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
Junie B’s Essential Survival Guide to School, https://twusa.org/shows-artists/on-tour-2/junie-b-sessential-survival-guide-to-school/, was this year’s final Theaterworks USA performance in the CABOCES region, hosted by Student Programs (CoSer 403, Arts in Education). Thanks to our partners at Delevan Elementary School, Scio Central School, and Salamanca Central School for welcoming approximately 3,000 local elementary students and teachers into their auditoriums this month. Teachers received study guides to use with their students before and after the show. These educational resources reinforced the NYS standards being taught in elementary classrooms. Over three days totaling six shows, Junie B. Jones and friends sang and danced their way from September to May, learning valuable lessons along the way. The inspirational show was a great way for the region’s students and teachers to celebrate the completion of NYS testing. CoSer 403, Arts In Education, helps schools enrich the lives of their students by providing opportunities to experience the performing arts. TheaterWorksUSA is a professional acting company based out of New York City. For more information about CoSer 403 Arts In Education, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
Cattaraugus-Allegany School Library System offers school librarians relevant training in a variety of services including vendor products, technology tools, instructional strategies, best practices, and support from the school library system director (yours truly). The system has worked to support school librarians through shared resources and specialized workshops tailored to the unique needs of each school library program. This article highlights some of the significant ways in which school librarians (which extends to educators and students), have benefited from the school library system.
Professional Development: At the regional level, the School Library System has consistently supported school librarians and their programs through shared resources and specialized workshops, which included the following topics: diversity in the library collection, information and media literacy, graphic literature collections, advocacy, ChatGPT, and a full-day meet-up with vendors for product demos and free trials. Based on feedback from school librarians, a 10-hour Moodle course on Managing Student Behavior was created and will soon be available on CA BOCES’s registration system. This course, although not specific to librarians, can be convenient for classroom teachers and provide them with valuable content as well.
Relevant Training: The School Library System Coordinator offered librarians help in creating and/or editing their library Policy and Procedure Manual. This year has seen a dramatic increase in book challenges and a pro-active approach was taken to ensure school librarians had the opportunity to update their policies. Both documents clearly state how books are selected for the school library, and if content is challenged, what steps should be taken to ensure all voices are heard through a respectful and fair process. Librarians who have had to navigate these topics this year have done so with professionalism and grace.
Communication Coordinators: NYSED/Division of Library Development recommends that one media specialist from each public member school district and a designated representative from each non-public school meet four times per year (8 CRR-NY 90.18). These meetings take place in the afternoon of each Librarian CLC and conversations are focused on Advocacy, Professional Development, Collection Development, and Achievements. This year, two noteworthy highlights included meeting with Senator Borrello and Assemblyperson Joe Giglio to advocate for school libraries, and being guided through a Project Look Sharp lesson by Aaron Meyers, recipient of a Project Look Sharp grant and Olean’s HS librarian!
Resources: Through the Library CoSer 510, schools are provided with access to a wide array of resources they might not otherwise have. Resources include databases, digital platforms for classroom products & eBooks/audiobooks, movie streaming & licenses, educational materials, and books that can enhance teaching and learning experiences. A day-long vendor fair in February encouraged librarians to see product demos and obtain free trials to share with teachers.
Educators pursuing higher education often check with the library system first to see if required textbooks are available through OCLC. The school library system is a member of this network of libraries that loans and borrows print books, which is a cost-saving benefit to teachers.
Speaking of saving money, music and choral teachers who are members of our Music Library have increased their buying power when purchasing music through J.W. Pepper. Music charts arrive at our office and are inventoried, catalogued, and added to Insignia for easy borrowing.
Flexibility and Adaptability: As the coordinator of the school library system, I bring an added layer of flexibility and adaptability to each district. I have tailored my support to address inquiries related to the following: analyzing the library collection and assisting with pulling titles based on pre-set criteria, (which is often part of the Selection Policy); observing library instruction and/or student behavior and providing feedback for improvement; repairing books; training on vendor products including Insignia, Sora, NoodleTools, NewsBank, Flocabulary, Learning A-Z products, GALE databases and World Book. I have also answered questions related to research, music and movie licensing, book challenges, and copyright & Fair Use. This customized approach allows me to provide specific support as needed.
Access to specialized expertise, professional development opportunities, valuable resources, and flexible in-house support is not just limited to school librarians! The school library system is here to support all educators. If you have any questions on how the school library system can support you or your school’s student achievement goals, please reach out to Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
In late October of 2022 5th grade students at Bolivar-Richburg received Brown Trout eggs that STEM teacher Carol McClellan had received from the Randolph hatchery. This was the start of an 8-month long experience that ended with those same 5th grade students being able to release the Trout into the Little Genesee Creek. This creek is located directly behind the elementary school in Richburg and is the future site of their outdoor learning classroom.
