use existing classroom literature – stories, novels, and expository texts – as the basis for engineering design challenges that help them identify problems, design realistic solutions, and engage in the Engineering Design Process while reinforcing their literacy skills”. Novel Engineering can be used for many different types of literature and across all grade levels. This is a great way to integrate STEM/STEAM lessons and the engineering design process into ELA classrooms. They provide many examples on their website
These students used a 3d printer but any materials for making or designing could be used to develop a solution.
By: Rob Miller, CA BOCES Professional Development
Welcome to digging a little deeper into the resources we have available to our component school districts in our warehouse.
This month’s spotlight is…..the GoPro! Why go amateur when you can go pro!
How can this be used in the classroom?
Here are a few examples:
A class in Pittsburg used the GoPro Hero3+ camera and chest mount so that they could film each of three amusement rides from the rider’s perspective. What made this project increase its learning value was that a student next to the camera was equipped with a smartphone and an app called Physics Toolbox that captured acceleration data during the ride. The video they submitted presented a multi-split screen that allows the viewer to experience the ride while watching real-time graphs of the measured accelerations. Students correlated the action in the video with the graphed accelerations and related these to the physics concepts involved in the ride, specifically Newton's Laws of Motion.
Or, most schools have a morning news segment performed or produced by students. GoPros can be used to add content comprised of student-made videos. Student created videos can create quite a bit of excitement for these news show and get even more students interested.
Or, CABOCES has been working with Houghton College and UB for our Writing with Video series. Composing with GoPros? Yeah! You can do that!
So what are you waiting for? Take a look at our warehouse and give GoPros a try!
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
BOCES and eleven regional school districts have been awarded the USDA RUS Distance Learning Grant, totaling $466,686.
Last week District Superintendent Lynda Quick, Esq. learned that Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES has been awarded a grant for $466,686 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant, known as the Rural Utility Service (RUS) Distance Learning grant, will be implemented by Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES and eleven area school districts to upgrade video conferencing equipment and other technologies.
The equipment upgrades will provide all three Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES Career and Technical Education (CTE) Centers, as well as Belfast, Bolivar-Richburg, Cuba-Rushford, Franklinville, Friendship, Genesee Valley, Hinsdale, Olean, Salamanca, Scio, and Wellsville Central School Districts, with new portable, high definition video conference capabilities that schools will use to provide students and teachers with a variety of distance learning opportunities including videoconference courses, virtual field trip experiences, and expanded access to nanotechnology capabilities.
This is not the first USDA RUS Distance Learning grant received by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES and component school districts. The Distance Learning Team at CA BOCES has been applying for and receiving RUS grants since 1997, resulting in eight previous awards and millions of dollars in equipment for our schools.
“Over the years, USDA funding has built a virtual school in our region," stated Lynda Quick. Over forty virtual classes connect via video conference every single day, allowing schools to share the instructional expertise of their outstanding faculty members. Additionally, hundreds of students to take other online courses because of this funding. These virtual courses are critical in expanding offerings in small rural schools that, over time, have been stripped of the ability to offer many (or any) AP, college credit, or elective courses to their students.
Lynda Quick also shared, "This award helps put a dent in leveling the playing field. It helps our students build a transcript that can be competitive in the post-secondary arena." Grant implementation will begin immediately.