It is always great when you can simply walk into your backyard and find amazing things…well 3rd grade students at Bolivar-Richburg were able to use an amazing resource right in our backyard…the Pfeiffer Nature Center located in Portville.
Pfeiffer Nature Center is home to more than 676 acres of nature’s bounty. Here you will find miles of open-access hiking trails, a historic American Chestnut log cabin, great birding areas, a picturesque pavilion available for rent, and so much more!
Students were able to explore an assortment of activities throughout the day. Those activities included observing a vernal pond and learning about the creatures that are found there, investigating fossils, discussing bird migration, and going on a nature hike through the well-maintained trails and stopping along to way to learn about the flora and fauna.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Lance Feuchter, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Resilience CAN be taught… and it IS being taught right here in our region! Many educators were intrigued and inspired to learn more about teaching resilience after hearing author and speaker Christian Moore at different events throughout the last school year. As he does in his book, The Resilience Breakthrough, Moore shared his own personal story of resilience and his journey of overcoming obstacles throughout his life, especially in childhood and education and how this led to the development of the social emotional learning approach that focuses on teaching resilience, Why Try.
WhyTry was created to provide simple, hands-on solutions for dropout prevention, violence prevention, truancy reduction and increased academic success and has grown into a unique method for teaching social and emotional skills in a variety of settings. The curriculum consists of ten visual analogies that are reinforced creatively, through a set of activities that provide choices and engage each of the major learning styles. WhyTry is versatile and has proven to be a successful approach with students age 6 through 18, can be delivered individually, in small groups or with an entire class, and across multiple settings.
Thanks to the grant funded TRLE professional learning series, educators from across the greater WNY region have begun accessing opportunities to become trained facilitators in WhyTry. All educators are welcome and encouraged to join us for one of the two remaining webinar training sessions (July or August). All training and curriculum costs are covered through the TRLE grant and offered at no additional cost to the participant or their district.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
New York State has provided funding for teachers and administrators to participate in a variety of professional development opportunities free of charge through the TRLE grant. CA BOCES has partnered with our regional Joint Management Team (JMT) of Erie 1 BOCES, Erie 2 BOCES and Orleans Niagara BOCES to provide resources and opportunities in the following six areas: Culturally Responsive Teaching, English Language Learners, Families as Partners, Remote and Hybrid Teaching, Social Emotional Learning and Students with Disabilities. Different focus areas offer a collection of resources that can be used this summer by educators to strengthen and deepen learning experiences for students in the coming school year.
Resources and professional development opportunities can be found on this website: https://sites.google.com/e1b.org/rethinkwny/home?authuser=0
Let's take the best learning experiences from this school year and make them better for next year!
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
As the timeline for roll-out and implementation of the New York State Computer Science and Digital Fluency Learning Standards draws nearer and nearer to the first-year implementation phase, there are several resources that are worth considering to help both staff instruct and students demonstrate proficiency with these standards.
Google Applied Digital Skills
I know, I know. The first section in a Microsoft-themed article dealing with Google seems misleading. This is only one of two non-Microsoft sections, and I saved the other for last. I promise. I felt obligated to open with Google’s resource since it has been available for a little while longer, and more people are familiar with it.
Google Applied Digital Skills provides over 100 lessons for users to access with their EDU or personal Google account(s) ranging from everyday use of products like Docs and Slides to business use developing financial literacy or creating resumés.
Microsoft Digital Literacy
Microsoft Digital Literacy is for anyone with basic reading skills who wants to learn the fundamentals of using digital technologies. Resources can be downloaded in a variety of languages at the bottom of the Microsoft Digital Literacy webpage or they can be accessed by working through the online courses Working with Computers and Devices and Working and Collaborating Online through LinkedIn (no account necessary).
Microsoft Learn is a free, online training platform that provides interactive learning for Microsoft products and more. Microsoft’s goal is to help you become proficient on their technologies and learn more skills with fun, guided, hands-on, interactive content that's specific to your role and goals. Additionally, as students and staff sign in with their Microsoft 365 accounts, they are able to track their progress, collecting experience and bages along the way. (This is similar to the Microsoft Educator Center but contains additional resources and learning pathways for uses beyond the role of an educator.)
Microsoft Imagine Academy
Microsoft Imagine Academy is one of Microsoft’s newer education releases that should have educators, especially those explicitly teaching computer science and digital fluency, very excited. District Microsoft 365 administrators can get the ball rolling when licensing agreements are renewed using the Microsoft Imagine Academy Quick Start site.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Science Academy
CMU CS Academy is an online, graphics-based computer science curriculum taught in Python provided by Carnegie Mellon University. We create novel, world-class Computer Science education for your classroom —and it’s entirely free. WIthout signing up or creating accounts, students and staff can access CMU CS Academy’s Hour of Code module to get a glimpse of what the coursework resembles through CS Academy.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
During the 2020-2021 school year, West Valley CSD received S.T.E.M. resources through the Eisenhower Math and Science State Grant Program. Ryan McGinnis, Curriculum and Professional Development Coordinator, provided a virtual training on how to use Piper kits, Root Robots, Spike Lego kits, and Microbits. School librarian Jody Thiel is a proponent of incorporating S.T.E.M. into library programming, and using Microbits and one module of five easy-to-use lesson plans (offered through BBC micro:bit), Thiel’s 5th grade students practiced computational thinking and strengthened literacy skills.
Literacy has evolved over time and presently requires “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge” (Kirsch & Jungeblut, 1986, as cited in Dewitz, Graves, Graves, & Juel, 2020). In preparation for Thiel’s Microbits activity students learned what data is, how it may be classified, and identified how it might be used. For example, what personal data is important for a doctor or school to request versus GameStop ® or someone online. Students practiced literacy skills by writing algorithms, coding, and creating a computerized personal assistant who advises on weather appropriate outerwear.
Dewitz, P., Graves, M. F., Graves, B. B., & Juel, C. (2020). Teaching reading in the 21st
century: Motivating all learners (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
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