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
In September 2018, school librarians attending the Collaborative Learning Community (CLC) were asked to set goals for the new school year. Some chose to look at their school’s student achievement goals while others focused on developing relationships with students and increasing collaboration with faculty. Meeting as a CLC throughout the year provided school librarians the opportunity to revisit goals and share success stories. Following are just a few highlights:
Amber Cheladyn, high school librarian at Allegany-Limestone, focused on building relationships with students. What started out as one teacher bringing special education students to the library has developed into a domino effect. More teachers have visited the library with their students where Amber has guided them through the process of borrowing OverDrive’s audiobooks and ebooks. Students are thrilled with being able to listen to popular fiction as well as those required for the curriculum.
Jody Thiel, PreK-12 librarian at West Valley Central School, focused on the long-term goal of increasing student achievement on the Regents and state assessment tests for ELA and Math. Increasing collaboration with teachers was her first step and has resulted in more projects this year. Jody has provided expertise to teachers on how to access CABOCES’ Insignia for borrowing items from CA BOCES and using the library’s online catalog for accessing databases and resources from the school’s library.
Elizabeth Brisky is the PreK-12 librarian at Franklinville. This year her school has been staircasing major subject areas and the specific writing and reading strands for each grade level. Elizabeth has participated in grade level meetings and programmed library instruction that builds on students’ areas of weakness. When she learned that genre was a difficult concept for students, Elizabeth created an entire unit on center-based activities that used genres, categorization of books, and writing activities for increasing student success.
In March, Dani Newman, PreK-12 librarian at Fillmore, recruited 30 students in grades 3-6 to participate in the IU9 Interscholastic Reading Competition in Bradford PA. When Dani shared her experience and her students’ excitement, other school librarians expressed an interest in recruiting their students to join in for next year’s event. Each team reads a total of forty pre-selected books and are responsible for knowing answers to questions asked during the competition. Librarians have received a list of titles for November’s competition which can also be used for summer reading.
Carli Wright is the new librarian at Randolph High School this year. Her goal of fostering relationships with students and getting them into the library led to many creative endeavors. Inspired by Dani’s success with the reading competition, Carli has connected with the Randolph Public Library to make sure her newly formed middle school team has what they need to read over the summer.
The Librarian’s CLC provides important networking for school librarians and has consistently seen high participation levels. Thank you, school administrators, for recognizing the unique professional development needs of school librarians!
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Moodle is a learning management system that is free, supported locally and readily available to component districts in the Distance Learning CoSer. Not only can you share documents or artifacts in your course, but you can add journals, discussion boards, videos, quizzes/tests, poll and much more to encourage interaction between you and your students, your students and the content, and student to student. Moodle will even grade assignments for you, after you set up the assignment to do so. To learn more about how to access Moodle or how it could benefit you and your students contact Karen Insley: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also access Moodle via guest access at moodle.caboces.org/demo and log in as a guest.
Current uses of Moodle across our region:
Future uses of Moodle across our region:
How will you use Moodle to benefit your students and yourself?
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Students from 20 area schools experienced a brand new theatrical show last week. Almost 2500 elementary students from Cattaraugus and Allegany counties attended the TheaterWorks USA performance of "Rosie Revere, Engineer & Friends." A talented cast presented a lively musical revue of Andrea Beaty’s popular children’s book series.
The fun new musical is based on the books Rosie Revere, Engineer; Iggy Peck, Architect; and Ada Twist, Scientist, which all spotlight the STEM curriculum. Rosie, Iggy, and Ada, along with inspiration from Rosie’s great aunt, Rosie the Riveter, worked together to save the day and their teacher.
Information about the show, as well as curriculum connections and enrichment activities are available here: https://1s1lqm1s1b6x2bjxng3l5tmg-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/TWUSA-ROSIE-Study-Guide.pdf
TheaterWorks USA is a professional acting company based out of New York City. It is America’s largest and most prolific professional theatre for young audiences. Cuba-Rushford Elementary and Salamanca High opened their auditoriums to host the performances. BOCES Arts In Education, CoSer 403, helps schools enrich the lives of their students by providing opportunities to experience the performing arts. For more information about bringing theatrical shows to your area, contact Student Programs at 716-376-8323.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
School districts around the area have been looking for ways to help their staff build better relationships with their students and to hopefully come up with ways to reduce discipline issues. The West Valley school district led by their principal, Dan Amodeo and School Psychologist, Antonette Leonard, met earlier this year with Katie Mendell and Mark Carls about bringing Restorative Practices to West Valley. During the last staff development day before Spring break, Mark and Katie worked with the West Valley staff in the morning to give an overview of Restorative Practices and how it can possibly help the West Valley staff. Throughout the morning the teachers had plenty of open and honest conversations about what they already do in their classes and brainstormed some ideas on what they can possibly change at West Valley.
