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
Q: What do you get when you connect over 80 students, 23 teachers and administrators, 24 CABOCES ISS staff members, who are miles apart, each safely in their own homes, across 2 counties?
A: The first ever regional Virtual Scholastic Challenge
On May 1st, twenty teams from twelve area school districts got together, virtually, using Zoom.
42 matches took place over the course of the day, with nearly 1000 questions read aloud. Teams, made up of 3-4 students each, mastered using an online buzzer system that created fast paced and exciting matches. The students combined an impressive display of intelligence and good sportsmanship as the match facilitators measured their ability to recall facts from a wide variety of topics. There was an exciting energy throughout the day, as summed up by ISS Digital Resources & Technology Coordinator, Alex Freer, one of the match readers, who said, “What a joy to be a part of today!”
Shannon Wood, Franklinville Central School’s coach added, “Please extend our thanks to all of the BOCES staff that participated in pulling off the VSC! It was really a great change of pace for the kids! They look forward to this and you accomplished the new format very smoothly! Thank you for all of your hard work!”
Scholastic Challenge is an annual event hosted by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES. The regional competition that tests students’ knowledge of academic trivia and current events is typically held as a face-to-face tournament.
Thank you to the 12 school districts that participated:
CABOCES applauds all the students and coaches who were willing and enthusiastic to try something unknown. Everyone learned together, overcame challenges, enjoyed the camaraderie, while having fun. Students, coaches, and match facilitators practiced and prepared for the new format and rules by participating in virtual scrimmages for 3 weeks prior to the May 1st competition.
As Tim Cox, Assistant Superintendent for ISS said, “It’s events like this that really bring our region together…especially now.”
Jean Oliverio, ISS Student Programs
Cuba, New York – Wednesday, January 15, 2020 – Twenty-seven VEX Robotics teams from across Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties attended the 2nd annual VEX Robotics Qualifying Tournament at Cuba-Rushford Middle/High School on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. Students competed with and against teams from Belfast, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Cuba-Rushford, Fillmore, Franklinville, Genesee Valley, Hinsdale, Pioneer, Portville, Salamanca, Scio, Wellsville, and Whitesville. The middle and high school students executed the 2019-2020 VEX Robotics Competition game, Tower Takeover, which is played by placing different colored cubes in towers and goal zones during a 2-minute match.
Congratulations go out to 4 teams from Cuba-Rushford and Franklinville. Specifically, 2 Cuba-Rushford teams (Rebel Robotics and Yellow Team), who formed an alliance and went on to become Tournament Champions. The Franklinville (Wasted Potential) team earned the Excellence Award and the Franklinville (The Ratz) team earned the Design Award. These four teams qualify to attend the Northern New York State Championship to be held in Syracuse on February 29.
Additionally, the Judges Award was presented to the Wellsville team (Big Cat Robotics) to acknowledge their outstanding Engineering Notebook.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Alex Palowitch from iDesign Solutions.
To prepare for the tournament, students worked together to design, build and program a semiautonomous robot that could quickly and efficiently solve the specific challenges of the 2019-2020 VEX Robotics Competition game, Tower Takeover. Teams studied electronics, programming, mechanical systems, animation, 3D CAD, computer aided machining, web design, and materials fabrication. An equally important set of skills is learned through competition: communication, negotiation, project management, time management and teamwork.
The tournament was possible because of a tremendous collaborative effort between Cuba-Rushford school and CABOCES. The CABOCES Tech Support team, along with ISS (Professional Development, Learning Resources, and Student Programs) worked together to make the tournament a success. Additional support and guidance, which was invaluable, came from Alex Palowitch from iDESIGN Solutions.
The Cuba-Rushford Qualifying Tournament is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. VEX Competitions are the largest and fastest growing competitive robotics programs for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and college aged students around the world. VEX Competitions represent over 24,000 teams from 61 countries that participate in more than 1,650 VEX Competition events worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring, with VEX Robotics World Championship, a highly anticipated event that unites top qualifying teams from local, state, regional and international VEX Robotics Competitions to crown World Champions. More information about the VEX Robotics Competition is available at RoboticsEducation.org, RobotEvents.com and VEXRobotics.com. To find out how to become involved in VEX Robotics in the CABOCES region, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716-376-8323.
About the REC Foundation
The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation manages the VEX Robotics Competition, which thousands of schools participate in around the world each year. REC states that one million students are reached worldwide through all the VEX robotics programs, classrooms, and competitions.
The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, sustainable and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the U.S. and internationally. Its goal is to provide these programs with services, solutions, and a community that allows them to flourish in a way that fosters the technical and interpersonal skills necessary for students to succeed in the 21st Century. The REC Foundation develops partnerships with K-12 education, higher education, government, industry, and the non-profit community to achieve this work so that one day these programs will become accessible to all students and all schools in all communities. For more information on REC Foundation, visit www.RoboticsEducation.org.
Jean Oliverio, Student Programs, ISS, CABOCES
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
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
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
BOCES and eleven regional school districts have been awarded the USDA RUS Distance Learning Grant, totaling $466,686.
Last week District Superintendent Lynda Quick, Esq. learned that Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES has been awarded a grant for $466,686 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant, known as the Rural Utility Service (RUS) Distance Learning grant, will be implemented by Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES and eleven area school districts to upgrade video conferencing equipment and other technologies.
The equipment upgrades will provide all three Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES Career and Technical Education (CTE) Centers, as well as Belfast, Bolivar-Richburg, Cuba-Rushford, Franklinville, Friendship, Genesee Valley, Hinsdale, Olean, Salamanca, Scio, and Wellsville Central School Districts, with new portable, high definition video conference capabilities that schools will use to provide students and teachers with a variety of distance learning opportunities including videoconference courses, virtual field trip experiences, and expanded access to nanotechnology capabilities.
This is not the first USDA RUS Distance Learning grant received by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES and component school districts. The Distance Learning Team at CA BOCES has been applying for and receiving RUS grants since 1997, resulting in eight previous awards and millions of dollars in equipment for our schools.
“Over the years, USDA funding has built a virtual school in our region," stated Lynda Quick. Over forty virtual classes connect via video conference every single day, allowing schools to share the instructional expertise of their outstanding faculty members. Additionally, hundreds of students to take other online courses because of this funding. These virtual courses are critical in expanding offerings in small rural schools that, over time, have been stripped of the ability to offer many (or any) AP, college credit, or elective courses to their students.
Lynda Quick also shared, "This award helps put a dent in leveling the playing field. It helps our students build a transcript that can be competitive in the post-secondary arena." Grant implementation will begin immediately.
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
The coding initiative has taken hold in many of our elementary classrooms throughout the Cattaraugus-Allegany region, through the use of Bee-Bots, iPad Apps for Education, programming course platform Zulama, Lego League, and many more. Many of our teachers are breaking away from the ‘shuttering’ that ensued from the mere utterance of the word “coding”. Coding, at its heart, is simply providing a set of directions that one must follow. It encourages critical thinking and problem solving skills in our students.
On March 16, Mrs. Hamer’s Kindergarten embarked on their first hands-on coding experience under the expertise of technology integrator Mark Carls. cooperative learning groups of 4-5 students, under Mark’s guidance, programmed our Bee’s to maneuver through the grid provided.
Mark was very enthusiastic when describing his work with our students commenting, “Some students grasped the concept of the bees right away and I was able to provide more complex pathways almost immediately, while some students needed more direct support with one step programming tasks. All in all, it was great! The kids were very engaged and enthusiastic about using the Bee’s. Every student wanted to touch them and in our small groups they were able to do just that.” Through this one activity, Mark was able to provide students with an enriching differentiated critical thinking task.
Mrs. Hamer’s Kindergarten class is eagerly awaiting Mark’s next visit when they will be applying their knowledge of coding with the tangible Bee-Bots to coding with the Bee-Bot App.
Tenth graders from Andover, Belfast, Bolivar-Richburg, Cuba-Rushford, Fillmore, Portville, Scio, and Wellsville explored careers at Alfred State College. Over 40 businesses shared about careers in Allegany County. Student spent the day answering the question, "What's my next step?"
It isn’t very often that an entire district’s faculty has an opportunity to see the vertical alignment of standards that impact every area of instruction. Curriculum development within districts is generally saved for the summer, and at that time teachers work within departments to map out their curriculum alignment for the upcoming school years. Very seldom do we have the opportunity to see the vertical alignment of the standards and how they apply to every grade level, let alone across several content areas.
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
In September, I was given the opportunity to utilize an iPad cart for my classes until February. I used this opportunity to investigate how well high school students would be able to use them in a limited setting, for a limited amount of time. My primary goal was to try to establish a web source in which I could continue to interact with them online after the iPads were gone. I found two sites very useful for that purpose: Google Drive and MyBigCampus. When I created a document for the students, I uploaded it to Google Drive. The students then used their iPads to access and open the document in an iPad app, Notability. Having accessed the document, they could then edit and take notes directly using the Notability App. Another useful app that the students used was MyBigCampus. I would create entrance or exit tickets that the students would need to access on the application and answer. This app was also helpful to share links, images, audio and video files, and to create message board type activities for the class. MyBigCampus and Google Drive are both programs that function independently of the iPads, and I can continue to utilize them for the rest of the school year.