Did you know, STEM Day falls on November 8? There’s no way around it: children are significantly better off with strong science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics skills. That’s why STEM education programs are so important. It’s undebatable that these subjects push society forward, and these programs help to find fun and engaging ways to teach them to students, which is all worth commemorating. So, on November 8, we celebrated STEM Day! How can you celebrate? By taking part in the STEM challenge on this day or any other day this month. This month's STEM challege is a little different. The challenge is to build and make a model to brainstorm and answer, "What does STEM mean to you?" Students can build a model to represent what they think STEM means or how they see it using various materials.
There are no criteria or contstaints to this challenge. It is an open-ended, metaphoric prompt to let students explore and think critically about the solution.
Hints and Tips for Success
By: Clay Nolan, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Teams have been hard at work since the school year began to prepare for the Southern Tier’s largest Lego League tournament ever. The program, sponsored by BOCES, continues to grow by leaps and bounds in the Cattaraugus-Allegany region. On Saturday, November 16th, 27 teams from 14 school districts are participating in this year’s FIRST Lego League robotics tournament series held at Houghton College. Congratulations to Archbishop Walsh, Belfast, Bolivar-Richburg, Catt-Little Valley, Cuba-Rushford, Ellicottville, Fillmore, Franklinville, Friendship, Genesee Valley, Salamanca, Scio, Wellsville, and Whitesville for accepting the challenge to explore the fields of architecture and urban engineering.
First Lego League, a world-wide robotics program, was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in Science and Technology. Each year a new challenge is designed to motivate kids to get excited about research, engineering, math and problem solving, while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills. Learn about this year’s challenge, City Shaper, here: https://firstinspiresst01.blob.core.windows.net/fll/2020/city-shaper-challenge.pdf
The Campus Center at Houghton College is the place to be on Saturday, November 16th to see more than two hundred 9-14 year old students, plus their coaches and families, and over 3 dozen volunteers discover innovative ways to explore robotics while having fun! Spectators are invited to attend to cheer on all the teams who tackled the City Shaper challenge. At the Closing Ceremony, the seven teams who will advance to the Championship Tournament at the University of Rochester on December 8 will be announced.
Southern Tier Lego League Tournament details:
Call or email BOCES Student Programs at 716-376-8323 for more information. We're looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday, November 16! Thanks for supporting the Southern Tier Lego League teams!
Student Programs CABOCES
Like many people, here at Learning Resources we are working on shedding excess weight! Shelves and shelves of outdated media kits have been removed from the system and we are looking leaner and meaner.
But any successful weight loss effort needs a support system. And our administrators, teachers, and students are just that. For the past few months, we reached out to CLC’s, forums, Admin teams, and curriculum specialists to give us ideas for new kits that align to standards and/or are high interest.
If you have any ideas for kits that can be used in your classrooms, please don’t hesitate to reach out and share your ideas. We’ve already added some kits that may be new to you: Sphero Minis, Sphero Bolts, and BobXL
BobXL is a training dummy. Some of our schools are working with their students on self-defense and reached out to us for help. Self-defense is important to learn, but these lessons can fade without practice. Now students can train to develop the muscle memory they may need if a self-defense situation occurs.
In addition, we’ve also added Sphero Minis and Sphero Bolts.
Both are app-enabled robots that provide endless opportunities to be creative and have fun while learning
If you have any questions or want to find out more, please reach out! We have a lot of work to do to create more and more kits that will help teachers and students reach their educational goals.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
The Cattaraugus County Government student intern class of 2019 consists of 32 students from Allegany-Limestone, Ellicottville, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, and Randolph. As part of the program for this semester, the class has chosen to support the CAMP group in raising awareness of preserving and restoring historical sites such as the Civil War Memorial building in Little Valley. CA BOCES offers the County Government Intern Program in conjunction with Cattaraugus County.
On October 16, 2019, the County Government students were involved in filming a video with Sam L. Hayes, Tourism Assistant with the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism.
Get ready for the 4th Annual Southern Tier Film Festival! Teachers from all over Allegany and Cattaraugus counties are partnering with their students to help them write, read, and direct their own films. Students are flexing their skills and showing up at school to be directors, writers, and artists. They are recruiting their peers and making their way to the stage. This year the festival will be held in the Olean High School’s Auditorium on May 7, 2020 at 6:00 PM, but before then a lot has to happen.
Teachers involved in the ongoing Writing with Video Professional Development sponsored by CA BOCES and Houghton College are reaching out to as many school districts as possible and inviting teachers to bring writing with video to their classroom, which just means asking our students to express their learning through video projects in the following categories; animation, video poems, themes, and narratives. Further, as we reflect and work to continuously improve this wonderful event that includes students, their work, parents, teachers, and administrators, we are excited to include a middle school category this year. For more detailed instructions on how your students can get involved and submit a video to this year’s festival, go to Schoology and enter the access code W8CQ5-968RV. The deadline for student submissions is April 27, 2020.