Many CA BOCES districts have been looking at Restorative Practices and have also attended many of the CA BOCES offered IIRP two-day trainings. The CA BOCES certified trained IIRP professionals offer dates in July and August for these two-day trainings, but they can also work with districts to offer full or part time trainings for any district. Participants in West Valley and other districts have been excited to see that Restorative Practice is ‘more than just circles’. Schools that adopt Restorative Practices give a common language to set expectations, build positive relationships and to help set up a ‘culture of caring’ for all students in a building.
By: Mark Carls, CA BOCES Professional Development
In Mr. Dave Taylor’s Introduction to Engineering course, students have many experiences connected to solving real-world issues. In Mr. Taylor’s latest unit, he charged his students with designing a concrete bridge with the challenge of holding as much weight as possible while using as little material as necessary. Students were given one 80lb. bag of concrete and 8 yards of wire reinforcements.
The unit opened up with students researching the field of civil engineering, learning about salary, education required, and all of the sub disciplines. Mr. Taylor then had his students participate in the Question Formulation Technique (QFT). The QFT is an inquiry-based process that helps students generate many questions around a topic, or Q Focus. A Q Focus can be a statement, an image, a video, a song, or more, but it is never a question. The first time he did the QFT with students, he gave them a picture of a 19th Century aqueduct. This sparked many types of questions from students as they wondered about the construction, design, and history of the image. Once they were hooked, Mr. Taylor provided another Q Focus to get students to deeply think about their upcoming project: “We will build scale reinforced concrete bridges that accurately model real functioning bridges designed by civil engineers.” Students once again generated questions based on the statement, sparking their interest in the project at hand.
The students researched bridge design, including regulations from the Montana Department of Transportation and even the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. From there, students engaged in the engineering design process. Working in groups, they made 3D models using Fusion 360 and continued to iterate their designs until they were satisfied with the finished product. One of the key challenges was figuring out how to make a mold to design their bridge, as they had to think about their design from a different perspective to design an inverse mold. Once they were finished, they went into Mr. Farrand’s wood shop with their final designs and physically constructed their molds with wood. Students determined how much water and wire reinforcement they wanted to use, where to place that reinforcement, and also considered how to remove their bridge from the mold without it sticking to the wood and cracking or breaking.
After a seven day curing process, students were ready to test out their bridges! Mr. Brisky came up with a chain hoist system as a way to evenly place weights on students’ bridges. Group A used 77.5 lbs. of concrete mix while Group B used 35.5 lbs. of mix. While Group A was able to hold 335lbs. compared to Group B’s 148.5lbs., Group B ultimately won because they held more weight with a lot less material.
Students were fascinated by this unit and want to try additional experiments, such as playing with the amount of water and reinforcement to see if they can improve their designs. Well done, panthers!
By: Brendan Keiser, CA BOCES Professional Development
It’s nearing the end of the school year and detailed reports on growth and achievement are a necessity. Having visibility over progress for reading lessons, books read, assessments and detailed individual student reports has now become even easier.
All of our schools and students have access to Reading Eggs and Math Seeds. This is something you have heard, and used, for at least 5 years. But what may not be as familiar is the Reporting tool that provides teachers and administrators with class totals and clear averages. With a few clicks, you can drill-down much further to easily identify learning gaps, achievement, effort, improvement and more.
Teachers love the Chart View. Displayed are the class totals for time on the program, reading lessons completed, end of map quizzes completed, books read, spelling lessons completed, Lexile growth, stories written and earned rewards. With the graphic snapshots, you can see how total results are spread across the months within the year as well as progress across a class.
Table view gives you the data you need to determine the next steps in teaching and learning. With this view you can view by student or by column to identify gaps in learning and progress. The initial lesson will reflect a student’s placement based on the result of the diagnostic placement test for Reading Eggs/Math Seeds. Simply select a student from this view to get the detailed individual results.
