Student Programs is bringing Theaterworks USA performances back to the CABOCES region next spring, through CoSer 403 (Arts in Education). Districts are invited to choose the shows, locations, dates, and times that work best for their PreK through fifth-grade students.
There is widespread excitement over two Theaterworks shows based on best-selling books that are making their debut in the region in 2024.
The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System
This Theaterworks show, already sold out on the East Coast, offers a stellar opportunity to build upon the excitement of the upcoming solar eclipse on April 8th . Ms. Frizzle will blend the science of the cosmos with fast-paced, colorful entertainment. Students in first through fifth grades have a unique invitation to attend the show at local theaters, the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Saint Bonaventure University, New York, and the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts in Jamestown, New York on February 15th and 16th, 2024.
Dot, Dot, Dot: A New Musical
This brand-new show is coming to the region May 29th through 31st, 2024 for students in first through fifth grades. The inspirational new musical is based on the Creatrilogy trio of books by Peter H. Reynolds, The Dot, Ish, and Sky Color, and artfully celebrates creativity and selfexpression, inspiring young minds to make their mark.
Additional Theaterworks performances include Pete the Cat on May 22nd -23rd, 2024 followed by Ada Twist, Scientist & Friends (originally called Rosie Revere, Engineer & Friends) on June 6 th -10th, 2024.
Whether districts intend to incorporate performances into their lesson plans and curriculum or use them as ‘end of the year’ field trips, the shows are invaluable resources for classroom teachers, art and music teachers, and librarians.
Additional opportunities to extend the learning experience beyond the theater and into the classroom are available for all shows. Educators can also contact Learning Resources at 716- 376-8354 to check out supplemental books from the professional library or Interlibrary loan.
The 2024 lineup of shows emphasizes creativity, innovation, and STEM education, and aims to inspire, entertain, and enrich the lives of young learners. For more information about bringing the arts and education together through the magic of theater, contact Student Programs at 716-376-8284. Thanks go to Genesee Valley Central School, Salamanca Central School, and Franklinville Central School for opening their auditoriums up to the Theaterworks cast and the students and teachers in the region.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
On February 13, 2023, Friendship Central School witnessed an exciting and enlightening workshop as one of its own educators, Rick Weinberg, presented the SAMR model to the school's faculty. SAMR, which stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition, is a framework used to evaluate the integration of technology in education. The workshop was a resounding success, as it not only introduced teachers to the SAMR model but also showcased its practical application with real-life examples. This event marked a significant step forward in the school's journey towards enhancing technology integration in the classroom.
The SAMR Model: A Brief Overview
The SAMR model, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, offers educators a structured way to think about how technology is integrated into teaching and learning. It comprises four levels, each representing a different stage of technology integration:
Substitution: Technology is used as a direct substitute for a traditional teaching tool, with no functional change.
Augmentation: Technology enhances the original task or process without fundamentally changing it.
Modification: Technology allows for significant redesign of the task, leading to new possibilities and improvements in learning outcomes.
Redefinition: Technology creates entirely new learning experiences that were previously inconceivable.
The Workshop: Unpacking the SAMR Model
Rick Weinberg began the workshop by explaining the SAMR model's key concepts and its potential to transform education. Participants were introduced to the idea that the SAMR model can help teachers move beyond using technology as a mere substitution for traditional methods and toward more innovative and transformative uses.
To illustrate the model's practical application, Rick Weinberg distributed a series of example lessons created with the assistance of ChatGPT. These lessons covered various subjects and grade levels, showcasing how technology could be integrated at different SAMR levels. Each example lesson was designed to encourage active participation and discussions among the faculty members.
Practical Examples: Categorizing Lessons Using SAMR
The teachers were divided into groups, and each group was tasked with categorizing the example lessons into the SAMR levels. As they reviewed and discussed the lessons, they gained a deeper understanding of how technology could be applied in their own classrooms.
Substitution: Lessons that merely replaced traditional tools with technology, such as using a digital textbook instead of a printed one, were categorized under this level.
Augmentation: Lessons that incorporated technology to enhance learning, like using interactive quizzes to test knowledge retention, fell into this category.
Modification: Lessons that fundamentally transformed the learning experience by allowing students to collaborate globally through video conferencing or engage in multimedia projects, for instance, were classified as modification.