Here is a link to the video that members of the Writing and Video group compiled featuring student film: https://cabocesorg-my.sharepoint.com/:v:/g/personal/christina_mcgee_caboces_org/EVwTfkXAIeZBj3InB_aI02ABZ1y68c5vpSi9GwQwkPrx9Q?e=nzS9EO
For more information about past events or getting involved with the summer professional development offerings, please check out other articles from the Innovative Teaching blog including “And the Winner is…,” “Fun + Film = S.T.A.F.F. Win,” Your Students and the 2018 S.T.A.F.F. Awards,” and “Creative Professional Development Turns into Collaborative Life-Long Learning, Innovative Curriculum, and Regional Annual Film Festival” or reach out to Alex Freer, Digital Resources & Technology Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
On October 1, K-5 math teachers from around the region gathered for a Collaborative Learning Community (CLC) experience. The morning was jam-packed with information and resources for math with CABOCES coordinators Jillian Putnam and Justin Shumaker. Using a Think Tank model for group discussion, topics discussed included best practices when facilitating student learning, the use of technology in the math classroom, and whether math lessons should begin with teacher led instruction or students attempting to solve problems on their own. Teachers had time to discuss each and ask questions regarding their current classroom practices.
If you are unfamiliar with the Think Tank model, participants are separated into smaller groups of preferably four members where each person is given a specific role. The roles include the facilitator, time keeper, scribe, and person to share out. The facilitator ensures that all group members are heard and stay on topic. The time keeper ensures the group adheres to the time constraints of the model and moves the discussion forward when necessary. A scribe takes notes of what the group discusses while the share out person takes the small groups ideas and shares them with the full group.
Also integrated into the day was the idea around Social Emotional Learning (SEL). A point of emphasis around the region due to the new NYSED standards, SEL is incredibly important for each of us to consider. The overall well-being of our students should be one of our main priorities and also goes a long way towards helping our students be successful. A quick tip - pine cones stimulate the nerve endings in your palms. Do you have students who struggle with focus? Have them roll a pine cone in their hands! A cheap alternative to fidget spinners, simply walk outside and pick one up off the ground!
In the afternoon, Clay Nolan, STEM coordinator at CABOCES, shared with the group the latest and greatest from NYSED about the new science standards and assessment timeline. In short, the new grade 5 and 8 science assessments will start in the 2021-2022 school year. Also a point of emphasis, what makes a great exit ticket. Teachers dove deep into how to setup exit tickets in order to best inform us of the learning that took place that day. From Learning Resources, Alex Freer, Coordinator for Digital Media, also came and shared some of the resources available to the teachers through their department.
At the end of the day, teachers and facilitators were excited about the work accomplished. We look forward to working with teachers from around the region again for the next K-5 Math CLC on February 4 at the CABOCES Barn training room.
By: Justin Shumaker, CA BOCES Professional Development
Restorative Practices is becoming more common in the CA BOCES Region. Several districts have requested Restorative Practice Awareness training for staff as they begin to explore practices that teach positive behaviors and build relationships rather than punish. Climate changes daily but as we know changing school culture takes time, dedication, honest conversations, and an open-mindset. The CA BOCES Restorative Practice Awareness training provides an opportunity for teachers to reflect on the positive and negative impacts of current and past practices.
Restorative Practices range from informal to formal. Participants are introduced to the Restorative Practices Continuum which includes informal practices such as affective statements and questions that communicate people’s feelings, and allow for reflection on how their behavior has affected others to impromptu restorative conversations and more formal practices including circles and formal conferences. As you move from left to right on the continuum the processes become more formal, involve more people, and require planning and time.
During the awareness training, participants are exposed to affective statements and questions. Affective statements are personal expressions of feelings in response to others’ positive or negative behaviors. The idea is for teachers to make connections with students. Affective questions include questions that can be asked to the:
Person who committed the harm:
What were you thinking at the time? What have you thought about since?
Who has been affected by what you have done in what way?
What do you think you need to do to make things right?
Person who was harmed:
What did you think when you realized what had happened?
What impact has this incident had on you and others?
What has been the hardest thing for you?
What do you think needs to happen to make things right?
Participants gain an understanding of how to have small impromptu conferences with students to address specific situations and how to incorporate circles into the classroom. It’s always recommended that circles be 80% proactive and 20% responsive. Therefore, more emphasis should be put on building relationships and making connections with students.
Changing school culture is a significant challenge where students will become the beneficiaries of stronger schools and a safe and supportive environment for learning. Restorative Practices provide children and adults with a skill set for enhancing communication in all settings. We encourage schools to explore the restorative journey for their students!
By: Jillian Putnam, CA BOCES Professional Development
Information literacy is pertinent to students’ education and is cultivated through the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum (ESIFC) Cycle of Inquiry and Learning skills Connecting, Wondering, Investigating, Constructing, Expressing, and Reflecting. These skills help students think critically, encourages innovation, and prepares them for research projects. Students wonder about many things but lack effectiveness in finding accurate resources, however, through collaborative opportunities between content area teachers and school librarians these skills can be reinforced with students.
School librarians attending the Collaborative Learning Community (CLC) for 2019-2020 have been provided with an updated version of the ESIFC, which also supports the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards.