During the release, the students did some water testing on the creek. They tested the oxygen levels of the water to be sure the levels were sufficient for the fish to survive.
After the water testing, the students had to put the fish through an acclimation process. This process ensured that the fish could easily adjust to the varying temperature of the creek water.
This is just one of the many opportunities that the Environmental Science program at CA BOCES has to offer! For more information on these programs, please feel free to visit CABOCES Environmental Science or contact Lance Feuchter at (716) 376-8379 or email@example.com.
By: Lance Feuchter, CA BOCES Learning Resources
In the world of education, fostering a love for reading at a young age is a key to unlocking a child's potential. One of the ways to make the reading experience truly magical is by taking it outside the classroom. Elementary students, full of curiosity and wonder, are at an ideal stage to embark on outdoor reading adventures. In Scio, second graders are celebrating the joy and benefits of reading outside, as they explore the world of books amidst the beauty of nature.
Do you want to spark curiosity and imagination in students?
Reading outside stimulates the natural curiosity and imagination of students. Surrounded by the sights, sounds, and textures of the outdoors, children's minds come alive with wonder. They can visualize the stories they read, connecting the characters, settings, and events with the real world around them. The openness of nature fuels their imagination, making the reading experience even more exciting and immersive.
Do you want students to connect with nature and the environment?
Bringing students outside to read provides a unique opportunity to foster a connection with nature and the environment. As they flip through the pages of books under a tree or in a park, children become aware of the world beyond their immediate surroundings. They observe birds, insects, and plants, igniting their curiosity about the natural world. This connection nurtures a sense of responsibility and care for the environment, planting the seeds of environmental stewardship from an early age.
Do you want students to develop a love for literature?
The enchantment of reading outdoors helps cultivate a genuine love for literature. With the freedom to choose their reading spot and engage with books in a natural setting, children develop a positive association with reading. The enjoyment of a captivating story while feeling the warmth of the sun or the touch of a gentle breeze creates lasting memories and a deep appreciation for the written word. Reading outside becomes an adventure that fosters a lifelong love for books.
Do you want students to enhance learning and comprehension?
Reading outside has been shown to enhance learning and comprehension in young students. The outdoor environment provides a multisensory experience that enriches their understanding of the text. Children can relate what they read to their surroundings, deepening their comprehension and making connections between the story and their real-life experiences. The combination of fresh air, natural light, and a change in scenery can improve focus and engagement, allowing students to absorb information more effectively.
By: Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Mrs. Crabb’s and Mrs. Costello’s 4th grade classes continued their yearly “Simple Machines” projects and presentations this year.
These 4th grade students had to think about which of the six simple machines they wanted to use: wedge, screw, lever, pulley, inclined plane and the wheel and axle.
Many of the students used multiple simple machines as they thought up a design, then took time in school and at home to build their project. Once the projects were completed, each student got up and presented their Simple Machine(s) to the entire class to work on their public speaking skills. Some of these projects were quite involved and took many hours at home with multiple simple machines built in. After the student presented their simple machine projects the other students had the opportunity to ask three questions by raising their hand. The student who presented called on them one at a time and answered the question.
These 4th grade students learned how to plan an idea, figure out whether it would work out, make changes and adjust and then continue moving forward. It was very interesting to not only hear students present but then answer questions on the spot in front of their peers.
Congratulations 4th graders!
By: Mark Carls, CA BOCES Professional Development
Teachers spend countless hours building and creating positive classroom culture. When the classroom culture is positive, students make connections with peers and teachers inspire attitudes of lifelong learning. Students carry the culture with them into the wider school community, building bridges across differences and making the world a better place.
In the Spring, teachers often revisit classroom culture, adding new incentives to carry students through the remainder of the year. Friendship Central School accomplishes this task collectively through a school-wide book read.
The after-school program offered children materials to create robot animals as a means to build bridges between the classroom and extracurricular activities.
Each classroom invited a “guest reader” to read aloud as a welcoming start to the day.
Students reached out to the national community and experienced a virtual author visit.
Inspired by the community service theme in the novel, high school classes partnered with elementary classes to “grow” a canned goods garden. The food collected was donated to the community food pantry.
Elementary students used the canned goods garden as a resource to learn about data, measurement, and graphing.
At the end of the month, students requested to read another novel as a school next year. Clearly, this venture was time well spent. If you are interested in learning more about building classroom and school culture through a school-wide book read, please contact Michelle Rickicki at firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Michelle Rickicki, CA BOCES Professional Development
Breakout EDU is one of our most popular kits. It goes out of the warehouse on a consistent basis and has done so since we first purchased these kits when Breakout EDU was founded in 2015. Breakout EDU has come quite a long way since then, moving from a free platform to a paid one; adding several locks and thousands of puzzles; and adding the digital component.
