The Region 19 Odyssey of the Mind tournament was scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 14 at Allegany-Limestone Middle/High School. The ISS Student Programs team, along with 30 teams across the region, were packed and ready. On March 12, the announcement was made to cancel the tournament. For many of us, this was the first indicator that our lives were about to change dramatically.
The five remaining regional tournaments across New York state also canceled, as did the NY State Tournament. However, there are some worthwhile points to remember:
It is cathartic to reminisce, and it is also exciting to look ahead to next year. The 2020-2021 Problem Synopses have been released at https://www.odysseyofthemind.com/2021ltproblems/.
There is no doubt that the teams, coaches, and the Student Programs team will be ready to think creatively, solve problems, and adjust to new challenges that will be on the horizon. After all, that is what Odyssey of the Mind is all about.
Jean Oliverio, Student Programs
John Butler and the Cattaraugus County Government Intern students helped at the Turkey Giveaway at the Cattaraugus Community Action, Inc.
The county government program is run through CA BOCES with students participating from Allegany-Limestone, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Ellicottville, and Randolph.
CCA, Inc. partners with the community to provide strengths-based opportunities for vulnerable people to achieve economic, physical, and emotional security. You can visit their website at https://www.ccaction.org/
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.
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
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
The second Southern Tier Annual Film Festival (S.T.A.F.F.) was held at the Cuba-Rushford Central School District auditorium on Friday, May 18. Participating schools included Allegany-Limestone, Belfast, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Cuba Rushford, Fillmore, Olean, and Whitesville.
Administrators, teachers, parents, and students gathered together to watch and vote on student productions to see which district would take home the trophy.
Leading up to the event, Courtney Brisky, a student at Olean High school, created the artwork for posters to be distributed throughout districts across Allegany and Cattaraugus counties to advertise and promote the festival. Student submissions for the festival were due in mid-April and the finalists for the event were decided by graduate students at the University at Buffalo.
Audience members watched forty-three films, voting in a mere six films as finalists.
Finally, the moment came for the audience to choose the winning film and they selected a parody of the popular television sitcom, “The Office.” Students DeAndre Ahrens, Gabby Dutton, Hannah Erwin, Cody Findlay, Dana Hatch, Colston Saulter, Jonah Williamson, and Trenon Zeager took home the trophy for Cuba-Rushford. The trophy was previously housed at Fillmore Central School District and will now spend the year at Cuba-Rushford until next year’s festival.
Teachers have been preparing for this festival throughout the year by attending ongoing professional development offered by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES and presented by Dr. David Bruce at the University at Buffalo and Dr. Sunshine Sullivan at Houghton College. At the ongoing events, teachers hone their skills, brainstorm, and develop curriculum for teaching students to craft narratives, investigate the correlation between images and narrative, develop writing and media skills, and tap into creativity.
The first film festival developed out of a week-long summer professional development opportunity offered to English teachers through the region through a partnership by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, Houghton College, and the University at Buffalo. This opportunity culminated with the creation of the Southern Tier Annual Film Festival by teachers because they wanted to offer their students the same kind of enriching experience in the classroom and give students the chance to present their work to a live audience.
“Writing with Video: Rural Voices” is going to be offered this coming year to teachers in every discipline to hone their skills, collaborate, and plan future film festivals. If you have interest in bringing this unique opportunity to your students, look out for the upcoming summer institute as well as for future film festivals.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Congratulations to all teams that participated in this year's Odyssey of the Mind Region 19 Tournament!
During a Family Engagement Night, Allegany Limestone Elementary teachers, Mary Jo Reed and Caroline Miller present the topic “Growth Mindset” to parents. Over 185 students and parents attended the Family Engagement Night to learn more about Growth Mindset. A growth mindset movement would not be complete without the support of parents. When parents learn about the mindsets and how a growth mindset can help their child become more motivated and engaged, they are more than willing to begin the work at home.
Researcher “Carol Dewek states that students who believe their intelligence can grow with effort and practice - like a muscle - do better in school and in life. This belief is called a growth mindset. Students with a growth mindset understand that they have control over their own success. They are more motivated to work hard; they put more effort into their schoolwork; they are more resilient in the face of obstacles; and they ultimately do better in school. In contrast, students who believe intelligence is set at birth - like eye color - have what is called a fixed mindset. They tend to do worse academically because they give up when challenged and think that having to work hard means you don’t ‘have what it takes’. The good news is that mindsets can be changed, and when they are, students show a significant increase in their academic achievement.”
