What a Cool Location to Host the Middle-School/High-School ELA CLC: CA BOCES Learning Resources, St. Bonaventure Campus Annex
Our host was Alex Freer, Digital Resources & Technology Coordinator. Not only did Alex provide meaningful, relevant digital-resource professional development, she was an amazing tour guide. Regional MS and HS ELA teachers enjoyed touring the Learning Resources Warehouse.
The supplies, the kits, the tools, and the books: everyone could have explored for hours. Alex also encouraged teachers to reach out with creative ideas for kits to support curriculum and instruction development as well as engage students.
Another highlight was the LR Professional Library; there are so many great books to support teachers’ professional growth, including texts that teachers can borrow as they pursue their advanced degrees.
In addition to the hands-on experience, Alex provided an in-depth, ELA teacher-focused tour of all the digital resources that are available. I know firsthand that teachers always want more time to explore because there are so many great resources that connect to NYS Learning Standards. The presentation included time. Teachers explored and planned, connecting digital resources to content. They were amazed by all that’s available and grateful for the gift of time AND for Rachelle Evans, Digital Resources Support Specialist, who made sure everyone had accounts and could access all the tools.
Jenna Tost and I would like to encourage teachers to visit CA BOCES Learning Resources, St. Bonaventure Campus Annex: they’ll likely be surprised and definitely amazed by all that’s there to support them as well as their students.
By: Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES Professional Development
On October 20th and October 24th, Gerald Daly visited us at CABOCES to teach us the Wellspring Resilience Technique.
The Wellspring Resilience Technique (WRT) is an innovative method for increasing long-term resilience (defined as the ability to bounce back from setbacks) for teachers and social workers who are working in high stress environments.
The heart of the WRT learning is to focus on: a) Helping participants to develop an appetite for resilience in their lives; b) Helping participants to identify the specific habits that they are prepared to commit to and incorporate into their day-to-day lives.
Gerald Daly has been a personal resilience facilitator for international humanitarian staff from 2012. At our workshop we met social workers, principals, counselors, and CABOCES staff developers coming together to learn and support each other through this resilience workshop. Each participant left the 2-day workshop with a “buddy” in which phone numbers were exchanged and 21-day check-ins were scheduled with each other. Everyone left feeling empowered and supported during this resilience training. Conversations have continued about another workshop soon to check-in with the current participants as well as inviting new educators looking to build their resilience during these more difficult times.
By: Kelli Spink, CA BOCES Professional Development
I have just discovered that my favorite phrase to hear in a classroom is, “I did it!” I heard that a lot while working with students in Ellicottville. As of November 2022, I am back at CABOCES as a tech integrator and one of the first schools to have me come in was Ellicottville. The first day I was scheduled to come in got snowed out, so I went in on for my first visit on December 1st. December 1st in Ellicottville was challenging. I had Shawne Hunt, Director of Technology, push out the app Pyonkee to all the student iPads I would be working with. Pyonkee is built from Scratch 1.4, a free program from MIT (scratch.mit.edu). Pyonkee works on iPads and is a whole lot more like regular Scratch than Scratch Junior.
I learned the hard way that Pyonkee was too hard for first and second graders. So, the next time I was in on December 7th, I asked Shawne to push out LightBot Hour, which is an app for students who are emerging readers and is one of the free “hour of code” apps. This was much more successful. First and second graders could work on their own and at their own pace. The teacher and I had to help with some basic reading, but the “learning game” was played independently. Eventually, what seems to happen in every classroom is a student saying, “I am on lesson 2-1.” Then another student says, "I am on lesson 1-7”. I always state to students in plain language that learning is not a race, and that we all learn at different rates of speed.
With the older students, third and fourth graders, we used Pyonkee successfully. Students experienced right angles (90 degrees was not familiar to students). Students programmed the iPad to draw a square and then learned to modify their code to draw a square using a repeat. Repeats are possible in all coding languages, so for third and fourth graders to learn this concept is important when moving forward with technology. Students were given the learning adventure of creating a hexagon, an octagon, a heptagon, a decagon, and a dodecagon (12 equal sides). Students were not given the “turn degrees” to these shapes and had to use trial and error to figure them out. As they did this, I said, “You are being computer scientist because using trial and error is what scientists use all the time.” I saw some students doing math on post-it-notes to try to figure out the angles.
Students and teachers had fun and learned a lot. Currently, we are building skills to help with math. After these foundational skills, I will be teaching students and teachers how to make their own video games. Don’t tell anyone, but there may be more math involved! If you are interested in having me come to your school or classroom to do some coding, or other ed tech things, please email me at email@example.com.
By: Rick Weinburg, CA BOCES Model Schools
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