One of the things Breakout EDU added in the past few years is their Expansion Pack. We’ve never really dipped our toes in that water until now! Learning Resources has just purchased 12 new Breakout EDU kits, complete with the newest expansion pack! Level up your experience with these brightly colored wheels and dice. These items feature unique symbols that allow educators to continuously add new challenges and hands-on elements. Your students' critical thinking and collaboration will be at an all-time high! The Expansion Pack works with a growing library of Digital and Kit-based games within the Breakout EDU Platform which you can find by searching “expansion pack” in the search bar.
So many teachers in our area know that Breakout EDU game design is an effective way to allow students to work at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Students even have the opportunity to create games, providing an opportunity to construct puzzles and think critically about academic content. This is infinitely more exciting and challenging than simply memorizing facts or completing worksheets.
With these new and exciting opportunities, are your teachers using Breakout EDU? If not, please reach out and we’ll make sure they are using this valuable game tool with their students.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
This article is the second of 2023 that continues to offer information about the NYS Science Investigations. If you missed the first article, head back to the February archive and search for “NYS REQUIRED SCIENCE INVESTIGATIONS GOT YOU STUMPED?” or click here.
Teachers and coordinators have been experiencing the NYS Science Investigations firsthand in several workshops that have been offered this spring. Participants in these workshops are encouraged to ask any and all questions and are assured their questions will be answered before they leave for the day. They participate in a vocabulary activity where all vocab words are identified in an Investigation and then they are given ideas for how to start incorporating these words more into their curriculum. The participants split up to experience an activity that is relevant to them - they set up the Investigation as they would as a teacher, and then they work through the Investigation as a student would, identifying obstacles and points where they could scaffold or modify the Investigation for students they think may struggle on that part. Finally, everyone is brought back together as we comb through the list of questions, being sure none are left unanswered. Resources that are used during the workshop as well as other items related to the NYS Science Investigations can be found in this Wakelet collection.
If you would like to take part in one of these NYS Science Investigations workshops, there will be a workshop this summer, July 12 (register now!) and another on October 10 (registration for fall workshops will be open soon). Principals are encouraged to attend with their teacher teams. Certainly, newly-hired teachers in Grades 3-8 should attend.
Kits filled with materials for the NYS Science Investigations are available to order from resources.caboces.org. Each kit contains enough materials for 30 students. Some kits contain reusable items, and so a teacher with multiple classes would only need one kit. Some kits have consumable items, and in that case a teacher with multiple classes would want to order enough kits for the number of students they have, ie. If a 5th grade teacher has three classes of 20 students throughout the day, they would have a total of 60 students, and should order 2 kits.
We are in the process of receiving all of the materials we ordered and continuing to fill kits. We will ultimately have a stock of 35 kits for borrowing, hopefully by September.
With the printshop, we have created a booklet that contains all of the documents that should follow a student through three years, being passed on to each teacher as the student moves on. The spiral-bound booklets contain the record-keeping sheet, all of the student answer packets, and the rubric for each investigation. Districts can order these booklets using this sheet. You can order any of the NYS Science Investigations print materials from this form, but the booklets are located at the bottom of each page. Directions for where to send this are found on the third page.
The answer booklets are a fantastic tool for assessing student progress through the new science standards. Teachers in 4th grade can now see student answers and how they were scored on the rubric in 3rd grade and use that information for scaffolds and support in their science lessons. Even though the grades are banded 3-5 and 6-8, 6th grade teachers will likely want to see the answer booklets from 3-5 to inform their lesson design. Likewise, as a former 9th grade teacher, I would love the information in the 6-8 answer booklets to make it to me in preparation for those students entering my Earth Science course.
In addition to keeping these booklets, PowerSchool, eSchool, and School Tool all have integrated a column for tracking the NYS Science Investigations from year-to-year. The checkbox is important to confirm the student is eligible to take the 5th grade and 8th grade state science exams.
If a student transfers, please send the answer booklet to the next school. There is a place for teacher and principal signatures in the front of the answer booklet, that is necessary to confirm what the student has completed.
When can a student be marked as “Successfully Completed”?
This is a local decision. All teachers should have the goal of helping all students meet Proficiency in all categories as they guide their students to the state assessments. In reality, not all students will meet Proficiency. Teachers should mark students appropriately on the rubric and make notes where applicable as information for further remediation or for information for a student’s future teachers. The rubric is not a report card, it is part of the tool that will help inform instruction for our students to help them better learn science.
To learn more about the NYS P-12 Science Learning Standards, administrators and teachers are welcome to attend the Intro to NYSSLS workshop on November 16 (registration will become available soon).
Please contact me (email@example.com or 716-376-8285) for work with Teacher-Administrator teams to come up with the best solution for NYS Science Investigations implementation at your district.
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
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