Parents can model a growth mindset by speaking candidly about the mistakes they’ve made, and what they’ve learned from them. Speak positively about the mistakes and struggles, and this will show students that taking risks and making mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. Explain to their children that trying hard things is what helps us grow, and you can’t be perfect when you try something hard!
Researchers have learned about mindsets that help students reach their full potential into accessible information and practical recommendations for teachers and parents.(www.mindsetkit.org)
After the presentation, parents and students enjoyed making pizza and door prizes donated by local businesses and PTO.
By: Marguerite Andrews, CABOCES Professional Development
The following teams are advancing to the Odyssey of the Mind State Tournament at Binghamton University on Saturday, April 7th. Congratulations to our winning teams!!!
Problem 1: Triathlon Travels
Division 1 = Ellicottville Central School
Division 2 = Seneca Intermediate School
Problem 2: Emoji, Speak for Yourself
Division 1 = Wellsville Elementary School
Division 2 = Bolivar-Richburg Central School (1st place)
Wellsville Middle School (2nd place)
Problem 3: Classics…Mockumentary! Seriously?
Division 1 = Wellsville Elementary School
Division 2 = Wellsville Middle School (1st place)
Allegany-Limestone Middle/High School (2nd place)
Division 3 = Genesee Valley Central School (1st place)
Wellsville High School (2nd place)
Problem 4: Animal House
Division 1 = Seneca Intermediate School
Division 2 = Ellicottville Central School
Division 3 = Salamanca Central School (1st place)
Fillmore Central School (2nd place)
Problem 5: A Stellar Hangout
Division 1 = Wellsville Elementary School
Division 2 = Wellsville Middle School
Division 3: Allegany-Limestone Middle/High School
(Allegany, New York) On Saturday, March 24, 2018, 37 teams from across the Southern Tier will be showcasing their creativity at the Odyssey of the Mind Regional Tournament. Odyssey of the Mind is a world-wide creative problem-solving tournament that promotes original and divergent thinking as a team sport. Divergent problems, that is, those with more than one solution, encourage students to learn and lead the way using 21st century skills. By working in teams of up to seven members, participants learn teamwork, the appreciation and understanding of others, and the concept that a group is a more powerful thinking force than an individual.
Allegany-Limestone Central School will be hosting about 250 creative kids aged ten through eighteen years old, who will be showing off their brain power in this high-energy tournament. The winners, who will be announced at the end of the day, will represent Region 19 at the New York State Tournament at Binghamton University on April 7 and possibly World Finals at Iowa State University on May 23-26.
Teams from 14 area school districts have worked hard to come up with 8 minute solutions to one of these five mind-bending problems posed by Odyssey of Mind:
Problem 1: Triathlon Travels
On your mark…get set…go! In this problem, teams will ride on and drive original vehicles in an Odyssey-style triathlon. They will try to score in “curling,” hit the right targets when “jousting,” and “run track” by navigating a course in two directions. Between these events, the team will entertain the audience and the vehicle will change appearance. All of the action will take place in a team-created performance that features the vehicles’ triathlon travels, a commentator, and a coach.
Problem 2: Emoji, Speak for Yourself
Three-dimensional emojis will be used to communicate the life story of a once famous, but now forgotten, emoji. Teams will create a performance where the emojis demonstrate special functions like growing, turning into a team member, and changing into a different emoji. Performances will also include a choreographed dance, a technical representation of texting, and sounds to enhance the performance. The twist? No spoken language is allowed.
Problem 3: Classics… Mockumentary! Seriously?
There are often two sides to the same story. In this problem, characters don’t always agree as they recount the classic story where they appeared. The team will select a classic from a list and present different characters in a humorous documentary-style performance where details are added, denied, exaggerated, and disputed. There will be interviews, behind-the-scenes “clips,” and voice-overs that take the audience through the story and help present the events as they “really” took place. Whose side will you be on?
Problem 4: Animal House
Over the years, Odyssey of the Mind teams have designed structures that changed into many unbelievable shapes and sizes that balanced and held as much weight as possible. This year, teams will turn their balsa wood structures into animals! Since animals need to eat, they must be fed. The structure will have its appearance transformed and explained during an original performance. During the performance, the structure must hold the team-created food while it supports weights.
Problem 5: A Stellar Hangout
In the outreaches of the universe, there is an Intergalactic Hangout where all sorts of creatures from different worlds stop, eat, refuel, and relax. Teams will create a humorous performance centered on this science fiction hangout that includes original creatures, foods, and a search for space treasure. There will also be a worker character, entertainment, and a futuristic map at the hangout.
Students have spent months of their free time solving these problems as well as developing teamwork skills, independent study, friendships, confidence, all while improving their brainstorming and problem-solving techniques. They learn new things and utilize their individual strengths to solve the problem. Teams also learn how to budget money since there is a cost limit to each problem. Throughout the day, one will witness imaginative costumes, elaborate props, dances, original songs and poetry, creative writing and much more.
Not only do the participants compete within their chosen problem, but teams must also perform well in a “spontaneous problem”, where they solve a new problem on the spot. They must be creative, quick thinking and work well together as a team.
Saturday, March 24 is the culmination of many months of work from students, coaches, parents and judges who all work together with the common goal of encouraging creativity, supporting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) and learning new things in a fun environment. Spectators are welcome to join in the excitement of the day. The competitions start at 8:20 and continue throughout the day. The Awards Ceremony begins around 3:15.
Thousands of teams from throughout the United States and 20 other countries participate in this program. For more information visit www.odysseyofthemind.com, www.nysoma.org or call CABOCES Student Programs at 716-376-8323.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programming
The ROBOTC for VEX training at Pioneer High School was led by Jesse Flot, a Research Programmer & Senior Software Engineer for the Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and Josh Jarvis, the lead developer for CMUs CS-STEM Network. In attendance were nearly thirty participants from various districts across the region (Allegany-Limestone CSC, Andover CSD, Belfast CSD, Bolivar-Richburg CSD, CA-BOCES Belmont CTE, CA-BOCES ISS, CA-BOCES ISS, Cattaraugus-Little Valley CSD, Cuba-Rushford CSD, Ellicottville CSD, Franklinville CSD, Fillmore CSD, Genesee Valley CSD, Hinsdale CSD, Pioneer CSD, Salamanca City SD, Scio CSD, and Whitesville CSD).
What is a robot, and what can we can we teach with it? These were the first two questions that Jesse Flot used to open the ROBOTC for VEX training. The first question is fairly direct: what is a robot? Perhaps you define a robot as something like Wall-E, or maybe to you a robot is Arnold Schwarzenegger from the Terminator. The definition is as simple as SPA: a robot is a device that has the ability to sense, plan, and act. What can we teach with a robot? This second question is more difficult to answer unless we first reflect on how we teach rather than the content of our teaching.
When teaching Algebra 1, my students would struggle with the concept of completing the square to rewrite quadratic expressions. Rather than using the skill of completing the square as a tool to accomplish a goal, I made the skill the learning goal; ultimately, it was not until I provided students with the necessary tools and shift my focus (using GeoGebra) that they were able to better understand the process of completing the square, how to use it, and when to use it. Similarly, “project-based learning (PBL) involves learning through projects rather than just doing projects,” says John Spencer. In other words, the goal of PBL is to focus on the learning process rather than a culminating project. Jesse explained what can be taught with robotics in the same way; he said, “the Robotics Academy at CMU uses robotics as a tool to teach programming; however, you can use robots to teach many other subjects and skills such as mathematics, physics, communication, teamwork, and time management.”
With these questions answered and an understanding that the VEX robots were a tool used to help teach programming, Jesse and Josh led participants through two days of hands-on training with the programming of ROBOTC as well as the hardware of VEX robots. Participants explored intuitive and basic commands using the block coding features of ROBOTC in conjunction with the physical features of the VEX robot the first day, and on day two, participants made the progression to virtual reality with Robot Virtual World software (RVW) and explored how the text commands of ROBOTC differ from its block coding commands.