The ESIFC was developed by the New York City Department of Education/Office of Library Services School Library System in 2014 and has recently been updated to include NYS Next Generation Standards. This resource is available to teachers and school librarians and helps familiarize them with curricular resources and assist in planning collaborative lessons. The four anchor standards and indicators are:
School librarians within CA BOCES will receive training in using this fantastic resource.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
I have determined a solution to end the struggle between pronouncing data with either a long or short ‘a’ sound. Rather than being confused between which of the two typical pronunciations you should choose, you should pronounce data as you would tada. Now, if you didn’t find it fun before, any conversations regarding data will be much more enjoyable!
Thankfully, the vast majority of my discussions and dialogue centered on data have been well-received and productive. Based on recent conversations with similar colleagues at various BOCES, these generally positive encounters regarding data are both a rarity and are among the many characteristics that set the CA BOCES region apart from many others across the state.
However, because much of my work as well as that of numerous coordinators on the Professional Development team involves data (as it should), I would like to share the data ABCs as many of the CA BOCES continue to delve deeper into data.
Data Is AwarenessA good friend of mine said something that has been stuck in my head since he made the claim not long ago: even the sincerest of intentions can be sincerely mistaken. In other words, while a person’s intentions can be good, the actions he chooses may not yield the desired results, potentially even the opposite.
The same is true in education. As a former high school mathematics teacher, I held firm to the belief that my students needed to do homework in order to be successful. “Complete these 15 problems (10 skill-based and 5 application) each night, and you’ll be on the right track,” I thought. That was the approach my teachers had taken. It was the approach most educators followed (albeit with some flexibility). However, although research based on traditional homework practices yields positive results, traditional homework still does not provide a year’s worth of growth, at least through grade twelve.
By examining the research, we are able to challenge our own subjective beliefs and opinions. It is in this examination of data that we are aware of how to best align our sincerest intentions with what actually works best, not just what we think works best.
Data Is The Beginning, Not The EndBeyond awareness, data is best utilized before making decisions. The difference between using data to become aware and guide next steps as compared to being used for awareness alone is the difference between being proactive and reactive. Data as a beginning allows for timely and accurate decision making, both of which are key to formative practices.
Data Is CrucialIf being accurately informed wasn’t justification enough, I have listed five additional reasons why data is crucial in public education:
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
The limited English proficient population within the United States has grown over 80 percent within the last 20 years, and continues to do so. Language access programs ensure equal access to everyday programs, services and activities that schools provide, including those that impact the vital safety of the community, health and legal rights. Although the need within our particular region is not frequent, it is often urgent.
In an effort to assist our region’s school districts in meeting the needs of the whole child, and doing so efficiently and effectively, Language Line Solutions was contracted through Community Schools to provide translation and interpretation, as needed. Language Line Solutions is a proven and trusted partner in the field of language access that has been in the business for nearly 40 years, with over 25 thousand clients, including top government and healthcare sectors.
The Community Schools Service Showcase on September 24th, hosted representatives of the company to personally introduce the service. Participants learned of the specific services that are available to their districts within the contract and expanded upon the circumstances in which they might be utilized. Specific services included written translation, telephonic interpretation and video interpretation in upwards of 240 languages, inclusive of American Sign Language.
When might schools use spoken and signed interpretation? Good question. Language Line phone interpreting or Language Line InSight video interpreting might be helpful for any inbound or outbound phone calls, parent-teacher conferences, meetings with school administrators, discipline follow up, school nurse visits, new student registration meetings or special education related meetings, including Committee on Special Education (CSE) Meetings. Interpretation services are available on demand, with an average connection time of 30 seconds or less.
Written translation, would be particularly useful to overcome language barriers in various school related situations. Some examples would include, exams or tests, written Individualized Education Plans (IEP), parental consent notices, progress reports, parent handbooks, medical authorization forms and other general notices. Once a district has a document translated, they own that document and are able to reproduce such documents as needed, for example, parent handbooks.
Community Schools will be working with Language Line Solutions to host a virtual informational meeting later this fall. Please look for an announcement or contact Katie Mendell at Kathryn_mendell@caboces.org for more information.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
It has been a busy summer and start of the school year for the Distance Learning Team at CA BOCES and our districts that purchase the 420 CoSer. We are hosting or receiving ten video conference courses that involve ten of our CA BOCES regional schools, one school from Erie 2 BOCES and two schools from Central New York. Installation of Zoom video conference equipment from the 2017 RUS Grant is complete along with upgrades within buildings as requested.
Two highlights from Distance Learning Makeovers in districts:
Scio has two different, but very similar systems. They made over their Polycom Distance Learning Room with a Zoom Room featuring two 55” screen displays and Zoom video conference equipment. In addition they made over their Polycom portable carts with a Zoom Cart which also has a dual display and the Zoom video conference equipment. Scio is offering and receiving four video conference courses this fall. The pictures below show the Zoom Room equipment in the made over Scio Distance Learning Room.
Belfast has remade their Polycom Distance Learning Room with a Zoom Room and has installed equipment and is utilizing Zoom video conference software in three additional classrooms. These makeovers allow Belfast to host and receive five video conference courses this fall. Pictures below show two Belfast classrooms that had a makeover using Zoom.