The reports dashboard for Reading Eggs/Math Seeds provides teachers with an opportunity to use data to drive instruction by drilling down into each section for in-depth class and individual reports. It is an easy way to analyze student growth, strengths and weaknesses.
If you have any questions or want to find out more, please reach out!
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
As the winter snows melt and sunshine begins to extend and warm up each day, you know Spring is in the air. At Gail N. Chapman elementary school in Randolph, 2nd grade students ‘Catapulted into Spring’ with a STEM activity that consisted of two parts. Each student was given a bag of various materials that could be used for each part. In part one, students could use pieces of wood, rubber bands, tape, and a spoon to create a catapult that would fly a plastic egg into the air. In part two, students needed to create a nest type structure to catch the egg. The structure could be made out of toothpicks, lollipop sticks, jelly beans, gumdrops, marshmallows, and grass clippings.
The first part of the STEM challenge focused on leverage and force, as students needed to be sure their catapults could take an egg at least 6” into the air. They experimented with various lengths for their catapult, and how much force would be needed to get the proper height and distance they were looking for.
The second part of their STEM challenge required their catapulted eggs to be caught in a nest type structure and they were not to touch the ground. Students discussed various creative ways to accomplish this and were left to explore their own engineering and design. Conversations about what design to use, and what materials worked best were taking place all over the classroom. Once time had elapsed for their construction and building, it was time for each student to attempt to catapult their egg into their created nest. No matter how many students were able to launch their eggs into the nest, all students succeeded in having fun and experimenting with leverage and engineering.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Our annual Scholastic Challenge competition was held at Portville Central School on April 6, 2019
Here are the results!
Senior Division - 1st place
Scio Central School (Tenacious Tigers)
Coach - Tammy Straight, Shawn Patrick, Jeb Broach
Senior Division - 2nd place
Cuba-Rushford Central School (Rebel One)
Jack Benham, Connor Whitney, Roman Tomasi, Coach - Tom Kenyon, Vansh Patel, Kyle Wittenrich (not pictured)
Junior Division - 1st place
Scio Central School (Trivia Tigers)
Coach - Tammy Straight, Derek Ketchner, Will Broach, Jordan White, Gregory Wesche
Junior Division - 2nd place
Immaculate Conception School (Crusaders)
Coach - Zachary Smith, Nial Rigas, Serena Boussa , Eli Brophy,
Instructional greatness is the theme in Friendship Central School. Teachers here have dedicated time and effort into making every moment in school count. They have worked countless hours to help all students achieve success. One way they have accomplished this is through data driven instruction.
Planning instruction based on assessments is hard work. Teachers in Friendship are diligently working at unpacking standards, aligning curriculum and planning lessons using the data from CA BOCES-created benchmark assessments. This teacher tool gives educators the knowledge and understanding of student learning. It also provides a foundation for teacher professional development.
Teachers engage in collegial and collaborative conversations on a regular basis. There are numerous benefits to these conversations such as creating professional community, learning, and a culture where knowledge and respect are highly valued. These educators are responsible for transforming classrooms as they share ideas and expertise. The support they receive from colleagues is inspiring. Ultimately, these professionals develop and maintain the culture of cooperation so that teachers continue to learn and students achieve. The work in Friendship is transformational and teachers are the heart of this work.
By: Michelle Rickicki, CA BOCES Professional Development
What was once viewed as a nuisance or a children’s toy is now widely recognized as a tool for business: drones. Teachers are now seeking ways to take advantage of drones as meaningful instructional tools such as using them to teach content learning standards or to prepare students for a career as a drone pilot for commercial use.
Teaching Content Learning Standards
Of all the feature requests I receive about using drones, autonomous flight is the most common by far. However, for drones such as the DJI models, autonomous flight is much different than the computer programming with which teachers and students are familiar. For example, programming a DJI Phantom 4 to follow a specific route is as easy as reading Google maps and placing points of interest. Most teachers are really looking for something similar to blockly, Java, or another programming language; if you are in this category as well, you may be delighted to know that you can sign out up to 6 Parrot Minidrones through the CA BOCES Media CoSer.