In addition to Jesse’s 16 years of experience at CMU (12 of which being in professional development), the Robotics Academy’s research-based practices helped guide the hybrid training model. From anticipating participant questions to providing examples of student questions that participants should anticipate, Jesse and Josh led participants through a highly productive two days of learning. Jesse and Josh will continue this hybrid training online from mid-February through March in which participants will gain additional knowledge of the ROBOTC language, continue to track their progress with CMUs learning management system, and explore additional features of VEX robotics.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Teachers Across Cattaraugus-Allegany Counties Prepare for Student Video Submissions
Many teachers committed to the Writing with Video: Rural Voices Summer Institute over the past two summers and now attend quarterly reunions throughout the year in order to plan, collaborate, and write about the upcoming Southern Tier Annual Film Festival (S.T.A.F.F. Awards).
Teachers from the institute are invested in including digital audio and video assignments in their classrooms throughout the year in order to help students solidify their writing process through planning, pre-writing, and reflection. Students complete a variety of video projects including research, narrative, poetry, remix, vocabulary, and themes that they will then present to their classmates, publish, and screen to a larger audience.
Students who have created video projects across the region are invited to submit original films. The submission deadline is April 13, 2018. All student films will be judged by University at Buffalo graduate students in the education program.
Students whose films are chosen will have their films shown at the S.T.A.F.F. Awards which will be held at Cuba-Rushford Central School District this year on Friday, May 18th. Students will have a chance to see student-produced films from across the region, eat snacks, vote alongside the entire audience, and help choose a winning entry. The winning student or team will take home the traveling trophy to their school.
If you would like more information or would like your student to submit a video entry, please contact Christina McGee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Creative Professional Development turns into Collaborative Life-long Learning, Innovative Curriculum, and a Regional Annual Film Festival
This summer I played, and I learned simultaneously. I had the opportunity to attend the Writing with Video: Rural Voices Summer Institute with Dr. Sunshine Sullivan, associate professor of education at Houghton College, and Dr. David Bruce, associate professor of learning and instruction at the State University of New York at Buffalo (University at Buffalo) Graduate School of Education. Under the guidance of Tim Clarke, Senior Program Manager for Professional Development at Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES, this summer institute was presented to area teachers throughout Cattaraugus and Allegany counties for two consecutive summer sessions.
During the week-long institute, I worked alongside many other English teachers including Lacey Gardner (Whitesville), Michelle Grillo (Cuba-Rushford), Brendan Heaney (Fillmore), Michelle McGraw (Cuba-Rushford), Micah Rust (Fillmore), Suzan Snyder (Allegany-Limestone), Stephen Sorensen (Olean), Louis Ventura (Olean), and Sally Ventura (Olean). We collaborated, learned to use digital media on the fly with guidance from Dr. David Bruce and Dr. Sunshine Sullivan, and then created our own projects including narrative sequences, “Me in Six Words/Images,” video vocab, multi-genre e-publications, and “This I Believe” digital essays. These projects became model projects for our students when we incorporated similar projects into our curriculum. These models would help students use media alongside written reflections and heuristics to present their understanding of content and concepts.
The whole week was one of the most rewarding, challenging, and engaging professional development opportunities that I’ve been fortunate enough to attend – and it was difficult work. As Sally Ventura, a teacher at Olean High School said, "Rural Voices has been such an energizing experience! It has been as fun as it has been challenging. It has been a pleasure working with smart, creative colleagues in the area.”
The days at the institutes were packed and I was always surprised that it was time to go home. The amazing thing was that I didn’t stop learning and thinking when I walked out the door. Instead, I continued ruminating on the drive home. I tinkered with ideas at home. I filmed at home. I reworked difficult pieces. I researched. The entire week, from the moment that I woke up until I went to sleep, was spent planning, collaborating, developing, creating, and reflecting – exactly the kind of experience I want for my students. As Brendan Heaney said, “The work being done at the Institute is revolutionary. Teachers will learn how to truly incorporate technology in a way that enhances student literacy and composition skills. If you buy into this and utilize it in the classroom you will see student engagement go through the roof. You will also see some of the best quality work you’ve ever seen from students.”
