Judith Hochman and Natalie Wexler, coauthors of The Writing Revolution, have joined together to provide educators with an evidence-based roadmap for teaching writing to all K-12 students. Popularly known as ‘The Hochman Method,’ which begins with teaching the basic building blocks for writing a sentence and progressively teaching students the framework for designing outlines, paragraphs, and compositions. This teaching structure is so empowering to students; if you can write a sentence, you can write anything. This method is transformative in teaching students to write, as students are introduced to each strategy utilizing the ‘I do, we do, you do’ gradual release model for direct explicit instruction. The strategies for this method of writing remain the same for all grades and content areas, as it is the content that drives the rigor of each strategy. This method is designed to equip students with the skills to become better readers, more effective when communicating in both writing and speaking, and to elevate student thinking.
Each strategy in the book begins with ‘the why’ as well as an overview of the benefits of teaching the strategy to students. When introducing the strategy for teaching basic conjunctions (because, but, & so) common language is established so students know what each conjunction word is telling the writer to do (because- explains/tells why something is true, but- shows change of direction, & so- tells us what happens as a result of something/ indicates cause and effect). Students complete each sentence using each conjunction in turn. Rather than regurgitating facts about a topic, students use the sentence stem to think deeply about the content being covered. It is the format that really matters in this method and strategy.
Let’s look at the ‘because, but, & so’ strategy in action. Often, we question students about a topic as follows: Why was Andrew Jackson a popular president? The Writing Revolution flips this question using the ‘because, but, so’ strategy in order to assess what students already know about Andrew Jackson. Using the gradual release model, the teacher would provide students with the sentence stem: ‘Andrew Jackson was a popular president____________.’ Students would see the sentence stem repeated three times using ‘because, but, so’ and using the gradual release model, would write three separate sentences.
Andrew Jackson was a popular president because _________________________________.
Andrew Jackson was a popular president, but _____________________________________.
Andrew Jackson was a popular president, so ______________________________________.
In teaching this strategy it would be made clear to students that they are creating three separate sentences as the conjunction dictates the end of their response. The sentence stem is repeated three times because we are looking for students to provide three separate sentences about Andrew Jackson. The possibilities for this strategy are endless as they can be easily translated into any content area and/or grade level.
It’s not too late to join us to revolutionize your writing activities! The Writing Revolution CLC Grades 2-8 met once this summer, however we have three more sessions throughout the school year. We will be gathering again via zoom from 3-4:30pm on the following dates: 10/13/22, 12/13/22, and 2/07/23. Please consider joining Sarah Cartmill, Tessa Levitt, and Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith by contacting your district professional development representative to register for our remaining sessions. We can’t wait to connect with you!
By: Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Once again, we’ve been adding to our warehouse shelves, helping to meet the needs of our students as they navigate the upcoming school years. We already had a few Osmo games on the shelves, but their popularity has prompted adding more.
Why use Osmos in the classroom?
Are your teachers using Osmos? If not, please reach out and we’ll make sure they are using this tool with their students.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
On August 16th, regional World Language teachers came together over Zoom to discuss the NYS WL Standards as well as Unit planning and finding authentic resources in the target language. We shared experiences, lesson ideas and communication resources. Because of the great group discussions, we decided to make it an area Collaborative Learning Community and meet in person in the fall. Stay tuned for a September date at register.caboces.org.
By: Sarah Cartmill, CA BOCES Professional Development
Have you ever tried to change a habit? Was it easy or difficult? Have you ever wanted to become more effective in your professional and personal life with things that matter?
Olean City School District staff members have been participating in the work of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and have been loving his principles!
Teachers and administrators are invited to explore the work of Stephen Covey through the lens of his most popular work: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This one-day introductory course (or six zoom meeting sessions) will cover all 7 Habits in an abbreviated fashion to provide an overview of the effective practices that yield to private and public victories. All are welcome to learn for the first time or refresh yourself in becoming well acquainted with the 7 Habits.
Join us as we explore the work of Stephen Covey’s timeless principles of effectiveness. Please reach out to your district representative to register for one of our next sessions; please note there is a fee to cover the cost of the participant workbook.
One day offerings in-person at the Olean CTE center from 8:30-2:30pm: 10/26/22 and again on 2/8/23
Six zoom sessions from 3-4pm: 9/20, 9/21, 9/27, 9/28, 10/4, and 10/5 (Participants are requested to commit to all six of these 1-hour sessions.)