Aside from the obvious connection to computer science standards, educational drone curriculum addressing learning standards in other content areas is virtually nonexistent; the lack of curriculum focused on academic learning standards is due to a primary focus on commercial drone use. However, a drone can provide a meaningful substitution for a variety of lessons and concepts such as rates of change in Algebra, velocity in Physics, and digital storytelling in ELA.
According to an extremely accurate 2014 estimate from Goldman Sachs, the drone industry would be valued at roughly $100 billion by 2020. Although nearly 70% of that market belongs to military use, commercial drone usage, particularly in construction and agriculture, is on the rise. A report from Dronethusiast notes that drones in construction were valued at $11 billion.
Since commercial drone use is a rapidly growing industry, several schools are preparing students to operate drones commercially. For instance, over one dozen educators partook in the Introduction to sUAS (small unmanned aerial systems) course at CA BOCES led by Jon Thies, current CEO of SkyOp LLC. Not only did this course help prepare teachers for the Part 107 Remote Pilot Knowledge Test (a requirement for commercial drone use), but it also helped provide a more accurate picture of the commercial drone industry. Companies, like SkyOp, provide training and curriculum that acts an extension to the introductory course by leading students through a similar, more in-depth experience.
One of the major takeaways from the introductory training was the reaffirmation of the importance of having Part 107 certified educators directly involved during the outdoor use of drones (within FAA and insurance policy regulations) at all times. Consequently, since more educators have expressed interest in preparing for the Part 107 Remote Pilot Knowledge test, an additional two-day training will take place this summer and will be available on the CA BOCES registration system soon; before you go up, up, and away, make sure you are prepared the right way.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
In March, teachers of 6-8 Middle School Math met to collaborate in their subject area. This day of collaboration began with a presentation from Dr. Xiao-Ning Zhang, a professor in the Science Department at Saint Bonaventure University (SBU). Dr. Zhang discussed at length the exciting opportunity she and her department have been working on in collaboration with the Cattaraugus County Health Department. The Health Department released some of its data to SBU in order for students to have access to real, meaningful data as part of their lessons. By sharing with area middle school teachers, Dr. Zhang is hoping to get teachers interested in having real data to use in class in order to help students see how data is used in real-life as well as increase their statistical fluency. Her efforts will be highlighted further during SBU’s K-12 Science and Math Teacher Workshop from July 8-11.
In addition, teachers spent much of the afternoon exploring different technology tools that they can utilize in their classrooms to help increase the engagement of their students. One such tool was Desmos which allows teachers to graph functions, plot data, evaluate equations, explore transformations, and more. Desmos even has classroom activities that are pre-built and ready-to-use in the classroom.
A second tool shared was Graspable Math which allows the user to “grasp” terms in an equation and move them to the other side in order to solve the equation. The program does not allow for the students to make arithmetic mistakes and can be a valuable tool for those students who struggle in this area.
A third and final tool shared was Gimkit, a game show for the classroom that requires knowledge, collaboration, and strategy to win. Created by a current high school student, one teacher described it as, “Kahoot on Steroids!” Gimkit’s platform is similar to Kahoot but allows students to work at their own pace, answering questions for money, and using the money they earn strategically to buy upgrades that enhance their earning potential. Teachers enjoyed trying this out for themselves and were excited to try it in their own classrooms!
By: Justin Shumaker, CA BOCES Professional Development
On March 11th, over 100 local educators, administrators and community leaders gathered at the Restorative Practices Symposium to explore, learn and experience from experts and practitioners in the field. The event was organized in response to the increasing interest in restorative practices in the region. The morning consisted of a keynote speaker and three practitioner presentations, while the afternoon allowed participants to experience different aspects of restorative practices based upon interest. Let’s take a look at what we learned about throughout the morning!
The keynote speaker, Dr. Tom Cavanagh of Colorado State University shared evidence and research specific to restorative practice in schools. He noted the significance of creating a culture of care using the principles and practices of restorative justice in the school environment. Dr. Cavanagh’s work with Hinkley High School in Aurora, Colorado was a great example of the application of a “culture of care” and related positive outcomes. Based on his research, Dr. Cavanagh concluded the implications for restorative schools include improved graduation rates, decreased discipline referrals, increased learning time and greater equity.