Like most home remodels, a Distance Learning makeover it isn’t always on time or without its challenges. Our tech support has been instrumental in helping overcome hurdles and challenges. That said, we are also learning how to best use Zoom to enhance learning and teaching. Kudos to our CA BOCES tech support for doing research and finding solutions and to our distance learning teachers across the region for taking a risk and innovating their classrooms as the technology available to them enhances learning.
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
CABOCES hosted the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and an audience of nearly 1,400 elementary students and teachers for 2 interactive concerts at the Olean High School on September 25. The BPO, led by conductor Jaman Dunn, kicks off their Student Concert Series each year by transporting a 70 piece orchestra to the Southern Tier.
The concerts combined a diverse selection of music, story-telling and active audience participation. It was more than just a concert, it was an educational show that connected NYS elementary curriculum with music. The audience was prompted to listen, conduct, sing and dance along as the musicians’ accompanied them. The enthusiastic students performed with the BPO.
Each year a talented team of music teachers, staff and musicians develop the School Concert Series. This year the theme was a focus on how music can demonstrate, express and encourage movement and emotion. The BPO Education department aligned their performances with the Common Core Learning Standards. This provided a unique opportunity to inspire Kindergarten through Fifth grade students and enhance the Arts, ELA and Literacy Standards that are being taught in the classroom. To ensure a strong foundation for “Moving and Grooving”, the BPO Education Department provided curriculum material, including audio links, for use in the classroom. The districts received these resources prior to the shows and teachers were encouraged to use them to prepare their students for the performance. The information is available on the BPO website at http://bpo.org/community-engagement/education4/for-educators/curriculum-resources/
Robin Parkinson, BPO’s Director of Education and Community Engagement, summed up the day this way: “The BPO is incredibly proud to start our season of youth concerts in Olean each year, performing for our neighbors in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. It is gratifying to be able to take the orchestra on the road and play for students who can’t make it to Kleinhans in Buffalo.”
Thank you to Franklinville, Hinsdale, Scio, Wellsville and Olean school districts for allowing their students to attend and promoting the arts in their education. CABOCES Arts in Education helps schools enrich the lives of their students by providing opportunities to experience the performing arts. If the concept of music as education piques your interest, please call CABOCES Student Programs at 716-376-8323 to find out more about Arts In Education, CoSer 403.
By: Jean Oliverio, Student Programs
If you heard a buzz coming from the Main Center of CABOCES in Olean on August 20th and 21st, there was no need to worry! Our annual CABOCES Summer Tech Camp was going on and the energy, excitement, and participation was through the roof! If you missed out, keep reading for a recap of the event.
Spanning the course of two days in August, over 75 participants took part in a refreshing look into new and exciting instructional technology applications and programs to take back into their classrooms for the upcoming school year. There were 14 different school districts and three BOCES represented by the participants.
On the first day, Matt Miller (author of Ditch That Textbook, Ditch That Homework, and Don’t Ditch That Tech) presented a keynote all about bringing new and innovative approaches to educational activities using a variety of technology tools that most of us already have access to on a daily basis. He showed how to take virtual field trips using Google Maps, using the Quizizz app to replace general homework review assignments, new ways to combat Kahoot/Quizlet overuse. Matt also demonstrated the use of Pear Deck to make classroom presentations more interactive and engaging. He finished the first day with a meaningful and enlightening discussion regarding the relevancy and educational impact that homework may play in our classrooms. A participant commented that “Matt showed some things that were new, some that I already knew, but the approach to using them in the classroom has me excited and ready to go for this school year! He made everything seem so easy and relatable to my classroom.”
On the second day, we had the opportunity to shine the light on some of our local teachers who had put in requests to present to their peers on what they do, software programs they do, and much more. With over 20 teacher-directed presentations to choose from, as well as other sessions from vendors like Apple Education, Castle Learning, Spider Learning and the CABOCES Professional Development team, Day Two had a more “conference” feel to it. Regional teachers were able to choose from sessions such as “Beyond being Nice Online” by Fillmore teacher Eileen Anderson, “The Art of Storytelling” by Mark Beckwith from CABOCES, “iBooks” from Cattaraugus-Little Valley’s Chelsea Lobello, and many more!
If you missed out, you can follow along with what the discussion and buzz was about on Twitter, just search for the hashtag #CABOCEStechcamp to see the resources and more that was shared during the conference days. Teachers left Summer Tech Camp with a tremendous buzz and excitement to use what they learned in their rooms and looking forward to next year’s CABOCES Summer Tech Camp 2020!
By: Ryan McGinnis, Model Schools
In September 2017, the NYS Board of Regents adopted the English Language Arts and Mathematics Next Generation Learning Standards. The ELA standards were revised across all grades to ensure understanding, developmentally appropriate practice, and high expectations for all learners. The new standards come at a time when schools are working to provide equity and excellence for all learners. Inside the documents educators will find the Lifelong Practices of Readers and Writers as well as every grade level’s expectations for text complexity.