By: Michelle Rickicki and Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith, CA BOCES Professional Development
On Monday, August 8, Dr. Anita Archer joined the region via Zoom for a day of learning about the importance of vocabulary instruction in ALL grade levels and ALL content areas. She started the morning with this quote; “Words are all we have…for understanding new concepts, building background knowledge, expressing our ideas, and understanding narrative and informational texts.”
Dr. Archer shared the research around the importance of effective vocabulary instruction.
Dr. Archer shared the WHY behind Explicit Vocabulary Instruction. Direct vocabulary instruction has an impressive track record of improving students’ background knowledge and comprehension of academic content. The strategies Dr. Archer shared for improving adolescent literacy and vocabulary instruction are as follows:
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES Professional Development
Students are always excited to see and learn about the sky above us. There is so much mystery and captivating views while witnessing such a spectacle. Students at Delevan elementary had an opportunity to feel this excitement using the digital Starlab Planetarium.
Learners ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade were able to enter the “Starlab portal” and immerse themselves into an environment that is like no other. In the planetarium, students can see the Sun moving across the sky, eventually disappearing to allow the darkness to bring out the remarkable views. Here the students can see and identify stars, planets, comets, asteroids, satellites, meteorites and much more. In the Starlab, we can speed up time to allow us to observe the planets movement through space, watch the many stars shoot across the nighttime sky, see what earth looks like from space. The experiences are endless!
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
Just last week we hosted over a dozen fourth grade teachers for an Advancing STEM training. Now that the Elementary NYS Science Assessment has ended for 4th grade (moving to 5th grade in 2024), these teachers got busy learning about the new science standards (NYSSLS) and the CA BOCES Advancing STEM kits. Our Advancing STEM kits are inquiry-based science units that are aligned with the NYS Science Learning Standards.
Earlier in July, middle school teachers worked on learning the SEPUP Lab-Aids middle school science curriculum. One unique characteristic of this company is their dedication to embedding literacy strategies into the lessons. They make use of a Science Lab Notebook as students reflect, explain their understanding, revise their models and explanations, make predictions, prepare oral arguments, and take notes to guide their reading.
Especially true with the new science standards, students need opportunities to read, write, and talk like scientists do. Knowing how and when to use these skills is scientific literacy. The means to discovery and the acquisition of the knowledge, skills, and nature of science heavily relies on literacy skills like reading, writing, and talking. However, literacy skills should not be the end unto themselves. Students should have a purpose to reading as they learn literacy skills. “Literacy is a domain in search of content” according to Dr. Jacquey Barber, and “Science is a discipline in need of communication”. So literacy needs science and science needs literacy!
There has always been a question about how students best learn science and as literacy has been more and more emphasized over the past couple of decades, disciplines such as science have become progressively marginalized in elementary classrooms. Some educators insist students must be engaged in hands-on open-ended activities, whereas others have their students read about scientific ideas to gain an understanding of science concepts.
Based on a study by Dr. Barber, students who engaged in a combination of doing and talking, and reading and writing gained much more scientific knowledge than students who engaged in a strictly hands-on approach or students who engaged in a strictly reading and writing approach. Students involved in the do-talk-read-write approach were motivated to read as they investigated a scientific phenomenon. They were excited to discuss and write about their discoveries.
The NYSSLS are transformational. They include science literacy practices within the standards: Constructing explanations, engaging in argument from evidence, obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information are integral to the discipline of science. We are not born knowing how to do these skills, and so they must be explicitly taught so students understand how to figure out the phenomenon and communicate about it.
Instead of science being a marginalized subject, what if it provides a storyline for math and literacy? Science lessons should be framed with a scientific purpose where students are using science (literacy) skills to figure something out. This scientific purpose provides a common thread to link literacy skills (and math skills!). Our Advancing STEM kits already provide this storyline.
I’m hoping to work over this coming school year with elementary teachers of our region to integrate more literacy strategies into our kits so students are reading, writing, and talking like scientists as they investigate real-life phenomena. Stay tuned for collaboration opportunities that I would love to have your elementary teachers be a part of!
If you’re a podcast person, this: Summer '22 Rewind: The symbiotic relationship between literacy and science with Jacquey Barber (buzzsprout.com) expands on much of what you’ve read here and offers some other resources that I will be delving into as I work on this project!
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
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