Deb Golley and Mollie Lapi, of CA BOCES Exceptional Education Programs spoke about the implementation process and daily practices within special education programs. They shared the reality of the 80/20 rule with restorative practices. The majority (80%) of practices are proactive, leaving the reactive practices happening much less of the time (20%). Therefore, reinforcing that restorative schools are heavily invested in practices that build relationships and community. This investment enables the responsive practices, such as conferences or corrective circles, to have greater influence and success in repairing harm and relationships when harm has occurred.
Representatives from East High School in the Rochester City School District, Dr. Lia Festenstein and Michelle Garcia offered insight into the revitalization of climate and culture in an urban school, through the implementation of restorative practices. Garcia introduced the social discipline window and noted that the ideal restorative response is a combination of high control (limit setting, discipline) and high support (encouragement, nurturing). Dr. Festenstein highlighted the process and stages of implementation and shared details of the journey from year one into year four. Finally, Dr. Festenstein spoke of the noteworthy impact that restorative practices has had at EAST. Outcomes include, a decrease in school referrals and suspensions, a decrease in the severity of school offenses and a narrowing discipline gap that disproportionately punishes students of color.
Finally, participants heard from local superintendent Lori DiCarlo. DiCarlo walked participants through the three tiers of restorative practices. She illustrated how the multi-tiered system of support aligns with the restorative practices continuum and what this looks like at Randolph Academy UFSD. For each of the three tiers, DiCarlo gave examples of what the practice looks like, how it is implemented and what the benefits are.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools Coordinator
When you hear the word fossils, more than likely the first thing that comes to mind are bones. Well the 3rd grade students at Bolivar-Richburg learned that there are much more to fossils than just bones. During this Environmental Science program, the students discovered the true challenges that paleontologist face in trying to search and recover these remnants. The students were able to get their hands on some tools that these scientists use. One tool that was used during the program was a toothpick and the material included a “stone” (chocolate chip cookie) that has “fossils” (chocolate chips). They used the toothpick to carefully dig out the “fossils” in the “stone”. Once finished, we had a discussion on some of the challenges that paleontologists face.
In addition to digging out fossils with special tools, the students also were able to investigate and examine different types of fossils with a magnify lens. The items vary from squid shells to petrified wood to shark’s teeth. As they investigated, we discussed the process in which remains go through to make that change from their current material to a stone fossil.
Lastly, the students were able to take clay, form it into a stone shape and take shells to make imprints of fossils in their newly formed stone. After their stone fossils were created, they were able to take them home and let them sit to harden.
This is just one of the many Environmental Science programs that CA BOCES has to offer! For more information on this program or others available to you through Environmental Science please feel free to contact Lance Feuchter at (716) 376-8379 or email@example.com.
By: Lance Feuchter, CA BOCES Learning Resources
There have been numerous activities that have occurred out in Friendship this year and a few accomplishments. We’ll highlight a few of them as we continue to grow and learn. At the January 25th in-service day we celebrated Friendship moving off NYSED’s watch list as they’ve shown growth through multiple layers at New York State. That was a result of years of work to do what’s in the best interest of students. To continue an afternoon of celebrating and teamwork the Friendship staff, led by school psychologist, Kimberly Riordan, worked in teams to complete a scavenger hunt with the Goose Chase app. Goose Chase allows you to form teams that have to accomplish certain tasks and can take photos to show that they accomplished the task. Those photos go to the moderators of the challenge to award the pre-determined points or not. This was an excellent team building opportunity with many of the photos shared before the faculty left.
The other activity that our 5th grade team took on was to run a BreakOut EDU review session to have students answer questions to review for their “Solids, Liquids and Gases” unit. Mrs. Sleggs and Mrs. Malinowski set up teams that the students worked on to solve specific problems. Each problem helped unlock a different lock on the box. Once every group solved their problem they were treated to a special reward/treat. Thank you Alex Freer from Learning Resources for showing us BreakOut EDU earlier this year!
By: Mark Carls, CA BOCES Professional Development
Check out this month's Advancing STEM Challenge!
Did you hear that?
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 posted monthly.
School librarians within CA BOCES are having an amazing year!
Whether it’s borrowing books from other school libraries to prepare students for a multi-school reading competition, providing a maker space where grades 7-12 compete to see whose best at repurposing odds and ends, promoting OverDrive’s class sets to teachers, or using instructional strategies to engage all learners, school librarians are exploring a range of techniques for whole class and group work, guided learning, and individual activities.
