Over the past couple of years in New York, the state education department has been developing a new framework for Social Studies instruction, and a new format for the Global History and Geography Regents exam.
The combination of these two changes has brought an opportunity to review and revise social studies curriculum. One district that has spent time focusing on these changes and developing assessments that align to the content and the format of the state changes has been the Pioneer Central School District.
The middle school teachers at Pioneer spent three days in April reviewing their curriculum and developing assessment tasks that reflected the changes from NYSED. Utilizing a stimulus source, such as this map, teachers were able to develop questions and tasks that reflected Geographic Reasoning, one of the social studies practices outlined in the Framework.
Spending time doing this type of curriculum development and work not only is preparing teachers for these changes, but allows them to prepare the students as well for what they will be asked to accomplish when they are assessed with the Global History and Geography Regents exam in the future.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
If it not there already, coding will be coming to a school near you really soon! But why is there so much of a push for this?
Coding has many education implications: it is a way for students to design, create, and express themselves while solving problems, creating games, and having fun. Additionally, there are many opportunities in the area of computer science that students can consider when looking at careers. Website design, app creation, business management and many other fields have jobs that require some understanding of computer code.
Learning to code prepares kids for the world we live in today. There are tons of jobs and occupations that use code directly, like web designers, software developers and robotics engineers, and even more where knowing how to code is a huge asset—jobs in manufacturing, nanotechnology or information sciences. However, career prep is just one facet.
The skills that come with computer programming/coding help kids develop new ways of thinking and foster problem-solving techniques that can have big repercussions in other areas. Computational thinking allows students to grasp concepts like order of operations and cause and effect. Much like following a recipe, coding is systematic and students can see that attention to detail and sequential thinking are necessary to create a workable code.
And then there’s the simple fact that coding is fun! Most kids play games already, so learning the code behind the games takes engagement to a whole new level.
So get ready! Coding isn’t the future….it is the present!
By: Alexandra L. Freer, CABOCES Learning Resources
CA BOCES welcomed special education and inclusion teachers from Andover, Bolivar-Richburg and Olean to collaborate and discuss the research-based practices for special needs students.
Teachers collaborated to understand the clear differences between accommodation-a change that helps a student overcome or work around the disability. Removing the barriers not content, modification-a change in what is being taught or expected from the student. (Change in content, expectation, etc.) and an intervention-a specific skill-building strategy implemented and monitored to improve a targeted skill (i.e. what is actually known) and achieve adequate progress in a specific area (academic or behavioral). This often involves a changing instruction or providing additional instruction to a student in the area of learning or behavior difficulty.
Discussion about Executive Function and the impact it has on learning sparked a lot of interest. The Executive Functions are skills everyone uses to organize and act on information. These skills are required to help perform or accomplish everyday life tasks. One of the eight key functions is working memory. Working memory helps the child keep key information in mind.
Teachers were provided the opportunity to network and share strategies that support the students they work with. Teachers were provided opportunity for inquiry and research for new strategies and best practices for services and interventions for students we teach.
Next workshop is August 22, 2017 at CA BOCES – The Barn, Olean
Facilitators: Marguerite Andrews, Deanna Wilkinson and Karen Insley
If our students could analyze, synthesize, and evaluate, what would that look like in school, college, and the workplace? You’re probably thinking, like most educators or employers, that would be fantastic. Unfortunately, these skills are often not assessed. Susan M. Brookhart, author of How to Assess Higher-Order Thinking Skills in your Classroom, says that studies show that most teacher-made tests require only the recall of information. So, what is higher-order thinking exactly?
Brookhart begins by defining what higher-order thinking is, discussing the three categories for defining higher-order thinking. She recognizes that there is clearly an overlap in these definitions
Categories for Defining Higher-Order Thinking:
Very seldom in our adult lives do we need to simply recall information. Yes, we recall our math facts when doing a simple calculation or geography when traveling or watching the nightly news. However, most times we need to apply, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, investigate etc. Brookhart believes that most teachers understand this, but often don’t carry it through to their assessment practices. A significant amount of our instructional time is spent making sure students have mastered basic information, or in the bottom 2-3 levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, leaving little time for practice of the higher-order skills.
Friendship Central School and other educators have taken part in several on-demand workshops based around these ideas on higher-order thinking. Learn more about how to build higher-order thinking skills into both instruction and assessment at CA BOCES. To get your school or group scheduled for a workshop on higher-order thinking, contact CA BOCES (Laurie Sledge at 716-376-8357).
By: Deanna Wilkinson, CA BOCES Professional Development
More than 2600 students (PreK- 5th graders) from schools across Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties were entertained by Seussical, the Musical, TheatreWork’s biggest show ever. Ten talented actors intertwined Dr. Seuss’ characters in an imaginative, colorful adventure. Genesee Valley, Franklinville and Delevan Elementary opened their auditoriums to host these performances. Seussical marked the final performance of the school year contracted by BOCES. BOCES Arts-In-Education helps schools enrich the lives of their students by providing opportunities to experience the performing arts. 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. For more information about bringing TheatreWorks shows to your area, contact Student Programs at 716-376-8284.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programming
When thinking about valuable texts to use to develop a rich curriculum, classic literature, news articles, textbooks, and poems typically come to mind. But an excellent resource that has been hiding in the shadows like Batman for far too long is finally getting the recognition it deserves: graphic novels.
Graphic novels are extremely beneficial to support learning in classrooms. First, students have to use the same reading skills to understand a graphic novel that they would use for a short story, informational text, or play. They still have to make inferences and predictions and use context clues. In addition, analyzing specific frames, art styles, and pages is a great way to develop students’ close reading skills. Second, the visuals within graphic novels make the text more accessible for struggling readers. Graphic novel versions of classic literature have helped students better understand the language and themes of challenging texts. Third, research has shown that reading graphic novels develops empathy. Reading about someone’s tragic life experience, for example, is one way to feel for that person, but actually seeing what he/she experienced and the emotion on his/her face adds an additional layer. Finally, students find graphic novels engaging. To get a sense of this engagement, one only needs to look at the biggest hits in pop culture today: superhero blockbuster films, The Walking Dead, and many, many more. The time is now to start exploring using graphic novels in the classroom.
Teachers throughout the region came together on April 26th to do just that. After a regional survey to educators, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, a graphic novel that depicts the experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, was selected to be used in the development of a curriculum kit. Facilitated by CABOCES Staff Specialists Cece Fuoco and Brendan Keiser, educators first brainstormed a list of essential questions that a unit could explore through Maus. These questions served as the foundation of our curriculum unit. From there, educators searched for videos, activities, news articles, interviews, images, and a variety of other resources that a teacher could use to help students be able to answer the essential questions. Over forty resources were found and uploaded into a Moodle page. These educators will meet again on May 17th to finish completing the kit. In the end, we are anticipating enough resources and over twenty lesson plans to support a four-week curriculum unit that educators throughout Cattaraugus and Allegany counties can check out from SNAP. The kit will include class copies of both Maus Volume 1 and Volume 2, two copies of MetaMaus (a text that provides in-depth knowledge about Maus), and all of the curriculum resources developed.
If you are interested in participating in this exciting collaborative effort, please feel free to register for the May 17th session, as well as the two-part July 11th and August 17th sessions that will be developing a curriculum kit on graphic novel versions of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth.
By: Brendan Keiser, CA BOCES Professional Development
Check out this month's Advancing STEM Challenge! Keeping Afloat - Oh Buoy!
Advancing STEM 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 will be posted monthly.