Many teachers and administrators in the region have worked diligently this summer aligning and adjusting curriculum. They discovered that the most notable change in the standards is the knowledge that being literate in today’s society is different than it was in the past. The implementation of the standards guide students to become critical thinkers and communicators. Teachers, administrators, and curriculum coordinators are meeting this challenge by evaluating district curriculum, revising and creating curricular units of study, and working as a collaborative unit within the region to ensure all students succeed.
For more information and guidance documents go to: http://www.nysed.gov/next-generation-learning-standards
If you have questions regarding the ELA changes, please reach out to Tessa Levitt, Corey Wilson, or Michelle Rickicki.
By: Michelle Rickicki, CA Boces Professional Development
As we are gearing up to begin the 2019-2020 school year, we are also entering Phase II: Building Capacity, of the Next Generation Learning Standards Implementation Roadmap
Phase II of the Standards Implementation Roadmap: Building Capacity, is to provide guidance and support for districts with regards to the professional development needs identified in Phase I, with the focus on the integration of the Next Generation ELA and Mathematics Learning Standards into curriculum, instruction, and assessment design. In our CA BOCES region we have held several regional and in district workshops both in Phase I: Raising Awareness and Phase II; Building Capacity for both Math and ELA. In these workshops we identify current/new instructional strategies that allow opportunities for students to engage in the Lifelong Practices of Readers and Writers and the Standards for Mathematical Practices. As well as examining current classroom instructional strategies and determine changes needed to ensure classroom instruction is research-based and aligned with the standards. For example, using student centered project-based and inquiry-based learning, purposeful play, and other student-focused modes of instruction.
While working collaboratively with peers from around the region, educators are also reviewing, revising, or creating curricular units, based on need, or adopting a curriculum program to ensure alignment to the NYS Next Generation ELA and Mathematics Learning Standards. Furthermore, CA BOCES continues to support regional data reviews such as, ELA Data Dive, to reflect on student performance and identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth.
To help assist districts in the implementation of the Next Gen Learning Standards including curriculum development, the state has recently developed A Guide for Aligning Local Curricula to the Next Generation English Language Arts Learning Standards. The guidance contained in this document for curriculum review and development (ELA Curriculum Reflection Tool in Part II) is optional for school districts in New York State to use. The guidance is provided to support districts’ creation or revision of units of instruction aligned with the student learning expectations in the Next Generation English Language Arts (ELA) Learning Standards. Curriculum decisions are local school district decisions in New York State.
For more information about the alignment guide, please reach out!
By: Corey Wilson, CA BOCES Professional Development
As the importance of trauma sensitive classrooms and the drive for becoming more responsive is at the forefront of our minds, at the foundation of these initiatives is the relationship building that is necessary to make any of those powerful initiatives a success.
In the article, "Why Teacher-Student Relationships Matter" Sarah Sparks notes, A Review of Educational Research analysis of 46 studies found that strong teacher-student relationships were associated in both the short- and long-term with improvements on practically every measure schools care about: higher student academic engagement, attendance, grades, fewer disruptive behaviors and suspensions, and lower school dropout rates.
Although the positives are profound, as educators we recognize there are challenges with building meaningful relationships with all of our students. There are time constraints, curriculum demands and large class sizes that can prevent those ‘little conversations’ from occurring. As the new school year is fast approaching, keep in mind the following strategies and/or trainings that can aid you in having those ‘little conversations’ that will improve engagement and bring about positive lasting results for your students.
The Challenges and the Strategies to Overcome Them
Time is our most valuable resource and there never seems to be enough of it. Within a school setting there are tight schedules and limited class periods.
Although class size varies and depending on grade level may grow or shrink from year to year, we may feel at times if there were only a few less students, more could be accomplished. Getting to know students can be difficult when there are so many and utilizing different games or whole group activities can help foster teacher-student relationships.
Gone are the days when we taught whatever we deemed important, today we are held to high curriculum standards and answer to testing data. The stress and pressure of getting through everything and delivering on academic goals is high. Luckily there are ways to steal moments that can help strengthen teacher-student relationships.
For additional information on Restorative Practice Training, please reach out to Jillian Putnam, Mark Carls, Kathryn Mendell or Jessica Rose.
By: Jessica Rose, CA BOCES Professional Development
We have been busy with two new improvements in Moodle this summer.
First, we have upgraded our Moodle site to version 3.6. New features in Moodle include:
Second, we have partnered with Intelliboard to provide Moodle instructors with a dashboard that will display course information. Intelliboard offers an abundance of instant data from your course which provides instructors with real time data on student progress, completed assignments, and a big picture view of the course. Reports can be generated that provide detailed and specific information about the course and the participating students.
Both of these improvements are value added to our already free Moodle site.
You can learn more about any of these at our Moodle Users workshop on Wednesday, August 28th or contact Karen Insley at email@example.com.
To register for the workshop, have your district representative register you at: www.register.caboces.org.
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
For the 4th year in a row, several teachers from our CABOCES region worked in collaboration during our week long Writing With Video Institute. From middle school to high school, from Art to English and Social Studies, from classroom to online teaching, these dedicated educators took the opportunity to become students. They were led by Dr. David Bruce from the University of Buffalo’s Graduate School of Education and Dr. Sunshine Sullivan, Chair of the Education Department at Houghton College.