On January 17, school librarians reviewed the new National School Library Standards which complement and strengthen content standards. Focusing on the six Shared Foundations (Inquire, Include, Collaborate, Curate, Explore, and Engage) and school librarian Competencies, each librarian chose one competency of strength and one that needs strengthening and were challenged to come back to our next meeting on February to share examples of personal growth and impact on student learning.
Recently, librarians at Franklinville and Friendship had students write letters to Senator Catharine Young and Assemblyman Joe Giglio. Students not only learned how to properly address an envelope (and where to place a stamp), but crafted hand-written letters expressing why their school library and librarian is important to them. In the afternoon of the January CLC, school librarians participated in civic engagement by meeting with Assemblyman Joe Giglio and a representative from Senator Young’s office at St. Bonaventure’s Friedham Memorial Library, where the receipt of students’ letters mentioned.
Meeting with state representatives provided librarians from public, academic, and school libraries to share why library funding is critical. Specifically, the need for broadband access so students can complete homework. Although a student may have access to a cell phone, the monthly data plan is quickly exceeded when accessing databases or other sites needed for homework. This was a meaningful experience for school librarians. (Photos below by Danielle Newman, librarian at Fillmore Central School @FscLibraries ).
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Over the past few months, Kathryn Mendell and myself have facilitated the Mental Health Literacy forum with about 70 teachers and leaders from the region. The purpose of the Mental Health Literacy forum is to share and provide information on mental health education provided within our community and area schools. We shared guidance for developing effective mental health education for ALL students at all levels while embedding mental health well-being into the entire school environment.
The NYS Education Department expects schools to utilize the guidance documents and other resources available to adopt or develop its own district curriculum aligned with the NYS learning standards and to tailor instruction based on the school district’s identified needs at the local level. The hope is that these changes will positively impact our student’s awareness of mental health prevention, treatment and stigma.
With the expansion of mental health in schools, it is expected that school personnel, students, families and communities will more openly discuss mental health well-being.
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES Professional Development
Area teachers have been learning about the workshop model for mathematics over the past few months. What is the math workshop model? It is a flexible grouping model, incorporating best practices in mathematics, coupled with differentiation based on individual student needs. This model allows teachers to have smaller chunks of whole group instruction, allowing more time for smaller, targeted groups who work with the teacher on specific standards and concepts, while other students work in work stations. Teachers learned how to incorporate the tenants of the workshop model based on their classroom, and the needs of the students. Teachers who have been able to try the model out have been very enthusiastic about it, as they feel they have a much better picture of the students and their abilities and needs in mathematics, as they are able to spend more time with students in smaller groups. This has been extremely beneficial for the students as well as for the teachers. If you are interested in learning more about the Workshop Model in Mathematics, C-A BOCES will be holding a workshop in July. If you’re interested, please have your district contact person register you at register you at register.caboces.org.
By: Kathleen Agnello, CA BOCES Professional Development
The Library CoSer provides all districts with TeachingBooks, a resource accessible to students and faculty at resources.caboces.org.
A quick subject search using the term Valentine’s Day returns several resources for books, including lesson guides, worksheets, and many other resources that allow for connecting deeply with text. For example, P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han provides an author book reading, audio name pronunciation, link to the author’s website and blog, audiobook excerpt, reading questions, and several videotaped interviews with the author. Although each featured book is not in digital format for instant reading, students and teachers can identify exceptional books that reflect diverse cultural experiences, interests, and ability levels, and obtain resources paired with book titles that further reading enjoyment, contextual knowledge, and educational relevance (TeachingBooks, 2019). Additionally, students can practice reading fluency and voice through Reader’s Theater scripts in ready-to-print format.
Stories become more meaningful when students learn the backstory, the research, and the inspiration for each book directly from the author and illustrator. Although I can read a summary of Jaquelyn Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming aloud to students in an effort to pique interest, it’s not the same as the author’s voice briefly sharing about her memoir. The same can be said for Gene Luen Yang’s book American Born Chinese.
TeachingBooks also provides English text of author name pronunciations and transcriptions for book readings. The following features benefit all students:
Contained within this kit are books, guides that study the circulatory system and normal heart conditions, and the following models: