Is the beautiful drive to your district each morning deceiving?
Each fall, Portville’s new teachers and their mentors participate in a district-wide bus tour. This year, the teachers were led by Dave Youngs, Portville’s Transportation Director, and retired Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, Tom Costa. The goal is to experience how big the district really is by traveling to some of its borders; the district covers a lot of ground, bordering Allegany; Ceres (NY & PA); Cuba; Eldred, PA; Hinsdale; Little Genesee; and West Clarksville. Dave and Tom share historical aspects of the region along with some of the responsibilities of the transportation department that teachers aren’t always aware of. Teachers often comment on how rural much of the district is and, depending where families live, how long children are on a bus each day. It’s a shared experience that builds empathy and compassion. One teacher commented that it was such an important trip that she’d recommend it for any faculty and staff member who hasn’t participated.
The district tour is a powerful way for teachers to better understand the whole district community, and it provides an authentic, meaningful, and relevant way for teachers to build stronger relationships with their students and their families as well as the district transportation department. The tour is a tremendously beneficial adventure for everyone.
Please reach out if you have any questions about coordinating district bus tours or facilitating mentor/mentee experiences for your new teachers.
By: Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES Professional Development
Do you feel like you are stuck in a lesson-planning rut? Would you like to learn about new resources, while having time to experiment with them all? Join Brooke Neamon and Alex Freer for the Educator Play-Day Workshop!
Participants of the Educator Play-Day Workshop are invited to tour the Learning Resources Warehouse to explore resources specific to their content and/or grade level. We will provide a sampling of resources (both physical and digital) that will meet the needs of students at each grade level! During the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to create lesson plans, center activities, projects, assessments, or standard-driven instruction based on the provided resources. There are several different sections available (noted below) to meet the needs of all teachers across the region.
On October 12th, we had our first workshop in the series for PreK-Grade 2 teachers. There were 11 participants who enjoyed touring the warehouse, learning about new and exciting resources, and many of them even took home kits with them to try with their students. Some of these kits included the ever-popular Osmos, Breakout EDU lock boxes, robotics (including the new Sphero Indi), Fairy Tales Problem Solving kits, and more.
By: Brooke Neamon, CA BOCES Professional Development
Preparing students for computer-based testing (CBT) is essential in today's educational landscape. CBT is different from traditional paper-and-pencil tests, so students need specific skills and strategies to perform well. Here why Castle Learning can help you prepare students for CBT:
1. Familiarize Students with the Testing Environment
- Let them practice using the same type of computer or device they will use during the test.
- Familiarize students with the testing platform and user interface.
2. Understand the Test Format:
- Ensure students know the structure of the CBT, including the number of sections, types of questions, and scoring methods.
- Make sure they are familiar with any special features of the CBT platform, such as the ability to flag questions for review.
3. Provide Practice Tests:
- Offer practice tests that mimic the format and content of the actual CBT. This helps students become comfortable with the format and identify areas where they need improvement.
- Review and discuss the results of practice tests to identify strengths and weaknesses.
4. Simulate Testing Conditions:
- Conduct practice tests in an environment that simulates actual testing conditions, including distractions, time limits, and the use of the same devices they will use during the test.
Overall, preparation for computer-based testing requires a combination of technology skills, test-taking strategies, and practice. By guiding students through these steps, you can help them feel more confident and perform their best on CBT assessments. Castle Learning’s equation editor mimics what they will see on the Questar browser and will prepare your students for the upcoming state tests.
If your teachers need training and time to work on the Castle Learning interface, please check the registration system for upcoming workshops or reach out to me directly.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
This past June the New York State Education Department administered the first ever USHG Framework Regents exam. This new exam design has 28 MC questions that are attached to a stimulus, a Part II Stimulus Based Short Essay task where students write 2 responses to 4 documents, and a Part 3 six document Civic Literacy DBQ Essay. The purpose of this new Regents exam is to align assessment to the content, skills, and practices of the Framework and teachers have been anxiously anticipating the arrival of the new exam and curious about both the content and assessment structure.
In order to get a better understanding of the exam and student performance, teachers were invited to a regional workshop to analyze the exam and compile data surrounding the content and skills the exam was measuring.
The information collected was combined and shared so that teachers would have a record of what content was being asked from the Framework, and the types of sources used within the assessment that students would be working with.
At the completion of this work teachers had a better understanding of the exam structure and state expectations and were able to look at student results to develop ways in which to better assist and prepare for future administrations.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
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