Technology is changing the way we teach, and the way students learn. With this in mind, the teachers spent time looking at curriculum and lesson plans, and chose a way, or ways, to insert video as a way to engage their students. Certainly, this isn’t something that has to be used every day or every week, for that matter. But it is a tool that many students can easily latch onto and use to lend voice and images to their demonstration of learning.
Don’t let the title of this institute fool you, though. Writing can be demonstrated and used in all types of curricular areas. In these past few years, we’ve had students introduce themselves with “Me in 6 Words”. Students demonstrated knowledge of various types of angles by videoing them as they exist in our world. We’ve had Spanish students video themselves acting out vocabulary. We’ve had students put together video, detailing trips to Gettysburg. The options are limitless. Words are often much more powerful when paired with music and images.
If students are struggling with voice or approach learning from a non-traditional angle or have a flair for technology, we owe it to them to provide resources and ideas to move them forward on their journey of discovery. Let’s be teachers of students, not simply teachers of content.
Join us as we continue to work with this project and offer new ways to impart information. If you have any questions or want to find out more, please reach out!
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is spreading like wildfire—and schools districts are starting to implement SEL in their classrooms.
There are many reasons why a school might adopt SEL, all of which have been validated by research: to increase academic success, to lower the stress-levels of students as they strive towards that success; to prevent negative behaviors such as drug use, violence, and bullying; to equip students with the “soft skills” they will need in today’s work environment; and to promote positive relationships and attitudes.
At the core of SEL is cultivating our self-awareness, which begins with an understanding of emotions. Our emotions work with our cognition in a seamless and integrated way to help us navigate the classroom, workplace, our relationships, and the decisions we make in life.
Over the last ten years, emotion researchers have found that negative emotions close us off, making us less resilient and unable to relate with and connect to others; whereas positive emotions such as gratitude, tranquility, love, and joy come with a myriad of benefits. The goal, however, is not to feel positive emotions all the time, but rather to understand how emotions, both negative and positive, impact us. Thus, if we can become aware of our emotions and learn to work with them in a healthy way-to see them as information rather than as overpowering responses that control our actions – then we can choose to respond to situations in a manner that brings out the good in us and in others. I
Social-emotional learning is generally broken down into five categories
Self-awareness is being able to recognize and comprehend one’s emotions and how they translate into our behaviors. This includes recognizing stress or negative emotions, being aware of one’s abilities and weaknesses as well as a “well-grounded sense of self-efficacy and optimism,” according to CASEL.
Self-management takes self-awareness one step further into the ability to regulate one’s feelings and behaviors. This can include controlling anger, handling stress, self-motivation, or persistence through setbacks.
Social awareness looks outward and is about empathizing with others and possessing a willingness to understand and respect the unique experiences, norms, and behaviors of others.
This section is about creating and maintaining healthy relationships through cooperation, active listening, conflict resolution, and communication.
This final section is about making safe, healthy choices that abide by one’s positive and healthy personal moral code and benefit their well-being — and the well-being of others.
For more information, check out https://casel.org/what-is-sel/ and don’t hesitate to reach out to Kathryn Mendell or Tessa Levitt for more information, strategies or professional development.
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES Professional Development
Over the past few years the New York State Education Department has been developing new Regents exams for High School Social Studies in both Grade 10 Global History and Geography and Grade 11 U.S. History and Government. These new exams are designed to reflect the shifts in instruction that were identified in the 2014 released Field Guide for Social Studies and assess students according to the practices identified in the Social Studies Framework for K-12 instruction. The first of these new Framework exams was offered this year in Global, while the US History exam will be offered for the first time in June 2020.
June 2019 was the first administration of the NEW Global History and Geography II Regents for students in Grade 10. This new exam design has 28 MC questions that are attached to a stimulus, a Part II Constructed Response Task, and a single Enduring Issues Essay. The purpose of this new Regents exam was to align assessment to the content, skills, and practices of the Framework. Districts had the choice this past June of offering their Global students the new Framework exam, or having students take the Transition exam which continued with the older format of 30 MC questions, a Thematic Essay, Scaffold Questions and a DBQ essay. For two years there will be an overlap period where both types of exams are offered by NYSED.
One of the most noticeable changes in the exam was in regard to Part II. Replacing the Part II Thematic essay, the Framework exam Part II CRQ’s required students to both analyze and make connections between sets of provided documents.
The other major change was a move away from a DBQ format, to an extended writing response called an Enduring Issues Essay. In this writing task, students were still given documents to examine, but rather than have questions they would need to respond to that were assigned to each document, they analyzed the documents to make connections about an issue they identified from them.
Almost half of the districts in the CA BOCES region offered the new Framework exam to their Global students. The first administration was deemed a success and the consensus from teachers was that the test was both fair and indicative of the practices outlined in the Framework.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
The days from July 3 to August 11 are known as the Dog Days of Summer, usually the hottest, muggiest of the year. This is the period when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the Sun. The ancient Romans defined this period and believed the weather was warmer because Sirius was also providing heat for the Earth, hence Dog Days of Summer. So, how can this heat help us with this month’s STEM challenge? Heat rises which is going to be a good fact to know when building your solar updraft tower, which harnesses the Sun’s heat energy to do work. Our version to going to use empty cylinders with a pinwheel attached to the top. The goal is to get the pinwheel to rotate from the heat rising through the solar tower. What materials would be best to use for the tower sections? Do certain items warm up faster or more than others? How can the pinwheel be attached so it can spin freely? How high off the ground should your updraft tower be? Your challenge is to create an updraft tower that uses the Sun’s heat energy to spin the pinwheel the most amount of times. Updraft Tower Example.