Redefinition: The most transformative lessons, which opened entirely new possibilities, such as using virtual reality simulations for historical reenactments or crowdsourcing scientific research, were categorized under redefinition.
Teacher Appreciation and Takeaways
The faculty at Friendship Central School found the workshop to be both enlightening and empowering. They appreciated the practical examples and discussions, which helped them see the potential for technology integration in their own classrooms. The SAMR model provided a clear framework for teachers to assess and elevate their use of technology in education.
Moreover, the use of example lessons generated by ChatGPT demonstrated the wide range of possibilities that technology can offer, regardless of the subject or grade level. Teachers left the workshop feeling inspired and motivated to explore new ways of incorporating technology to benefit their students.
The SAMR model workshop presented by Rick Weinberg on February 13, 2023, was a pivotal moment for Friendship Central School. It not only introduced faculty members to a valuable framework for evaluating technology integration but also provided them with tangible examples to inspire their own teaching practices. As educators continue to embrace the potential of technology in the classroom, students at Friendship Central School are sure to benefit from more innovative and engaging learning experiences. This workshop was a testament to the school's commitment to fostering a culture of continuous improvement and educational excellence.
By: Rick Weinberg, CA BOCES Professional Development
Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES Exceptional Education had 55 Teacher Assistants experience the virtual realities of poverty in a unique poverty simulation conducted on Thursday, August 24th facilitated by Jillian Putnam, Janelle Freer, and Kelli Forster from the CA BOCES ISS Professional Development Team.
The Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) was designed to help people better understand the realities of poverty. “This program helps people to understand the complexities and frustrations of living in poverty day to day,” and “With a greater awareness of its impact, we can more effectively address the poverty issues in our community” were a few statements made by participants during the simulation.
Using a simulation kit, participants role-played the lives of low-income families. Some were TANF recipients, some were disabled, and others were senior citizens on Social Security. They had the stressful task of providing for basic necessities and shelter on a limited budget during the course of 4 15 minute “weeks.” They interacted with human service agencies, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officers, and others.
More than 37.2 million people are living at or below the federal poverty level or 11.4% of the U.S. population, were living in poverty in 2020, based on official poverty thresholds. 11.6% of Cattaraugus County families live in poverty. 16.7% of the population for whom poverty statis is determined in Allegany County, NY (6.92k out of 41.4k people) live below the poverty line, a number that is higher than the national average of 12.8%.
CAPS enables participants to look at poverty from a variety of angles and then to recognize and discuss the potential for change within their local communities, said Elaine West executive director of the Missouri Association for Community Action, which made the simulation available nationwide. The simulation was designed to sensitize those who frequently deal with low-income families as well as to create a broader awareness of poverty among policymakers, community leaders and others.
The Missouri Association for Community Action is a network of community action agencies throughout the state that provide a variety of services to low-income individuals and families. More information about the Poverty Simulation can be found at the following website www.communityaction.org.
By: Jillian Putnam, CA BOCES Professional Development
Even prior to the COVID pandemic, remote learning via Video Conferencing courses was an option for districts in the region. As teacher shortages have picked up, their importance has only grown. As many teachers can now attest to, teaching synchronously online differs greatly from in-person. As a result, there are teaching strategies that are better adapted to online learning experiences. We’ll explore the best teaching strategies for remote learning below.
Engagement: The Key to Remote Learning Success
As you may have guessed, engagement is absolutely critical for teaching effectively in a remote environment. To keep students actively participating, educators must be able to leverage various tools and techniques. One strategy is the integration of multimedia elements such as videos, interactive simulations, and engaging presentations. These resources not only break the monotony of text-based learning but also better cater to diverse learning styles, ensuring that all students are engaged.
Furthermore, fostering a sense of community in the virtual classroom is vital and more importantly, foundational. Establishing regular communication channels, both synchronous and asynchronous, enables students to connect with their peers and instructors. Discussion boards, group projects, and virtual office hours encourage interaction, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas, mimicking the social aspects of a traditional classroom.
Communication: The Glue That Holds It Together
Effective communication is also crucial for success. Instructors must be clear, concise, and readily available to address students' questions and concerns. Establishing a well-defined communication protocol, including response times and platforms, ensures that students can easily seek assistance when needed.
Moreover, providing timely feedback is critical for student growth. Utilizing digital tools for grading and feedback speeds up the process, helping students stay on track and adjust their learning strategies accordingly. This continuous feedback loop fosters a sense of progress and achievement, motivating students to stay engaged.
Adaptability: Flexibility in the Face of Challenges
Remote learning environments can be unpredictable, as students face various challenges, such as technology issues, distractions, or personal commitments. Educators must be adaptable and empathetic to these challenges. One effective strategy is to provide multiple modes of content delivery, including recorded lectures, written materials, and live sessions. This flexibility accommodates different learning preferences and allows students to access materials at their convenience.
Furthermore, educators should be prepared to modify their teaching methods based on student feedback and evolving circumstances. Regular surveys and assessments can help gauge students' experiences and adapt the course accordingly. Being open to changes and willing to experiment with different teaching approaches ensures that the learning experience remains effective and engaging.
Assessment: Measuring Learning Effectively
Assessing student progress and understanding is a fundamental aspect of teaching, even in remote settings. Traditional exams and quizzes can be adapted to online platforms, but educators should also consider alternative assessment methods, such as project-based assignments, presentations, and peer evaluations. These methods promote critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration, skills that are essential in today's interconnected world.
Additionally, embracing technology for assessment can provide valuable insights into student performance. Learning management systems (LMS) often offer analytics tools that allow instructors to track student engagement, monitor progress, and identify areas where students may be struggling. This data-driven approach enables educators to provide targeted support to students who need it most.
The CA BOCES region has excelled in leveraging remote learning with in-person learning but it hasn’t come without its challenges. Teaching remotely takes extra preparation and creativity in finding what works best for your students. If you are interested in becoming more adept at teaching via Distance Learning, come and join me on September 28 from 8:30-2:30pm. We’ll meet at Learning Resources and explore strategies for each of the areas discussed here as well
as others! Have your district representative register you at https://register.caboces.org/seminar/view/8481?workshop_id=2461.
By: Justin Shumaker, CA BOCES Learning Resources
In August, the CA BOCES region hosted Dr. Pam Kastner for the Science of Reading kickoff event at Good Times of Olean.
Pam is an educational consultant at the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) Harrisburg, where she serves as the State Lead Consultant for Literacy.
She shared her years of work, expertise, Instructional Routines and Best Practices in Reading research with 50 area educators. Her work has been featured nationally, with The Reading League, Voyager Sopris Learning, and more.
Some focus areas for the day were: Scarborough's Reading Rope, how teaching Spelling is essential, key components to building fluency and vocabulary development. Teachers were involved in key routines that are quick-hitting, effective ways to embed decoding, fluency, spelling and vocabulary into everyday use.
Dr. Kastner also shared her Wakelet, full of hundreds of resources and evidence-based best practices.
The event was led by CA BOCES Staff Specialists Tessa Levitt and Sarah Cartmill and brought light to the decades of research around structured literacy/explicitly teaching reading.
By: Sarah Cartmill, CA BOCES Professional Development
The much anticipated “new look” of Castle Learning is beginning its roll-out. Finally! We are so excited to provide this invaluable resource to our districts, and even more so now due to the improved look of the site as a whole, and the upgrades made for CBT in particular.
This image show what the new Teacher Page looks like. The same content is there as is in the classic Castle Learning Teacher Page. However, it is now much easier to navigate and is more intuitive and user-friendly. The phase-in of this new facelift will be in stages. Teachers have the option now to choose between the classic look or the updated look. Some portions of the updated pages are not yet available, so be aware that it is not a glitch...it is a work in progress. Two more updates will take place this school year so that by the time CBT rolls around, the new look will be complete.
In addition, Castle Learning is Ready for NYS CBT Testing with these features:
• Toolbar that mimics NYS
• Equation Editor Automatically pops where needed for a constructed response question.
• Grade Appropriate Equation Editor
• Grade Appropriate Calculator
• Grade Appropriate Reference Sheets
Castle Learning has the released exams which make it easier for teachers to find relevant examples as well as assess the data from the student practice. In addition, ANY assignment that students are given K-12 utilize these features making the preparation for online testing easier for everyone. The future is online, and students should be prepared – PSAT, SAT, College Assignments/Exams, etc.
As always, I am available for training teachers on Castle Learning. Whether you have veteran teachers who have used Castle forever, or if you have teachers who need a bit of help in navigating the site, I’d be happy to work with you as an essential partner!
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Follow us on