Over 300 school librarians converged in Buffalo May 4-6, 2017 to attend the state’s annual school librarians conference. Thirty-nine vendors were available to discuss databases, continuing education programs, cataloging systems, and books that support learning standards as well as popular fiction. Co-chaired by Pioneer school librarians Maria Muhlbauer and Tina Pierce, this year’s theme Make. Learn. Inspire. was a hit!
Make. Learn. Inspire. offered professional development workshops specific to the needs of the school librarian. Keynote speaker Gene Luen Yang, a former high school teacher, has been a recipient of several national book awards. Yang’s engaging style, peppered with humor, brought attention to using comics in education and the importance of representing diversity through the comics medium. Yang’s message was fitting in that it supports the current initiative by CA BOCES’ Brendan Keiser and Cece Fuoco in building graphic novel kits for classroom use next school year.
Thirty-six workshops were made available including“Fostering Civic Engagement Through Archival Research”, “The Differentiated Makerspace”, “Sensory Storytime”, “Game Design”, and “Genrefying Your Library”. One workshop held by Scio librarian, Mary Zdrojewski, had a packed room of 75 attendees who came to learn about using a Breakout Box to teach library skills. Bolivar-Richburg librarian, Karen Fox, (see photo) presented to over 50 attendees on “21st Century Toolbox for the School Librarian”. Fox capitalized on skills she learned as an employee of Apple and Starbucks to streamline the process for managing her library resources and tracking students.
Librarians also enjoyed hearing CA BOCES’ S.T.E.M. coordinator, Clay Nolan discuss using common fiction stories to create S.T.E.M. activities to support ELA standards. After introducing the book Timing Races: Measuring Time by Dianne Irving, Nolan challenged participants with Zometools to create an object that could spin and outlast others (see photo). It was a fun activity and participants’ phones were busy capturing the learning and competition taking place.
Returning to their schools across the state, librarians left inspired to make new learning opportunities for students.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
(Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan) –The Wellsville Central School Odyssey of the Mind team participated in the 38th annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals at Michigan State University from May 24-27. The Problem 5 Division 3 team consists of Skyler Stisser, Rachael Ferraloro, Alysa Daily, Justin Cole, Alyssa Kear, Ashley Reitz, and Braden Scott. Jennifer Parks is their coach. They excelled at the Region 19 Tournament in Wellsville and the State Tournament in Binghamton, where they earned the honor to advance to the 4 day international tournament, representing New York State.
Founded in 1978, Odyssey of the Mind is the largest international creative problem-solving tournament in the world. The program encourages students, from kindergarten through college, to use original and divergent thinking as a team sport. Divergent problems, that is, those with more than one solution, encourage students to learn and lead the way using 21st century skills. By working in teams of up to seven members, participants learn teamwork, the appreciation and understanding of others, and the concept that a group is a more powerful thinking force than an individual.
Over 850 teams from throughout the United States and 13 other countries compete in Odyssey of the Mind. Teams from the US, Canada, China, South Korea, India, Japan, Russia, Poland, Germany, Singapore, Slovakia, Switzerland, Italy, and Mexico traveled to Michigan State University, making this year’s tournament the largest one in 38 years.
Over 20,000 students and supporters, from different cultures and widely varying backgrounds, prove that creativity is universal. The high-energy tournament embodies an international spirit of teamwork. While the competition is fierce, there is also a feeling of camaraderie amongst competitors. At World Finals, teams have an once-in-a-lifetime experience to form friendships that span the globe, through a common goal of being creative and having fun.
The Wellsville team chose to tackle Problem 5, described as-
To Be Continued: A Superhero Cliffhanger: Creativity is being taken away from the world, and it is up to Odyssey teams to rescue it! Teams will present a humorous performance about an unexpected superhero that must save creativity. The superhero will change appearance when it displays its superpowers and go back to blending in with society when not. The performance will also include a clumsy sidekick, a nemesis character, a choreographed battle, and a cliffhanger ending.
Not only do the participants compete within their chosen problem, but teams must also perform well in a “spontaneous problem”, where they solve a new problem on the spot. They must be creative, quick thinking and work well together as a team.
Odyssey of the Mind team members spend months of their free time solving problems as well as developing teamwork skills, independent study, friendships, confidence, and most importantly, improving their brainstorming and problem-solving techniques. They learn new things and utilize their individual strengths to solve problems creatively. Teams also learn how to budget money as there is a cost limit to each problem. Throughout the competition days, wherever you look, there are imaginative costumes, elaborate props, dances, original songs and poetry, creative writing and more. Tournaments are the culmination of months of work from students, coaches, parents and judges who all work together with the common goal of expressing creativity, supporting the arts and learning new things in a fun environment.
It is not possible for a team to be able to attend World Finals without a tremendous group effort from the team members, coaches, school board, community, parents and families. Thanks to the supportive Wellsville school district and communities for their commitment to their students. These local teenagers are inspirational role models for younger students who hope to some day repeat their successes. This team has represented their school, community, Region 19, and New York State in an admirable way. The team’s success would not have been possible without a long term commitment from their dedicated coach, Jennifer Parks. Thank you and congratulations to all on an outstanding accomplishment.
For more information visit odysseyofthemind.com, nysoma.org or contact Jean Oliverio at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-376-8323.
By: Jean Oliverio, CABOCES Student Programming
Digital Learning Day, hosted by Betsy Hardy, Distance Learning Coordinator for Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES (CA BOCES), was held mid-March this year at the Main Center in Olean. There was a record turnout from neighboring districts, with more than 55 educators from across the region including attendees from six regional BOCES, traveling to learn about implementing online learning in their districts or how to enhance current programs.
The day was split into rotating sessions with vendors that CA BOCES currently has partnerships with or with vendors that may be of future interest to any district hoping to broaden depth of transcripts, assist struggling students with unit, quarterly or full credit recovery, or generally provide multiple pathway of learning for their students. The day’s focus was on credit accrual or electives through Edgenuity, world languages, CTE courses, and electives through EdOptions Academy, unit and credit recovery through APEX Learning, homebound tutoring with iTutor, middle school content through Spider Learning, and K-12 collaborative and customizable digital content aligned to standards through Buzz at OHM BOCES.
Overall, the day was a huge success. At the beginning of the day, two rotating sessions with 25 minute overviews of the various kinds of curriculum and implementation methods were held. Lunch and breaks provided time to meet up individually with vendors to ask more district specific questions. The day was rounded out with presentations from Andover, Franklinville, and Allegany-Limestone sharing successful implementation stories of language programs, electives, and credit recovery programs respectively.
Fortified with information from the day, many districts are developing a plan for digital learning and reaching out to CA BOCES as they bring new curriculum to students across the region. For more information on online learning, please contact Learning Resources at 716-376-8281.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Check out this month's Advancing STEM Challenge!
Plethora of Pollinators
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.