Your updraft tower does have some criteria and constraints. Only the materials provided can be used in your design. The tower needs to be at least 1 foot tall. Every group should build and construct the same type of pinwheel for fair testing during the rotations.
*This idea and challenge can be further explored in the Advancing STEM Grade 4 Unit, Full of Potential: The Effects of Energy.
Hints and Tips for Success
By: Clay Nolan, CA BOCES Learning Resources
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as many as 1 in every 5 of American children and adolescents under the age of 18, have a mental health disorder. We also know that anxiety is the number one mental health diagnosis impacting children and adolescents. The second leading cause of death for our children and adolescents is 100% preventable, that cause of death is suicide. The high school students in the Natural Helpers program at Cattaraugus-Little Valley took initiative to raise awareness on mental health and wellness in their school. Initially, the students approached their administration with some of their ideas and were approved to plan one half of the school day to host an event. However, after the preliminary planning meeting, students approached the administration with their vision for the day and were granted an entire school day for the event. This decision sent students the message that they matter, their mental health matters and their wellness is of top priority to the CLV School District. With support from teachers, administrators and Community Schools, the students were able to obtain keynote speakers, nearly 30 experts from the community and the region to volunteer their time and host 24 various workshops for students to attend the day of the event!
Strive to Thrive took place at CLV on Monday, May 20th. All high school students attended two keynote presentations, one at the beginning of the day and another at the end. Students pre-registered for 4 of the 24 workshop sessions that were offered throughout the day.
The day began with all students gathered together to hear keynote speaker(s), Nels Ross, and his son Noah, of In Jest Entertainment. The duo focused on a critical message of resilience, intrinsic value and the potential that lies within everyone. They did so while balancing, juggling and having fun. Much of their message highlighted physical, mental and social health. In addition to the morning keynote, the duo held their own workshop, and were able to explore resilience and wellness with smaller groups of students. Within their workshop, students could use scarves, peacock feathers, beanbags and other props to learn how to juggle. Students learned that juggling helps to develop the area of their brain that is used to practice life skills such as resiliency and goal setting, as well as to complete academic tasks such as reading and writing.
Workshops included; Yoga, Apps to Cope and Heal, Archery, Hiking, Creative Expression, Therapeutic Animals, Breakout Room, Mental Health, Restorative Circles, Mindfulness, Holistic Healthy Living, Fly Fishing, Journaling, Look Good & Feel Good (haircuts/nails), LGBTQ & Inclusive Schools, Character Building, Drumming, Empathy with Technology, Mind-Body Connection, Wildlife with Will and a Fitness Activity & Inspirational Talk with a Cystic Fibrosis Warrior. The workshop presenters included teachers from within the district, university professors, social workers, trauma therapists, yoga instructors, Directions in Independent Living representatives, life coaches, wildlife experts, fitness trainers, CA BOCES staff specialists, YMCA program directors and hair stylists.
Each of the workshops contained an underlying theme of self-care, cultivating positive coping skills and the importance of the mind-body connection. As students navigated through the day, they were able to reflect upon their own strengths as well as needs. During the four alternating workshops, students reported things such as, “I learned about things I typically wouldn’t learn about,” and, “I learned that I am not alone, and other people are experiencing the same things as me.” One student said, “It was nice to have a break and think positively without anything to worry about.”
At the end of the day, students gathered together as a group for the afternoon keynote speaker, Sarah Haykel, certified life coach and founder of Salsa for the Soul. Sarah uses creative expression to promote healthy relationships, resiliency, self-esteem and community building. Haykel guided students on a pathway to their innate value, worth, creativity and talents. Her presentation utilized movement to emphasize the mind-body connection. Haykel also held hosted workshops throughout the day.
The Natural Helpers at Cattaraugus Little Valley chose to respond to the staggering statistics on child and adolescent mental illness, by raising awareness and promoting self-care. Approximately 80% of students reported that Strive to Thrive was a positive, meaningful day. We look forward to learning about the many other approaches to raising awareness and promoting wellness in schools across the region.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
Pixar in a Box Meets Khan Academy
We are storytellers. Notice that I used “we.” Some people prefer sharing stories through writing, others through video, and others through song. Regardless of the medium, we are all storytellers--every one of us.
The question then becomes, “How do we go about telling our stories?” To find the answer, look no further than Pixar’s collaboration with Khan Academy, Pixar in a Box. While the curriculum contains 15 units, The Art of Storytelling is central to story creation and development and is bolstered with six modules to help anyone guide their storytelling much like Pixar has done for over three decades.