Out of this experience, a project was born. Brendan Heaney worked tirelessly to help organize the First Annual Southern Tier Film Festival, an event where students from five districts competed for a prize for the best film. All the teachers involved in Rural Visions collaborated to help plan, develop, and contribute to this amazing event. The film festival was advertised regionally through social media, local newspapers, and radio stations.
On the night of the event, parents came to see their children’s work and creativity. Teachers attended to see their student’s efforts. Administrators attended to see the work of their teachers and their students and to have an opportunity to relax and enjoy some great film. It was truly a community event where students showcased their videography skills, thoughtfulness, and ingenuity to a real audience and competed for a chance to bring their school home a traveling trophy.
The film festival showcased thirty student films over the course of three hours with breaks and refreshments offered between each of the hour sessions. The audience voted for their favorite films with one final vote at the end to determine the school winner.
Out of this amazing grass-roots effort, came a multitude of class projects which culminated in an annual film festival. This year’s Southern Tier Annual Film Festival will be held tentatively at Cuba-Rushford toward the end of the school year.
Many of the teachers involved in the summer institute went on to present their learning experience using digital video in their own classrooms at the New York State English Council ( NYSEC) Annual Conference in Albany, NY held in October this year. Projects ranged from research thesis statements to video poems, documentaries, film class projects, and six-word memoirs. Dr. Sullivan remarked, “It was a privilege seeing our teachers present what they are doing in their classrooms as a result of our summer institutes and how well received it was by their audience at NYSEC. Our teachers are becoming teacher leaders in the field in writing with video. We are also looking forward to seeing our teachers attending and presenting at NCTE in St. Louis later this month.”
If you have an interest in entering student work in this year’s Southern Tier Annual Film Festival or attending the festival in preparation for next year, please look out for upcoming announcements at your school district or contact Christina McGee at email@example.com or (716) 376-8281.
If you would like to learn more about the Writing with Video: Rural Voices Summer Institute, please contact Tim Clarke at 716-376-8321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Teachers, administrators, staff, and parents at Allegany-Limestone Elementary School have worked together to form a Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee (BPCC). On September 20th and 22nd, committee members participated in a two day Olweus Reboot. Staff members learned about bullying, identifying roles people play in bullying situations, and prevention and intervention strategies to create a safe and welcoming school climate.
OBPP is used at the school, classroom, and individual levels and includes methods to reach out to parents and the community for involvement and support. OBPP is not a curriculum, but a program that involves a holistic approach.
School administrators, teachers, and other staff are primarily responsible for introducing and implementing the program. These efforts are designed to improve peer relations and make the school a safer and more positive place for students to learn and develop.
The goals of the program are:
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has received recognition from a number of organizations and researchers committed to preventing school violence. OBPP has been named a Blueprints Promising Program by the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and was highlighted in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Policy Statement: Role of the Pediatrician in Youth Violence Prevention.
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program’s Coordinating Committee at Allegany-Limestone is excited to turn-key training to all staff members and plan for the 4th year of implementation in the elementary building. Currently, ALES utilizes the following school anti-bullying rules:
The OBPCC will be embedding Olweus training in faculty meetings, student assemblies, parent nights, and much more!
By: Jillian Putnam, CA BOCES Professional Development
What is blended learning? Are we truly blending learning in our region? Yes we are! Below are examples of Michael B. Horn - The Christensen Institute’s blended learning models that are taking place across our region, and quite successfully!
While blended learning began in simple applications to serve students in situations where there was no other alternative, it has grown exponentially over the past ten years in the Cattaraugus Allegany region, where our region is recognized as the leader in online learning in New York State BOCES regions!
Michael B Horn’s and Heather Staker’s book, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, lays out the process in a useful level of detail making it a must read for educators that want to take full advantage of tech-enabled learning. Staker shared, "I feel deeply sad when I see how many children do not have equal opportunities to high-quality schools. It's wrong that in a rich country with universal public education, zip code determines quality." But she feels fortunate to be living through the learning revolution where internet connectivity and personalized learning is “decimating old constructs about who gets what and introducing a new paradigm of shared access to the best learning experiences, regardless of geography.” (Education Week article - http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innovation/2014/09/blended_a_conversation_with_michael _horn_heather_staker.html)
What educational “trend” do you think is helping students? Is there a trend that is getting in the way of learning? Michael B. Horn adds, “Online learning, particularly in blended learning schools, gives students more and more ownership of their learning, this is a big deal as it can allow schools to individualize for each student’s unique learning needs.” (http://dailyedventures.com/index.php/2012/11/08/michael-horn/)
How do these online learning opportunities benefit students? Danielle, from Allegany- Limestone, replied, “I wish that I could have studied this way from the beginning of the year. When I’m in a classroom with people, I get distracted, but using APEX is great. The program is really straightforward. It tells me exactly what I need to know. Some days I let it read to me and sometimes I read myself. I came from Pennsylvania and the work was harder and my Biology class was in a different place and the online class is helping me.”
To learn more about successful blended learning models in schools, join CA BOCES in an Online/Digital Learning Showcase, where you can ask questions and view demos of 7 different online solutions for:
For more information about Digital Learning Day on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at CABOCES Olean Center Conference Rooms, go to: http://dev.caboces.org/iss/calendar/2017-04.
By: Betsy Hardy, CA BOCES Distance Learning
Saturday, February 7, 2015 @ Portville Central School
The largest Scholastic Challenge Competition was held on Saturday, February 7 at Portville Central School. This annual event, sponsored by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, hosted a record total of 49 teams who competed in a Junior Division and Senior Division, for grades 6-12.
Scholastic Challenge is a fast-paced contest that tests knowledge of academic trivia. Teams of three students measure their ability to recall details from a wide variety of topics.
Thirteen school districts participated in the double-elimination contest this year. This translates to more than 200 students and coaches. Throughout the day, several thousand questions were read aloud to these ambitious teams. All the teams represented their schools well, combining an impressive display of intelligence with camaraderie, graciousness and good sportsmanship that was admirable.
Competitors and coaches represented the following school districts:
Allegany-Limestone-1 team coached by Kathy Schaeper
Hinsdale Central-4 teams coached by Kate Jedrosko
Cuba-Rushford - 6 teams coached by John Butler
Ellicottville Central - 4 teams coached by Ann Chamberlain
Fillmore Central – 2 teams coached by Deb Woltag & Bill Kelley
Friendship Central - 1 team coached by Wade Pearsall
Genesee Valley - 6 teams coached by Rollie Duttweiler & Sara Donlon
Olean High- 2 teams coached by Carolyn Shields
Pioneer Central -5 teams coached by Sarah Wood & Jimmy Wood
Portville Central - 9 teams coached by Margaret Seib & Gene Rogers
Randolph Central- 1 team coached by Jennifer Bieniek
Wellsville Central - 3 teams coached by Diane Willard & Hope Gilfert
West Valley Central - 5 teams coached by Ryan Keem
There were two impressive teams who were undefeated going into the Finals in the auditorium. Congratulations to the Fillmore Green Junior team and the Pioneer Starfleet Academy Senior team!
The final matches were held on stage in the Portville auditorium. As usual, the finalists were challenged to answer questions on current events and local facts. The first and second place teams in each division were presented with plaques to recognize their achievements. All four of the Finalist teams have earned the honor of being invited to the 2015 National Academic Championship.
This event requires about 50 volunteers to make the day run smoothly. CABOCES Student Programs is grateful to everyone who donated their time and experience to provide a fun and educational day for the students in our area. Scholastic Challenge could not happen without their help!
Congratulations to all the teams and their proud coaches on a job well done. We look forward to seeing everyone back next year!
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES
Students and teachers (of COSER 501 member districts) can access hundreds of thousands of digital resources using CABOCES Digital Kids.
Users may login to CABOCES DIGITAL KIDS to search clips and images or pass through to:
Brain Pop (Jr., ESL, Espanol),Discovery, Learn 360, Sylvan Dell eBooks, Teaching Books, Tumblebooks, Soundszabound, Gale Cengage, Regents Review
Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES has been awarded a grant for $218,787 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant, called the Rural Utility Service (RUS) grant will be used by Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES and six area school districts to upgrade video conferencing equipment. The upgrades to video conferencing equipment will provide Allegany Limestone, Bolivar Richburg, Hinsdale, Randolph, Salamanca and West Valley with new high definition video conference capabilities that the schools will use to have students and teachers take part in distance learning opportunities.