The Art of Storytelling
Model Schools Coordinator, Rob Miller, and I first explored The Art of Storytelling curriculum this past March at the South by Southwest EDU (SXSW EDU) conference with Elyse Klaidman, co-leader of the team at Pixar that created, developed, and promoted Pixar in a Box. In her two-hour, hands-on session, Elyse shared her recommendations for utilizing the curriculum on Khan Academy in the middle-high school classroom (disclaimer - I must have been so engrossed in learning that I excluded a piece of the puzzle and numbered incorrectly):
English Language Arts Collaborative Learning Community
After returning from SXSW EDU, Rob and I shared our learning with the Professional Development team at CA BOCES. Seeing our enthusiasm and a clear connection to the NYSED ELA learning standards, Sarah Wittmeyer and Brendan Keiser collaborated with us to include The Art of Storytelling in the next Middle School/High School English Language Arts Collaborative Learning Community (MS/HS ELA CLC).
Educators from Allegany-Limestone, Bolivar-Richburg, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Friendship, Portville, Salamanca, Scio, West Valley, and Whitesville school districts followed a process similar to the one I experienced with Elyse by working through the Getting Started with Pixar in a Box: The Art of Storytelling document in conjunction with the available video lessons over the course of approximately two hours. However, The Art of Storytelling could be easily extended to one week, one month, or one marking period (or longer) if desired. This process could even be developed into a course to include not only storytelling, but also design, effects, simulation, animation, character modeling, and more.
Maybe you aren’t convinced that you are a storyteller; perhaps you feel like you don’t have what it takes to write, produce, or create something valuable. If that really is you, I think the Introduction to Storytelling with Pixar in a Box can help. If that isn’t you and you are interested learning more about Pixar, or if you are looking to expand your storytelling strategies, you can start there, too.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Check out this month's Advancing STEM Challenge!
Chalk It Up
Advancing STEM Challenges are designed to bring engineering and design to your classroom in a simple, easy-to-implement, challenge-based way. Modify our Advancing STEM Challenges for your classroom. A new challenge will be post
The 3rd Southern Tier Annual Film Festival was held at Allegany-Limestone Central School District on May 9th, 2019 under the direction of Suzan Snyder and was another amazing success. Teachers, parents, administrators, and students gathered together, watched student films, and awarded the trophy to the winning district, Cuba Rushford Central School. Participating districts included Alfred-Almond (@AlfredAlmondCS), Allegany-Limestone(@ALCSGator), Cuba-Rushford (@CR_REBELS), Fillmore (@FillmoreEagles), Olean (@OleanHighSchool), and Whitesville (@wcsbluejays).
As a teacher who loves to see the creativity of my students, to witness the brilliance of a new generation, to be part of collaborative communities, I look forward every year to the professional development that spearheaded the film festival. It is an ongoing experience that continues to bring teachers together–those that were there first and new faces that join each year.
Three years ago, a group of teachers gathered together for professional development offered by CA BOCES (@CABOCESit), bringing Dr. David Bruce from University at Buffalo and Dr. Sunshine Sullivan from Houghton College to guide us in our efforts to learn to use digital media in our classrooms. We left that experience armed with new ideas for our classroom, exciting project-based assessments, our own creative pieces, and with a vague idea that we wanted to come together at the end of the school year and showcase our students’ efforts. We met periodically and fleshed out an idea for a film festival—a good spirited, but competitive event that would allow students to try to win a trophy for their school, and provide recognition among their peers and throughout their communities. We also wanted our students to create the artwork to advertise the festival so they could own this event alongside their teachers.
That vague idea became a fully developed festival. Now, each year towards the culmination of the school year, students enter their best work from throughout the year to a film committee. The committee picks thirty of the best films to showcase, selects winners based on specific criteria, and creates a flight sheet for one final award to be chosen by the audience at the end of the event. This year we had a wonderful artist, Jazlynn Sullivan of Olean High School, create the image for the posters to advertise the event and the programs.
As an English teacher, I am constantly amazed at the writing that comes out of these projects. Teachers ask students to tell a story, to shed light on an issue or a poem, to be a magician with images, to create a parody or satire, and they deliver at the film festival with glowing outcomes and to genuine applause. When we ask our students to put themselves in the spotlight, we are asking them to be vulnerable, to be real, to be exceptional. And they do not fail. Students create comedies and tragedies, extrapolate meaning from a poem through image and sound or investigate the way color is used in writing. Sometimes they look at what it means to be a teenager, magnifying difficult issues like bullying, violence, and trying to find their identity. Students are investigating the deep issues of their lives and sharing it with their teachers and then a wider audience so that we can search for answers or laugh or be afraid along with them.
Sometimes our students bring tears to our eyes. Sometimes the adults in the room go back in time, spend three minutes as the adolescents that we once were. That is what happens every year at this film festival. Every year another group of students radiates their authentic selves and ask the adults and companions in their lives to go with them on that journey.
This small film festival is growing every year. This year there were over 110 attendees. The students propelled the hard work of a small group of teachers into something great. For all the future festivals, we hope more teachers throughout the region will attend the five-day summer professional development opportunity and begin making digital projects and films in their classrooms with their students. We can’t wait to see the work of the students next year. Maybe it will be your students that win your district the trophy.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources